A guide to building muscle with body weight exercise.

One of the biggest myths in the fitness industry is that bodyweight exercise is only useful for leaning out. So many guys think that to get big, they need to have a gym membership to gain access to free weights and resistance machine. Well, that not just true. The truth is, it does not matter whether resistance comes in the form of a barbell or your own body, as long as moving it puts the right level of demand on your muscle. First of all, it is important to understand that without principal number one, you will not be training for hypertrophy. Instead, you will be working on strength. Similarly, if you bail on principle number one, you will not be training for hypertrophy. Instead, you will be working on strength. Similarly, if you bail on principle number two, you will not be training for hypertrophy. You will be increasing your muscular endurance. For the perfect bodyweight workout, incorporate both principals into your training program.

Principal1: Amount of time under tension
Time under tension quite obviously relates to the amount of time that your muscle is put to work. If the muscle you are working is not under stress long enough and does not receive a large enough stimulus for growth, there is no precedent for the muscle to be rebuilt stronger and bigger then before. To apply the time under tension principal, you must work your muscle for a long enough period of time that it is damaged.

Explanation and evidence
Located is produced as a byproduct of metabolism during strenuous activity, such as body weight or weight training. The college of health sciences at the University of Brasilia, Brazil, conducted a research study to find how three different approaches to training impacted the blood lactate levels of the participants. The study looked at the effects on three groups-

a. Group one performed ten rep maxes, carrying out each rep more slowly than the last. This resulted in an exercise consisting of 30 seconds eccentric, and 30 seconds eccentric, and 30 seconds of concentric movement.

b. Group two performed ten rep maxes, holding the isometric movement for five seconds and fully extending their muscle for each rep.

c. Group three performed twenty-second long isometric contractions, fully extending their muscle, before performing ten rep maxes at a regular speed.

All three groups experienced an increase in their blood lactate levels, but it was the participants in group one whose lactate levels were the highest. Group two had the next highest levels. Group three had the lowest levels. The findings demonstrated that you must keep the muscle under stress for a particular length of time long enough to provide enough metabolic stress to stimulate growth. In fact, it may even more beneficial to increase the length of time that you put the muscle under stress while you work through each phase of the movement.

Principal 2: Amount of tension under tension-

Unfortunately, the amount of time you put your muscle to work is better for strength than for building muscle. If time under tension alone was enough to build size, long-distance runners would be much bulkier then they are. It has been shown time and time again that the amount of tension you put your muscles under is also important. This is where the myth that weight training is the only effective way to build size comes from, but your body can provide plenty of resistance by itself. There are several techniques you can use to increase resistance with bodyweight exercise.

Angular training-
You can use the angle of your body to increase or decrease the amount of strain you put on a particular group of muscles. By doing this, you target a different part of the same muscle group. Revisiting the push-up example, a regular push-up works the center of your chest, by spreading your weight across the whole of your chest. By shifting the angle of your body, you redistribute your weight, and therefore the tension. This allows you to put more focus, by adding more weight, to a particular area of your chest. To change weight distribution, you can create an incline. By doing your push-up with your feet on a chair, your shift the tension onto the upper part of your chest. This will allow for the tension to be more directly focused on the muscles in the chest. Which will allow those muscle to grow bigger?

Use a bodyweight drop set-
Drop set reduces resistance in increments to tear muscle more effectively. Luckily, there are different levels of bodyweight exercises. For example, a normal bodyweight squat is much easier to perform then a one-legged bodyweight squat. You can manipulate these differing levels of difficulty by gradually moving on to bodyweight exercise that is easier and easier to do. This will enable you to tear more muscle. To perform a drop set, pick three exercises that target the same group of muscle. One exercise should be the hardest, one should be easiest, and one should be somewhere in-between. By the time you are on the final and easiest exercise, you are forcing your body to recruit muscle fibers that would not have been used during the hardest exercise, thereby demanding more of your body.

Again, let’s look at push-ups. You might choose decline push-ups, normal push-ups, and push-ups your knees. The decline push-ups are the hardest of these exercises, and you have performed these until you cannot do anymore. Finally, you would switch to the easiest exercise of the three-the push-ups performed with your knees on the ground.

Squeeze during a contraction-
This approach is somewhat similar to isometric training, which can deliver an amazing result. It is a really simple way to get more out of your workouts. To add an isometric approach to your body weight workouts, you would hold a contraction somewhere during the movement. This is a great technique, but rather than halt the movement completely, you can also squeeze your muscle for a second or two at the top of the movement. This will force your muscle to recruit more muscle fibers, meaning that the exercise will have more of an impact on your muscles.

Decrease your rest period-
If you are working to build muscle mass, or for hypertrophy, the last thing you want to do is give your body lots of time to recover in between sets. This is because when you allow your body to recover for more than about 90 seconds, the focus will shift to strength instead of mass. By decreasing your rest period, you forced your muscle to recruit different muscle fibers in your later sets, because the ones you used for the earlier sets have not yet recovered.

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