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Is it possible to gain muscle with just bodyweight exercises?



One of the most common myths about not getting gym access is that you won't be able to develop muscle. This is not the case at all! You just need to look at the common callisthenics or gymnastics movements to see some truly amazing physiques.

However, the approach would be different because the approaches you use to stimulate muscle growth aren't always as simple as adding weight to the bar or changing the resistance on the machine.

First and foremost, we must comprehend the essence of muscle growth. We know what elements of our software we can change if we know how to develop it.To keep building the hard-earned muscle, adjust or even search for new elements to add.

What triggers muscle development?

Muscle hypertrophy, or muscle development, is thought to occur as a result of three key contributing mechanisms. Mechanical stress is the resistance that is applied to the muscle.

The second is metabolic stress, which refers to the build-up of metabolites released by metabolic processes associated with exercise that cause you to feel "burned."

Muscle injury, or the pain and swelling associated with exercise-induced muscle damage, is the final mechanism. 1

Movements, rep and set schemes, time under stress, and other methods that take into account these three key contributors to muscle growth can have the best outcomes when developing a program with the primary objective of muscular hypertrophy.

Of course, muscle development is influenced by more than just what we do during our scheduled workout. The effectiveness of a hypertrophy program is influenced by proper diet, sleep, and stress management.

How do you incorporate these ideas into your at-home workouts?

To begin, we must consider what we have and which of the three contributors to muscle hypertrophy we should concentrate on based on our equipment.

Tension in mechanical systems

The obvious limit would be how far we can advance when under mechanical strain. With minimal gym equipment and a fitness regimen that focuses mostly on bodyweight workouts, there's only so much you can do that focuses on increasing muscle load.

Adding resistance bands, as well as changing your movement habits or increasing the difficulty of the exercises you do, will help you increase stress or load.

Progressing from a knee-on-the-ground push-up to a conventional push-up where the feet and hands are the only points of contact with the ground is an example of this.

Doing triceps dips in a chair and eventually moving to dips where you support the entire bodyweight is another illustration.

New movement patterns, such as handstand push-ups and split squats from a chair or elevated floor, may also be considered.

If you're performing more difficult exercises, such as handstand push-ups, make sure to have someone there to help you.

Stress on the metabolism

So, there are two legitimate methods for raising metabolic stress at home:

1. Increasing reps of "supersets" or "giant sets"

2. Shortening rest periods or limiting blood flow to the targeted muscle group

Why is the amount of time between reps important?

The constant contraction and relaxation of muscles causes a blood pooling effect within the muscle. This causes the cells to swell, resulting in the so-called "pump."

As a consequence, blood supply to the muscle is limited (referred to as occlusion), implying that oxygenated blood is not available to fuel the muscle during the continuous contractions.

A significant build-up of metabolites occurs within the muscle as a result of this. The anabolic (muscle-building) effect of the metabolic stress exerted on the muscles leads to molecular signaling and an increased hormonal response by the body, which drives hypertrophy.

Occlusion training (restricting blood flow to the muscle you're training) may be used alone to promote hypertrophy and maintain muscle mass by using much lighter loads and doing more reps. 2

Applying any kind of restriction to the blood flow to the muscle you're working on (like a tourniquet or tightly wrapped material) and using a lightweight (even something as simple as a kilo bag of sugar) for several reps will help you achieve a similar effect.

Harm to the muscles

We've all felt the dreaded DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) the day or two after a workout. It's a normal feeling that many people have during the recovery and adaptation process after exercise, and it's caused by micro-tears in the muscle.

Although DOMS isn't experienced by anyone who experiences hypertrophy and strength gains, it is a sign that hypertrophy is being achieved.

It is important to remember that the severity of DOMS does not correlate with the amount of hypertrophy achieved. Those that are new to exercise or those who are applying new stimuli to the muscles (load, volume, exercise selection etc.)

They will have more DOMS before they adjust.

Eccentric motions, or stretching the muscle in focus, do the most harm, so keep that in mind when choosing exercises.

Slowing down the movement's "stretch step" will help you gain even more hypertrophy in your home workouts. Counts may be added to the stretch process if desired.For example, start counting down from five or ten.

It's also worth distinguishing muscle-damaging and metabolic-stress-inducing movements; combining the two can lead to technique compromises and an increased risk of injury.

final thoughts

Building muscle at home with just bodyweight exercises is entirely possible; all it takes is a little tweaking of your workout routine.

Knowing what causes muscle hypertrophy will help us focus on the adaptations that will provide us with the most muscle-building bang for our buck.

When our ability to increase mechanical tension is reduced, focusing on metabolic stress and muscle damage might be a better strategy. It is not always necessary to train harder; instead, training smarter will help you get ahead.