Article written by Luke Douglas
Luke is a fitness and health blogger at Ripped.me and a great fan of the gym and a healthy diet. He follows the trends in fitness, gym and healthy life and loves to share his knowledge through useful and informative articles.
If you ever wondered whether building muscle without weightlifting is attainable, the answer is definitely yes! As you master your own weight, through various body-weight exercises, you’ll get muscle mass gains, acquire greater kinesthetic awareness, and train three-dimensional movement. With these exercises, you can build muscle mass in all body areas.
It’s really no different than building muscle in the gym, because you just have to eat well, find all the possible ways for applying the principle of progressive overload, and give your body enough time to rest between workouts. These exercises can be performed at home or outdoors, perfect if you’re not a gym rat yourself.
CKCE or Closed Kinetic Chain Exercises
CKCE is a group of movements to which bodyweight exercises belong to. These exercises are those where the hand or the foot doesn’t move, remaining in constant contact with a surface. As opposed to open kinetic chain exercises, CKCE exercises offer certain advantages, such as being more functional, engaging multiple muscles and joints in each movement, greater neurological and muscular stimulation, and demanding more in terms of coordinative ability and stabilization.
The best thing about performing CKCE is that the equipment you’ll need is practically non-existent. It’s easy to make a transition from one exercise to another, while the rest periods between the sets are shorter, allowing you to keep your heart rate up. The best bodyweight exercises for a full-body workout are: squats, chin-ups, pull-ups, and push-ups.
Count down from 10
When doing dips and pull-ups, people tend to fall into a routine and plateau at a certain number of sets. Instead of getting stuck in this kind of routine, try performing sets of descending reps. First do a set of 10, then 9, all the way down to 1 rep. This way, the workload will get reduced (as your muscles fatigue), allowing you to build up a good volume of exercise with enough recovery. This method is great for those guys who do all their training on monkey bars in parks, and who can do dozens of pull-ups in one take.
If you find yourself in a place where you don’t have a chin-up bar, but just the surface beneath your feet, work your back by performing “blurpees”. Squat down, put your hands on the ground and then shoot your legs back and land in the push-up position. Then, get your legs back into the squat position and jump up. It’s an exercise that includes lat involvement, so you’ll feel the pull-up effect, but without having to hang from a bar to do them. If you feel it in your back the next day, you’ll know that you did it right.
Treat your workouts like play
Making your training fun is the best thing you can do to stick to your training plan. The crab walk or bear crawl are exercises that you probably haven’t performed since you were a kid. However, there’s no reason you shouldn’t do them now, as a grownup, and see how hard it is to move in those postures. These exercises may seem goofy, but training with them will increase your mobility and strengthen your core, and you’ll immediately recognize your weak areas or tight muscles. On the other hand, you’ll enjoy performing them because they are so silly. For the crab walk, sit down on the floor, bridge your hips up, and walk back and forth on your hands and feet. As for the bear crawl, try walking on all fours with your legs straight so your hips are up above head level.
Just because you’re not a gym lifter doesn’t mean that you should eat less, skip meals, or not use quality supplements to boost your workouts. Our bodies need protein to grow and develop, so pack protein in your meals and snacks. As an adult, you need about 0.8 protein for every kilogram of your body weight, which you can get from poultry, red meat (lamb and beef), fish (tuna and salmon), lentils, beans, and eggs.
Get the right carbs as well, because they’re the primary source of energy for your body. Avoid processed foods and sugar, because they’re packed with simple carbs, while you need complex carbs found in vegetables, fruits, beans, and grains. When it comes to fats, choose the healthy, unsaturated fats from seeds, nuts, and oils (such as olive oil). They help provide calories, reduce inflammation, and can fuel even the longest workouts.
Don’t skip on supplementation if you want to boost your muscle building, as there are various, healthy supplements that can be ordered from online retailers, such as Pharmacy Online. You can use glutamine and caffeine (for burning fat); whey protein, highly branched cyclin dextrin, and creatine monohydrate (for building muscle); and beta-alanine or BCAAs (for maximizing endurance and performance).
These bodyweight exercises should be performed with explosiveness, as it’s the only way to get them to really work, to build muscle and reshape your body. If you don’t have the explosive component, you won’t have any more muscles than a cross country runner. Doing repetitive motions for long periods of time won’t help you bulk up.