Can You Build Muscle Using Bodyweight?

Building muscle through bodyweight training is extremely effective for building muscle, it is easy on your joints and is more functional than weight lifting.

Although it is important to start out with the basic exercises but as you progress to the more advanced moves you will see incredible strength and size gains. Some people still argue that body weight training isn’t as effective as weight training but look at a gymnast and you will see you can get very muscular and athletic through body weight training.

The problem that most people encounter is they just start pushing out more reps of the same exercise or throw in a few variations without concentrating on form. Your muscles don’t know the difference between a barbell and its own body weight but what gets the growth is the time under tension.

So let’s take a look at the good old fashioned press up as an example; 10 – 12 reps may be easy for some but if the same person slowed down each rep and put in an isometric hold at the bottom the time under tension is greatly increased which will enable muscle breakdown which leads to muscle growth.

Once these become easy instead of increasing the reps, increase the difficulty, raise a leg, perform archer press ups and continue to increase difficulty eventually working to the one arm press up and beyond….If you can do 10-12 – one arm press-ups at the same slow tempo as when you first started you will have a very strong chest.

People often give up on body weight training through frustration, as they progress to more advanced moves like a Lever and Muscle up it can take months or even years to perfect even your first one.

Another aspect to think about is as you gain muscle and weight (through proper nutrition and recovery) it can seem as though you hit a sticking point although, the truth is usually they increased their weight through gaining muscle mass and that is what is making the same move/s more difficult. (Just as putting extra weight on a barbell would a bench press harder)

Take for example the chin up a fundamental movement in body weight training; a guy enters the gym (for the first time) and can naturally do 5 chin ups. He then doesn’t come back to the gym and does no training but puts on a stone in weight.

This time he tries again to do max chin ups and can only do 3, did he become weaker….of course not he just added more resistance by increasing his body fat.

So in conclusion you can gain a lot of muscle, size and strength through body weight training and have the added benefit of being able to do some really cool moves that will inspire others.