How to Build Lean Muscle Without Weights

To build lean muscle mass, your muscles must undergo a resistance that is adequate to fatigue them. Usually, equipment is used to provide such resistance, but it is possible to get a good strength training wokrout by completing exercises that use your own body weight as resistance. Although the mode of resistance is different, the same muscle-building principles that normally apply to weight lifting must be followed. Exercise sessions must be completed frequently, and each session must include numerous body weight exercises to ensure that your muscles are worked properly.


Step 1

Work each major muscle group at least twice a week. After working a muscle group, give it two days to recover before working it again. You can choose to tone your whole body in one session or work your upper body one day and your lower body the next.

Step 2

Complete three sets of the maximum number of pushups you can complete. Pushups develop your chest, shoulders and triceps. Place your hands slightly outside your shoulders and point your fingers forward. Rise up on your toes so that your legs and torso make a straight line. Bend your elbows to lower your chest down to the floor, then extend them and push yourself back up to your starting position.

Step 3

Complete three sets of the maximum number of chin ups you can complete. Chin ups develop your back, biceps and core. Many playgrounds supply pull-up bars for community use. Grip the bar slightly outside your shoulders and with your palms facing toward you. Pull your body up until your chin clears the bar, then extend your arms and let yourself back down to your starting position.

Step 4

Complete three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions of body weight squats, which primarily develop your quadriceps and glutes. Place your feet slightly outside your shoulders. Place your hands on your head with your elbows out. Keep your back straight and your head up as you bend your knees and push your butt back to lower down into a squat. Continue down until your thighs are parallel with the floor, then extend your knees and return to your starting position.

Step 5

Complete three sets of 15 on each leg of single-leg dead lifts, which develop your glutes and hamstrings. Stand on one leg, with your other leg bent and held up behind you. Keep your head up as you bend over forward. Touch the floor directly in front of your foot, then extend your hips and return to your starting position. Finish the complete set with one leg before switching to the other.

Step 6

Compete three sets of the maximum number of dips that you can complete. Dips develop your shoulders and triceps. Place two chairs approximately three feet away and facing each other. Place your hands palm down on the edge of one chair and your heels on the edge of the other chair, and slide forward slightly so that your torso is held up in between the two. Bend your elbows to lower your butt down toward the floor until your upper arms are parallel with the ground. Push up off the chair and extend the elbows up to your starting position.


Items you will need

  • Athletic shoes


  • Rest one to two minutes in between each set and one to three minutes in between each exercise.


  • Consult your primary care doctor prior to starting any new exercise program.

Photo Credits:

  • Jupiterimages/ Images

This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or