Using free weights and the exercise machines at a gym is considered the most efficient and fastest way to build your muscle strength and increase your metabolic rate, but what if you don’t have access to a gym. There are several reasons that you may not have access to a gym but there are still ways to get a good strength-training workout.
The primary factor in increasing muscles is resistance. It doesn’t matter what you are using for resistance, but if the level of resistance doesn’t increase over time, then your workouts will not provide you with the maximum benefits possible. So whether you are using exercise machines, free weights or just the weight of your own body, it is important to find ways to increase the resistance during your workout.
When exercises are performed correctly, you will see increase in lean muscles and metabolism. These goals can be accomplished without the use of the specialized exercise equipment that you will find in many gyms. These types of exercises can be done anywhere such as your living room, backyard or in a hotel room while you’re traveling. Really, you just need to use your imagination on ways to provide the resistance that you need.
Before starting your workout, always remember that the rules for warming up your muscles before starting your workout and then stretching and performing a cool down after you are done are very important. These rules apply when doing any exercise at any time and are very important to prevent injury.
Leg Exercises – Squats and Lunges
Squats help build your thigh and glute muscles while also helping you improve your endurance. When doing squats, place your feet so they are about shoulder width apart. Keep your back straight and your head up while you perform this exercise. If necessary, you can hold onto something like a desk or door jamb to help you maintain balance.
Once you are in position, begin lowering your body by squatting. When the tops of your thighs are parallel to the floor, hold the position for a few seconds and then stand up to return to your starting position. Use a steady fluid motion and remember to breathe correctly. Inhale while going down and exhale as you stand.
Lunges help strengthen your abdominals, glutes and hamstrings. Stand using correct posture, no slouching. Now place one leg forward and the other back with about 2 to 3 feet distance between your feet. The further apart that you place your feet, the more your hamstrings and glutes will have to work. If you haven’t done lunges before, it is better to keep this distance smaller since you really need to give your body an opportunity to build some strength in these muscles.
Keep the muscles in your abdomen tight and your chest up. Lower the upper part of your body down while bending your legs. When you are lowering your upper body, be sure to stop before your knee goes beyond your toes and try to keep your back straight. Hold the position for a second or two then push your body back up with your leg muscles. Do several reps for one leg and then repeat the process with the other leg. Here’s a video on how to do lunges.
Back Exercises – Chin Ups and Bent Over Row
Chin-ups provide an excellent upper body workout by targeting the biceps, deltoid and lat muscles. You can use a chin-up bar that is specifically made for a doorway or you can grab the moulding of a door frame. Place your hands using an under hand grip and let your body hang thereby stretching your lats. Slowly pull your body up until your chin is level with the bar or bottom of the door frame.
Hold your body in this position for a second or two and then slowly lower yourself back to your starting position. When doing chin-ups don’t swing your body or use any type of momentum to pull your body up, just use your muscles.
Dumbbell Bent Over Row
For the bent over row exercise, you will need a dumbbell or an item that has some weight that you can easily hold such as a book or bottle of water. You will also need to use something sturdy such as a bed or possibly a chair.
Position yourself so that your right hand and right knee are braced on a bed or similar sturdy object. Pick up your dumbbell with your left hand. Slowly raise the dumbbell to the side of your chest bending your elbow. Remember to keep your back straight. Lower the weight back down until your arm is fully extended but don’t go any lower. As usual, do this exercise with a fluid movement.
While doing this exercise, concentrate on your back muscles. Do several reps with your left arm and then adjust your position so that you can repeat the process with your right arm. The following video will show how this exercise can be done and is only a few minutes long.
Chest Exercises – Push Ups and Dips
Push ups are great for building the muscles in your upper arms, chest and shoulders. Lie on the floor face down and place your hands about shoulder width apart. Your palms should be turned slightly inward. Push your body up until your arms are straight, no bending at the elbows. Try to keep your body straight, so no sagging or arching in the buttocks area. Lower your body and repeat the process for repetitions.
If you want more challenge when doing push ups, just use something to elevate your feet, such as a sturdy stool or stair step. Just place your toes a the stable elevated surface. Straighten your body and place your hands on the floor at about shoulder width. Lower your body by bending your elbows until your chest touches the floor and then push back up to return to your starting position in a fluid motion.
Dips can be done with a sturdy chair or between 2 sturdy chairs or with surfaces that will provide stability. This exercise is another great one for the upper body. Dips will work all the muscles that push ups work.
There are different variations of this exercise but this will provide you with the basic concept. If you are new to this exercise, start by sitting in a sturdy chair that has arm rests. While sitting in the chair, place your hands on the arm rests. Raise yourself by pushing up with your arms until they are fully extended. Then lower yourself until you reach the chair seat. Look straight ahead while doing the exercise and don’t let your body bounce at the bottom of the movement.
After you have been doing this exercise for a while you can make some slight changes to positionings which will increase the difficulty and make your muscles work harder. See the following video which will describe some of the simple changes that you can make to increase your workout with this exercise.
For the most part, using the weight of your body will provide enough resistance for an effective workout, but to build stronger muscles you will need to use additional resistance over time.
For added resistance, you just need to add some additional weight which is easy to do. You can use anything around the house that you can find that is easy to hold in your hands such as heavy books or water bottles. If you want, you can buy some cheap dumbbells or even ankle weights. When doing chin ups you can use a backpack that is filled with books to add some additional weight.
Use your imagination and see what you have that might work. You’ll be surprised with what you can come up with and by adding more weight gradually you’ll be able to build your muscles and endurance.
So, in conclusion…
It might be more efficient and faster to build muscles at the gym, but you can also do quite effective workouts without a gym. This is a major advantage if there are no gyms in your area or if you don’t want to pay for a gym membership fee. Remember to do your workouts on a regular basis and not to over extend yourself. Each workout brings you closer to having the muscles and body that you desire, so keep doing those workouts!