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  • Get Body Strong
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Health and Fitness News

Get Body Strong

The way to build muscle without lifting weights.

Whether your gym membership ran out, you’re traveling, or don’t have time to hit the gym, there are still ways to build muscle, stay in shape, and get strong. While the generally preferred method of strength training is lifting weights, bodyweight exercises can be just as effective. In fact, many Olympic athletes choose bodyweight exercises over lifting weights. With no special equipment required, bodyweight exercises can be done anywhere at any time by anyone at any fitness level.

For muscle and strength gains, you have to work against a progressive amount of resistance. When doing bodyweight exercises, your body provides the resistance. You’re still working against a force to overload your muscles. You just aren’t using a dumbbell or machine. The progressive part comes from challenging yourself to more reps and increasingly difficult exercises. This means you may start out only being able to do 10 regular push-ups, but after a while you’re able to do 20 one-arm push-ups.

Keep reading to learn a few of the most effective bodyweight exercises.

Chin-Ups and Pull-Ups

Want to gain upper body strength without lifting? Then you need to do chin-ups and pull-ups. Not sure what the difference is? Chin-ups are done by placing your palms facing you on the bar and pull-ups are done by placing your palms facing away from you on the bar. Both exercises work your arm and back muscles. Chin-ups are slightly easier and work your biceps more than pull-ups.

To do a chin-up or pull-up, place your hands on the bar about shoulder-width apart (palms facing away or towards you depending on which exercise you want to do) and let your body hang down. Your arms should be extended, your head looking straight ahead, and your muscles tight. The goal is to pull your body up to the bar high enough so your chin clears the bar. Slowly lower yourself and repeat. Beginners unable to perform a full chin-up or pull-up may find it helpful to begin in the top position and just work on lowering your body in a slow, controlled manner.

Squats

The go-to exercise for muscle gains in your legs is the squat. It’s simple to do and is easy to make more challenging to increase leg strength. To do a basic squat, stand with your feet placed shoulder-width apart. You can extend your arms straight out in front of you or put them behind your head. Bend your knees while pushing your hips back and lower your body while keeping your back flat, your head looking straight ahead, and your chest up. Your knees should not pass in front of your toes. After lowering, raise back up slowly or increase the intensity by exploding up off the floor.

Push-Ups

Want to get strong without lifting weights? Do a set of push-ups everyday. This simple exercise works your triceps, shoulders, chest, and core muscles.

Variations of the push-up change the intensity and muscles targeted. To get in push-up position, place your hands on the floor a little wider apart than shoulder-width and hold your body up on your hands and toes (or knees if needed). Then, bend your elbows and lower your body toward the floor until your chest nearly touches the floor. Straighten your arms to come back to starting position. Through the whole movement, keep your back flat, your elbows tucked in, and your body in a straight line.

More advanced push-ups include the diamond push-up, decline push-up, tricep push-up, and the ultimate version, the one-arm push-up.