If you want to use bodyweight workouts and exercises to “be your own gym” and gain muscle and strength without going to the gym, this article is for you.

Key Takeaways

  1. Bodyweight exercises are exercises that train your muscles using your bodyweight instead of weighted instruments.
  2. While bodyweight exercises can help you gain muscle and strength and get in shape, they aren’t as effective as heavy, compound weightlifting.
  3. If you want to work out from home, are constantly traveling, or simply don’t like working out at a gym, bodyweight exercises are a good alternative to traditional methods of resistance training.

Bodyweight exercises are one of the simplest ways to get into resistance training.

They don’t require barbells, dumbbells, or gym memberships, they’re easy to learn, they can be done anywhere, and they can help you get into great shape.

According to some people, bodyweight exercises are not only all you need to gain all the muscle and strength you could want, they’re also better for burning calories and fat than other forms of resistance training and are a more “functional” way to get fit.

How true are those claims? Can you really build the body of your dreams in your living room?

The short answer is this:

While bodyweight workouts can help you get in shape, and especially if you’re new to resistance training, they aren’t as effective for muscle and strength gain as heavy, compound barbell and dumbbell training.

And in this article, you’re going to learn why.

By the end of it, you’re going to know what bodyweight training is, how much muscle and strength you can gain from it, and some of the best bodyweight exercises you can do.

You’re also going to get simple but powerful bodyweight workout routines for men and women that you can put to use right away.

What Are Bodyweight Exercises?

Bodyweight exercises are exercises that train your muscles using your bodyweight instead of weighted instruments.

Typically, when people say “bodyweight exercise,” they’re referring to simple movements like pushups, chinups, situps, and the like. This label can also apply to more advanced exercises like gymnastics or parkour, however.

Most of the time, bodyweight exercises involve doing sets of a relatively high number of reps (15+) to failure.

This is more out of necessity than design, since the amount of resistance more or less stays the same over time (your body weight). Thus, you usually have to progress toward doing more and more volume (reps) and not intensity (load).

That said, you can increase the intensity of some bodyweight exercises by positioning your body differently to make the movement more difficult.

For example, if you reach a point where you can do dozens of pushups on your hands and knees, you can start doing them on your hands and feet, which is harder. And once you can do dozens in this position, you can start doing them with your feet elevated on a bench or chair, which is harder still.

Summary: Bodyweight exercises are exercises that train your muscles using your bodyweight instead of weighted instruments.

Are Bodyweight Workouts Good for Building Muscle?

There’s a big difference between “exercising” and “training.”

Anything that involves vigorous physical activity can qualify as exercise, but training connotes a more systematic approach toward a known goal.

Zumba is exercise. Bigger Leaner Stronger is training.

If your goal is to stay healthy and lean, exercise (and proper dieting) can get the job done. If you want to build a lean, strong, and muscular physique, though, you need to train.

Which brings me to bodyweight workouts.

There’s no question that they’re great exercise. Some of the best, actually, because they involve both cardiovascular and muscular conditioning.

Bodyweight workouts have several advantages over weightlifting as well, including:

  • Convenience and flexibility (you can do them at home, on the road, etc.).
  • Affordability (no gym membership or home gym needed).
  • Time efficiency (no driving to the gym, waiting for equipment, etc.).
  • Privacy (no pervy dudes or peacocking gymbros).

If you’re looking to “stay fit” (build some muscle and strength and stay lean), and you don’t like gyms or can’t get to one, bodyweight workouts might be perfect for you.

This is particularly true of people who are new to resistance training and whose bodies are hyperresponsive to its muscle-building effects. This “honeymoon phase” only lasts about six months for most people, though.

If you’re looking to build a large amount of muscle and strength as quickly as possible, they’re not the best choice.

This is because bodyweight exercises have limited value as a training method.

The main reason for this has to do with something called “progressive overload,” which is the primary driver of strength and muscle gains.

Progressive overload refers to increasing the amount of tension your muscles produce over time, and the most effective way to do this is by progressively increasing the amount of weight that you’re lifting.

This is why strength is highly correlated with muscle size. You’d be hard pressed to find a guy with small legs that can squat double his body weight for reps, for example.

