You can work all the major muscle groups without equipment, as long as you’re doing the right kind of workout. Exercises that work multiple muscles at one time are called “compound exercises”. These are a great addition to any workout, and can be modified to work muscles in different ways (you can do push ups with your feet or hands on a bench for instance). Squats, dips, bicycle crunches, lunges, and leg raises are all compound movements you can do without equipment. Here are some more:
Pushups: These are for the upper body, and they develop the muscles of the chest, the shoulders and the triceps. When you do a push up with proper form, your core (abdominals) has to work to keep the body stable. One of the best things about the push up is that it can be done anywhere there’s enough space for you to lay on the ground.
Click here for a video illustrating the correct form for a push up.
Pull ups: The only thing you’ll need to do pull ups is a bar that will hold your body weight. Doing a pull up the right way will work many different muscle groups, but the main one is the latissimus dorsi (your back); the biceps get some work in also. Your core has to work in order to keep your lower body stable.
Squats: It’s easier to do a body weight squat than you might think- it’s really no different than if you were using weights in the gym. To get an effective workout, do enough sets and reps to fatigue the muscles of the quadriceps. This is another exercise that’s effective mainly because it can be done anywhere. Alter the speed at which you complete the squats to challenge your muscles further.
Many people fail to complete squats correctly however; watch this video to perfect your squatting technique and prevent hurting yourself.
Lunges: Doing lunges without weights is still a great workout for the thigh muscles. As is the case with the squats, do enough reps and sets to fatigue your muscles to failure. This video will help you perfect your lunge.
Remember once again that whether you’re doing exercises with or without equipment, proper form is essential. The push up should be done in an even, steady motion. Start on your stomach, with your hands a bit wider than your shoulders. Your feet should be touching. Push your body up until your arms are straight, raising your hips enough to keep your back straight. Lower your chest until it almost touches the floor, and repeat. See the video above for further clarification.
You may not have barbells and weights at home, but there are plenty of things around your house you can use. Bottles of water, containers of laundry soap, heavy backpacks and even soup cans can all be sources of resistance. With a little ingenuity, a little space and a lot of dedication, you can get the lean muscle you want without the expense and hassle of the gym.
About the author:
When he isn’t down the gym trying to keep in shape Antony Belanger writes for Slimmers Digest – a blog that covers all topics regarding slimming products and weight loss.