8 Best Bodyweight Exercises for Mass

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The best way to grow and build muscle is, and always will be with progressive overload. Continually adding weight and repetitions over time will result in strength increases and overall muscle growth.

However, there are certain bodyweight exercises available at our disposal that should still remain a staple of any workout program. In fact, if a gym is unavailable there are plenty of exercises that can be done in your hotel room or even in your office, when you have a few extra minutes available.

Related: Function Supplements by Vegan Bodyweight Expert Frank Medrano

The following are the most effective bodyweight exercises. They should be included as part of your normal workout routine.

Chin Ups

The best method of increasing muscle size and density will always be progressive overload in the form of increased weight and repetitions.

The Best Bodyweight Exercises

Push-Ups

There’s nothing overly special or flashy about push-ups. They have been around for ages for the one simple fact that they are effective.

Push-ups can be done in different variations that will target the chest and/or triceps muscle groups in varying degrees. Furthermore, push-ups can be performed at an incline or decline to assist in targeting the lower or upper muscles of the chest. On the other hand close grip push-ups will place more emphasis on the triceps.

Push-ups can be used to superset other weighted exercises to help provide a little extra bang for your buck. Don’t ever forget about this classic exercise, it’s not just for PE class anymore!

Pull-Ups

Pull ups are one of the staples of back training workouts. Although seated rows, upright rows, and deadlifts are the backbones of back training, pull-ups are great for adding extra volume to your back training days.

Variations can be either close or wide grip or close grip depending on if you are focusing on back width or overall thickness. Pull-up bars are inexpensive and great to have around the house for the times in which you have trouble making it to the gym.

Pull-ups work great as a warmup and equally well as a finisher to any back workout.

Dips

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Dips are another exercise that do not necessarily require the purchase of any equipment. If you do not have access to a dip station, dips can be performed off any solid surface. A simple item such as a chair can allow you to perform dips.

Wider grip dips will provide more of a focus on the chest muscles, while a closer grip targets the triceps.

As you advance overtime, you can perform weighted dips for additional muscle overload. Follow the routines of most any classic bodybuilder and there is a strong likelihood dips were included as part of their workout plan.

Inverted Rows

This exercise is perfect for the office workplace when you have a bit of extra time.

Let’s say you’re starting up your computer in the morning. Instead of just sitting there. inverted rows will kill a few extra minutes.

If your desk has a bar underneath it, lie down on the ground at an angle. Face up and bring your body towards the bar (as opposed to a classic row when you bring the bar towards your body).

This exercise is another great way to increase back volume because, let’s face it, we can never have lats that are too wide right?

Chin-ups

Similar to the pull-up variety, chin-ups have your palms facing towards your body as opposed to away from your body.

Chin-ups are a good way to rep it out at the end of your bicep workout. Over time, chin-ups will become easier to perform and you may add additional weight to achieve progressive overload.

However, make sure to practice proper form. Go slowly down and back up. We don’t want you looking like a Crossfitter now, do we?

Planks for Core Strength

With planks you will notice an improvement in core strength and can eventually move on to more advanced abdominal movements.

Wall Squats

While wall squats will not necessarily add the same amount of size to your legs that traditional back squats will, wall squats can improve core strength, strengthen the quads, and even work those glutes.

For a challenge, try performing a wall squat for 30 seconds. Over time, try to increase the duration.

You will notice increased stability on your standard back squats as a result of performing this exercise regularly.

Lunges

When performed at higher repetitions, bodyweight lunges will definitely burn those quads out.

Although they may seem easy at first, try performing 50 in a row and you will definitely be feeling the burn in your quads.

Once again, these are a great finisher exercise at the end of your leg day.

Planks

If you need to increase core strength, planks can be helpful in increasing it over time.

Begin with a simple 30 second plank and slowly increase the time. You will notice an improvement in core strength and can eventually move on to more advanced abdominal movements.

Bodyweight Exercises for Gains

The bodyweight exercises mentioned above are perfect for using in circumstances in which you are unable to get to a gym. Adding in bodyweight exercises to your routine can be helpful as a way to change up your workout program. It never hurts to have additional exercises in your arsenal available at your disposal.

However, the best method of increasing muscle size and density will always be progressive overload in the form of increased weight and repetitions in your workout. Just because you are not at a gym doesn’t mean you can’t still get a good workout in.

Always remember to do whatever it takes because your workout is not a game!

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Name: Ryan Rodal

Bio: My short term fitness goals include reaching a 300lb bench, 405 lb squat and a 500 lb deadlift. Longterm I want to become more involved in the fitness industry and help others achieve their goals. The bodybuilding lifestyle is not about how much you can lift or even how you look, its simply about being the best version of yourself.