When people think about bodyweight training they seem to imagine themselves doing lots of exercises and reps. Unfortunately, doing this without any strategy won’t help you build real muscle on the long-run. Forcing your body to get results quickly is never the ways to go either. As with most things in life, a combination of sorts tends to give one the best results. In this article, we will be looking at seven tips for building muscle through bodyweight training.
Tip #1: Apply Progressive Thinking
Similar to lifting weights in the gym, a core component to building muscle is to challenge your muscles progressively. This means that you push your limits little by little with each set or workout session you do. Don’t try to grab the whole world at once from the beginning. That will likely result in exhaustion or even worse, injury. Instead, walk your body through things by taking one step at the time.
If doing gymnastic rings feel like it’s too much, then try to strengthen your arms more for example before trying again. You can always modify exercise techniques, the speed at which they are done, the amount of reps and length of cool-off periods for example. In addition, using personal goals may be the ways to go for many people. Feel free to set up goals for yourself in terms of number of sets to be done per exercise or the amount of time required to complete sets. It may be more fun even to do this with a training partner! In this way you both grow stronger together.
Tip #2: Choose Challenging Exercises
Try to include a variety of bodyweight training exercises when working out that truly challenge you to go give everything you have. For building strong back muscles, start out by doing a couple of reps of pull-ups and chin-ups. Try doing push-ups as well, which are great for building your shoulders, chest and triceps. When doing push-ups many people think that it’s a numbers game, however it is far more important to have a proper form. Do push-ups using the dead-stop method for example. This means that you lie down on your stomach and start the exercise from there. Make sure your arms and feet remain firmly fixed. Next, try doing squats for improving your lower-body muscles to have an overall balanced body training, see also best 7 bodyweight exercises to train your butt.
Tip #3: Include Calisthenics
The days of hitting the gym and lifting weights until you drop are long gone. If you really want to build strong muscles then it is essential to include Calisthenics in your workouts. Start by finding a comfortable pair of sneakers you like, as you’ll want to be able to move around freely. Calisthenics training not only improves one’s physical attributes but also builds muscle and strength. As indicated before, exercises such as pull-ups and push-ups help to build several muscle groups, be it your arms, back, abs or shoulders for example.
To make things more challenging you can also try out weighted calisthenics. This means using things like weight plates or a vest while doing weighted pull-ups and dips for example. Make sure that you apply Tip #1 and add weight progressively. To make pull-ups more challenging check out our article of 10 more advanced pull-up variations. In addition, the best thing about calisthenics training is that it can literally be done anywhere, in any location. This freedom of choice makes it very appealing for those just starting out or for people that have been training already, look to add some variety to things.
Tip #4: Add Consistency
If you want to build muscle using bodyweight training, emphasize the consistent use of techniques instead of focusing on intensity. This means that you do an exercise more frequently (e.g. throughout the day) and less intensively (e.g. amount of reps) which help you to get better prepared for more advanced exercises. Consistency is also key in building more muscle. In other words, if you only do one or two shoulder exercises throughout the month, it is unlikely to have a big impact on things. Often times, the only way to see true results is to remain consistent with the bodyweight exercises performed. If you are doing bodyweight training then it is important to stick to a schedule each month in order see results along the way.
Tip #5: Do Variations
Feel free to include variations in the bodyweight training exercises you do. Most exercises tend to have variations of them that add on to the level of difficulty. This can help you push your own limits along the way as they are more challenging to perform. It is also a good alternative to the regular exercises people do during a workout session, especially if one has been training for weeks.
Tip #6: Rest!
Sounds obvious but getting the proper rest for your muscles is important if you intend to push it a little bit further with each workout you do. If you’re training on Mondays and Tuesdays for example, try taking the next day off and picking things up again the next day or so. Rushing to get results often results in muscle fatigue and tear, which don’t help you build strong and healthy muscles.
Tip #7: Use Special Equipment
If you’ve applied all of these tips throughout your workout sessions, then it might also be a good idea to invest in some specialized calisthenics equipment in order to make things more interesting with regards to your bodyweight training. For example think about getting yourself a weighted vest in order to make all exercises more demanding and challenging. You could also try out a pull-up bar in order to workout anywhere you’d like, instead of being stuck to the gym or playground for example. The key is to have fun while exercising whilst learning about your body, including its limitations.
So there you have it! We hope that you will be able to apply each of these tips when working out and building your muscles up. Remember to take things one step at the time and apply a variety of exercises. It is also important to have fun with what you’re doing. So feel free to pick a couple of bodyweight training exercises to start off with and build up from there to more advanced exercises, including their variations.
Do you want to do more pull-ups?
Then we recommend you our FREE eBook with the top 23 tips for more pull-ups. DOWNLOAD NOW FOR FREE.