How to Build Muscle with Bodyweight Exercises

When I talk to clients about their ideal home workout, most say they want something challenging and effective with no equipment required. Since many people don’t have access to the same type of weights and machines at home, I recommend bodyweight workouts. 

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need expensive equipment to achieve a strong and toned physique. All you need to do is properly leverage your body weight. 

The human body has an incredible capacity for movement and strength, and these exercises are a great way to explore your physical potential:


This exercise engages all parts of the body, especially your core and arms.

Start in a kneeling position and place your hands on the floor shoulder-width apart. Straighten your arms and legs, and be careful not to arch your back. 

Lower your body until your chest almost touches the floor. Hold for one second and push yourself back up. Repeat this movement 10 times. Do three sets.

If a standard pushup is hard for you, drop your knees and continue with the motion. As your strength builds, you can lift one knee and then when you’re feeling comfortable you can lift both knees.

If you want to challenge yourself, try to clap your hands at the top of each push-up or elevate your feet.

Studies show that feet-elevated push ups are the most effective and create more force compared to other forms of push-ups.


Another full-body exercise, squatting is great for your legs, glutes and core. Since there is a lot of weight placed on your knees, proper form is important to prevent injury.

First, place your feet shoulder-width distance apart. With your chest up and shoulders back, lower down as if sitting in an invisible chair. Keep your heels and toes planted firmly on the ground. Your core will be activated in order to maintain balance.

If this is too difficult, you can start by using a chair. Start by sitting in a chair, slowly stand up and lower back down. 

To take it to the next level, do quick pulse movements while you are in the bottom of the squat position.


Targeting the lower body, lunges can help strengthen your legs, back and abs. they are also excellent when it comes to improving the flexibility of your hip flexors.

Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Shifting your weight forward, take a big step with the right leg. Lower your body until your knee is parallel to the ground. 

Be careful that your knee doesn’t overextend. Press into your heel to push yourself up to a standing position. Do 3 sets of 10. Repeat on the left side.

Too challenging? Go into the bottom of the lunge position, but simply pulse up and down. 

Too easy? Lengthen the rep. After you get to standing position, step back and lower yourself down.

Tricep dips

This is one of my favorite bodyweight exercises. It has many variations and is excellent for toning and tightening the arms.

First, place your hands shoulder-width apart on a chair. Move to the edge of the chair with your legs extended. Next, straighten your arms with your elbows slightly bent. Lower your body until your arms make a 90-degree angle. Be conscious of your posture in this position and keep your spine vertical.

Hold for two seconds at the bottom of the dip. Slowly straighten your arm and raise yourself back up to the starting position. Do 3 sets of 15 reps.

If this is too hard, sit on the floor and lift your body up using the same movement.

If this is too easy, keep your legs elevated on a chair or blocks.


Ready to get started? Drop and give me 20! (just kidding) If you need guidance getting started, check out our virtual personal training program.