How to Build Muscle Using Bodyweight Exercises
Lifting weights at the gym is the most popular method to build muscle, but it is not the only way. What if you can’t get to the gym, or you simply don’t like training around other people? Bodyweight exercises can help you build muscle at home and at any time. You just put into practice the following principles: increase reps, decrease rest times, perform variations, train to failure, increase time under tension, and implement mechanical drop sets.
So let’s see how we can apply the bodyweight principles so that we can achieve muscle growth without going to the gym and lifting weights.
1. INCREASE REPS
This is one of the most important yet simple steps to increase muscle mass. You may be lifting lighter weights than you would do in the gym, but you can still hit the RPE ( a scale used to measure how intense your exercise is). Probably it would take longer to increase muscle mass, but you will manage to do it.
2. DECREASE REST TIME
Rest in between your sets is important, but if you want to build muscle mass. It’s essential to shorten the breaks you take. If your rest break is usually between 60-90 seconds, then take the minimum time of 60 seconds and then do your next set. By reducing the break time between your sets, you will increase physical stress which will help you build muscle mass. Furthermore, if you find that you can perform your set just as well with less rest time, then you know you’ve improved.
3. PERFORM VARIATIONS OF ONE MOVEMENT
Push-ups are a great bodyweight exercise that can give you amazing muscle-mass results. And if you want to challenge yourself, then a decline push-up is the exercise for you. This is when you elevate your feet that are on a raised surface (like a chair or a bench) while your hands are at a lower level (such as the ground). In this position, the weight distribution changes so you have more weight to push up against. The higher the surface is, the harder the push-up will be, and consequently, the more muscle mass you will gain.
The incline push-up is also a great muscle-building option. This is the opposite of a decline one as it’s your upper body that’s elevated and your lower body is on a lower surface. There is less weight on your upper body so it will be easier than the standard or decline push-up option.
4. TRAIN TO FAILURE
This means doing as many reps as possible during the set time. But keep in mind that you should give your muscles enough time to recover before your next workout. So don’t use this strategy every time you work out and when you do use it, make sure that the following week is a rest and recovery week.
5. INCREASE TIME UNDER TENSION
Bodyweight exercises can promote muscle growth if you increase time under tension. This refers to the amount of time you’re putting strain on your muscles. You can do that by slowing down your movements instead of finishing them as fast as possible.
6. MECHANICAL DROP SET
This is the final principle that will help you build muscle mass by using bodyweight exercises. The mechanical drop set means training until you are overly exhausted and changing the exercise a bit to incorporate other muscle groups to complete your sets. Doing so will definitely fatigue those muscle fibers, causing them to repair and rebuild bigger than before.
Building muscle with bodyweight exercises may not be as simple as adding weight to a bar but with these strategies, it can still be done.