Building muscle mass without lifting weights is attainable. There are many body-weight exercises that promote muscle mass gains, including the "king," the push-up.
It has enough variations to satisfy anyone seeking to build their muscles without getting bored by the same old workout every day. Performing an array of body-weight exercises, for your upper and lower body, will help build muscle mass from head to toe; or from neck to ankle as the case may be.
Read more: The 20 Best Body-Weight Exercises
1. Push-Up Variations
Perform push-ups in all their many variations. Push-ups build muscle size and strength in the chest, shoulders and triceps. Start with regular push-ups. Regular meaning the body is in plank position as you raise up and lower down.
If that's too hard to begin with, then start off with knee push-ups. There are incline and decline push-ups, both of which work different sections of the pecs. Transition to narrow grip and wide-grip push-ups which work the triceps primarily. And if you're just not feeling like throwing your entire body weight around, try the wall push-up.
2. Do a Pull-Up Workout
Perform pull-ups to build the back, forearms and biceps muscles. Use full range of motion on this exercise to increase the amount of muscle being recruited. Start with your arms all the way extended overhead, grasp the bar and then hoist yourself up until your chin is level with your hands or the bar.
ACE Fitness recommends crossing one leg over another while your feet are off the ground for stabilization and to brace your abdominals. If you cannot perform a pull-up, perform negative pull-ups, which require a stool or exercise partner to perform.
3. Do the Dip
Perform bench dips. When performing the dips exercise, you must use a one or two benches or two sturdy chairs. Dips are an effective compound exercise because you lift your entire body weight. When performing dips, use full extension.
For an easier version, place your hands behind you on the first or second step from the landing of your staircase and put your feet on the floor. Brian Mac Sports Coach says dips fit into a circuit training workout nicely.
4. Squat Your Body Weight
Use multiple body-weight squat variations. Squat variations build the quads, glutes and hamstrings. Perform regular squats with the best form possible to get the greatest outcome possible. Always brace yourself, meaning tighten your abdomen as if you were going to get punched.
As you shift your hips backward, bend your knees and start to descend. Lower down until your knees are parallel to the floor. Push into the floor with your feet and raise yourself to the starting position. Once you have mastered the basic squat you can try sumo squats, stability ball squats and squat jumps.
5. Extensions and Raises
Do basic back extensions to strengthen your lower back. When you can do 15 consecutive repetitions, advance to the glute-ham raises. For the abdominals, start off performing basic sit-ups and bicycle crunches. Core work with your own body weight will build muscle in your abs and lower back area.