Adding muscle mass at any point in your life is exceptionally difficult. It typically involves hours of dedication in and out of the gym, every day. If you're a growing teenager with no access to gym equipment, the difficulty level increases exponentially. Don't fret, there's still hope. Even without gym equipment, you can build up to bulging biceps and fill out your shirt sleeves like never before.
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Gym equipment is designed specifically to be gripped by your hand and waved around in the air in whatever manner each exercise dictates. Since you don't have the luxury of using these tools, you have to come up with your own. Any object that is relatively heavy, holds weight and has a handle can work just fine. Milk jugs are an excellent tool to use for biceps curls, as are grocery bags filled with various objects. If the weight gets too easy, you can simply add water to the jug or add more objects to the bags.
Diet is just as important to building muscle as exercise. According to Dr. Len Kravitz at the University of New Mexico, protein plays a pivotal role in the growth of new lean muscle mass. When you lift weights or, in your case, milk jugs, the muscle fibers in your biceps literally tear apart. After your workout, the body sends satellite cells to the site of the tear to help heal the fibers. These cells multiply and ultimately fuse to the fibers, causing the muscles to be larger and stronger than before. Protein drives this process, and according to the United States Department of Agriculture, your body requires as much as 0.8 g of protein daily for every pound you weigh.
Part of exercising to build muscle is having patience. You aren't going to grow 14-inch biceps overnight, and you can't work your biceps every day to speed up the process. Dr. John Berardi, a former Olympic trainer, recommends giving individual muscles up to seven days to recover and regrow after a workout. The muscle growth process takes time, and you have to let your body build itself back up before you start tearing muscle fibers again.
Not using specially designed equipment comes with risks. If you decide to use milk jugs, the possibility exists that the top will come off and the water inside will come spilling out. In this case, it's best to do your biceps exercises outside in a water-friendly area. Using shopping bags poses another threat, as the handles can tear off paper bags, and the bottoms can fall out of plastic bags. In the latter case, it's very important to keep your feet out from underneath the bags. Whatever heavy objects you have in the bags can fall on your foot and cause a potentially serious injury.