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Body Weight Exercises Workouts - Skinny Body To Lean Muscle Mass
By Jean Lam

I used to be a very skinny guy when I was younger. I had to bear the critics I got from some members of my family who used to tell me that I was so skinny. It was frustrating to hear these critics I have to admit. I felt weak at that time. In fact, I wasn't skinny because I eat too little. I have a good appetite but I have an ectomorphic body type. No matter how much I ate, I can't seem to bulk up. With time, I got fed up with these critics and decided to change my body. I started to take care of my body and got into exercising. I wanted to get less skinny and stronger. It was a major objective for me and I was really motivated to achieve my goal.

I started learning about muscle building and different body weight exercises. I found that push ups, pull ups, chin ups, dips and squats are powerful compound exercises which target several muscle groups and can build muscle mass. I also learn about nutrition and its importance in training. Since venturing into muscle building, I was fascinated and discovered that I had a passion for training. Like I said earlier, the primary reason I wanted to change my body was due to critics but eventually, I realize that it wasn't a chore to start transforming my body because I did it with passion. I love what I was doing. I like the feeling of getting my muscles pumped and I feel great after every workout. I train 3 times per week. My workout was as follows.

Monday - Pull Ups, Push Ups

I still remember when I bought my pull up bar. It can be fixed between two walls very easily with a mechanism which puts pressure on both walls and it was solidly fixed without any additional equipment. First thing I do was pull ups with wide grip with palms facing outwards. The pull ups is a difficult exercise. At first I was only able to do a few repeats. With time, I did 3-5 sets of 6-10 repeats. The trick with this exercise is when you are doing the negative that is lowering your body down, you need to let your body stretched down completely so that you can feel your lats muscles working. Newbies can use the negative part of the exercise as a way to gain more strength by lowering their bodies slowly. This will assist them when they do the pulling part of the exercise. Pull ups can give you a great V-Shape body and work the upper lats, the upper back, the rear deltoids, biceps and forearms, so it's a powerful compound exercise.

Next, I did decline push ups. Feet elevated on a chair and hands on the floor, I did 3 sets of 15-20 repeats. The decline push ups target mostly the upper chest. Then I will move on to push ups between 2 chairs. Feet elevated on a chair and with one hand on one chair and another hand on another chair, boths chairs spaced out about 2 feet, I did 3 sets of 7-10 repeats. With this exercise, you can go down much more as compared to the usual push ups. You feel a great stretch on your chest and this exercise works mostly the outer pectorals and also the middle chest. If you want, it's getting the same feeling as dumbbell flyes for instance. Next, I will do the push ups between two chairs but now my body is reversed. When I go down, I try to put my body more in forward position and not too straight to emphasize more on the lower pectorals rather than the triceps. These 3 exercises gave me a great chest workout I can tell you. With just these free exercises that require nothing but a few chairs and your own body weight, I've been able to carve out a ripped muscular chest. Push ups is a great compound exercise as it works not only the chest but the triceps, front and middle deltoids and back as well.

Wednesday - Crunches, Leg Raises, Squats, Calves

I also work out my abdominals to strengthen them. I did crunches(4 sets of 25 repeats) and leg raises(4 sets of 25 repeats).
For leg training, I did squats which is a powerful leg mass builder. It's also a very effective compound exercise. It targets the quadriceps, the hamstrings, the glutes and the lower back. I did 4-5 sets of 25 repeats. When doing squats, you will feel a burn which can become unbearable. It's the build up of lactic acid which provokes this. Don't worry, this burn is natural and is not the result of injury whatsoever. For calf training, I did standing calf raises and did 4 sets of 25 repeats to complete my wednesday training workout.

Friday - Chin Ups, Dips, Diamond Push Ups

I start my friday workout with chin ups. As compared to pull ups, the chin ups are performed with your grips closer about 8 inches and your palms facing inwards. I do 3-5 sets of 6-10 repeats as well. Chin ups work the lower lats, the middle back also known as rhomboids, the biceps and forearms. Next, I proceed to dips. I use two chairs. Feet elevated on one chair and two hands on another chair in a reverse position similar to reversed push ups between two chairs, I maintain my back straight and bend my elbows about 90 degrees, then up again. I do 3-4 sets of 8-10 repeats. This exercise targets primarily the triceps and other muscles worked are the shoulders and the chest. Last exercise I do is decline diamond push ups. Similar to decline push ups but this time, my hands are closer to each other and form a diamond shape with my thumbs and index fingers. I do 3 sets of 8-10 repeats. When doing this exercise, keep your elbows inwards, as close to your body as possible so that you can feel your triceps working. Diamond push ups is a powerful triceps mass builder and doing it in a decline position makes the exercise more difficult and more challenging. Can also be performed without elevation on a chair. The diamond push ups can be compared to the close grip bench press.

When I wasn't training, I focus on my nutrition, eating 4-5 small meals per day every 3 hours to boost my metabolism and stimulate muscle growth. My diet consists mainly of lean protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. Some foods that I consume on a regular basis are oatmeal, skim milk, banana, whole eggs, skinless chicken breast, tuna, salmon, white fish, green beans, broccoli, asparagus, brown rice, wholemeal bread, sweet potatoes, extra virgin olive oil and lots of water. I didn't take any supplements, I just stick to whole foods. I had adequate rest, recovery and after several weeks to adhering to that routine, I've started to gain lean muscle mass and an athletic physique. As you can see, you don't need expensive equipment or go to the gym to build a decent lean muscular physique. With just simple body weight exercises at home, you can get a whole body workout and achieve your goal. One major advantage with body weight exercises is that they can be performed anywhere most of the time. But if you want to pack on more muscle mass, weight training is recommended. I hope this article has provided you with some valuable tips to get a better and healthier physique. Good luck in your muscle building goals.

To learn much more about building muscle without weights, I recommend you check out Workout Without Weights.

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About the author

Jean Lam is the webmaster of Body Building Resource which provides articles on weight training, nutrition and fitness, body building book and DVDs.


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