When viewed through this lens of progressive overload, we can clearly see a major drawback to bodyweight training:

It tends to focus on increasing repetitions but not weight, and this is great for building muscle endurance, but not size and strength.

As mentioned earlier, the only ways to progress on bodyweight exercises are to do more reps or make the exercise harder.

For example, if you can currently do 10 pushups in a set before failing, one way to progress would be working your way up to doing 20, 30, or more reps per set.

Unfortunately, this type of progression won’t produce nearly as much muscle growth as, let’s say, working up to bench pressing and military pressing 1.5 and 1 times your body weight, respectively.

Researchers call this the “strength-endurance continuum,” which is a long-winded phrase for a simple concept: if you want to get big and strong, you need to prioritize resistance training with heavy loads.

Now, there are ways to incorporate progressive overload into your bodyweight workouts, which we’ll be talking more about soon, but they don’t fully offset this disadvantage.

Another handicap with bodyweight workouts is you miss out on several powerful muscle-building exercises.

There are no bodyweight exercises that can fully reproduce the whole-body muscle-building effects of heavy squatting, deadlifting, bench pressing, and military pressing.

The significance of these four exercises is they form the core of every great weightlifting and strength training program, and for a good reason:

They train many muscle groups at once and they allow for very heavy weights to be handled safely, which produces maximum progressive overload.

The bottom line is any resistance training program—bodyweight or otherwise—that’s missing any of these movements would benefit from including them.

You can make do with exercises that we’ll discuss soon, but anyone that says that you can duplicate the level of muscle activation from an 85% of one-rep max deadlift with a bodyweight movement is lying.

Now, before we move on, I want to quickly address a doubt you might have about what I’m saying:

If bodyweight training isn’t ideal for building muscle and strength, why is this dude is so jacked?

For example, this guy . . .

Or this guy . . .

Or any of these guys . . .

Well, when you see stuff like this, you need to ask yourself a few questions:

How likely is it that steroids are involved?

Drugs are everywhere in the strength and muscle-building space because they’re cheap, readily available, and shockingly effective.

Learn to spot the obvious users and be very skeptical of their advice because what works so well for them often won’t for you.

How long have they been training for?

If someone has been doing bodyweight workouts diligently for 10+ years and knows how to diet, they’re going to have a good physique.

That doesn’t mean it was the most effective or fastest way to get there, though.

What is their training history like?

While someone with a killer body may be currently doing nothing but bodyweight workouts, that doesn’t mean that’s how they built the majority of their muscle and strength.

For instance, I know many people who got jacked with traditional weightlifting and then transitioned more into bodyweight training for various reasons (lifestyle changes, new challenges, etc.).

If you didn’t know that, though, you might have unrealistic expectations about what you can actually accomplish with bodyweight exercises.

What are their genetics like?

Some people’s bodies respond incredibly well to resistance training and others respond quite poorly.

If you’re taking advice from a high-responder but are yourself a low- or even middling-responder, your bottom-line results are going to differ greatly from theirs.

Simply put, what worked remarkably well for someone else can leave you disappointed, and this is especially true of bodyweight exercises because they don’t emphasize progressive overload as effectively as heavy, compound weightlifting.

And the other side of that coin is even if you’re a high-responder and can get more than most out of bodyweight training, you can get much more still out of traditional weightlifting.

Summary: Bodyweight exercises can help you gain strength and muscle, but they aren’t as effective as heavy, compound weightlifting.

Are Bodyweight Workouts Good for Burning Fat?

bodyweight workout for mass

 

Some people believe that bodyweight exercises are better at burning fat than other kinds of resistance training because they burn more calories.

This is partly true, but misses the forest for the trees.

First of all, bodyweight exercises don’t necessarily burn more calories than heavy compound weightlifting. For example, doing eight pushups only burns about one or two calories, while deadlifting 200 pounds for 8 reps burns about 15 calories.

Many people can deadlift significantly more than this, which is going to burn considerably more calories, too. For example, I can deadlift about 365 pounds for 8 reps, which burns around 25 calories.

That said, you can typically burn more calories in a bodyweight workout because you can spend more time working and less time resting.

I’m bushed after a set of 8 reps of heavy deadlifts and need at least two or three minutes to

recover before doing another set. On the other hand, in more or less the same period of time, I could do upward of 30 pullups, rest 60 to 90 seconds, and then do another 20 reps.

