Is it possible to build muscle with body weight routines?

By | June 21, 2017

Is it possible to build muscle with bodyweight exercises? That question is often heard so often in gyms that there is only one explanation for it: lack of faith and knowledge.

We are so accustomed to associate with bodybuilding machines and composite routines; we have thought that the old methods, simple and traditional, are not enough. It is a common error, quite widespread.

Input we can secure without hesitation: yes, you can build muscles with body weight routines. Think of the Olympic gymnasts, with their great torsos and powerful arms, and you will not have the slightest doubt. But it is not easy to get there, and certainly requires a good balance between effort and proper exercises.

Create muscle with body weight

How do you build muscle mass?

The fundamental cause we do not know what is or what not to build muscle, you do not even understand the process by which the body develops that volume mass we call musculature.

In simple terms, a muscle can be created through three processes of attrition and regeneration, which are not exclusive to any activity:

  • Mechanical stress: this is the most common type of development in gyms. It happens when we force the muscle to lift something heavier than what it raises on a day-to-day basis – a weight, a barbell – and it responds by gradually increasing its size.
  • Metabolic stress: metabolic stress is that feeling of internal heat that you experience when the muscle repeated many times the same strenuous activity. The muscle is filled with blood, which ultimately gives it a more bulky appearance.
  • Muscle damage: is the feeling that you experience between 24 and 48 hours after a strenuous workout. Muscle damage is an indicator that the muscle is being repaired and is getting stronger.
  • Thus, there is no specific movement or exact level of tension required to create muscle. Any activity that generates effort and constant fatigue in specific areas is capable of developing it.

Training with body weight to get muscle

Is body weight training enough to build muscle?

As it has been said, it is perfectly possible to perform routines of body weight and still generate muscle. The real question is: for whom is this method more convenient? Here the question is divided into two groups of people: those who in their lives have stepped into a gym, and those who have been training for some time with weight lifting or any other equipment.

For the first, novice, build muscle with body weight is very simple; for experienced, it will be harder to see results.

As with all training, bodyweight routines have their advantages and disadvantages. However, a proper approach and good routine can make this type of exercise work well for anyone.

Build muscles with body weight

Advantages and Disadvantages of Bodyweight Training


It is difficult to increase the mechanical stress with them.

They are quite problematic when we want to develop the muscles of the lower body, especially the glutes.

Increasing the effort to create more muscle progressively is also difficult. At some point, what you have to do is increase the number of repetitions or try harder exercises, for example, one-arm chest push-ups. It is not as easy as adding one more weight to the bar.


Although it is difficult to increase muscles with these exercises, performing them may be the best method to maintain the muscles already developed, and improve strength and flexibility.

They are the easiest routines to maintain, since not requiring a gym can be done from home, with very little equipment and without adding to your day the time of transfer to the gym.

Are the best exercises for beginners, for obtaining rapid muscle, which ultimately gives the strength and confidence to move forward with other workouts.

Challenging routines with body weight

Example of routine body weight to build muscle

A bodyweight routine that focuses on the main muscles of the body will always be effective, but two good recommendations to improve any routine with body weight are as follows:

Focus on the parts of greatest demand in each exercise (the elevated position when flexing, for example).

Perform exercises on a single arm or a single leg from time to time, to increase the difficulty.

Circuit 1

Execute these exercises in sequence, without rest between them, until completing 3 rounds:

Squats: 10 repetitions, with 3 seconds focusing on the higher demand part and 1 second on the lower demand.

Arms push: 10 repetitions, with 5 seconds of resistance when reaching up and 1 second when being down.

Hollow Body Hold: Hold this position for 45 seconds.

When doing the whole circuit, rest for one minute.

Circuit 2

Perform these exercises in sequence, but leaving 30 seconds of rest between them. Do it until you complete 3 rounds:

Dominated: 5 repetitions, with 5 seconds of resistance when reaching the top bar.

Skater jumps: 30 seconds.

RKC iron: 30 seconds.