Does Bodyweight Training Work? Effective Exercises That Build Muscle

Before man discovered fire, we had bodyweight training.

The art of using nothing but your body weight as resistance.

It sounds perfect – no need for gym memberships or worrying about finding the time to go to the gym after a long shift at work.

I mean, after what we have all been through in the past year, bodyweight training has become bread and butter for most people.

The way people train is different now.

People have realized that gyms aren’t a necessity to achieving your goals and working out without equipment isn’t a bad thing!

Everyone had to adapt to working out from home, but is bodyweight training really as effective as people say?

Can bodyweight exercises create results?

The short answer is YES!

Of course, bodyweight training, with the right exercises and a little bit of guidance, can set you on your way to achieving that beach body.

Bodyweight training can increase your speed, your fitness, or even your core strength from wherever you want! 

In some cases, bodyweight training may not be perfect for everyone, it has slight limitations depending on your goals and what you want to achieve.

Like I’ve said before, everyone is trying to be better than you were yesterday.

What that looks like to you is different to me. 

So, can you build muscle with bodyweight training?

Can you get ripped or lose weight?

What even ARE the best bodyweight exercises?

All of this to come!

Is Bodyweight Training Effective For Building Muscle?

Does bodyweight training work - man doing push up

Now I know what most people think about bodyweight training.

It looks way easier than lifting weights and so must not be as effective as gaining muscle mass, right?


Bodyweight training is as effective as weight training.

To gain muscle, you need to be constantly challenging your body as it adapts through progressive overloading.

I know what you’re thinking – this sounds complicated.

Don’t worry, it’s not as bad as you think!

Now, it’s not as simple as loading weight onto a bar, but things like reducing the time in which you rest, increasing the number of sets and reps you use, or, if all else fails, putting books in a backpack as I show you below!

The final addition that can guarantee you feel the burn when performing bodyweight exercise is increasing time under tension.

While you are performing each exercise, do them a lot slower than you usually would.

This will allow your muscles to be held under tension and make them work harder!

The harder they work, the more likely they are to grow!

It’s as simple as that.

If you sprinkle that with a well-balanced, high-protein diet, you can’t go wrong!

Can You Get Ripped From Bodyweight Training?

We all have slightly different goals in what we want to look like, or how fit we get.

For beginners, progress can come in boatloads when bodyweight training.

You can expect to stack on quite a bit of muscle as long as you are consistently overloading.

This progress may slow down as you start to gain more experience, and you probably won’t get massively bulky as you start to get used to the weight of your own body, but with a solid diet, it is possible to get those washboard abs you have always dreamed of having!

Don’t get me wrong, bodyweight training probably won’t work for you in the long run if your aim is to gain lots of lots of muscle, get shredded and look like a doppelganger of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.

It is just not going to be enough.

But, if you aim to be ripped and lean, then weights are not at all necessary, and bodyweight training will work perfectly for you.

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Is Bodyweight Training Enough To Burn Fat?

What’s that I hear you ask?

“But what if I don’t want to gain muscle and want to burn fat to lose weight, will bodyweight training work for me?”

Of course, it will!

Bodyweight training is an amazing way to work out and allow you to replace the dreaded ‘C’ word (cardio)!

By adding bodyweight movements into a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) routine will help you with a lot more than just building muscle! Bodyweight workouts also help you:

  1. Lose body fat and shed a few pounds.
  2. Increases your fitness and core strength
  3. Tone up and become more defined.
  4. Help you stop having to run 3 times a day 7 days a week (unless you enjoy doing that, obviously).

Again, I can’t state this enough, the progress you make and making bodyweight exercise work will totally depend on YOUR personal goals.

Bodyweight training works, but it is not an easy way to get abs or a newly defined set of biceps and quads in less than a month.

To tone up you must follow a diet and follow your bodyweight workout strictly.

If you are struggling to think of exercises, then keep reading below for guidance.

Fundamental Bodyweight Training Exercises

When it comes to bodyweight exercises, there is a lot that works perfectly.

There are also some exercises that work, well… not that great.

In my eyes, there are 3 (maybe a fourth hidden gem) that are all you really need, with maybe a few variations of these also working well.

You can probably assume that one of the best foundational exercises is, in fact, the push-up.

And if you assumed that you would be correct.

It is probably one of the best-known exercises in the world and isn’t any easier than lifting weights that’s for sure.

The one thing that push-ups, and pretty much all the bodyweight exercises have over free weights, is the capability to train your whole body.

Although push-ups target your chest, squats your legs, and pull-ups your back, they all manage to bring supporting muscles into play.

These “old-school” moves will always target your core (helping you to get that dominant six-pack) as well as helping you get stronger as a whole.

I have already hinted at the other two foundational moves.

Pull-ups are great for building your back and shoulder strength and squats are great for your legs and abdominals.

Throw in that hidden gem burpees and you have got an excellent workout routine that will set you on the road to finding out for yourself that bodyweight training works.

Will 100 Push Ups A Day Do Anything?


Try sets of 10 x 10 throughout the day and you will feel your chest, arms and core tighten!

If you can’t do 10 x 10 just yet, try 5 x 20, or however many you can do throughout the day.

If you can’t do push-ups yet, that’s totally fine!

We all start somewhere!

Just try to elevate your arms using stairs or a chair to allow yourself to work at a level you are comfortable with.

Just make sure to keep your core tight.

To inspire you to get it done and show you 100 push-ups is possible in a day, see what happens when I try 1000 push-ups before lunch!

Can Bodyweight Exercises Be Done Every Day?

Push-ups AND pull-ups! Do I need to do these every day?!

No, not at all.

Your body still needs to recover from workouts, just like you would do with a “normal” gym workout.

Bodyweight exercises can be very demanding on the body so just as form and diet are important, so is rest.

Make sure you are warming up and cooling down before each routine, as not doing at least an adequate warm-up could cause you to get injured.

This injury could become a hindrance that will set you off worse than before you started your home workouts!

Trust me, you do not want an injury to stop you from working out, it will drive you absolutely crazy, and that’s an understatement!

If you hate putting too many rest days in between your workouts, then you might possibly prefer working out different muscle groups each day.

I feel that this is an amazing way to get enough rest on some parts of your body, as well as concentrate on a specific set of muscles another day.

Then you will really feel the burn!

Final Mop-up 

Bodyweight exercises are certainly an undervalued workout in the fitness industry.

You will only see for yourself how underestimated they are once you have tried them!

You do not need a whole row of dumbbells to get yourself to your goals, just your body and the right mindset to want to change yourself!

I understand this may be difficult at first, but progress can come quickly with the right guidance.

If like most people you are stuck trying to figure out what bodyweight workouts you should be doing, then have a read of my free E-Book ‘Train Wherever The F*ck You Want’.

This is a much more in-depth guide to the exercises you can do at home, including some bodyweight workouts that will totally blow your mind!

It compliments that working out without a gym lifestyle that people crave and shows you can get results with just your body weight.

If you want to starting working out at home with no equipment then you need to check out the Grizzly Online Gym!

Regular workouts, minimal or no equipment, diet tips, and access to all my downloadable programs!

Click here to find out more!