In today's busy lifestyle, not everyone has time to get to the gym. You can build strength and muscle without going to the gym, buying expensive home exercise equipment or even lifting a single weight. In fact, many world-class athletes such as Olympic gymnasts use bodyweight exercises as a primary means of building strength.
1. Use Your Own Body Weight
Pull-ups and chin-ups are functional exercises that build grip strength in your hands and forearms while strengthening your biceps, triceps and shoulders. Your back and core muscles will also get a workout. Portable pull-up bars can be purchased inexpensively at any sporting goods store and installed in one of the doorways of your home.
Read more: Ways to Get Buff at Home Without Weights
2. Classic Squats Work
Classic squats and their many variations target your quadriceps, hamstrings and calves as well as your core muscles. Most people add a heavy barbell to increase the intensity of their squats, but you don't have to. According to Muscle & Fitness, jump squats using only body weight can produce up to 40 percent more power than with a barbell.
3. Explosive Strength Exercises
Plyometrics are explosive, powerful movements that increase strength by putting an intense demand on your muscles and are not for fitness novices, according to The American Council on Exercise. Athletes who need to run fast or jump high often use plyometrics to build explosive strength. Fitness enthusiasts can use plyometric exercises such as squat jumps, plyo push-ups, alternating lunge jumps and box drills to build strength without using weights.
4. Plank for Core Strength
Planks target your entire core, including your obliques and lower back, and they can work your shoulders and hips if you add in arm and leg movements. To do a basic plank, begin in push-up position, bending your elbows and resting your weight on your forearms. Maintain a straight line from head to toe and engage your core. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds.
5. Embrace a Push-Up Trio
Go beyond the basic push-up and try a push-up trio of classic push-ups, decline push-ups and triceps push-ups to build strength throughout your upper body. Begin with one set of 20 classic push-ups for general upper body conditioning.
Next, do 20 decline push-ups to hit your shoulders. Create a decline by propping your feet on a short stool. Finally, do 20 triceps push-ups to work the back of your arms by placing your hands close together under your shoulders, with your elbows at your sides. Complete this rotation three or more times.
Read more: Proper Push-Up Technique
6. Master Mountain Climbers
While you are down in push-up position, add in two or three sets of mountain climbers to work your core. Beginning in the push-up position with a straight line from your knees head to feet, bring your right knee forward toward your chest. Return to starting position and bring your left knee toward your chest. Alternate your legs for 30 to 60 seconds for one set.
7. Strong Calf Exercise
Standing calf raises are an effective exercise to sculpt strong calf muscles. You can perform these standing on the floor or on the edge of a stair for a more full range of motion. Use your calf muscles to lift all of your weight on your toes and slowly back down. Do three sets of 20 or more repetitions for maximum results.
8. Dips for Upper-Body Strength
According to powerlifter and trainer Jesse Burdick, in an article for Muscle & Fitness, adding dips to your workout routine is one of the fastest ways to build upper body strength. Dips using parallel bars target your chest and triceps. If you bring your knees up and keep your body more upright, you will focus more on your triceps. You can also use a chair or weight bench for triceps dips.
9. Switch to One Arm or Leg
An alternative to adding weight to increase the difficulty of your body-weight exercises is to switch to using only one limb on each exercise. Some examples are the one-arm push-up, one-arm pull-up, one-leg calf raise and single-leg squat. Use these variations to build strength more quickly, one side at a time.
10. Work Out Like a Kid
One of the best ways to stick with any workout plan is to make it fun. Switch up your routine by adding in a few old-school kid's exercises from your elementary P.E. days, like bear crawls and crab walks. To do a bear crawl, walk forward on all fours with your bottom in the air and legs almost straight. For the crab walk, begin by sitting the floor and lift your hips up. Walk forward and back on your hands and feet for at least one minute.