Can You Get Ripped Using Bodyweight Exercises/Calisthenics?

A lot of guys out there wonder if they could build some muscle and get ripped without joining the gym. Maybe you live far away on a farm or village somewhere so you have no access to a gym, or maybe you can’t afford a gym membership or you can’t afford to buy weights right now but you really want to build a great body. Well the good news is that you can build a great body without lifting weights by just doing bodyweight exercises, but I just want to make you aware that even though you will not be lifting weights you will have to work very hard and consistently, there will have to be lots of effort put in on your part and lots of pain as you push yourself to the limit.

Now before I get carried away, Let me show you what kind of a body is possible with just bodyweight training, this guy in the picture below is the co-founder of the Bar Brothers a popular calisthenics crew which posts its workouts, transformation vids and gym motivation for both male and female audiences on YouTube.

Get ripped using bodyweight training
Lazar Novovic from the Bar Brothers has built an incredible body with an eight pack using bodyweight training. 

What exercises do you start with?

Well, to begin with you have to do the most simple bodyweight exercises such as horizontal shoulder width push ups, lunges, squats, calf raises, pull ups, dips and you can add abs exercises to this list such as crunches, leg raises and planks. Learn to do these exercises with good form because the next level of bodyweight exercises builds on the strength you have built from the basics.

As you get stronger, lets say you can do 10-15 reps for 3 sets of each of those exercises one after the other with minimal breaks between exercises, you can now start doing more complex forms of those exercises, for example you can now try decline push ups, incline push ups, side to side push ups, spider-man push ups, you can now try pull ups and chin ups with different grips from wide to narrow grip pull ups, you can now try pistol (one legged squats) and you can also try one legged calf raises as well as some handstand push ups. The idea is to increase the difficulty of the exercises as your body starts getting used to the exercises, you can increase difficulty by increasing reps, adding exercises or making the exercises more difficult. Another way to increase difficulty of an exercise without progressing to the next level is to simply add a weight to the workout, by carrying a back pack with heavy text books when you do push ups or doing push ups with someone lying on top of you (you get the idea, be creative, find something heavy to carry). You add the weight when doing your bodyweight squats, lunges, dips, push ups and pull ups to make them more difficult.

At the beginning you may have been training your whole body in one session using the basic moves but as you progress you can start targeting different body parts on different days for example you could do upper body twice a week and then train abs and lower body twice a week and rest for 3 days. It is up to you how often you work out out, the the more often the better, the faster you get stronger and build lean functional muscle.

The Elite level of bodyweight training

muscle ups calisthenics training
Muscle ups pic from:

Then there is the next level and the hardest level of bodyweight training, this is when you have reached fitness levels very few people have reached, its the level at which Lazar in the picture I put at the top of this post is at, this is when you can do one arm pull ups, one arm push ups, clap pull ups, muscle ups, front levers, the human flag and all kinds of super human calisthenics moves.

I will share some of my favourite bodyweight training channels on YouTube and put a video below to show you what you can expect to see on those channels. As for myself, I use both bodyweight training and weighted training because my goal is to have a fitness model physique and be super fit which involves having functional muscle that bodyweight exercises are so good at building, plus I love that if I can’t make it to the gym I can still have a great workout. I have not reached the elite level of bodyweight training but I plan to reach it some day in the near future.

My Favourite Calisthenics Channels on Youtube:

I hope you guys check those channels out, there is a lot of great content there such as tutorials to teach you how to do some impressive exercises.

Other posts you might be interested in:

How to lose stomach fat and get ripped 6 pack abs 
How long does it take to see results from training

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