The Best Exercises to Build Muscle without Weights


Are you thinking that bodyweight exercises are very limited and won’t get you the muscle definition you want? You’ll be surprised at how many calisthenic exercises there are to help you build muscle without weights.

Press-ups and crunches alone have so many variations that you can try, each progressing from basic to intense. The variations of each exercise also allow you to apply progressive overload on your bodyweight training.

The best part is you don’t have to rely on a gym membership to build muscle without weights. You can do these exercises practically anywhere. You need little to no equipment. With these bodyweight exercises, you are your own gym!


Push-ups build the chest, triceps, shoulders, and abs. Although there are tons of variations of this exercise, you should start with the basic push-up to perfect your form. Place your hands on the floor – the width between your hands should be slightly wider than your shoulders. Your elbows should be close to your body. Lower yourself until your chest is almost touching the floor. Keep your body straight while doing your push-ups by tensing your glutes and abs.

Chin-ups or Pull-upsChin-ups or Pull-ups

So, what’s the difference between a chin-up and a pull-up? Your palms are facing you when you do a chin-up while your palms are facing away from you when you perform a pull-up. Both of these exercises build the back, biceps, and shoulders. To perform, grab bar that’s higher than you (or it could be a tree branch that’s strong and sturdy enough to hold your weight). Do an underhand grip and hang down. Pull up until your chest touches the bar. Lower yourself and then repeat.


Begin by lying on your back then bend your legs so that your heels are close to your butt. Put your hands behind your head. Raise your head and back into a sitting position. Your elbows should touch your knees before you go back into the lying position. Keep your knees and feet in place throughout the entire exercise.

Deep Knee BendsDeep Knee Bends

This exercise builds the hips, thighs, and glutes. To start, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and grab a ledge or the edge of the sink for support. Bend your knees and lower yourself until your butt is almost touching the ground. Go back to your initial position using only leg power. Keep your heels planted on the floor throughout the movement.

Grip ExerciseGrip Exercise

Just squeeze a hand gripper or a rubber ball as hard as you can. Count to 10, relax, and then repeat. Although very easy to do, this grip exercise builds the forearms and improves hand strength.


Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Straight your arms in front of you (you can also put them behind your head or cross them and touch your ears). To descend, push your butt back and bend your knees. Make sure that your back remains in a straight, neutral position. Keep your chest up and don’t slouch. Squat down as low as you can and then go back to the initial position while keeping your back straight throughout the movement.


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