How to Build Muscle Without Lifting Weights

work out without lifting weights
Credit: Men’s Fitness

If you’re like most guys, you’re constantly in pursuit of a better body.  Maybe you want to be lean and ripped like Cristiano Ronaldo.  Or you want to evoke 70s era-Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Whatever your goal, it’s assumed that lifting weights will be a huge part of your fitness routine.  But what if there was a way to get ripped without the bench press or bicep curls?  Good news.  There are several options for building the body of your dreams, and they don’t involve the gym.

Bodyweight training

HIIT pushups
Credit: Men’s Fitness

Keep the exercises and ditch the plates.  Sometimes, the resistance provided by your body is more than enough for a great workout.  There are dozens of movements to choose from-standing squats, push-ups, pull ups, etc.  And apps like Freeletics offer comprehensive programs and exercise descriptions to help you get started.  Build a routine that helps you break a sweat, build muscle, and keeps you off the bench.

Resistance bands

resistance band training
Source: Flickr

Resistance bands are a strong option for those who think bodyweight training seems a little too elementary.  They’re just as effective as lifting weights but you can use them anywhere.  A set usually includes 4 bands of varying resistance strength.  You’ll also receive handles and ankle straps as well as a door anchor.  For your workout, you’ll position the bands by standing on them or securing them in your door frame.  Chest presses, squats, lat raises, and pretty much any exercise you can think of are possible with bands.  You just need to spring for the set, which can run anywhere from $20-$100.  In most cases, that’s still cheaper than a gym membership.

Hit the Playground

Playground for adults
Source: Flickr

Remember your elementary school days when you spent time on the monkey bars?  It seemed like a useless exercise then but a little time on the nearest playground could be the secret to a six pack.  The Bar Starz are an athletic group made up of guys who work out exclusively on bars in public parks.  Their workouts require tremendous strength and balance.  And, oh yeah, they’re all ripped.

Play Your Favorite Sports

surfing workout without weights
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Sometimes, the best way to build muscle is to engage in an activity that you enjoy.  Rowing, wrestling, surfing, swimming, and even gymnastics are all sports that offer an incredible mix of cardio and resistance training.  On one hand, you’re enjoying the skill and competitiveness of the sport.  On the other, you’re whipping your body into outstanding shape.

Building muscle isn’t always about locking yourself inside a dark gym and lifting weights.  There are plenty of effective options to get ripped without getting bored.