How to Build Muscles at Home without Using Weights

You can easily do this at home and you don't need any equipment

The best part about bodyweight exercises is that they can be done any day, anytime, and anywhere without any equipment at all. Bodyweight training has always been known to be effective but it gained more popularity during the lockdown due to the restrictions of stepping out to the gym. We get Manik Dhodi, fitness coach and athlete to share a few bodyweight exercises that will help you build muscles at home. However, what you need to keep in mind while doing these exercises is to make sure you get the form right so that you hit the right muscle and do not end up causing any unwanted damage to the joints. “It is always advisable to start off with the easiest way. You can do 8-10 reps of each of these exercises and do 2-3 sets and increase the intensity with time,” advises Manik. He shows you how to do these exercises below.

1. Push-ups 

Pushups

Manik does a Superman Flying pushup 

Benefits: It is the most common bodyweight exercise and helps you strengthen your upper body, especially chest, arms and core. It also helps improve your body posture thereby protecting you from several body pains and injuries. 

Method & Variations: Push-up as an exercise has many variations that you may seldom get bored of. The most common and safe way to do push ups is to start in a plank position, palms flat on the floor and slightly more than shoulder-width apart, your feet should be together and your legs straight. Push your body upwards and straighten your arms and then lower your body returning to the starting position. "By doing certain variation, you could vary the impact of the same exercise on different muscles," says Manik.

Different types of Push-ups: Knee push up for beginners, Normal Push up (explained above), Decline Push-up, Diamond Push-up, Commander Push-ups, Alligator Push-ups, Pike Push-ups, Handstand Push up, Single arm Push-up, Plyometric Push-up, Planks to Push-up, Superman Push up and more. 

2. Squats 

squats

Manik shows how to do Bulgarian split squats

Benefits: Squats help us strengthen our glutes, hamstring, quads, as well as the core. This makes routine movements like bending, turning, or even standing easier, and reduces the risk of injuries.

Method & Variations: Simplest way to start with squats is to use a chair and stand straight with your legs, shoulders width apart and your arms behind your neck, sit on the chair then push through your heels to stand up again, gradually with the control you can remove the chair and do more challenging variations to build muscles. Different types of Squats: Chair Squats, Normal Squats, Jump Squats, Squat to Calf Raise, Prisoner Squats, Sumo Squats, Narrow Squats, Single leg Squats, Frog Squats, Bulgarian Split Squats and many other variations.

3. Lunges

lunges

This is how you can do forward lunges with a twist

Benefits: One of the most ignored workouts is Lunges but we often forget it has many benefits. Lunges work the large muscle groups in our lower body, which builds lean muscle and reduces body fat. This can increase our resting metabolism, which allows us to burn more calories and trim excess weight. Lunges help us improve core strength, hip flexibility, balance, toning our buttocks and strengthening the knees. This form of exercise is highly recommended, says Manik Dhodi. 

Method & Variations: You can start by standing up tall and then step forward with one foot until your leg reaches a 90-degree angle. Your rear knee should remain parallel to the ground and your front knee shouldn’t go beyond your toes.

Different types of Lunges: Front Lunge, Reverse Lunge, Jumping Lunges, Front, Lunge with Twist, Reverse Lunge with front Kick, Pivot Lunges, Side Lunges and Walking Lunges. 

4. Planks

plank

Manik does a high plank here

Benefits: Planks help us improve core strength, balance, enhance metabolism, burn belly fat, as well as improve posture, thereby reducing the risk of back and spine injuries. Method & Variations: Start on your hands and knees on the ground. Your hands and knees should be shoulder-width apart. Lift your knees off the ground and push your feet back, bringing your body to full extension. Once you’re there, make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart to start. Keeping a tight core is key here. 

Different types of Planks include: High Plank, Low Plank, High Plank Knee Cross, Low to High Plank Push-Ups, High Plank Jacks, High Plank Knee/Toe Touches, Side Plank High/ Low, Plank Knee to Elbow, High/ Low Plank Side Lifts and Reverse Plank. 

5. Superman Exercise 

Pushups

Superman pulldown is done like this

Benefits: Superman exercise strengthens the back muscles particularly erector spinae muscles and other surrounding muscles to support the spine, promotes good posture, and reduces risk of injury. 

Method & Variations: Lie with your chest down on the floor, reaching your arms straight out in front of you (as if you were Superman mid-flight). Squeeze your glutes and lower back to raise your arms, legs, and the top of your chest off the floor. Hold for a count, then slowly return to the starting position. Don't drop your arms or legs. 

Different types of Superman Exercise: Superman Pulldowns, T Superman, Y Superman and W Superman. 

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