Bodyweight Exercises That Build Serious Muscle

If you’re reading this article, then you certainly have some hefty fitness goals. Increasing muscle mass is a lofty ambition that takes commitment and dedication. One of the most effective ways to accomplish this fitness objective is with bodyweight exercises. To learn more about this effective training process, read on.

What Are Bodyweight Exercises?

Bodyweight training is a type of workout that targets large muscle groups using minimal equipment. Push-ups, chin-ups, and lunges are just a few examples of movements that fit into this category. 

Sometimes known as calisthenics, bodyweight exercises are a form of resistance training, meaning you use your body weight as resistance to primarily build muscle and strength.

Make no mistake about it, these activities can build some serious muscle even without fancy exercise machines.  

You will be pulling, pushing, jumping, and doing activities using only your weight as the resistance. Although it may sound simple, you’ll be surprised by how much muscle gain you can achieve. 

Bodyweight exercises are not just for beginners. In fact, one of the advantages of using bodyweight is that as you progress in your routine, you can make the exercises more challenging. Simply moving the positioning of your hands or switching up the number of sets and reps you do can make a difference.

Best Bodyweight Exercises for Muscle Mass

Are you ready to get started? Here are some of the best bodyweight exercises for muscle mass:


Get back to the basics with push-ups. They work your upper body, lower back, and abdominals. Beginners can start with wall push-ups. As you get stronger, boost the difficulty by widening your legs or only using one arm to push yourself up.

Bodyweight Squats

Just about any type of squat will work your lower legs. They look easy, but your legs will burn, and your thighs will be sore after the first time you do them. When you master the classic squat exercise, increase the intensity with pistol squats (done on one leg), jump squats, crossover squats, and more!


This challenging exercise will work your biceps and lats. They are one of the most effective exercises to create the “V” look on the width of your back. 

Forward Lunges

This bodyweight exercise is ideal for working and toning your legs, especially your upper leg. Longer lunges activate the glutes (butt), whereas shorter lunges activate the quadriceps (front of thigh). 

3 Ways to Intensify Your Bodyweight Training

One of the ways to maximize muscle growth with these non-equipment-based movements is progressively increasing the difficulty of the bodyweight exercises. For example, to make bodyweight exercises more challenging, you can:

Adjust the Rate

Slow down or speed up the tempo (the speed at which you move) to promote increased muscle mass. A slower tempo will keep your muscles under tension for longer, making it considerably more demanding.

Increase the Reps or Duration

Train with progressive overload by making your sessions harder every time. Working to failure (until you cannot do another rep) will allow you to boost your intensity level to get your desired results.

Rest Less Often

Pausing between your sets is important, but if you want to amp up the intensity, then shorten the breaks you take. You will know you’ve improved if you can perform your set just as well with less rest time.

Benefits of Bodyweight Training for Muscle Mass

There are numerous benefits to bodyweight exercises other than just the significant muscle gains you’ll get.

Great for All Fitness Levels

Bodyweight exercises are often considered beginner-friendly workouts. However, with the variations and changes you can implement, even advanced athletes make visible gains. 

Practical and Functional

Most bodyweight exercises are movements that are replicated in everyday life. These exercises will help increase your flexibility, mobility, and stability to perform daily tasks. For example, carrying groceries from your car (all in one trip!) or getting off the couch.

Reduce Injury

It’s easy to get hurt in the gym. Equipment can be tricky, and improperly doing activities can put you on the sidelines. You can improve your quality of life while at the same time reducing your risk of injury by doing bodyweight exercises.

The Bottom Line: Bodyweight Exercises Work!

There is understandably a lot to learn about bodyweight exercises for building serious muscle mass. That’s where Fit Body Boot Camp (FBBC) comes in.

If you have wondered if bodyweight exercises can build serious muscle, you now know the resounding answer is “Yes!” However, proper form and technique are essential to avoid putting yourself at risk for injury.

Having a professional coach to ensure you complete bodyweight exercises safely and effectively will help you achieve your goal much quicker.

At Fit Body Boot Camp, we know the best environment for working out is in a group setting. Our sessions will make you feel inspired and motivated by our certified fitness coaches and other members. We will ensure you get the most from your training.

FBBC fitness experts give you personal attention to ensure you get the ultimate benefit from each and every workout while remaining injury free. 

Our Fit Body Boot Camp program is committed to result-driven sessions: 

  • All fitness levels welcome
  • No intimidating equipment 
  • No figuring it out alone
  • Our signature Afterburn Workout burns 2x the calories in just half the time and keeps your metabolism running at a higher rate for up to 36 hours post-workout

Find your nearest FBBC location, and let’s get started on maximizing your muscle strength!

Written by

Real People With Real Results

We guarantee you'll love Fit Body Boot Camp or it's free in the first 30 days