If you want to become healthy and fit, you do not need fancy fitness equipment or you do not have to enroll in the best gym in your city. It is possible to build muscles by doing some simple workouts at home, consistently. Your body weight can be used to strengthen your arms and legs while building muscle and improving fitness levels. The following guide talks about different exercises you can perform at home to build muscle. But before that, let’s understand the science of muscle development.
Growth Of Muscles In The Body – The Science
The size of the muscles in your body increases when you expose them to higher weights and resistance continuously. This is scientifically known as muscle hypertrophy. It mainly occurs when the fibers of the muscles undergo injury or damage. The body has its process of repairing these damaged fibers by fusing them, thus, increase the size and mass of the muscles.
Apart from this, testosterone, growth hormone, and insulin also play a vital role in muscle repair and growth. These hormones enable that by:
- improving how the body processes the proteins
- preventing the breakdown of proteins
- activating stem cells that help in building muscles
- stimulating hormones that promote the growth of muscles and protein synthesis
- improving and enhancing the growth of tissues
If you continually undertake resistance and strength training, you essentially aid the release of growth hormone from the pituitary gland. Apart from this, the levels of testosterone in your body increase, and also the sensitivity of the muscles to this hormone improves. Here are 5 exercises you can do at home, specifically focused on your muscles.
1) Push-Up And Pull-Ups
Push-ups are the best way to build your upper body muscles, and it provides strength to your arms, shoulder, back, and chest. When you get the hang of push-ups, you can improvise it further by leaning against a wall or a sturdy door and do it at an angle. To begin with, doing push-ups on the floor, the conventional way is the best. The more push-ups you do, the stronger will be your biceps and triceps, because the entire body weight falls on this region of your arms.
Pull-ups are effective on different muscle groups based on the position of your hand, and overall, how you perform this bodyweight exercise. Here’s a standard way of doing pull-ups:
- To begin with, you must have a bar attached at a height. Jump and grab this bar and place your hands approximately shoulder-width from each other. The palms must be facing away from you.
- While you hang from the bar, your body must be in a slightly C shape. This is also known as the hollow body position. Squeeze your legs together, ensure that your core is tight and the back must be engaged. Pull back your shoulder and keep it stiff.
- Look straight and slowly pull your body upwards, towards the bar till a point that your chin passes it.
- Once you achieve this height, bring back yourself lower to the original hanging position and keep your body stiff and tight throughout. Do not swing sideways. Repeat it a few times in the rep.
2) Reps And Sets
The more you do the exercise, the more will be the metabolic stress that will come on your muscles. You can do a set of body weight exercises, and the reps that you normally would do at a gym, at home and achieve the same results. It is important to have some breaks between the sets and reps because you should not overstrain your body as well. Research has shown that light resistance training consistently, with little rest in between enhances the muscles, their size, and metabolic stress even more than lifting heavy weights and taking longer breaks between them. In short, do little but more frequently than going all out and exhausting early.
3) Air Squats
If you are looking for the most effective exercise, then look no further! Squats it is! This set of exercises directly focuses on the biggest muscles in the body, those present in the thighs and butt. Regular squats help to increase the lean muscle mass quickly while activating gluts, hamstrings, quadriceps, and even the muscles at your lower back. Squats help you gave a strong back and prevent early back pain especially if you have a sedentary job.
How To Do Air Squats:
- Take a stance that is wider than the width of your shoulder and keep your toes slightly facing to the side.
- Keep back straight while pulling your shoulders back
- Move your arms in the front and stretch them out so that they are parallel to the floor. You can also place them behind your head, like how a prisoner would hold when busted.
- Take a deep breath, bend your knees and lower your butt. Through this, keep your legs still and back straight. Look forward.
- Go as low as your hip allows. Ideally, your thighs must rest on the calves, but it might not be possible if you do not have body flexibility yet. With time, you will squat deeper.
- Exhale and slowly raise your body to the starting position.
4) Cardiovascular Exercises
Doing high-intensity cardio exercises helps in muscle growth because they enable the release of anabolic hormones. If you want to grow muscle mass quicker, while also developing a lean body, create a high-intensity cardio plan and get started.
While you do your cardio exercise, hold your core muscles tight as if you are bracing for a punch there. This might seem irritating and uncomfortable at first, but is a quick way to build muscles around the core. It also makes your muscle fibers more enduring.
5) Interchanging limbs
Many exercises call for you to use both arms and both legs at once. However, if you only use 1 at a time, you work the muscles in that limb harder, helping you build muscle. Alternate which limb you use on exercises that use both, such as doing pushups with just your left arm and then just your right arm.
- To mix things up, try a push-up with your feet close together. If that’s easy for you, try lifting one foot off the floor for your pushups. Alternate so you perform the exercise equally on each leg.
- If you try one-arm pushups, attempt to hold the other arm behind your back. If you’re ready for an added challenge, place the free hand forward or out to the side. Again, perform any one-sided exercises equally. There is tons of way to vary your pushups to increase their difficulty.
So many of the exercises you do will require both legs and arms at once. But if you work on either of them at once, then the focus of the exercise stays entirely on that limb, which helps to increase muscle build-up faster there. While doing pushups and other similar bodyweight exercises, you can always alternate between your limbs so that both get equal benefits.
Specifically, in the case of pushups, you can mix things up by bringing your feet close to each other. Then lift a foot off the floor, while you do pushups. Then alternate it by lifting off the other leg.
If you want to do one-hand pushups, then place the other arm behind your back. To make it harder, you can place the free hand either at the front or at the side. Perform the one-hand pushups in equal numbers for each limb. Overall, pushups provide you great flexibility to increase or decrease the difficulty, and thus the effectiveness.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What Is Muscle Hypertrophy?
The size of the muscles in your body increases when you expose them to higher weights and resistance continuously. This is scientifically known as muscle hypertrophy.
Is It Possible To Build Muscles At Home?
Your body weight can be used to strengthen your arms and legs while building muscle and improving fitness levels.
Which Hormones Are Responsible For Muscle Growth?
Testosterone, growth hormone, and insulin also play a vital role in muscle repair and growth.