10 Workouts To Build Muscle Strength

Who says you need to lift heavy weights to build muscles?
Spoorthi, the strength coach at Cult.fit, tells us how to pump up your muscles by using your body’s weight.

Resistance training is one of the best ways to build muscles and strength.

However, you do not just have to be lifting heavy weights.

You can also do it with simple equipment such as bands, or even with just your own body weight.

But how you can increase the stimulus to build muscles is by doing it with perfect form and adding other elements to it such as tempo, iso holds (or isometric, a type of exercise in which you hold the body in one position), and other variations.

Here are 10 fundamental bodyweight exercises that you can do to target different muscles of the body:

1. Air Squats

This is the king of bodyweight exercises.

It targets the lower body.

The muscles worked are the quadriceps along with the hamstrings and glutes.

It also helps improve hip and ankle mobility.

How to do it

  • To perform this movement, assume a shoulder-width stance. You can keep your toes faced slightly outwards to be able to perform the movement efficiently.
  • Push your hips back and your knees out as you lower your hips towards the floor.
  • The ideal depth you want to reach is at least for your hips to drop lower than the knees. But one can progress to a deep squat by eventually decreasing the depth of your squat.

 

2. Push ups

This movement targets your upper body.

It works the chest, triceps and shoulders, and also works on your core strength and upper body stability.

This could be difficult to perform initially but once you ace the basic push up, there are many variations you can do.

How to do it

  • The foundation for the pushup is the high plank, which you perform on your palms.
  • Have your palms under your shoulders and your body aligned in one line. Once you are able to hold it there for a minimum of 30 seconds, you can start working on your pushup.
  • From the high plank, you will need to lower your chest towards the floor by bending the elbows. The key to perform it right is to have your elbow angled towards the body to avoid excess stress on the shoulder.

 

3. Lunges

This movement focuses on unilateral lower body strength.

It also tests your stability and mobility of the lower body.

One can progress to this after they’re comfortable with the squat.

How to do it

  • Have your feet placed one behind the other at a distance of roughly more than two feet.
  • Lower your rear knee down to the floor and keep in mind that you want both the knees to be at a rough 90 degrees. You can start by holding it in the lunge position, then move on to static lunges and further progress to dynamic forward lunges.

 

4. Backpack/Towel Rows

Working the posterior chain is equally important and this movement is a simple yet effective.

How to do it

  • To perform it, hold a bag or a towel with both hands and lean forward into a hinge.
  • Remember to keep your upper body erect as you stay there.
  • Start with your hand suspended down and gradually draw your hands towards your chest.
  • Keep your elbows closer to the body and stop when your hands are just below your chest.

 

5. Superman

The lower back is also part of the core muscles and help build a strong spine.

A strong spine musculature supports you with all other exercises that you do.

How to do it

  • This movement is a fairly simple one that you perform in a prone position i.e., with your face down to the floor.
  • Once you lie with your face down, stretch your arms out in front.
  • Lift your arms and your legs up simultaneously and contract your glute muscles. You can either hold this position or perform it dynamically. 

 

6. Bent over YTW

How to do it

  • The starting position for this movement is similar to the bent over rows.
  • Hinge back with your hands suspended down, we then perform a Y then a T and then a W with the hands.
  • For the Y, lift both arms up with elbows extended.
  • For the T, lift both the arms up similarly to the side. And for the W, bend your elbows and lift the arms upwards perpendicularly.

 

7. Sumo Squats

This too, similar to the air squats, works on your lower body muscles. But the sumo squats also focus on the adductor or inner thigh muscles.

How to do it

The key differentiator here is how you place your feet.

While in an air squat it’s shoulder width apart, we place it wider than shoulder-width apart and push the knees out in the direction of the toes.

 

8. Bodyweight renegade rows

This movement starts in a high plank and works the back muscles while simultaneously challenging your core strength.

How to do it

  • If you are familiar with the high plank position and the bent over row, this movement gets easier to understand.
  • In the high plank position, lift one arm up by bending the elbow.
  • Similar to the bent over row, ensure to keep the elbow close to the body.

 

9. Russian Twists

This one is a no brainer as far as ab workouts are concerned.

How to do it

  • You start in a seated position with your feet together. You can either keep it placed on the floor or lift it slightly up to make it more challenging.
  • Once in that position, lean slightly back and twist side to side.
  • You can scale it up by touching your hand down to the floor every time you twist around.

 

10. Bodyweight Dips

Your triceps can be isolated and scorched with this one.

This movement can also be performed with the palms on an elevated surface.

How to do it

  • Have your fingers faced towards you and shoulders slightly ahead of the palms.
  • The next step is to lower your body down by bending the elbows similar to the rows and the pushup, have the elbows tucked in.

Spoorthi is a professional dancer, strength, conditioning and nutrition coach at Cult.fit. She holds an ISSA Specialist certification in strength and conditioning and a PN (Precision Nutrition) L1 certification.

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