There is some notion that you cannot build muscle without weights; which is certainly false. Most guys nowadays think that in order to look good you need heavy weights, bulky muscles and bulging biceps.
I am against excessive muscle mass and this article discusses the concept of how to build muscle without weights when you do not have access to a gym or weights.
[ I was a gym rat before; thinking that to look good you need to have bulging muscles. I realized that a lean look with the right amount of muscles is the way to go. I found inspiration from the Ancient Greeks]
You Can Build Muscle Without Weights
Most guys who regularly workout in the gym may disagree with me on this one; but I really believe it is possible to build muscle without weights. The problem with the common misconception of body weight exercises is it does not help with progressive resistance training especially for advanced fitness levels.
I discovered it is possible to look good and build muscle without weights when I can't seem to have access to the gym. The gym near my place was quite expensive and did not sound practical. So I experimented with different ways to stay lean and build a little bit of muscle while staying at home. I had some great discoveries though; like variations and making it challenging possible.
Endurance Training and Muscle Building is Different
Most guys can do 50 push-ups non-stop and would not have muscle mass like that of a person who can place weight plates in a bar or increase the resistance easily in a gym. The difference is in the more on the execution of the workout.
Doing push-ups non-stop is doing endurance training because of the high reps without any interval. This does not build muscle fibers; which makes muscles more angular and dense.
[rather than having bulky guys doing push-ups, here is a instructional video on the proper form. I find upbeat music and a cartoon more entertaining]
In the push-up example, this can be easily remedied by focusing on the slow downward and upward motion on the basic push-up; but this time taking only 5-8 repetitions and having short 10-20 seconds of breathers. Do this for 10-15 minutes and it would simply be more challenging than doing 50 push-ups non-stop.
How training for Mass and Endurance Differ
The rep range can build muscle fibers more because of the low to mid rep range, which trigger muscle fiber growth along of short rests. This is based on the concept of Myofibrillar Hypertrophy, which is the growth of muscle fibers which is caused by the low to mid rep range ( 2-5 repetitions ).
Let us focus on the example on the push up body weight exercise. To build muscle without weights in the upper chest area, you can use anything that can elevate your feet a little higher than your usual push up and follow the same concept of 5 reps and short rests for 10-15 minutes to build muscle.
...here are other examples of variations of push-ups:
[ I do this quite often along with my body weight circuits; it is both fun and challenging at the same time. This takes off the boredom.]
...here is another one:
[another way to do this is have a partner place a weight plate on your back and do the push up as usual if you do not have weight chains as shown.]
Workout Days to Build Muscle..Still Without Weights
There are weeks when I need to go early and cannot wait for the gym to open so I treat it like any other workout day. But I make sure I make everything challenging and intense to get the same results.
A four day workout split is more typical to maintain muscle mass; training your muscles two days a week maintains the muscle mass especially if you are in a calorie deficit style of diet to get lean.
It is possible to maintain and build muscle without weights. I believe there are many ways to get lean if going to the gym becomes inconvenient due to travel or if circumstances demands. Just like in the example of the push up and its variations, focus more on building muscle fibers through low to mid rep range and short rests if you want to build muscle without weights.