You want to get stronger, but you don’t have equipment. That’s OK! You can still reach your goals with a little imagination and a little knowledge.
I’m often asked if it’s possible to increase strength and muscle without having to invest in expensive equipment or join a gym.
Stick to the basics
You’ll want to start with basic exercises and focus on them until you do them properly and consistently. Below are some basic exercises that will get you started.
Arms and Upper body
- Basic push-up – Make sure to master your form before advancing to different variations. You can start with wall push-ups and work your way down to floor push ups. Once you have those mastered, you can progress to other variations like the three-point, two-point, diamond push-ups.
Back, Shoulders, & Arms
- Basic pull-up – Master form before trying different grips such as underhand and wide-grip.
- Squats have a number of variations to help you increase your strength once you’ve mastered the basic squat (knees do not go beyond your toes). You can switch it up with sumo squats, split squats or elevated split squats, narrow squats and even add bands for increased resistance and to utilize all the muscles in your legs.
- Adding plyometric exercises like jumping jacks, skater hops (side to side), long jumps, high jumps, etc.
Cardio and Endurance
- Running, jogging, or walking is great for cardio, and sprinting is good for interval training.
Increase the amount of muscle
If you’re training to increase your muscle size (hypertrophy), you want to stay in the repetition range of 8-15 for each exercise and repeat in three or four sets. If you are exercising and wanting to build your skills ( and you should be) then practice is going to be your best friend. That is lots of reps so make sure that you have time to recover. Usually 1-2 minutes in between sets.
Increase your strength
Building strength is a little different from trying to make your muscles larger in size. The focus is on how much brute force you have rather than just how you look. A well-rounded workout routine will incorporate different techniques to keep progressing in your gains.
- Do less repetitions (3-5) at a slower pace and increasing the number of sets to 3 or more.
For example – 5 seconds down into a push up, pause, and 5 seconds pushing up to starting position, pause and do another rep (5:1:5:1 tempo)
- Speed up the exercise and doing it ‘explosively’
- Change the angle of your body when performing the exercises.
For example – having your hands lower than your feet in exercises like the plank and push up variations, changing the stance on squats and do the split squat, elevated split squat, sumo squat.
Hire a trainer
- They can assess imbalances and weaknesses and teach you how to overcome them
- Create effective workout programs to strengthen your muscles and improve your cardiovascular health
- They can give you nutrition coaching that will have you eating optimally for muscle gains, assist with fat loss and your new energy demands.
- A knowledgeable personal trainer can take the guess-work out of the process and have you reaching your goals faster than you can on your own.