Similarly, someone with a few years of bodyweight training under their belt might be able to knock out 100 pushups in a single set in the same time I could bench press 245 pounds for 6 reps and rest up for my next set.

So, while bodyweight exercises don’t burn more calories per rep when compared to heavy free weight exercises, they allow you to do more reps and thus burn more energy per workout.

Does this mean they’re better for fat loss, though?

No.

To understand why, you first have to understand that building a great body isn’t just about losing fat. It’s about improving your body composition, which requires building muscle and losing fat.

We already know that bodyweight exercises aren’t the most effective way to build muscle, but what you might not know is diet and not exercise (of any kind) is what really drives fat loss.

In other words, while exercise supports fat loss, it doesn’t automatically make you leaner all on its own. To do that, you must pair it with proper dieting, and specifically, with a calorie deficit, which is accomplished by eating fewer calories than you burn over time.

You can read this article to learn how this works in detail, but the key point here is this:

So long as you maintain a calorie deficit, you’ll lose fat regardless of whether you’re exercising. And as a corollary, no matter how much exercise you do, your body fat percentage won’t change until you’re in a calorie deficit.

The reasons for this are simple:

  1. Exercise doesn’t burn enough energy to really move the fat loss needle.
  2. It’s too easy to eat back the calories you burn in your workouts.

For instance, a vigorous one-hour workout of any kind will burn anywhere from 400 to 1,000 calories. This may sound like a lot, but consider the following:

  1. On the low end, that’s the amount of calories in a banana, cup of yogurt, and handful of almonds, and on the high end, that’s a “fully loaded” Chipotle burrito with chicken, guacamole, cheese, rice, and beans.
  2. You need to burn around 3,500 more calories than you eat over a given period of time to lose a pound of fat.

That’s why the additional calories you can burn with bodyweight workouts is negligible as far as fat loss is concerned. How much of a difference is an extra couple hundred calories burned per week really going to make? Little to none.

This also highlights a point I often make: the primary reason to work out isn’t to merely burn calories or fat but to improve body composition by gaining muscle and strength. As for reducing body fat levels, that’s primarily a function of diet, and specifically, of energy and macronutrient balance.

And yes, that applies just as much to women who don’t want to get “bulky” as men who want to get as jacked as possible.

So, in the final analysis, bodyweight exercises are inferior to traditional strength training workouts when you’re dieting for fat loss for two reasons:

  1. While bodyweight workouts can burn more calories than strength training workouts, it’s not enough to make a big difference in terms of fat loss.
  2. While bodyweight workouts can help you gain muscle and strength, strength training workouts accomplish this far better and thus are superior for improving your body composition.

Summary: Bodyweight exercises can help you burn calories and maintain or gain muscle while dieting to lose fat, but heavy, traditional weightlifting workouts burn nearly as many calories and are more effective for maintaining and gaining muscle.

Use this workout and flexible dieting program to lose up to 10 pounds of fat and build muscle in just 30 days…without starving yourself or living in the gym.

The Best Bodyweight Exercises

bodyweight workout routine for mass and strength

If you go searching for bodyweight exercises and routines, you’ll quickly be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of choices.

The good news, though, is out of the hundreds and hundreds of body weight exercises you could do, a small minority deliver the vast majority of potential benefits.

(Pareto principle strikes again.)

As you’ll see, your primary focus in bodyweight workouts is improving in a few basic areas: pushing, pulling, and squatting.

There are many variations of these movements and ways to make them more difficult, of course, but they are the foundation of all good bodyweight training.

As you’ll see, many of the best bodyweight exercises are simply progressions on the bread and butter exercises like pushups, squats, and pullups.

A progression is an exercise you progress to once you’ve built considerable strength on a previous, easier variation of that exercise.

On the other hand, a regression is an easier version of an exercise. For example, chinup holds are a regression from the regular chinup.

So, let’s review the best of these types of bodyweight exercises and then look at how we can combine them into an effective and challenging workout routine.

The Best Upper Body Bodyweight Exercises

The Pushup

No bodyweight workout is complete without some form of pushup.

