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Bodybuilding Without Going to the Gym

May 24, 2008
Bodybuilding is best done in a gym complete with free weights and exercise equipment. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford going to the gym. This includes students, teenagers, and individuals still working out their bills and debt payments. Does this mean that bodybuilding is a luxury only afforded by those with good credit scores?

Thankfully not - there are many ways to build muscle without having to go to a gym. You may not have the benefit of free weights, but your own body weight may be all you'll ever need.

Push ups are a good simple exercise that works out the chest, triceps, and shoulder muscles. The position of your hands relative to your shoulders dictates which parts of your pectoral muscles are being worked out. If they're in line with your shoulders, then they'll work out the center areas of your chest muscles. If they're slightly further in, push ups will work on the inner pectorals, and if they're slightly further out, they'll work out the outer pectorals. It's a good idea to work out the entire muscle group by alternating hand positions in a push up routine.

It's important to do enough repetitions to cause muscle failure (when you can't push yourself up anymore with proper form) to encourage muscle growth. For starters, muscle failure may occur after 6 - 8 repetitions. As you get stronger, you may want to increase resistance by placing your feet up on a box or table while doing this exercise.

Pull ups are a great exercise for the biceps and back muscles. Find a smooth bar sturdy enough to support your weight - this is easy to find in a park playground. Grasp the bar with your palms facing in and slowly pull yourself up, breathing out as you go, until your chin passes the bar's level, then ease yourself down. Make sure you don't bounce when you go down, and keep your feet off the ground. Do as many repetitions as you can until you can't pull yourself up anymore. Rest for a few minutes, and then do another set. 3-4 sets per workout should be enough.

Crunches are still a great exercise for the abdominal muscles. There are two areas of the abs that can be worked out with sit-ups: (1) the upper abs, and (2) the middle and lower abs.

To work out the upper abs, lie down with your back on the ground, your hands at your sides, and your legs bent at 45 degrees with the floor. Slowly lift your head and upper back while keeping your lower back on the ground. Then hold the position, squeeze your abdominal muscles for three seconds, then return to starting position. Repeat until it hurts, then rest for two minutes.

To work out the middle and lower abs, assume the same position as above, but with your hands on your thighs. As you go up, slide your hands up until they touch your knees. Hold, squeeze for three seconds, then go back down.

Squats can work your legs even without the use of free weights. To squat, stand with your feet at shoulder-width apart. Slowly bend your knees and bring your butt down until your legs are at 90 degrees, keeping your back straight all the time. Hold the position for three seconds, then come back up. For starters, 2 sets of 10 squats per set should be enough. Slowly increase the number of sets and repetitions as you get stronger. Alternatively you can use an exercise ball placed between a wall and your lumber region, with your feet forward a little you then lower yourself (the ball will roll up your back at this stage) till your legs are at a 90 degree angle them push back up, using an exercise ball this way gives you great back support.

Make sure to start each workout with some cardio and stretching exercises. Also make sure to take at least 24 hours of rest between workouts, and it's also advisable to do only two of the exercises above on one given day (e.g. push ups and sit-ups on one day, pull ups and squats on the next).
About the Author
If you are needing help with pushing past training plateaus check out Cliff's site: www.MuscleBuildingProgramReview.com/. There is a free 'body building blunders' mini-course to help you get on track.
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