Building Muscle Without Weights: 3 Lies Your Personal Trainer Will Probably Tell You

November 05, 2011

So I’ve been diving into Timothy Ferriss’ 4 Hour Body Book a ton lately and have had some incredible insights into building muscle without weights. The book talks about how Timothy gained 34 pounds of muscle in 28 days. The claim sounds unbelievable but after analyzing his system, I believe it to be true. So I’ve been practicing some of his concepts with my own workouts. Though one of the keys to his system is to reach the point where you have complete muscle failure by doing only 5 total reps. Immediately my mind went toward, “How the heck am I going to do that when I prefer using body weight exercises?!” Well, the below post will share some of my thoughts.

The reason I titled it what it is, is because the average personal trainer will bring their clients through only standard routines because of their limited thinking. The good ones will incorporate drop sets, super sets, negative reps and the like but average ones will not. And most personal trainers don’t know how to build muscle without using weights. They don’t understand how to use basic human anatomy to put the body in difficult angles that can produce the same resistance on the muscle as heavy weights.

So without further ado….. here are…

3 Lies About Building Muscle Without Weights From Your Personal Trainer

1. You Need Weights In Order To Build Muscle

Whenever you workout and provide resistance on the muscle, as long as you bring the muscle to the point of total failure, you will be tearing muscle tissue. This is a good thing if your goal is to build muscle. Typical line of thinking is that in order to get the muscle to that point quicker, simply add weight. This is true. Though most personal trainers will tell you that you MUST add weight. Many don’t know about how to use angles properly to put yourself in an extremely disadvantageous position that provides just as, if not more, resistance than adding weight. For example. Say you wanted to strengthen your chest. You are somewhat advanced and can do a good 50 or so pushups. Your personal trainer may think, “Ok, I’ve got to either get this guy to wear a weight vest or get him on the bench to have him build muscle.”

The above lie is totally false. Using angles can be just as effective, if not more. So take the same guy again. Just by adjusting the angle, he can do an incredible muscle building body weight chest exercise that will leave his muscle crying. Enter…the Crucifix Pushup! Have him get in a normal pushup position to start off with. Then have him begin to walk his hands out as wide as he possibly can until his face is 3-4 inches off the ground. Then while keeping his body completely straight, have him VERY slowly do a pushup. He will only be moving 2-3 inches total. Have him do 5 seconds down and 5 seconds up. I guarantee he’ll only be able to do a few. Make him do it for 60 seconds and he’ll be screaming. There’s more information on the Crucifix Pushup here.

2. If You Don’t Use Weights, Your Workouts Need To Be Longer To Build Muscle

So according to Timothy Ferriss’ 4 Hour Body we should be spending only 4 hours of working out a month. I’m not totally a believer in this but I do agree that we can get to the point where we tear the muscle tissue faster than the typical gym workout. Though you don’t need to rely on weights to get you to that point and it certainly doesn’t need to be longer even though you are using body weight exercises. Here are a few keys to shorten up your workout but get better results.

3 Ways To Get Better Results In Less Time

1. Increase Your Intensity- As Tony Horton in P90X says, “Bring It!” You have to bring it if you want the results. Pansy footin’ around the gym ain’t gonna bring you guns.

2. Slow Your Reps Down- The faster you go during a rep, the more you will be using momentum. Slow your reps down to get the best results.

3. Use Negative Reps- There are two aspects to every movement: a positive movement and a negative movement. For example, during a bicep curl when you bring your weight up toward your face, that’s the positive movement. When your hand goes down, that’s the negative rep. Research has shown that during the negative movement, your muscle actually tears more effectively than during the positive movement. So incorporate this into your workouts.

3. Its More Geared Toward Women

This isn’t just a lie your personal trainer will tell you but also a lie most of the meat heads in the gym will tell you. They think there is some miracle in a heavy object that magically gives you bigger muscles. It’s not the weight but the resistance that produces results. Remember, resistance is the key. So whether you are pushing a barbell off your chest, pushing your body off the ground or pushing a car that died on the street (sorry, just happened the other day), it’s the resistance of the movement that is most important. Body weight exercises are not just for women. Use them properly and see how effective they are.

Remember that building muscle without weights can be done by anyone to build muscle fast. You just have to do them properly.

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