How Bodyweight Exercises Help You Build Muscle? Find Out!

Muscle building is often related to gyms and heavy weight lifting. But all people do not want weight training for bulking up. What about building muscles without the use of weight and machines? Perfect right! You can also do total body training for building those hidden muscles.


Bodyweight exercise can also build muscles just like other weight training. There is a profound impact of bodyweight exercises on pumping up your true muscular potential. Your body weight is a potent tool for muscle training. But how, exactly, do these seemingly simple movements coax your muscles into glorious growth?


Read on to find out how bodyweight training helps in muscle development and why it is a valuable addition to any fitness routine.


What Is Bodyweight Training?

Bodyweight training is a minimalist yet potent approach to fitness. It revolves around using your own body as resistance. Therefore no clunky gym equipment or elaborate setups – just the force of your muscles against gravity. This form of exercise has a spectrum of movements like basic push-ups, squats, handstands and pistol squats. It’s a celebration of the body’s innate ability to sculpt and strengthen itself without external weights.


Furthermore, it effortlessly blends strength, flexibility, and endurance. Its versatility and accessibility make it a perfect choice for everyone.


List of easy bodyweight exercises for full body training (3 sets of 10-12 reps per exercise):

  • Squats
  • Push-ups
  • Lunges
  • Plank
  • Dips (using a chair or sturdy bench)
  • Superman
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Tricep Dips
  • Superman Exercise
  • Burpees
  • Bicycle Crunches


What Science Says about Muscle Growth?

Before starting bodyweight exercises, you need to know what muscle growth is and how it occurs. Your body muscles have fibres in them that help you to move and lift things. The more you move, the stronger these muscular fibres will be. But if you put a heavier load than usual on these fibres. That’s where your muscles undergo a process called hypertrophyan expansion in muscle fibre size and strength.


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To grow your muscles, you should provide them with a proper stimulus. And you can easily achieve this by trying intense weights and repeating the exercise multiple times. The goal here is to push your muscles out of their comfort zone and burden them with loads of workouts.


During exercise, the muscles will rupture and there will be more sorts of microtears in the muscle fibres. Don’t panic, as these tears are necessary for the growth of muscles. More tears mean more repair and stronger muscles. Scientifically speaking, the contractions in bodyweight exercises stimulate muscle protein synthesis, the cornerstone of muscle growth.


You can always eat good food and take plenty of rest for workout recovery. This will help you in getting used to your workout routine.


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How To Use Bodyweight Exercises For Building Muscles?

Sometimes you can use dumbbells to motivate yourself. Instead, you can do total body training with the help of bodyweight exercises as a stimulus to push muscles to work harder and shape you like a Greek God. Just use your body and here are a few things to know before starting.


1.       Challenge Yourself, Push It

Most people complain that they are not getting enough results from the bodyweight training. And they end up giving up. They fail because they don’t push their limits. Instead, they stick with a few exercises like classic push-ups.


For an effective muscle buildup, try difficult bodyweight exercises (diamond push-ups or one-arm push-ups). It is good to keep challenging yourself and keep craving for more muscles.


2.       Form Is the King, Master It

Form is the true king, be it strength training or bodyweight exercises. Bad form is a turn-off for your muscles and even it can put your body into grave danger. Meanwhile, proper form can help in muscle gain with a low risk of injury. A win-win!


So breathe properly, take the time to learn the correct form for each exercise and practice it until it becomes second nature. This will help you to engage the right muscles and get the most out of each repetition. A single, controlled push-up with laser-sharp alignment is worth ten wobbly reps fueled by ego.


3.      Keep It Fresh, Change It

Who says only vegetables should be fresh? We believe life should be renewed with fresh exercises. The same workouts can bore you to death. Hence don’t stick to one exercise routine for months. Mix it like blend wall sits with burpees.


Have fun with new exercises and alter your resting hours, rep ranges, and workout structures. Like, you can switch from regular push-ups to decline push-ups. You can also increase the number of sets you do for each exercise.


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Bodyweight Exercises VS Bodybuilding Exercises

Both exercises involve movements that give you strength. Each approach has its merits and unique characteristics. Bodyweight exercises make you a master of your own body and provide functional strength and flexibility. These exercises can be performed anywhere. Meanwhile, Bodybuilding workouts often focus on lifting heavier weights over time to sculpt muscle into defined forms. And require heavy machines and often a gym.


You can choose either bodyweight or bodybuilding exercises. And if you can’t decide one it’s good to blend the best of both worlds.


Related Post: How to increase muscle mass: Tips and Tricks!


How Long Does It Take In Bodyweight Muscle Building?

The timeline to build muscles using bodyweight exercise probably varies for each person and it is usually affected by various factors like:

  • Gender: Testosterone attracts muscles therefore men gain muscles earlier than women.
  • Age: Young people can recover quickly. So muscle building is faster than older.
  • Genetics: Some people can build muscles more quickly than others.
  • Level of Activity: Active people can have quick results.
  • Past Fitness Experience: People who work out often can get back their bulky muscles, the so-called muscle memory.