It’s one of the simplest and most effective ways to train your chest, shoulders, and arms, and it doesn’t require any special equipment.

I’m going to recommend that you do several types of pushups in your bodyweight workouts.

The first is the vanilla pushup:

And if you can’t do a pushup yet, here’s how to build up to it:

The Pike Pushup

The pike pushup is a pushup variation that’s great for training the shoulders.

To do the pike pushup, you setup in a standard pushup position, then raise your butt into the air so that your arms are in line with your torso.

To begin the rep, lower your head toward the ground while keeping your butt as high as possible, then reverse the movement to return to the starting position.

Here’s what it looks like:

The Dive Bomber Pushup

The dive bomber pushup is a good progression from the pike pushup.

It’s a complete upper body exercise because it emphasizes your chest, shoulders, and triceps at different points in the movement.

The Handstand Pushup

In terms of bodyweight shoulder exercises, it’s hard to beat the handstand pushup for sheer difficulty (and thus overload).

The downside, of course, is that it’s also very difficult.

Not only does it require a fair amount of upper body strength, it also requires a fair amount of balance and coordination. Save this for after you’ve mastered the other pushup variations.

The Foot-Elevated Pushup

The foot-elevated pushup is a simple variation of the standard pushup that involves positioning the feet on a bench or chair that’s about knee-height off the ground.

This puts more weight on your arms, which makes the exercise significantly harder.

Here’s how to do it:

The Dip

I want to shy away from exercises that require special equipment, but I need to mention the dip because it’s one of the absolute best upper body exercises you can do, bodyweight or otherwise.

(Dips are an important part of my weightlifting programs, too: Bigger Leaner Stronger for men and Thinner Leaner Stronger for women.)

There are two types of dips you can do: triceps (aka bench) dips and chest dips.

Triceps (bench) dips are easier, and here’s how they look:

You can do these on any bench, chair, or table that’s anywhere from knee to waist height off the ground

Here’s the chest dip, which is a progression from the triceps dip:

If you’re strong enough to do six or more reps of the chest dip then you don’t need to worry about the easier triceps version.

And here’s a simple dip stand for doing chest dips:

dip stand

The Pullup

Even though it requires some specialized equipment, a pullup bar is cheap and, in my opinion, vital.

I say that because if you want to get the most out of your bodyweight training, you must be doing chinups and pullups.

They train every major muscle in your back and involve the biceps to a significant degree as well, and they do it in a way that just can’t be replicated otherwise (outside of the gym, that is).

There are many pullup variations you can do, of course, but you should build a foundation of strength with the standard version before progressing to more advanced types.

Here’s how to do it:

Here’s the bar I use and like.

If your budget and workout space permits, you can go in for a Power Tower instead, which allows you to do your dips, pullups, and ab exercises (that we’ll be talking about soon).

The Chinup

The chinup is a variation of the pullup that involves gripping the bar with your palms facing you (a supinated grip) instead of away from you (a pronated grip).

This exercise trains most of the same muscles as the pullup, but emphasizes the biceps more than pullups, which emphasize your back muscles.

Here’s how to do it:

If you can’t do a chinup yet, here’s a simple way to build the necessary strength:

The Plank

The plank is often hailed as the ultimate core exercise, but research shows that’s a bit of an overstatement.

That said, it’s definitely valuable enough to include in your bodyweight workouts.

Here’s how to do it:

The Burpee

The burpee is everyone’s favorite exercise to hate, and for good reason: it’s very difficult (but effective!).

The burpee is also unique in that it’s more of an endurance-builder than a strength-builder, which is why I typically consider it a form of cardio when creating workout plans.

Here’s how to do it:

The Best Lower Body Bodyweight Exercises

The Bodyweight Squat

Just about every popular resistance training program you can find involves some sort of squatting.

It’s the simplest and most effective leg-building exercise you can do.

This exercise is the bodyweight equivalent of the barbell back squat, and if you want to build strong legs, you want to do a lot of it.

Here’s how:

The Squat Jump

The squat jump is a progression from the basic bodyweight squat that adds a dynamic “explosive” element to your training.

While this won’t necessarily increase the effectiveness of the exercise, it’s a fun variation to use when regular bodyweight squats get stale.

