With the corona virus sweeping the world and infecting millions of people, many gyms and training facilities shut down, some for good. Now, as I write this, they are finally beginning to open back up and people are finally starting to get back to lifting actual weights again.
Although gyms are opening back up, many people are still worried about the virus and a lot of them don’t trust the gyms just yet, which is understandable. If you find yourself reading this article and you are one of those people who don’t trust the gym yet, your gym closed down, or you simply just want to save money and workout from home, you have come to the write place!
Throughout this article, I will be going through each muscle group and showing you how to build muscle from home in each group with little to no use of weights. I personally believe that one can build muscle just as well or even BETTER than those who choose to lift weights.
Building your Chest
The chest muscle is an easy one to build at home. The obvious workout to do would be push-ups. There are many variations of push-ups that all hit different parts of your chest.
Your chest is split into three parts, the upper part (clavicular), the middle part (sternocostal), and the lower part
(abdominal head). Incline movements target the upper part, flat movements target the middle part, and decline movements target the lower part.
Since the upper part of your chest is the biggest and looks the best when fully formed, I recommend doing decline push-ups. Yes, for some reason, decline push-ups hit your upper chest but let’s not get into that. To perform these, get into a push up position and elevate your feet on a stool or something about 2-3 feet off the ground. After your feet are elevated, perform the same motion as a regular push up.
I recommend doing 4-5 sets until failure and your chest will be on FIRE. If you do this workout enough and they get too easy, you can take literally anything from your house that is flat and place it on your back to add some weight or even try some one handed decline push-ups if you want to be a savage.
And don’t worry, doing decline push-ups will still build the rest of your chest nicely as well.
Building your Shoulders
I personally love hitting shoulders at home. They’re not easy to hit but thinking of ways to hit them is the fun part.
The best body weight workout for shoulders is the handstand push-up. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “I can barely do a handstand, how am I going to do a handstand push up?!”. Well here’s the good news, you don’t have to!
Just take that same stool that you used for decline push-ups, a bench or anything that is elevated off the ground and stand on it. Once you’re standing on it, just bend over until your hands are on the ground. Once your hands are on the ground, angle your body so your head is almost perpendicular with the ground and bend your elbows until your head is barely above the ground and push yourself back up. Wallah! You just performed an assisted handstand push up!
You can keep doing these assisted ones with a bench until you are able to lean against a wall and do a handstand push up with no assistance except for the wall. I also recommend doing these for about 4-5 sets until failure.
You can also get creative and take coffee mugs, shoes, or anything that has some weight and perform lateral raises and shoulder shrugs to fully build your shoulders!
Building your Legs
Legs are tough. The most notoriously skipped muscle group in the world and you’re probably thinking to yourself, “I don’t even hit legs at the gym, why the heck would I hit them at home??” Well, the good news is I can’t force you. But, I can give you all the benefits of hitting legs and maybe change your mind.
Legs not only make up almost half your body, but exercising legs releases way more testosterone than any other workout. This leads to bigger muscle gains for the rest of your body AND accelerated fat loss!
Some more good news is that legs are easy to hit at home with no weights.
My go to leg workout is the jump squat. This exercise not only destroys every part of your legs but it will have you huffing and puffing and feeling like you just ran a marathon when you’re done!
Doing about 5 sets of 12 reps for this workout with about a minute break in between will be PLENTY enough work for your legs. If you wanted to, you could also do some body weight calf raises in the shower for about 3 sets of 30 reps and your lower half will be begging for mercy.
Building your Arms
Arm day is highly regarded as the best day of the week, for good reason. The bicep and tricep muscles are each made out of three different muscles each. I would give you the names of each of these muscles but they are long and, frankly, not important to you if all you want to do is build them.
To hit all three muscles in your triceps from home, I recommend doing tricep push-ups or diamond push-ups.
Tricep push-ups are performed the same as a regular push up but instead of flaring your elbows out, you tuck them into your sides and keep them close to your body throughout the whole motion. Diamond push-ups are performed by getting in a push up position and creating a diamond with both your hands touching each other. Your pointer fingers touch and your thumbs touch, this creates the diamond.
With basically all body weight workouts, I recommend doing about 4-5 sets until failure. You can also attempt body weight dips but this is more of an advanced movement and you need to be somewhat elevated off the ground.
To hit your biceps effectively, I would suggest performing chin ups as chin ups are one of the best workouts for biceps hands down. But, if you don’t have access to a pull up bar or something like it, I would suggest the dive-bomber push up (can you tell I love push-ups). This push up is performed basically the opposite way that a normal push up is performed. You get into a push up position and push your elbows out so that the inside of your elbow is facing forward. After doing this, just go down like a regular push up and bang… you just did your first dive-bomber push up!
Building your Abs
Abs are notoriously done with no weights. But, just in case you don’t know any good ab workouts, I wanted to make sure I included them.
Abs respond best to high intensity workouts. This means that you don’t want to take long breaks in between sets.
My favorite ab routine is performing a minute plank, followed by a 30 second 6-inch hold, followed by 50 Russian twists. All back-to-back. Once you finish all three, wait 1 minute then repeat. Do this about 3-4 times and you will feel like you got punched in the gut. But that’s a good thing!
To perform a plank, simply get into the push up position and drop down so that your forearms are on the ground and holding you up. All you have to do is flex your abs, stay parallel with the ground and stay in that position and you’re doing a plank. To do a 6-inch hold, just lie on your back and lift your feet 6 inches off the ground, sounds easy write. But this exercise is KILLER for your abs and holding for 30 seconds is not easy. Russian twists are done by sitting on your butt with your legs bent. Once in this position, simply lift your feet off the ground and start reaching back and forth from side to side touching the ground with your hands. Count every time you touch the ground as one until you get to 50.
Putting them all Together
What your schedule is like and how many times a week you are able to workout, will determine what body parts you hit and when. For example, if you only have 4 days a week to workout, you might want to do a push/pull split. Meaning you do chest, shoulders and triceps on Monday and then you workout legs, back and biceps on Tuesday. Then you repeat this process on Thursday and Friday in the same order.
The nice thing about body weight training, however, is that you don’t really have to worry about doing certain splits. You can hit whatever muscle groups you want on any given day. Just make sure you are giving your muscles at least 2 days rest before you hit that same group again.
Overall, I hope this article helps you gain muscle while you’re stuck at home. I also hope you are able to help me prove to the world that body weight workouts can get you just as jacked as weights!