- Sit-ups: They strengthen the muscles of your core (your back and your abdominal area). To get strong quickly, don’t try to do as many as you can, do a lesser number (but do them with proper form).
- Push-ups: These are a tried-and-true exercise, and they’re popular because they work many different areas of the body (the chest, arms, core and back). If you want to see muscle gains, do them regularly with the correct form.
- Pull-ups: Use a bar to lift your body weight, working against gravity to pull up. The pull-up works the same muscles as the push-up, with the greatest focus being on your chest and shoulders.
- Running: It builds strength in your legs and back, although it’s a great workout for your whole body, including your cardiovascular system.
- Martial arts: They can make you very strong without the need for the gym. All that punching and kicking works to make your muscles lean and toned, and most classes also add in push-ups and sit-ups.
- Team sports: It’s a fun way to improve your cardiovascular health and build lean muscle; you’ll be so focused on the game that you forget you’re exercising. The motivation that comes from your teammates will help you push your fitness to a whole new level.
- Swimming: This is the best exercise for tired muscles and joints; it’s ideal for senior citizens, but is a great way for anyone to increase their overall fitness. Swimming tones your entire body, from your shoulders to your calf muscles.
- Aerobics: Just like martial arts, aerobics classes use vigorous arm and leg movement to build muscle and provide a cardio workout at the same time.
- Hiking: All that walking may seem tiring, but you can use the desire to see the outdoors as a form of motivation. Hiking, especially climbing, is great for your legs- ascents work different muscles than descents. If you have a knee injury, avoid steep climbs.
- Yoga: It requires great balance and strength to flow through poses for an hour or more. A regular yoga practice will build muscle in the butt, core, arms, legs and back, and it will also improve cardiovascular health. Yoga is a great way to build strength without the gym, and it’s ideal for anyone’s fitness level or age.
You really don’t have to spend hours in the gym to build lean, sculpted muscles. Simply try one (or more) of the workouts on this list, and you’ll be on your way to a more muscular figure in no time at all.
Antony Belanger writes for the slimmers digest, an online blog that cuts through hyperbole to look at the diets, products, pills and weight loss techniques that actually work. Antony has recent posted about the Paleo diet and the Mediterranean diet.