A gym membership is not for everyone, they’re certainly not ideal for the busy corporate folks who work long hours to earn a living for their families. Fitness clubs also aren’t the perfect solution for those whose work requires frequent amounts of travel. Lastly, those who are on a shoestring budget certainly cannot afford gym membership while those who find the idea of working out in a gym setting overwhelming, to say the least, cannot be persuaded to enroll in one.
Unfortunately, no other place in the world has such a complete set of weights and fitness equipment. This can be very frustrating for those who want to build muscle but find fitness clubs intimidating, overly expensive, or just downright inconvenient. After all, it has long been an accepted fact that one of the most efficient and quick ways to bulk up is through the use of weights and machines.
However, that doesn’t mean that it can’t be done. There are simple muscle building workouts one can do without the weights, called bodyweight workouts. Instead of using weights to resist movement, your own body is used to provide the resistance needed to build muscle. Keep in mind that intensity is crucial when in comes to making these exercises work for you. As you gain more endurance, you must also build up the intensity of these exercises either by doing more repetitions, making it more difficult (using one hand for example), or deliberately slowing down the motions for each exercise.
Outlined below are simple bodyweight exercises to get you started on your muscle building program. Before doing these, don’t forget to warm up and stretch to prevent strain and injury. Cool down after as well.
1. Pull ups. Doing pull ups is a great way to build your back and arm muscles. And you can do it anywhere there’s a place you can hang on to. When you hang down from the bar, feel the stretch in your lats. Pull up and lower for as many times as you can. This is a very challenging exercise for beginners. You might want to have someone support you at first until you gain enough muscle strength to be able to do it confidently on your own. As you progress in your fitness level, you can do variations such as doing it in one hand– although if you’re starting from scratch that could still be quite a long way away.
2. Push-ups. To develop your chest, shoulders and arm muscles, push ups have been tried, tested and proven. With your face on the floor, keep your hands shoulder width apart and your hands slightly turned inwards. If you can’t do a single push-up at first, put your knees on the floor for support. When this gets easy, do regular push ups. To make it more challenging, elevate your feet on a chair– the higher the elevation, the more difficult it gets.
3. Squats. To build leg muscles, do squats. With your hands behind your head, bend through your knees, making sure that you keep your heels on the floor. On the way up, squeeze your glutes and push your knees out.
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