Here’s how to do it:

The Shrimp Squat

The Shrimp Squat is a good introduction to one-legged squatting (which is a good progression from two-legged variations).

Here’s how to do it:

The Pistol Squat

The pistol squat is a difficult progression from the shrimp squat that requires a considerable amount of strength and balance.

Here’s how to do it:

The Lunge

The lunge is primarily a quadriceps exercise, but all the major muscle groups of the lower body come into play, including the glutes, calves, and hamstrings.

Here’s how to do it:

The Russian Leg Curl

The Russian leg curl is a fantastic exercise for isolating your hamstrings.

It’s more or less the same movement that you’d do using a hamstring curl machine, but instead you use your own body weight.

Here’s how to do it:

The Hanging Leg Raise

The hanging leg raise is one of my favorite exercises for training the core (and the rectus abdominis in particular).

Here’s how to do it:

The Bicycle Crunch

The bicycle crunch is a popular abs/core exercise that is particularly good for training the obliques.

The Best Bodyweight Workout Routine for Men

Alright . . . it’s time to put some rubber on the road.

Let’s start your journey into bodyweight training with an assessment of your current fitness level.

Do one set of the following exercises to failure and record how many reps you get of each. Rest a few minutes in between each exercise.

Bodyweight Squat

Pushup

Chinup (or pullup if you can)

Burpee

After eight weeks of the workout routine I lay out below, retest yourself to see how you’ve progressed.

And the workout routine itself:

Day 1

Upper Body & Abs

Pushup (or a regression)

3 sets to failure

Pike Pushup > Dive Bomber Pushup > Feet-Elevated Pushup > Handstand Pushup

3 sets to failure

Triceps Dip > Chest Dip

3 sets to failure

Chinup (or a regression) > Pullup

6 sets to failure

Ab Circuits (See below for details)

3 sets to failure

Day 2

Lower Body & Cardio

Bodyweight Squat

3 sets to failure

Bodyweight Squat > Squat Jump > Shrimp Squat > Pistol Squat

3 sets to failure

Bodyweight Lunge

3 sets of failure

Russian Hamstring Curl

3 sets of failure

Burpee

3 sets of failure

Day 3

Upper Body & Abs

(Same as Day 1)

Day 4

Lower Body

(Same as Day 2)

The Best Bodyweight Workout Routine for Women

First, you’re going to assess your current strength so you can measure your progress on this program.

Do one set of the following exercises to failure and record how many reps you get of each. Rest a few minutes in between each exercise.

Bodyweight Squat

Pushup

Chinup (or pullup if you can)

Burpee

After eight weeks of the workout routine I lay out below, retest yourself to see how you’ve progressed.

Day 1

Lower Body & Cardio

Bodyweight Squat

3 sets to failure

Bodyweight Squat > Squat Jump > Shrimp Squat > Pistol Squat

3 sets to failure

Bodyweight Lunge

3 sets of failure

Russian Hamstring Curl

3 sets of failure

Burpee

3 sets of failure

Day 2

Pushup (or a regression)

3 sets to failure

Pike Pushup > Dive Bomber Pushup > Feet-Elevated Pushup > Handstand Pushup

3 sets to failure

Triceps Dip > Chest Dip

3 sets to failure

Chinup (or a regression) > Pullup

3 sets to failure

Ab Circuits (See below for details)

3 sets to failure

Day 3

Lower Body & Cardio

(Same as Day 1)

Day 4

Lower and Upper Body

Bodyweight Squat

3 sets to failure

Pushup (or a regression) > Pike Pushup > Dive Bomber Pushup > Feet-Elevated Pushup > Handstand Pushup

3 sets to failure

Bodyweight Lunge

3 sets of failure

Chinup (or a regression) > Pullup

3 sets to failure

And now a few odds and ends on how to do these workouts:

Take each set one to two reps shy of muscular failure.

Muscular failure refers to the point in a set when you’re unsure if you’ll be able to finish the next rep, and it’s a sign your muscles are close to their current limits.

You don’t have to go to absolute muscle failure every set to make progress, but you need to come close.

Rest one to two minutes between sets.

Yes, this is going to feel like a lot of standing around compared to the circuit training programs you see advertised on social media, but resting properly is a hugely important part of proper resistance training (bodyweight or otherwise).

