How to Build Muscle Without Weights

By Erik Neilson , last updated December 14, 2011

For those who hate going to the gym, the question of how to build muscle without weights is omnipresent. After all, most people associate building muscle with hours of time spent lifting weights at the gym. While this may be one of the more common approaches to building muscle, there are other ways to go about doing so that don’t involve lifting any weights at all. Building muscle without weights may take discipline and determination, but it’s far from being impossible. The following are just a few tips to help you start building muscle while leaving the weights behind. For best results, strive to do these exercises in fast succession to one another, as high intensity workouts can be very effective at building muscle mass. Note that one should always consult their physician before beginning any exercise plan.


One of the best ways to build muscle without lifting weights is to start doing push-ups. Push-ups are the perfect exercise for building upper-body muscle mass, as they work the shoulders, back, biceps and chest muscles quite effectively. There are many variations on the traditional push-up, although beginners are advised to stick to the basics before learning more advanced techniques. For best results, strive to do sets of 10 push-ups at a time; preferably three sets in one session. As you become stronger and more adept at doing push-ups, you can add more to each set that you do, as well as increase the amount of sets in a session. Also, don’t be afraid to try variations on the push-up after you’ve mastered the basic technique.


Like push-ups, pull-ups are a rather basic exercise that can actually have a huge influence on one’s ability to gain muscle mass. Pull-ups are especially helpful for building muscle in the back and shoulders, making them the ideal exercise for those who are looking to improve upon upper-body strength. All you need in order to perform pull-ups is a pull-up bar, which are commonly found in gymnasiums and can even be installed at home. Pull-ups should be structured in a similar way to how one might do push-ups; sets of 10, with three sets to a session. As time goes on, you can increase the intensity of the workout to match your fitness level.


While most people find building upper-body muscle mass without weights to be relatively straight forward, some have trouble with focusing on the lower-body. One of the best ways to add lower-body muscle mass without utilizing weights is to perform squats. Squats are easy to learn, and tend to be very effective at toning the muscles in the legs and thighs. Simply stand in place with your feet at shoulder distance from one another and lower your body as if you were to sit down in a chair. Once you are parallel with the ground, slowly return to the upright position and repeat for at least eight reps. The more reps you can do it a given time, the more effective this exercise will be.

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