Is it possible to build lean muscle mass and sculpt your physique by using just bodyweight exercises?
This article shows you how you can build lean muscle with bodyweight exercises teaching you the essential principles for muscle stimulation and growth.
First lets discuss how muscles are stimulated for growth, for this to happen you need to challenge your muscles with resistance and take the muscle to ‘overload’. This means doing as many repetitions as possible until you come to failure. Be mindful that the repetitions need to be in good form, as soon as your form is compromised you are not hitting the muscle groups correctly. When this happens the exercise becomes ineffective and you open yourself up to injury.
How can you train to failure if your bodyweight is far too easy for your strength ability?
You will need to introduce different training techniques, depending on your strength and ability you may need to mix several of these techniques into one workout set. Below I have given you training techniques that will help you build lean muscle with bodyweight exercises.
Supersets – Structuring 2 exercises one after the other with minimal rest in-between. Perform exercises that use the same muscle groups but in a different way.
E.g// Incline push ups to standard narrow pushups.
Giant Sets – Structuring 4 or more exercises one after the other with minimal rest.
E.g.// Narrow squats, wide squat, wall sit squat, back lunges, glute hip thrusts, side lunges.
Tempo – Changing the tempo during an exercise movement is a great way to stimulate muscle growth. This is because the muscle experiences increased time under tension.
E.g.// Pull ups – tempo is one count upwards to the top of the bar and 5 counts back down to starting position. Squats – tempo could be 5 counts down and 5 counts up.
Plyometrics – Explosive movements require maximum effort and force from your muscles. This increases the force on your muscles making them fatigue quicker while causing a high level of muscle fibre micro tears in the process. This is a positive because when these tears get repaired by your body they increase strength and mass.
E.g.// Box jumps, Squat jumps, Jump Lunges, Clap push ups, Jump jack planks, burpee push up into tuck jump.
Progressive workout designs.
As with all successful training plans you need to keep it progressive. Track your repetitions, switch the exercises, increase sets, change tempo and progress the exercises. For example squats can be progressed into a single leg squat. Start by getting into a squatting position, squat down and take one leg behind then drive up with the other. Or progress to pistol squats.
Planning and tracking is key to every successful training programme. Structure your week with a balanced exercise regime hitting all of the muscle groups in the body. It may be that you have an additional focus on slightly weaker areas. Have progressed targets and goals to hit each week and make sure you are training to overload points.
Through stimulating your muscles to failure, using varied training techniques and having a structured plan, this is how you can build lean muscle with bodyweight exercises.
Watch out for my upcoming article 7 Day Bodyweight Plan For Muscle Growth