These rest periods give your muscles enough time to muscles recoup their strength so you can give maximum effort each set.

Once you can do 20 reps of a given exercise in one set, progress to the harder variation of the exercise.

Progressions are indicated by the > symbols.

So, for example, once you can do 20 pike pushups, you then start doing dive bomber pushups for that and all future workouts. Once you can do 20 dive bombers, you start doing feet-elevated pushups instead.

In this way, your workouts will change over time.

And in the cases where there are no progressions (plain pushups and bodyweight squats, burpees, pullups, etc.), your goal is to simply increase the amount of total reps you can do in each set.

If you can’t do a pushup or chinup yet, start with a regression that you can do.

For example, if you can’t do one chinup yet, do chinup holds until you can do 20 and then progress to chinups.

The ab circuit consists of one set of hanging leg raises followed by one set of air bicycles followed by one set of planks.

Do these sets back-to-back without rest (three sets is one circuit).

Do cardio separately.

Bodyweight workouts (and the lower body workout in particular) are pretty cardio intensive.

If you need or want to do more cardio, though, do it either several hours before your bodyweight workouts or sometime after (you want to be as fresh as possible for your resistance training).

If you’re not sure how much or what type of cardio you should do to reach your goals, check out this article.

One rep of a one-legged exercise consists of one rep for each leg.

Something you should know. 🙂

Make sure you’re eating right for your goals.

As you learned a moment ago, if you want to lose fat, you need to be in a calorie deficit over time.

While you can accomplish this with intuitive eating, it’s significantly easier if you plan or track your calorie intake with an app or spreadsheet.

And if you want to get the most out of your cut—losing as much fat and as little muscle as possible—you also need to learn how your calories should break down into protein, carbs, and fat.  

Read this article to learn how to set up your diet for losing fat:

The Definitive Guide to Effective Meal Planning

If your goal is to maximize muscle growth, however, you need to be a calorie surplus over time.

Although this tends to be easier for most people than losing fat (intentionally overeating is more enjoyable than undereating), it still requires careful control of your calorie intake if you want to get the best possible results.

And like with losing fat, optimizing muscle gain also requires eating the right amount of protein, carbs, and fat.

Read this article to learn how to set up your diet for building muscle:

The Ultimate Guide to Bulking Up (Without Just Getting Fat)

Unsure if you should lose fat or build muscle first? Read this article:

The Easiest Way to Know If You Should Cut or Bulk

What About Supplements?

bodyweight workout plans

Creatine

Creatine is a substance found naturally in the body and in foods like red meat. It’s perhaps the most researched molecule in the world of sport supplements—the subject of hundreds of studies—and the consensus is very clear:

Supplementation with creatine helps . . .

You may have heard that creatine is bad for your kidneys, but these claims have been categorically and repeatedly disproven. In healthy subjects, creatine has been shown to have no harmful side effects, in both short- or long-term usage. People with kidney disease are not advised to supplement with creatine, however.

If you have healthy kidneys, I highly recommend that you supplement with creatine. It’s safe, cheap, and effective.

In terms of specific products, I use my own, of course, which is called Recharge.

Recharge is 100% naturally sweetened and flavored and each serving contains:

  • 5 grams of creatine monohydrate
  • 2100 milligrams of L-carnitine L-tartrate
  • 10.8 milligrams of corosolic acid

This gives you the proven strength, size, and recovery benefits of creatine monohydrate plus the muscle repair and insulin sensitivity benefits of L-carnitine L-tartrate and corosolic acid.

So if you want to gain muscle and strength faster and recover better from your workouts, you want to try Recharge today.

Protein Powder

You don’t need protein supplements to gain muscle, but, considering how much protein you need to eat every day to maximize muscle growth, getting all your protein from whole food can be impractical.

That’s the main reason I created (and use) a whey protein supplement. (There’s also evidence that whey protein is particularly good for your post-workout nutrition.)

Whey+ is 100% naturally sweetened and flavored whey isolate that is made from milk sourced from small dairy farms in Ireland, which are known for their exceptionally high-quality dairy.

I can confidently say that this is the creamiest, tastiest, healthiest all-natural whey protein powder you can find.

