5 Best body weight exercises for gaining muscle

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5 Best body weight exercises for gaining muscle

We have all been there, gyms are closed, or we have no access to any equipment, and we can see our gains slowly fading away. Well if you ever find yourself in this position then do not cry about your hard-earned muscle mass fading away, instead try doing a body weight workout to help maintain and build on your physique. In this article we are going to be going through different body weight exercises that require little to no equipment. 

There are many advantages to body weight exercises. These include the need for no equipment and the ease of being able to train wherever you want. These exercises can also be good for developing technique and will prevent injury if done along side resistance training. Lifting your body weight can also improve mobility and stability as many workouts target your core and stabilising muscles. Here we are going to be giving you the five most common and effective exercises for building muscle. 

Press ups

Probably one of the most well-known body weight exercises, press ups are performed by balancing your weight on your hands and toes and pressing down. The movement will look kind of like a bench press and its key to keep your back straight and go as close to the ground as possible on every rep. This exercise it mainly targeting chest and triceps, but it also engages your core and shoulders. Doing this exercise also stretches your bicep and back muscles improving flexibility and reducing the risk of injury. As well as muscle growth push ups can also be great for cardiovascular health. This is due to us working large muscle groups at the same time, causing our heart to work harder to pump blood to muscle tissue. If you find push ups too easy then you could try the many different variations. These variations include decline, clapping, spiderman and diamond. 

Pull ups

For a body weight exercise pull ups does require a little bit of equipment, all that’s required is a stable surface above your head to grip on and lift your body weight. Pull ups are great for working your back muscles, biceps, triceps and core. Doing this exercise can also improve your grip strength as the exercise involves you holding your body weight until the set is done. A pull up is performed by gripping the bar and hanging from it. Once on the bar pull yourself up using your arms until the bar is below your chin. To engage your biceps more you could also grip the bar with an under hand grip and do the exercise this way , or to engage your lats more try a wider grip. 
When doing this exercise to prevent injury its important to not swing your legs and this could also be classed as cheating as you are using the momentum of your swing to lift yourself above the bar. Being a body weight exercise like many pull ups are generally quick and easy to do, there are many variations (e.g. weighted and underhand). They are also a good workout to implement into your training regime as they build muscle and by increasing the intensity they can also act as a cardio workout. 


When it comes to strengthening legs and core, lunges are a very effective exercise. Although they can be painful to do there are many benefits to this exercise. Some benefits of lunges include strengthening your core, improving your balance, strengthening legs, and improving flexibility (not to mention the booty gains) .There are also many variations to this exercise like weighted, reverse, walking and many others. 
Lunges are performed by standing straight and keeping you chin up. Then step one leg forward and lower your hips until both of your knees are bent 90 degrees. Its important that your knee is inline with your ankles and your other knee doesn’t touch the floor. Here you will have to hold your weight and then repeat this time leading with the other leg. Again, being a body weight exercise, this requires very little to no equipment to be performed. 


Similar to a sit up, crunches help you build core muscles. However, when it comes to abs crunches isolate your abdominal muscles better, making them a great muscle builder for your core, lower back and obliques. Also, the lower back pain normally associated with sit ups is eliminated as crunches don’t involve you fully sitting up and putting strain on your lower back and pelvis. 
A crunch is performed by lying flat on the ground with your legs bent to stabilise your body. Place your hands behind your head or across your chest touching opposite shoulders (to keep them out the way and prevent cheating). Then raise your head and shoulders from the ground and exhale as you rise. Repeat and inhale as you lower yourself. Doing these over a long period of time will improve your posture, core strength, and reduce your risk of lower back injuries later on in life. Although a great gainer this exercise isn’t a compound movement and is just really limited to core and lower back muscles when it comes to gaining muscle. 


Last but not least a great body weight exercise for gaining muscles in your chest, triceps, back, core and even shoulders. This is a compound exercise meaning many muscle groups are engaged at once and dips are one of the best body weight exercises to increase upper body mass and strength. This workout is also very easy to add weight to as you are able to wear a belt or hold the weight between your feet. Although a very useful exercise, weighted dips can become dangerous if not ready for them. Before attaching weights to yourself make sure that you have mastered the form with just your body weight and are comfortable with increasing it. 
To do dips you will need two parallel bars or surfaces to grip onto. Once between the two surfaces bend your arms, trying to get as low as possible then pushing up. Going as low as possible will help you hit those muscle fibres missed in generic chest exercises like bench press as you have a wider range of motion. Although dips are a very good exercise on its own, for better results your could try mixing it up and doing a super set/circuit including dips. 
When it comes to gaining muscle body weight exercises are very important. As well as building muscle mass there are many other benefits to body weight exercises and one major one is the fact that very little equipment is required. At times where gyms are unavailable these workouts really do excel and are taken for granted in everyday life. So now that you are aware of the benefits of some of the most common body weight exercises, its time to put them into practice. Next gym session try implementing some body weight workouts to maximise the micro tears achieved by the workout.