With bodyweight exercises, your muscle grows within 8-12 weeks. Of course, there could be exceptions. But if you have just started your bodyweight journey, the first 4-6 weeks are all about building a solid foundation. The initial muscle progress will be slow but it is normal, just needs adjustments to the training.


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Is Bodyweight Exercises Better Than Weights?

Bodyweight exercise doesn’t need to be better. While one exercise suits many of the people other may not. But bodyweight exercises are surely a lot easier than weights. For instance, people new to fitness training, most of the time start using bodyweight exercises.


One thing about body training is it not only influences muscle growth but also increases muscle coordination over time. Total body exercises also sharpen muscle memory and build stronger neuromuscular connections to coordinate body movements such as a hip hinge.


Can Bodyweight Training Harm You?

Bodyweight training, while popular, is not without its drawbacks. It usually doesn’t cause any harm but if you do it excessively, it is a total disaster to body shape and health.


Disadvantages of Bodyweight Training

Inability to Target Certain Muscles Effectively: Bodyweight training may not sufficiently stimulate the posterior chain and thigh muscles.

Non-Linear Progress: The progress is not constant, making it challenging to track and measure improvement.

Challenges for Heavy Individuals: It can be harder to perform bodyweight exercises if you are heavy.

Limitations in Leg Training: Bodyweight training alone may not effectively train the legs.

Risk of Injury: Improper form in bodyweight training can cause severe injury, and it may also lead to neglecting other important fitness attributes.


Despite the above-mentioned disadvantages, bodyweight exercises are still good for gaining muscle strength as long as you stay loyal to them.


What Bodyweight Exercises Are Effective For the Growth Of Muscles?

Bodyweight exercises help you stay active and increase muscle mass without needing any gym equipment. These exercises fuse strength training with flexibility, making them an exceptional option for a full-body workout. These are divided into three categories: total body, lower body, and upper body.


Total Body Bodyweight Exercises

Full-body exercises coordinate multiple muscle groups at once. Here are some of them:


  1. Burpees – Targets the chest, legs, glutes, and core. It can burn calories too.
  2. Mountain climbers – Work on core, shoulders, and legs. It is good for heart performance.
  3. Planks – Good for core muscles. Also adjust posture and balance.


Lower Body Bodyweight Exercises

These exercises build strength in your hamstrings, legs and glutes. Here are some:


  1. Squats
  2. Lunges
  3. Glute bridges
  4. Pistol Squats
  5. Calf Raises


Upper Body Bodyweight Exercises

Arms, chest, and back benefit from these exercises. Here are a few:


  1. Push-ups: Perfect for your triceps.
  2. Pull-ups: Pump the biceps and forearms.
  3. Dips: Work on your chest, and shoulders.


Bodyweight Workout for Bulking Muscle

Let’s use the above exercises and create a sample bodyweight workout routine!


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1.       How to Start the Workout

Before adopting the sample workout below, just make sure to complete one exercise and its repetitions, and then go to the next one. Complete all of the exercises in one session, rest for a short period and repeat the whole exercise list around 3 times.


And if you want to target the extra fat along with the muscle growth, skip the rest between the individual exercises. Focus on completing the whole workout list, and then relax as much as needed. But if your sole purpose is the muscle buildups, take enough breaks.


2.       Sample Bodyweight Exercises Workout

Before trying the workout, warm up first to avoid muscle strain. A good and fun way to warm up is by playing basketball. It’s more of a whole-body movement that works on every single muscle, giving your body a tune-up.


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These following warm-up exercises don’t count into muscle-building training.


Warm-up Exercises (1-2 sets)

  • Mountain Climbers: 10 reps
  • Jumping Jacks: 10 reps
  • Bear Crawl: 10 yards


After warm-up, do some good stretches and then go on to the following workout.


For example, a sample workout could be:

  • 10 push-ups
  • 15 bodyweight squats
  • 10 lunges (each leg)
  • 30 seconds plank

Repeat the circuit 3-4 times


Ending Remarks

Bodyweight exercises are a cool buddy to build muscle. They are convenient and accessible. Just stay consistent and aim for 3-4 bodyweight workouts per week. And don’t forget to rest because recovery is just as important as pushing yourself.


So, ditch the gym membership and embrace the open air. The park, your living room, or even that sturdy tree branch in your backyard can be your muscle-building playground.  With bodyweight exercises and a dose of dedication, you’ll be sculpting a physique that’s worthy of a standing ovation (or at least a few jealous glances at the beach).


And if you’re into an extra dose of fun and cardio, try a friendly pickup basketball game!


Use your body weight and conquer the muscles (your biceps too)!


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