Ways to Build Muscle Without Weights
By Mike Thiga author of The Muscle Experiment
If you're one of those people that believe you can't build muscle without training with weights, you're wrong. There are two primary requirements to building muscle that include two fundamental principles. The first is about applying a progressive overload that is capable of stimulating enough muscle fibers for sustainable growth.
The second fundamental principal needed to build muscle is to ensure good nutrition. This means eating a diet that has enough calories, protein, carbs and fat that allow your muscles to call on the enzymes required to enable protein synthesis whenever it is required.
Below are five key points to build muscle without using any weights:
1. Count-down from 10
When doing bodyweight movements like pull-ups and dips most of us get into a plateau where we can't move past X number of sets and reps. If you use a specific system like counting down from 10 reps, it's got a progression that you can measure while its happening.
You start by doing your first set of 10 reps. After a rest to enable full recovery you then do your second set of 9 reps. Each following set you then reduce by one rep without ever reaching the point of failure. If you follow the count-down from 10 it amounts to a total of 55 reps, which in anyone's book is plenty volume.
2. Train like you're an animal
If you try and play like a kid by doing movements or rather positions like the bear crawl or the crab walk, you'll feel any weak areas you might have in your normal workouts. Doing movements like the crab walk or bear crawl will increase your heart rate, improve your core strength and your overall strength.
3. Using a deck of cards
Using cards is just an innovative way of getting a good workout. It's simple but needs a bit of planning. You first select each suit of cards to an exercise. For example, spades will be sit-ups, diamonds will be lunges, clubs will be push-ups and hearts will be pull-ups.
You then put the deck of cards on the floor facing down and then start your training routine by turning over the cards. Whatever suite you select is the exercise to be done and the number on the card is the reps you do. A Jack would be 11 reps, Queen will be 12 reps, the King will be 13 reps and your Ace will be 14 reps.
4. Do Drop Sets.
Drop sets are not only used with weights. If you vary the mechanical advantage you put yourself in when doing bodyweight movements, you'll be able to do drop sets very well. You would then start any bodyweight movement you select by doing the most difficult position first, you then adjust the mechanical angle to a position that's easier so you can push out more reps.
For example, you could start with wide-grip pull-ups and rep out but before reaching failure, you then turn your palms towards you and do chin-ups. You could do the same with push-ups by stating with a diamond push-up and to then slowly move your arms outwards as you start to reach failure.
5. Do "Blurpees".
If you ever land up somewhere there is no chin-up/pull-up bar, like a jail cell, then blurpees are the answer. The blurpee is the same as the classic burpee but with lats working, as if they were pulling. Blurpees are done by squatting down and then shooting both your legs back so you land in a push-up position.You then jump your legs forward so that both feet lands outside your hands while you think about pulling yourself forward using your lats to prepare for the jump squat. After completing the jump squat you shoot your legs back into the same push-up position you started with.
Note: For more information checkout The Lost Secrets of Bodyweight Training