Bodyweight training, and bodyweight exercises in general are quite popular when it comes to a no frills workout without equipment, or as a bit of a cardio circuit – however the question today is do bodyweight exercises build muscle mass & strength?
What if you don’t have access to a gym? Can you still build that strong, lean physique you’ve dreamed of?
There seems to be a lot of conflicting opinions out there, and like everything I write I will be basing my answer on a combination of my own personal experience along with research I’ve done.
Bodyweight training is so versatile, if you perform your bodyweight exercises correctly then YES, you can without a doubt pack on a decent amount of lean muscle while gaining functional strength.
When performing bodyweight exercises for mass or strength it comes down to time under tension.
First of all, look at CrossFit, this ‘style’ of training involves a large amount of kipping, swinging and momentum when performing bodyweight exercises such as the pull-up, chin-up, dip or inverted row.
YOU WILL NOT GAIN ANY SIGNIFICANT SIZE OR STRENGTH IF YOU PERFORM YOUR EXERCISES THAT WAY
Because there is no time under tension, you’re not overloading your muscles with your bodyweight as you’re simply utilizing momentum to go through the motion of the exercise.
If you want to gain serious size, strength and mass from bodyweight exercises you need to keep stress (tension) on the muscle for a duration of time, this comes down to what is known as the ‘tempo’ of the repetitions you are performing.
When performing pull-ups, dips, push-ups, squats or any bodyweight exercise for that matter focus on the tempo of each and every repetition you perform.
Count to 3 on the way up.
Hold the isometric portion of the repetition for 3 seconds.
Count to 3 on the way down (the negative portion of the repetition).
I guarantee if you focus on time under tension when performing bodyweight exercises you will pack on lean mass, you will gain functional strength and you will minimise wear and tear on your joints (as opposed to lifting free weights).
If you take one point from this article let it be this: it’s not the exercise you’re performing that’s of utmost importance, it’s HOW you perform the exercise.
Now, what exercises or bodyweight workout should you perform for size, strength and muscle mass?
Check out my 100% free, no BS Bodyweight Barrage workout routine >>here<<
It includes the exercises I recommend you perform, photos of me performing them, explanations of correct form and much more.