There may be weeks or an extended period of time where you are unable to go to the gym. For example, you may be traveling or have an expired gym membership and don’t have the money to pay for it. However, just because you can’t get to the gym doesn’t mean you can’t get a good workout in. The only thing you need for this new routine is yourself; your weights are now your body. Contrary to popular belief, weightless exercises build a tremendous amount of strength and muscle mass. Now while an actual gym and weights are irreplaceable and provide the absolute best results, it should be noted that you could get a great workout with using just your body as weight resistance. If you are a beginner, weightless exercises may be just what you need to develop your muscles before you start lifting weights. They will stimulate the major areas of your body and really prime your body to experience new growth when you actually stimulate the smaller muscles with weighted exercises.
If you are an advanced weightlifter, weightless exercises are for you too. Remember, the more you shock your muscles and keep them guessing with new workouts will mean better results; you never want your body to adapt to the same routine, especially if you are constantly working out with weights. Doing a weightless exercise routine will give you a break from weight training and add a new dimension to your training routine, providing you with a program built on muscle endurance and a new type of strength training. Did you know that freak athletes such as Bo Jackson and Hershel Walker rarely lifted a single weight, instead only relying mostly on weightless exercises? You don’t believe me, huh?
Check out this video from Hershel Walker, a Heisman Trophy winner and former NFL great:
Push ups can be one of the most effective total body workouts. Doing push ups will improve your size, strength, flexibility and conditioning, not to mention it is a much safer alternative to weighted exercises such as the bench press. While the bench press is wonderful for packing on mass and size, push ups will mainly provide you with an exorbitant amount of muscle endurance. Often times, you will find many people able to bench press a tremendous amount of weight but fail to rep out an adequate amount of push ups. Why is this so? There is a lack of proper muscle endurance. Believe it or not, strength is also measured in terms of total power of several reps and not just raw power of one rep. The actual motion of a basic push up trains the chest, triceps and the anterior deltoids, while at the same time stretching the biceps and back. It puts virtually no stress on your joints and can be a cardiovascular workout if you push yourself to perform push ups while supersetting with other bodyweight exercises and calisthenics with minimal rest. The key with push ups is to incorporate different kinds of push ups into one routine. You can do standard push ups, handstand push ups, push ups with your feet elevated, knee push ups, wide grip, close grip, diamonds, knuckles, claps, chest-pump, and many other types of push ups that work different areas of the chest and other muscles. Doing push ups really trains the chest and gives you one of the best pumps you could feel from a chest workout.
Now while push ups won’t really help you improve much in terms of raw power with those heavy sets on bench press, it will improve your muscular endurance, which will help you to get an added rep on conventional exercises.
Pull ups may be one of the hardest weightless exercises to perfect. In this case, I can almost guarantee you will find people in the gym that can do amazing feats with the lat pulldown machine (which is a similar motion to the pull up) but cannot do more than 3 pull ups on their own! This is because pull ups require a tremendous amount of strength and muscle balance that you cannot build through weights. The lats, shoulders, biceps, forearms, and grip are all thoroughly put to the test with a good set of pull ups. In addition, the serratus, pectorals and abdominals also share the work. Doing pull ups can build incredible mass on your lats (and give you a larger “wingspan”) and also build your biceps because it puts an incredible amount of stress on your biceps as well. Anyone can do the lat pulldown machine but only the truly strong can do pull ups.
Dips are one of the best workouts to do for both your chest and triceps. It is a sheer compound exercise that can either put virtually all your bodyweight on your triceps or chest depending upon which way your hands and body are positioned with additional emphasis on other bodyparts. Dips are a resistance form of exercise that uses a pushing motion to achieve results.
Using your own weight is a wonderful tool to build your legs. You can perform regular squats with your arms extended out in front, jump squats, “sissy” squats, one legged-squats and many more. As long as you do enough of them your legs will feel a tremendous burn that will respond to the stimulation and ultimately grow.
Cardio- High Intensity Interval Training
Despite popular belief, cardio is not only beneficial for burning fat, but if done properly can actually help build muscle. Performing high intensity cardio, in which you switch up levels of intensity between high (sprints) and low (jogs) amounts is the most optimally efficient way to burn fat and will actually contribute towards muscle growth. Your body acts as tremendous resistance on the upper echelons of the cardiovascular activity. Ever notice why sprinters’ legs are so massive? It isn’t just because they train legs in the gym but they actually do sprinting so often that it stimulates the muscles to the point where it is necessary for them to grow to become faster and more effective.
What makes these exercises so good is that you don’t need a spotter to go to absolute failure. Since these workouts are done with just your own bodyweight, you can safely go to failure without a real risk of injury. Just make sure you are always doing proper form and push yourself to the absolute max! Moreover, you can get a tremendous full body workout if you incorporate all of these routines one after the other without any rest. Try it!