The Only 8 Bodyweight Exercises You Need to Build Muscle

Hypertrophy using only your body.

Are you looking to build muscle fast without the help of fitness equipment? Check out the only 8 bodyweight exercises you need for hypertrophy.

When it comes to building muscle, the vast majority of people will choose to pay for a gym membership and grind through dumbbells, kettlebells, and barbells to see their physique change in the mirror.

Don’t get us wrong, that is one sure way to build muscle. But hypertrophy doesn’t have to be focused only on getting results inside the gym. You can, and should, be strengthening yourself with bodyweight exercises.

There are several reasons why you should consider incorporating bodyweight exercises into your fitness routine:

  1. Convenience: Bodyweight exercises can be done anywhere, anytime, without any equipment or gym membership. All you need is your body, which makes them a convenient option for those who don’t have access to a gym or prefer to work out at home.
  2. Increased strength: Bodyweight exercises are a great way to build strength and muscle, especially for beginners. They can also be used to supplement weight training, as they can help to improve your overall strength and endurance.
  3. Improved flexibility: Many bodyweight exercises require you to use your full range of motion, which can help to improve your flexibility and mobility.
  4. Reduced risk of injury: Bodyweight exercises are generally low-impact and put less stress on your joints than some other forms of exercise, such as weight lifting. This can help to reduce your risk of injury.
  5. Variety: There are many different bodyweight exercises to choose from, which means you can create a varied and challenging workout routine that targets different muscle groups and helps to keep you motivated.

For some people, calisthenics, a fancier way of calling bodyweight exercises, is simply the only option they have. Whether you cannot get to the gym, or don’t want to spend the money or time, doing bodyweight exercises can help you achieve the look you want.

Max Posternak created a list of the only 8 bodyweight exercises you need to build muscle faster.

Max Posternak is the founder of Gravity Transformation, a website focused on giving tips and training guidance for people looking to improve their fitness and lose weight. His YouTube channel has over 5 million subscribers.

athlete trains his triceps muscles with dips How to Get Bigger TricepsSource: Sinitta Leunen on Pexels

The Only 8 Bodyweight Exercises You Need for Hypertrophy

These are the only 8 bodyweight exercises you need for hypertrophy. However, if you have a pair of dumbbells or a backpack so you can load up the weight, it will make these exercises even more effective at building muscle.

Why? Because of something called progressive overload. Progressive overload is a fundamental principle of exercise training that involves gradually increasing the stress placed on the body during exercise over time. The idea is that in order to make progress and achieve better fitness and strength, you need to challenge your body by gradually increasing the amount of weight, repetitions, or sets you perform during an exercise.

5 Types of Progressive Overload You Should Be Doing to Build More Muscle

By progressively increasing the load on your muscles, you force them to adapt to the increased demand, which leads to improved strength and endurance. This principle applies to any form of exercise, whether you’re lifting weights, running, or doing bodyweight exercises like push-ups or squats.

However, it’s important to progress gradually and safely, and to give your body time to recover between workouts. If you increase the weight or intensity too quickly, you risk injuring yourself or experiencing burnout. A well-designed exercise program should take into account the principles of progressive overload to help you achieve your fitness goals safely and effectively.

athlete performs Bulgarian split squat with dumbbellSource: Matthew Sichkaruk on Unsplash

Okay, let’s get down to Posternak’s list of the only 8 bodyweight exercises you need to build muscle.

  1. Push-up
  2. Pull-up
  3. Inverted row
  4. Dips
  5. Step-up
  6. Bulgarian split squat
  7. Classic squat
  8. Hip thrust

You can click on the video below to get a deeper explanation of each of the exercises and why they are powerful for you to build muscle, even while only using your bodyweight.

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Why Should You Work on Hypertrophy

Hypertrophy refers to an increase in the size of skeletal muscle fibres, which can lead to an increase in overall muscle mass. There are two types of hypertrophy: myofibrillar hypertrophy and sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. Myofibrillar hypertrophy refers to an increase in the number and size of the contractile proteins within muscle fibres, while sarcoplasmic hypertrophy refers to an increase in the non-contractile components of muscle fibres, such as fluid and energy stores.

To achieve hypertrophy, a combination of resistance training and proper nutrition is necessary. Resistance training involves performing exercises with weights, resistance bands, or bodyweight, that challenge your muscles and cause microscopic tears in the muscle fibres. As the muscles repair these tears, they become stronger and bigger, leading to hypertrophy over time.

To optimize hypertrophy, it is important to progressively overload the muscles by gradually increasing the weight, volume, and intensity of your workouts over time. Additionally, proper nutrition is important to support muscle growth, including consuming enough protein to provide the building blocks for muscle tissue, as well as sufficient calories to fuel your workouts and support muscle recovery. It is also important to get enough rest and recovery time to allow your muscles to repair and grow between workouts.

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