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The Ultimate Iron-Free Workout

Bodybuilding without a Gym

The Ultimate Iron-Free Workout - Bodybuilding without a Gym

The Ultimate Iron-Free Workout
Maximize upper-body size and strength with these surefire at-home exercises
By Steve Stiefel
Reprint From: Mens Fitness Online

When you signed up for that $299 lifetime special at the gym three years ago, you did so with the best intentions. Working out was part of your daily routine, along with an eight-hour workday and dinner with the significant other. Three years later, the eight-hour workday has become a 10-hour day and the S.O. is now your legal partner-as well as the mother of your brand-new bouncing baby boy. Between work, wife and child, there's no time to make use of that lifetime membership. And no gym means that that sharply defined physique you've been chiseling is going to grow a bit soft around the edges, right?

Wrong. Chris Lockwood, M.S., C.S.C.S., says that following the proper workout strategy, regardless of whether you're training at home or at the gym, will produce the results you seek. As an added bonus, you don't need to use dumbbells and barbells.

"Using body-weight-only exercises may limit your exercise variety, but not necessarily your gains," Lockwood says. "The key to making progress is to continually make adjustments in training intensity and volume to avoid plateaus and to progressively push your body's limitations to stimulate muscle growth." The best burn-fat, add-muscle strategy prescribes the following:

 

  • Begin with three to six weeks of strength training. Perform only one or two exercises per major muscle group, completing three to five sets per exercise.
  • Choose difficult exercises that don't enable you to do more than five to seven reps per set. Take about two minutes' rest between sets, training each major muscle group no more than twice per week.
  • When you can successfully complete five sets of six reps for a given exercise, increase the resistance by employing some creative methodology and tactics. Examples: Have a training partner sit on your back during push-ups; hold a dumbbell between your feet during pull-ups (okay, so you'll need a dumbbell).
  • When performing reps for strength, control the descending motion and then explosively contract through the force phase to recruit your fast-twitch muscle fibers and build strength.

"After this three- to six-week phase," Lockwood says, "switch to three to six weeks of muscular-endurance training in which you perform two to four exercises per major muscle group, two to five sets per exercise, up to 15 reps per set, with 30 to 90 seconds' rest between sets. When you're able to complete 15 reps for all sets for a given exercise, increase the intensity. Again, do this by increasing the load, or by using intensity-increasing principles such as superslow motion, supersetting between opposing muscle groups, compound-setting between exercises of the same muscle group, and the like."

To keep making gains, Lockwood stresses mixing up your cycles. "If you want more muscle size, alternate six weeks of strength training with three weeks of muscular-endurance training. For more definition and less size, strength-train for three weeks, alternating with six weeks of muscular-endurance training."

The Home Workout
Here's a two-day rotation, which you can complete twice a week for broad upper-body and abdominal work. Set and rep schemes are given for both strength and muscle-building cycles. The only equipment required is a pull-up bar.

Day 1

  STRENGTH MUSCLE BUILDING
Exercise Sets* Reps* Sets Reps
Push-up 2-5 5-7 3-5 15
Elevated push-up 2-5 5-7 3-5 15
Shoulder push-up 2-5 5-7 3-5 15
Dip 2-5 5-7 3-5 15
Seated leg tuck 3 15-20 3 15-20

Day 2

  STRENGTH MUSCLE BUILDING
Exercise Sets* Reps* Sets Reps
Pull-up 2-5 5-7 3-5 10-15
Wide-grip pull-up 2-5 5-7 3-5 10-15
Reverse-grip pull-up 2-5 5-7 3-5 10-15
Crunch 3 20-25 3 20-25
Bent-knee raise 2 15-20 2 15-20
THE EXERCISES

DAY 1

1 PUSH-UP (middle pec, anterior deltoid, triceps) Position yourself chest-down on the floor, hands by your shoulders and slightly wider than shoulder width, feet extended behind you (1a). Holding your body and head steady, slowly push upward from the floor until your arms are almost fully extended (1b). Pause, return to the starting position and repeat.

2 ELEVATED PUSH-UP (upper pec, anterior deltoid, triceps) Position yourself chest-down on the floor, hands by your shoulders and set slightly wider than shoulder width, feet extended behind you and placed on a chair (2a). Holding your body and head steady, slowly push upward from the floor until your arms are almost fully extended (2b). Pause, return to the starting position and repeat.

3 SHOULDER PUSH-UP (anterior and medial deltoids, triceps) Position yourself chest-down on the floor, hands by your shoulders and set slightly wider than shoulder width, feet behind you and placed on a chair. Bring your upper body closer to the chair so you resemble an inverted V (3a). Holding your body and head steady, slowly push upward from the floor until your arms are almost fully extended (3b). Pause, return to the starting position and repeat.

4 DIP (triceps) Set a chair behind you and place your palms on its edge. Extend your legs out in front of you and straighten your arms (4a). Keeping your back straight, slowly lower yourself until your upper arms are almost parallel to the floor (4b). Pause, slowly return to the starting position and repeat.

5 SEATED LEG TUCK (abs) Position yourself on the edge of a chair with your hands grasping its sides. Lean back, holding your legs out in front of you at an angle (5a). Slowly draw your knees up toward your chest (5b). Pause and squeeze your abs at the top. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat.

DAY 2

6 PULL-UP (lats, rhomboids) Grasp a pull-up bar with an overhand, shoulder-width grip. Bend your knees and hang freely (6a). Keeping your chin up, slowly pull your upper chest toward the bar (6b). Pause at the top, slowly return to the starting position and repeat.

7 WIDE-GRIP PULL-UP (lats, rhomboids, lower trapezius) Grasp a pull-up bar with an overhand grip that's slightly wider than shoulder width. Bend your knees and hang freely (7a). Keeping your chin up, slowly pull your upper chest toward the bar (7b). Pause at the top, slowly return to the starting position and repeat.

8 REVERSE-GRIP PULL-UP (lats, rhomboids, biceps) Grasp a pull-up bar with an underhand, shoulder-width grip. Bend your knees and hang freely (8a). Keeping your chin up, slowly pull your upper chest toward the bar (8b). Pause at the top, slowly return to the starting position and repeat.

9 CRUNCH (abs) Lie on your back with your feet on a chair, knees bent 90 degrees and your hands placed by your ears (9a). Slowly bring your chest toward your pelvis by curling your abs (9b). Pause and squeeze your abs at the top of the movement. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat.

10 BENT-KNEE RAISE (abs) Grasp a pull-up bar with an overhand grip, hands shoulder-width apart, and slightly bend your knees to hang freely (10a). Slowly bring your knees toward your chest by curling your abs (10b). Pause and squeeze your abs at the top of the movement. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat.


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