When it comes to building muscle the go to strategy is weight lifting. Sure, pumping iron builds bulk but that isn’t the only way. If your goal is to get bigger there are at least two other tools to include in your bulk up kit. These are diet and body weight exercises. Together, the three are a fitness powerhouse that will have you looking and feeling more powerful in no time.
What is body weight exercise?
Body weight exercise uses the weight of your body instead of dumbbells or weight machines to help you build bulk. These exercises require no special equipment, which means they offer the convenience of anytime, anywhere fitness. Examples of body weight exercises include push-ups, planks, squats and bridges.
What to eat for building bulk
Fitness experts advise eating several small meals throughout the day. These meals should include protein, a muscle building block and quality carbs for energy. Healthy fats (think avocado and nuts) should be included but be careful not to overdo it. Aim for 1.5 to 2 grams of protein per pound each day. If your schedule does not make it possible to eat throughout the day, choose snacks carefully and give special attention to your post workout meal. The post workout meal is the recovery meal. The carbs and protein you consume support muscle repair and development. Good choices include baked sweet potatoes, lean beef or chicken, tuna and brown rice. There is a limited place in your diet for protein drinks. These should not be considered a regular substitute for a healthy diet.
Bulk building exercises
The gym is a great place to start. There are weights of every size and mirrors that help you check your lifting form. There are also weight training machines. When you can’t get to the gym try the following exercises at home.
Squats – stand with feet hip width apart. While keeping your spine straight bend your knees so that your bottom moves toward the floor. Hold a few moments before returning to the standing position.
Push-ups – Lie on your stomach on a mat. Place your hands flat under your shoulders and lift your feet onto your toes. Push yourself up so that your arms are fully extended. Bend your elbows to lower your chest toward the floor.
Pull ups – you will need to securely fasten a bar to a door frame for this exercise. Grab the bar with palms down. Lift your body until the elbows are bent and your head extends beyond the bar. Turn your palms toward your face to perform chin-ups.
Each of these exercises can be modified to increase intensity as you progress.
Don’t forget to include rest days in your training plan. Rest is as important as exercise in building muscle. Also, begin at the beginning. Allow your body to progress through a routine that is right for your current fitness level. In other words, begin with fewer reps and intensity and build up to more as you get stronger. Be patient with the process or risk an injury that will derail the whole plan.