Guide to Bodyweight Muscle Building:
Learn how to build muscle WITHOUT a gym membership
In part 1 of this series, I talked about the top three reasons why individuals over the age of 55 should consider starting a weight lifting program. These reasons were:
- Prevent a slow down of your metabolic rate
- Strengthen bones to prevent osteoporosis
- Build lean muscle mass to look better and boost metabolism
Now lets get down to the nitty gritty. What you REALLY want to know: What kind of workout routine should You follow for building lean muscle?
Keep it as Simple as Possible
First rule is to keep it as simple as possible. When my father first came to me to workout, I set him up on a very simple program:
- Push Press, 2×10
- Bent Over Row, 2×10
- Rest 2 minutes
- Deadlift, 2×10
- Bodyweight Squat, 2×10
- Rest 2 minutes
I gave him a list of things to change in his diet, some of which included:
- Start his day with a bowl of oatmeal
- Cut down his intake of bread
- Drink a protein shake right after working out
His workouts lasted just 10-20 minutes. And he lost 7 lbs in the first 2 weeks.
Unfortunately, he had to fire the guy that was working at his store. So now he’s back to working 90 hours a week. But I’m still impressed. He’s kept the weight off by doing simple workouts at his store when he has the time.
One of his customers gave him a pair of 8lb and 10lb dumbbells. Not optimal, but at least it’s something.
Start Somewhere, and Keep Progressing
When people ask me, “How do I lose fat/build muscle.” The first thing I ask them is, “What are you doing right now?”
Most people aren’t doing anything. It may sound silly, the but the answer is, DO SOMETHING! Anything. Get your body moving. It doesn’t matter if your workout program isn’t perfect. There is no such thing as a perfect workout program.
Exercise is a process that you must stick to for the long term. Enjoy the journey and learn things along the way. My workouts today are dramatically different from what they were 5 years ago.
But they didn’t change dramatically. They changed over a period of 5 years. In the next 5 years, I’ll be doing some crazy things I wouldn’t even think of doing right now.
Your body will change gradually, and your workout routine must change with it.
So get started with a very basic, simple program, and keep challenging yourself as you progress.
What are the Basics?
With all this talk about basics, I’m sure you’re wondering…what are the basics?
When I say basics, I mean basic movements that are universal to all training programs. My list isn’t perfect. I’m sure you’ll find someone who completely disagrees with me.
But these movements are a great starting point:
Basic Dumbbell Movements:
- Overhead Press
- Chest Press
- Bent Over Row
Basic Bodyweight Movements:
- Bodyweight Squats
Setting up your Program
There are numerous ways to set up your program. There’s no right way. It’s all about figuring out what works best for you. However, I do believe that beginners should start out with a basic, full body workout.
You can start off with the following 2 days per week program:
- Overhead Press, 2×10, rest 2 minutes between each set
- Pullups, 1xmax, rest 2 minutes
- Bodyweight Squats, 1xmax, rest 2 minutes
- Chest Press, 2×10, rest 2 minutes between each set
- Dumbbell Squat, 2×10, rest 2 minutes between each set
- Bent Over Row, 2×10, rest 2 minutes between each set
- Pushups, 1xmax, rest 2 minutes
- Deadlift, 2×10, rest 2 minutes between each set
Just to go over some basic definitions:
When I write 2×10, it means that you perform 10 repetitions of the movement, then rest for 2 minutes. This counts as one set. You need to do 2 sets.
Repeat one more time, then move onto the next movement.
When I write 1xmax, it means that you perform as many repetitions as possible of the movement without stopping. So for example, if you’re doing pullups, and you can only pull yourself half way to the bar, count that as your full rep.
But be consistent, keep pulling yourself half way until you can no longer pull yourself up without stopping. Lets say you perform 3 half way pullups. Your goal for the next week is to perform 4 half way pullups.
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