Can You Build Muscle Without Weights? (Calisthenics Only)


Hey guys, Sean Nalewanyj here of SeanNal.com
and BodyTransformationTruth.com and in this video lesson I want to answer another common
question that I receive which is, is it possible for you to build muscle without weights? So
can you build an impressive physique using basically body weight exercises only, so push
ups, chin ups, dips, squats, etcetera. Well, the answer here is definitely not black and
white, and it completely depends upon your specific goals and your current experience
level. So let me cover a few key points on this topic. So, the first thing that we need
to address here is how much muscle you’re ultimately looking to gain. Not everybody
wants to look like a bodybuilder, and any form of exercise that places your muscles
under sufficient stress and that allows for progressive overload over time by either increasing
the amount of weight lifted or the number of reps performed, will result in a hypertrophy
response from your body. So in this sense, yes, you absolutely can build muscle without
using weights, however, if your goal is to maximize muscle growth and maximize your overall
strength gains then you’ll typically want to train with an amount of resistance that
allows you to reach muscular failure, which is the point where you can’t complete any
additional reps using proper form despite your best efforts, you’re going to want to
reach that somewhere in the 5 -12 rep range. Once you start going too far beyond 12 reps,
the primary adaptation that you’re going to experience is going to be endurance rather
than actual muscle growth. So after you’ve been training exclusively with body weight
exercises for a certain period of time, you’re going to easily be able to surpass this rep
range with relative ease on most of your exercises and once that happens, it’s going to be
very difficult for you to gain additional, significant muscle mass. So, if you’re just
someone who wants to improve their overall fitness levels and just gain a bit of muscle
in the process, then sure, a body weight only routine can certainly get the job done. However,
if you are looking to pack on serious muscle size and strength then there’s really no
substitute for standard, heavy resistance based exercises using traditional gym equipment.
For example, it’s not going to be very long before you can perform 25 or 30 or more pushups
in a single set, whereas a flat dumbbell press is going to allow you to make consistent progress
on an ongoing basis in that 5-12 rep range for basically the rest of your life. The second
thing to examine is your individual experience level. Now this kind of ties into the first
point but the muscle building results that you experience from training with body weight
exercises only will also be highly dependent on your experience level, so if you’ve never
picked up a weight or trained seriously in your entire life then you’ll definitely
achieve significant, noticeable results using this type of training for at least the first
couple of months. And this is because it’s still going to be a brand new stimulus for
your body, and since your strength levels are going to be relatively low at the start,
you’ll be able to effectively overload your muscles within the lower to medium rep ranges
on many of those body weight exercises. For example, if you can only perform 4 chin ups
right now then you’ll easily be able to hit your lats and your biceps with the proper
intensity that’s needed to induce maximum muscle growth as you progress from 4 reps
up to 12 or 15 or so. But again, once you get far enough beyond that point, it’s going
to be very hard for you to gain significant mass without applying additional resistance.
So, here are some overall guidelines that you can consider based on the information
I just covered. So a bodyweight-only routine is a fine choice if, number 1, you’re not
looking to maximize hypertrophy or strength but you simply want a basic exercise routine
that’s going to improve your overall fitness and help you build a bit of muscle in the
process. Number 2, you’re brand new to training and you just want to start off with a routine
that is simple and basic to help you build up your foundation and acclimatize your body
to intense exercise. Number 3, you truly have no available equipment and no ability to join
a gym. Number 4, you have some sort of injury and body weight variations are the only way
that you can train without causing discomfort for yourself. And number 5, you need to use
bodyweight exercises for a certain period of time to help you maintain your existing
gains. For example, if you were on vacation and you had no gym access. Aside from those
specific scenarios, go grab yourself a gym membership or create your own home gym setup
and make use of traditional bodybuilding exercises, as this is really going to be the only way
for you to achieve maximum long term gains in muscle size and strength. So thanks very
much for watching this video lesson today. If you found the information useful please
make sure to hit the Like button, leave a comment and subscribe to stay up to date on
future video lessons. Also make sure to check out my fully structured step-by-step muscle
building and fat loss programs over at BodyTransformationTruth.com. The link for that is in the description box
below, and make sure to join the Facebook page for daily tips and updates. The link
for that is also in the description box. Talk to you again soon.

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