So if you want to try a 100% naturally sweetened and flavored whey isolate protein powder made from exceptionally high-quality milk that tastes and mixes great, you want to try Whey+ today.

Pre-Workout Drink

There’s no question that a pre-workout supplement can get you fired up to get to work in the gym. There are downsides and potential risks, however.

Many pre-workout drinks are stuffed full of ineffective ingredients and/or minuscule dosages of otherwise good ingredients, making them little more than a few cheap stimulants with some “pixie dust” sprinkled in to make for a pretty label and convincing ad copy.

Many others don’t even have stimulants going for them and are just complete duds.

Others still are downright dangerous, like USPLabs’ popular pre-workout “Jack3d,” which contained a powerful (and now banned) stimulant known as DMAA.

Even worse was the popular pre-workout supplement “Craze,” which contained a chemical similar to methamphetamine.

The reality is it’s very hard to find a pre-workout supplement that’s light on stimulants but heavy on natural, safe, performance-enhancing ingredients like beta-alanine, betaine, and citrulline.

And that’s why I made my own pre-workout supplement. It’s called Pulse and it contains six of the most effective performance-enhancing ingredients available:

  • Caffeine. Caffeine is good for more than the energy boost. It also increases muscle endurance and strength.
  • Beta-Alanine. Beta-alanine is a naturally occurring amino acid that reduces exercise-induced fatigue, improves anaerobic exercise capacity, and can accelerate muscle growth.
  • Citrulline Malate. Citrulline is an amino acid that improves muscle endurance, relieves muscle soreness, and improves aerobic performance.
  • Betaine. Betaine is a compound found in plants like beets that improves muscle endurance, increases strength, and increases human growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor 1 production in response to acute exercise.
  • Ornithine. Ornithine is an amino acid found in high amounts in dairy and meat that reduces fatigue in prolonged exercise and promotes lipid oxidation (the burning of fat for energy as opposed to carbohydrate or glycogen).
  • Theanine. Theanine is an amino acid found primarily in tea that reduces the effects of mental and physical stress, increases the production of nitric oxide, which improves blood flow, and improves alertness, focus, attention, memory, mental task performance, and mood.

And what you won’t find in Pulse is equally special:

  • No artificial sweeteners or flavors.
  • No artificial food dyes.
  • No unnecessary fillers, carbohydrate powders, or junk ingredients.

The bottom line is if you want to know what a pre-workout is supposed to feel like and want to experience the type of energy rush and performance boost that only clinically effective dosages of scientifically validated ingredients can deliver, you want to try Pulse.

The Bottom Line on Bodyweight Exercises and Workouts

Bodyweight exercises and workouts have many advantages but aren’t necessarily for everyone.

They’re a great way to get acquainted with resistance training, and they’re also a good option if you don’t want to or can’t consistently get to the gym.

Bodyweight exercises can help you gain muscle and strength, but they aren’t nearly as efficient or effective as traditional heavy weightlifting exercises like the squat, bench press, deadlift, and military press.

Bodyweight exercises are also good for burning calories and thus can help speed up fat loss. That said, traditional strength training workouts also burn a significant amount of calories and in the end, how quickly you lose fat is mostly dictated by diet, not exercise.

In other words, if you know what you’re doing with your diet, you can lose fat equally well with bodyweight workouts or strength training workouts.

If you do decide to try your hand at bodyweight exercises, here are the best upper body exercises to focus on:

  • The Pushup
  • The Pike Pushup
  • The Dive Bomber Pushup
  • The Handstand Pushup
  • The Foot-Elevated Pushup
  • The Dip
  • The Pullup
  • The Chinup
  • The Plank
  • The Burpee

And here are the best lower body exercises:

  • The Bodyweight Squat
  • The Squat Jump
  • The Shrimp Squat
  • The Pistol Squat
  • The Lunge
  • The Russian Leg Curl
  • The Hanging Leg Raise
  • The Bicycle Crunch

If you follow the two bodyweight workouts I shared a moment ago for eight weeks, you’ll see results.

If, while reading this article, I’ve piqued your interest in heavy weightlifting, then read this article to learn more about it:

The Definitive Guide on How to Build a Workout Routine

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What’s your take on this workout routine? Have anything else you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below.