In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, gyms have been closed, forcing people to find alternative ways to workout. Even as gyms begin to reopen, people may choose to continue to work out at home as they assess their risks.
Unless they already have their own home gyms, life during quarantine is rough for muscle bulkers because the majority of workouts within a bulking routine typically call for heavy weights. That said, it is indeed possible to gain muscle and bulk up at home.
CAN YOU BUILD MUSCLE WITHOUT WEIGHTS?
We know that exercises you can do at home can often get a bad rep; it’s usually something you fall back on only when you can’t do a “real” gym workout. But, we’re here to tell you that building muscle can be easily done in the comfort of your home, as long as you follow the right exercises and nourish your body accordingly.
There are workouts that can be done (without or with minimal use of weights) to meet your muscle growth goals. The key to bulking up at home is the same as if you were in a gym: you set goals and work to achieve them.
It’s also important to be real with yourself: your body can gain only so much muscle in a given period of time, depending on your genetics, age, and training age (how long you’ve been lifting).
So, the answer to the question of bulking up at home is yes, and your results are based on the type of workout and nutrition routine you incorporate.
MAKING GAINS AT HOME
Muscle hypertrophy, or growth in the size of muscle cells, has been studied for years. Some claim that you can only achieve body building by lifting heavy weights. But science tells us otherwise.
Brad Schoenfeld, PhD and authority on muscle hypertrophy, explains in his study of muscle bulking that exercise to failure is one option to muscle gains. And guess what? You can train to failure with just your bodyweight, at home.
But not all training to failure exercises are created equal, however. According to Schoenfeld, training to failure in exercises like squats, deadlifts, presses, and rows should be done sparingly as you build muscle mass. That’ll reduce the likelihood of tears and strains.
These next exercises require ZERO equipment, so there’s no excuses here. You’ll complete a series of moves, which you’ll repeat to failure. Don’t forget to take it easy - don’t overdo it when you’re building up your muscle mass.
Keep your body moving the whole time—this will not only increase the intensity of each move but will keep you burning calories and building muscle! Bodyweight exercises help you gain muscle mass because your body works just like weights themselves, adding resistance and allowing you to bulk up.
Instructions: Complete all exercises in a circuit, moving from each exercise to the next without rest. Repeat to failure.
- Push-ups: Feel free to modify these as needed with your knees on the ground until you can do full push-ups. Do 20 reps or more to failure.
- Bodyweight Tricep Dips: Use the back of a chair, a bench or your coffee table. Feet out straight in front of you, then dip! Do 20 reps or more to failure.
- Jump Squats: Like a regular squat, but jump in between each one. Do 20 reps or more to failure.
- Plank: Either place palms or forearms on the ground and hold until failure.
- Run or Jump Rope: Either use a treadmill or hit the streets/trail. Can’t do either? Grab a jump rope (or pretend you have one) and jump up and down as fast as you can. 1 mile or 1 minute to start, or more until failure.
Doing this series of exercises to failure will increase bulk and muscle mass. If you want to add resistance moves to this series to work additional muscle groups, go for it.
If you’ve been into health and fitness for any length of time, you most likely already know that even with a consistent workout routine, 80% of the equation to changing your body is nutrition. A quality nutrition plan is a vital part of achieving your bulking goals no matter your type of workout routine.
The biggest mistake bulkers make is adding too many calories to their diet right away. Even if you are eating clean (and you should be eating clean), your body only needs 200 to 300 calories above maintenance level to gain muscle. It is key to combine heavy lifting with increased caloric intake of healthy foods to gain muscle mass.
So what should you do? Start by eating 14 to 18 calories per pound of your bodyweight, and adjust from there. Consume 1g of protein per pound of your bodyweight daily, 2g of carbs, and 0.4g of fat.
Along with an effective workout routine and a quality nutrition plan to build muscle, a third key element of muscle bulking includes taking a protein powder supplement.
Protein is a macronutrient that aids in muscle growth and repair and in the creation and maintenance of enzymes and hormones that impact a number of processes within your body. It does way more than just help you build muscle. Protein is the foundation of everything in your body, down to the smallest cells. So it goes without saying that a quality protein powder can help your body recover by repairing your muscles immediately after a workout.
If your aim is to bulk up, a post-workout protein shake is key to help replenish your body and prepare you for your next workout.
Optimal Muscle Growth
After a tough workout, drinking a protein shake allows your muscles to soak up the nutrients for muscle recovery and growth. During tough bulking workouts, your body uses carbohydrates for energy, and as a result, your glycogen stores get depleted.
That means your body starts tapping into protein for energy -- something you want to avoid when building muscle. Post-workout protein shakes help fill the gap to ensure you continue to gain lean muscle mass.
When you train, your body breaks down protein and your muscles get depleted. Ingesting protein after your workout helps ensure that your protein levels stay balanced, which decreases muscle fatigue. Decreased muscle fatigue means more effective recovery -- helping you get back to your next session feeling strong. A post-workout dose of protein helps ensure a positive protein balance, which is vital for muscle growth and effective training.
To help build muscle mass and achieve better recovery after your workouts, try Transformation Protein.
This premium egg white protein blend contains 30 grams of protein per serving. It’s revolutionary bioactive formula—with all nine essential amino acids—helps increase muscle development and fat loss. Let’s not forget that it mixes quickly and easily, which is key for the best protein shakes.