How To Gain Muscle Without Weights – Calisthenics 101

If you’re wondering how to gain muscle without weights, then I’d suggest following a solid calisthenics workout routine. Combined with eating just the right amount of calories and protein per day, you’re set up to build your body just as effectively as anyone at the gym.

Bodyweight training has many benefits over weight lifting, which I’ll discuss below. I personally didn’t know what to think of it myself, until I actually began a calisthenics program from home, which changed my body and my life.

Very surprisingly, I noticed the most powerful transformation in my physique in the first 3 months of the program. Fat melted off, while I built lean muscle. The fat melting off is largely due to the eating protocol of the program, and the building of lean muscle had more to do with the intensity of the training.

I feel that one of the greatest benefits of bodyweight training is that you don’t have to go to the gym. If you invest in a simple pull-up bar and some exercise bands, you’re good to go. And if you can’t afford any of these, there are workarounds to just about every workout.

That said, you can take bodyweight training with you pretty much anywhere you go, so if you travel a lot, it’s one of the best workouts you can do, especially if you want to know how to gain muscle without weights.

So, below I’ll discuss some of the great benefits of bodyweight training that will help you pack on lean muscle, without ever having to lift traditional weights at the gym.

Calisthenics Can Build Muscle More Effectively Than Weight Lifting

I wouldn’t have believed this had I never done calisthenics before, but when you follow a solid bodyweight workout program and start to learn the science behind the movements you’re doing and the nutrition protocol you’re following, it begins to make perfect sense.

One of the reasons calisthenics training is so powerful for building lean muscle is that you’re exclusively working with your body weight, which is huge. When you become more advanced with it, you can continue to make serious gains with minimal equipment. I’ve invested in a weighted vest and a dip belt, to help me get stronger over time, but they aren’t necessary, especially when starting out.

When you go to the gym, you see people lifting weights, and doing a variety of workouts. But how effective are the movements they’re actually doing in regard to building muscle? I have friends who go to the gym and they do various routines without any set plan in place.

They sort of lift weights, but they don’t really have much direction. I was in this boat for years, and although there’s no harm in randomly going to the gym, if it’s not helping you make substantial muscle gains, assuming that’s your goal, then what’s the point of going?

The Key To Building Muscle Is In Strategic Tension & Volume

Many of the folks lifting weights aren’t utilizing their full potential in their lifts, even though they could be. It’s far less likely for this to happen when following a calisthenics program.

The key to building muscle is in strategic resistance training and utilizing proper volume with your workouts. You’re less likely to make any compromises with movements when you’re doing bodyweight training compared to weight lifting. When lifting, you can easily adjust the weights. When doing bodyweight training, you can’t adjust your body weight. It simply is what it is.

Since your mind cannot tell the difference between free weights and the weight of your body, you can actually make more substantial muscle gains with calisthenics training because of the amount of tension involved in the workouts that you do. You can’t remove weight plates from your body like you can from a barbell. So, you have to get more creative when it comes to building up strength.

There are certain progressions that I personally did to work my way up to doing a one-armed push-up. And believe me, when you can finally do a one-arm push-up, your chest is going to explode with strength and muscle that you never noticed before. I began that journey by doing side-to-side push-ups. I then progressed to assisted one-arm push-ups. I finally worked my way up to doing one-armed push-ups.

I never thought I’d be able to do a one-arm push up, but I can now. And if you can’t do this movement yet, that’s not a problem at all. The beauty of calisthenics is that you can work your way up to complicated movements with very simple exercises.

Below, I’ll share with you a list of workouts for each body part that you can do from home.

Eat The Right Foods For Muscle Gains

The food you eat is your fuel to get the most out of every workout you do. So, your nutrition is equally, if not, more important than the actual workouts themselves. Have you heard the 80/20 rule? 80% of your results come from the foods you put into your body and 20% of the results come from the workouts themselves.

This seems to be just about right, as it aligns perfectly with my own experience. You’re looking to gain muscle without weights, and while that’s absolutely doable with calisthenics workouts, the only way you’re going to see gains is by eating enough food and hitting your protein goals.

Now, if you’re looking to drop unwanted fat first, I’d suggest beginning by eating at a calorie deficit. You can learn all about losing fat while building muscle at the same time in this article here.

If you feel that you have minimal fat to lose, and are simply looking to make muscle gains, then you may be ready to eat at a lean bulk.

You can learn about the proper diet for lean bulking here.

In both scenarios, it’s essential that you hit your daily calories and protein. Getting sufficient protein is essential in order for you to maintain and build lean muscle. Hitting your daily calories is crucial in order to make sure you’re putting on lean muscle and losing unwanted fat.

Both the articles above will explain exactly how to set up calculations for your personal goals.

If you’re not sure whether you should cut or bulk, this article will help you decide what’s right for you.

List Of Calisthenics Exercises You Can Do From Home

I’ve written several articles on various calisthenics workouts and I’ll share some of them here with you so you can get an idea of different bodyweight exercises you can do from home. There are videos included at each link so you can learn to do each movement with proper form.

While these exercises will give you an idea of all the workouts involved in calisthenics training, there’s no substitute for an actually proven routine that will help you make serious muscle gains over the course of 3 months. Remember, it’s all about following a solid plan. That’s what you’ll learn in the section below.

Here are a variety of workouts I’ve done on my calisthenics journey.

A Powerful Calisthenics Workout Program

I’ve written about this extensively and I’ll briefly explain why I feel that Kinobody has put out the best calisthenics workout routine that exists.

I’ve been jumping around between workout routines and nutrition plans for years. It’s just a huge sigh of relief when you can stop all of that because you find the one program that finally does exactly as it promises.

This was my personal experience with Kinobody. If you haven’t heard of this company, its founder Greg O’ Gallagher has a unique perspective on both exercise and nutrition. His goal is to simplify all things related to health and fitness, so that you can actually hit your goals in a simple-to-follow format.

Workouts are only 3 days a week, and the only cardio you do is walk daily. Learn how to calculate your calories and protein, and that’s pretty much all the info you need in order to completely transform your physique.

I know it sounds very easy, and it is. But that’s also why so many people are getting great results with this program. I feel that the health and fitness industry over complicates all this stuff, when the truth is, getting into shape doesn’t have to be so incredibly tedious and emotionally draining.

It blew my mind in the first three months of the program, cause I dropped 15 pounds of fat, went down two waist sizes, and put on lean muscle, all at the same time. It was shocking to say the least, and this is why I stick with Kinobody today. Why would I go anywhere else at this point? The programs work, plain and simple.

I feel that Greg doesn’t bullshit and he just explains exactly what you have to do in order to get into the best shape of your life. There’s no fluff and there are no overwhelming or unrealistic expectations. It’s simple to follow and easy to execute. More importantly, the motivation you get from seeing results after only 90 days is absolutely worth it.


Gaining Muscle Without Weights In Summary

This is what I believe is the best way to go about building muscle without weights. Bodyweight training is a very powerful way to make strength and muscle gains with minimal equipment.  In fact, according to MayoClinic, it can be just as effective as weight training.  Plus,  you can do these workouts from just about anywhere.

If you do choose to do calisthenics from home, I would suggest investing in a pull-up bar, as many of the workouts I do utilize one. They’re inexpensive and you can find a good one for less than $20 that installs over your door frame. Again though, it’s not necessary as various workouts can be altered creatively.

I hope you found this article to be helpful. If you have any questions or comments regarding anything listed here, please let me know in the section below and I’ll be more than happy to get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks so much for reading!

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