Building Muscle Without Weights

You can build muscle without weights, equipment, or a gym membership. Have you ever heard the statement, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way?” There is a way to build your body with your own body weight and with things around your house, garage, or yard.

Let me first tell you a little about myself when I was 15 years old. Without going into boring details, let me just say that my family was pretty poor. But I became very interested in getting in shape. I was a scrawny, short kid growing up who got picked on quite a bit. I remember seeing ads in magazines about Charles Atlas. He was one of the first men who became well known as a muscle man. I was inspired by this man for he too was picked on before building his body. I asked my mom and dad for a weightlifting set but they would tell me that they couldn’t afford it. Frustrated, I began looking around the house for ways I could build my scrawny muscles. I saw an ad in a magazine advertising a bullworker. This was a device that had high tension cables going through the ends of a pole-like device, about three feet long. You could use the cables or the ends of the device to perform various exercises. Since I didn’t have money to order one I took an old bicycle tire pump and a bicycle inner tube to make my own homemade bullworker. I doubled up the inner tube and stretched it around the tire pump. I did all the exercises I could have done with an actual bullworker.

Another thing I would do is use some old swing set poles, which were in my back yard. Some of you are old enough to remember the old style swing sets with the thick, round poles. I would do presses, curls, and bench presses with these. I found some old hard cover books in the house. I would take a heavy book in each hand and do flyes with these. We never read them anyway. I would also take a full box of these books and press them a bunch of times. My point is; I would find any way I could think of to build my muscles. I used my imagination.

Let’s not forget that there are several non-weight exercises you can do to workout. How about good old-fashioned pushups? You can do wide-grip pushups for your outer chest, close-grip pushups for your inner chest and triceps. One of my favorites is close-grip pushups with your feet elevated. You can put your feet on a chair, bench, bed, etc. Talk about a hardcore triceps workout! I still do these sometimes. A pushup is basically an upside down bench press. Be sure though to do pushups to failure, that is, until you can no longer perform another rep.

How about pullups? If you have a doorway which will allow you to hang from the doorway you can do pullups (chin ups) or you can place two chairs about four feet apart. Place a pole, broom, mop, or thick stick and rest each end on a chair. Lay on the floor, grip your hands on the pole or whatever you are using a little wider than shoulder width and lift yourself up as many times as you can. This will build your back and biceps. Let’s not forget about crunches, lunges, chair step ups, etc.

Another way you can workout is to use paint buckets or other buckets, preferably full for more weight. Using the handles to grip, you can do presses, curls, lateral raises (for wide shoulders), wrist curls, tricep presses, bent-over rows, etc. Use your imagination; just be sure to keep safety in mind.

Yes, you can work every body part without weights. I have done it and you can too. I still do non-weight workouts from time to time at motels when traveling, visiting people out of town, and even when my car was broke down once. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Pungky Dwiasmoro Hiswardhani

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