How to Build Muscle Fast without a Gym

Astronauts in space lose muscle because the zero-gravity environment places zero stress on their muscles. Why?

Photo by Elia Pellegrini on Unsplash

No tension.

Your muscles don’t know dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, bands, chains, machines or bodyweight.

Just tension.

In fact, there is something called the golgi tendon organ which tells your brain how much tension the muscle is exerting.

Source: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Tendon_organ_model.jpg

If there is too much muscle tension, the golgi tendon organ will inhibit the muscle from creating any force, protecting you from injuring itself.

However, tension is the main reason why muscle grows, and is essential to make progress. So, how to place large amounts of tension on the muscles, without going to the gym?

Primarily through the use of bodyweight exercises

UPPER BODY

The pullup can be done outdoors, or at home if you have a pullup bar.

Source: SWEAT: Special Workouts, Exercises and Advanced Techniques

It’ll work your biceps, forearms, lats, abs and the back of your shoulders.

If you can’t do a single pullup, then jump up and lower yourself as slowly as you can, until you get the strength to do one normally. Then do two, three, four and five. Keep at it. These are best to do close to failure.

You can also try an inverted row. It’s in the gym here, but you can use a table or something else sturdy.

Source: SWEAT: Special Workouts, Exercises and Advanced Techniques

The dip can be done out of the gym as well, outdoors or inside if you can set up chairs or tables together to put your hands on.

Source: SWEAT: Special Workouts, Exercises and Advanced Techniques

These will work your triceps, chest and the front of your shoulders. Just be careful if you use chairs, as they can fall over!

If you can’t do dips yet as they are too difficult, do pushups instead. These work similar muscles but are easier. You can do harder variations as well.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmcb5gKO6Ds

Hard to argue against the efficacy of handstand pushups as well for the triceps and shoulders.

Source: https://hiitacademy.com/hiit-exercise-how-to-do-handstand-push-ups/

If these are too difficult, I suggest pike pushups. It’s a similar angle of pressing, but you are moving slightly less bodyweight.

Source: SWEAT: Special Workouts, Exercises and Advanced Techniques

Band pull aparts are great for the traps and shoulders.

Source: https://irongrif.com/exercises/241-band-pull-apart

If you can buy some light dumbbells, curling…

Source: SWEAT: Special Workouts, Exercises and Advanced Techniques

and extension exercises can work the biceps and triceps well…

Source: SWEAT: Special Workouts, Exercises and Advanced Techniques

and lateral raises…

Source: SWEAT: Special Workouts, Exercises and Advanced Techniques

and rear delt raises work the shoulder.

Source: SWEAT: Special Workouts, Exercises and Advanced Techniques

These are best done in the 10–20 rep range, close to failure, for 2–4 sets per exercise.

LOWER BODY

Goblet squats give some loading to the quads and glutes. Just do higher reps sets, 30, 40, even 50 or more reps. You can even just use bodyweight only and get a pretty good workout.

Source: SWEAT: Special Workouts, Exercises and Advanced Techniques

When you are more advanced, jump squats can improve explosiveness and add muscle to the quads and glutes too.

Source: SWEAT: Special Workouts, Exercises and Advanced Techniques

Step-ups are awesome as well — even without additional loading. Just be careful to only step on a very stable object. Also, don’t use the toe of the bottom leg to assist you by pushing off. That’s cheating!

Source: SWEAT: Special Workouts, Exercises and Advanced Techniques

Lunges are a great way to build the quads, glutes and hamstrings.

Source: SWEAT: Special Workouts, Exercises and Advanced Techniques

Try going to a local track and doing lunges around it. Astoundingly difficult, but effective. Weights are optional-doing higher reps can add lots of muscle with no additional loading.

Ditto for Bulgarian split squats-same muscles, just different movement. These actually might be even better, due to the constant tension, and greater range of motion. An excellent addition to your plan.

Source: SWEAT: Special Workouts, Exercises and Advanced Techniques

The hardest hamstring exercise in existence definitely doesn’t need a gym-just a place to hook your feet under.

Source: SWEAT: Special Workouts, Exercises and Advanced Techniques

These are called Nordic (or Russian) hamstring curls and they are brutal. If you can’t do a full rep, just lower yourself slowly, then push yourself back to that top position.

Hill sprints can put lots of muscle on your calves, quads, glutes and hamstrings.

Source: SWEAT: Special Workouts, Exercises and Advanced Techniques

For hamstrings, glutes, spinal erectors, lower traps and shoulders, you can also do this exercise, the superman.

Source: https://www.coachmag.co.uk/back-exercises/1726/how-to-do-the-superman-exercise

You can probably see why it’s called that, but don’t expect it to give you these arms and chest.

Photo by King Lip on Unsplash

Finally, physical labor is pretty effective as well.

Photo by Clark Van Der Beken on Unsplash

A lot of ancient cultures didn’t lift weights for fun, it was just part of not dying.

Hi! Just a guy from Quora who lifts and writes about it. Online personal trainer based in Shenzhen, China. New to Medium…and writing. www.fitttle.com