Is it Possible to Gain Muscle without Lifting Heavy Weights?

Learn how you don't need to go to the gym or use special equipment to lose weight, eliminate fat, preserve and tone muscle. With your own body weight, you can develop muscle mass in all areas of the body.
Is it Possible to Gain Muscle without Lifting Heavy Weights?

Last update: 06 October, 2018

The good news is, yes! It is possible to gain muscle without lifting heavy weights. There are a wide variety of exercises that simply use your own body weight as resistance, and these provide you with muscle mass.

Exercises that use your own body weight will prevent the risk of serious injuries to muscles and chronic inflammation, such as tendinitis in the joints.

Top five body weight exercises

These exercises promote constant muscle growth, according to your level of expertise and personal physique.

Perform various types of push-ups

Push-ups increase the size and muscular strength of the chest, shoulders, and triceps. You can start with regular push-ups, and make the transition to push-ups with you feet elevated. You must keep your hands together to work the triceps, muscles and shoulders.

Woman doing pushups to gain muscle.


The plank exercise is one of the most effective to gain muscles and tone them. It’s about raising your body weight, using the tips of your toes and the palms of your hands as support. Your back should always be aligned and straight, in a horizontal position.

Another variation, is to lean on the tips of your toes and forearms, achieving a slope posture. This exercise works your shoulders and arms, chest muscles and abdominal area.

Really, this is quite a complete exercise and it’s easy to perform. It’s a good example of what it means to gain muscles without lifting heavy weights. It’s advisable to start with three sets a day of 10 repetitions, and as muscle strength grows, you can increase the sets and the number of repetitions.


The squat is recommended to work the lower part of your body since it incorporates most of the muscles in the legs. The habit of using squat variations will build and define the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings.

Woman doing squats to tone muscle.

You must go from less to more, when you practice squats. When you can do 25 continuous squats, you can then try to do them using just one foot.

Supplementary exercises

The only extra equipment that you will need for this routine is a chair. You must place yourself in front of, and above the chair, almost as if you were about to sit down. Instead of doing this exercise with both hands resting on the seat of the chair, stretch your legs all the way out in front of you, and support yourself with your heels on the floor.

This way, we flex all of our musculature: biceps and triceps. Make sure that the seat of the chair is at the same height as the middle of your back, and then get back up using your arms.

Your buttocks shouldn’t touch the floor, and your back should be completely straight. Start with three sets of 10 repetitions, and gradually increase these as you gain more muscle strength.

Basic back extensions to strengthen the lower back

Basic workouts using your own body weight will also develop muscles in the abdominal and lower back area. Once you achieve 15 consecutive repetitions, you can move on to start working the glutes.

What should we eat to gain muscle without lifting weight?

When we think about gaining muscle without lifting heavy weight, and we opt for training routines based on our body weight, we can’t forget the main role of nutrition.

As we have seen, among the most used routines to gain muscle without too much effort are: squats, push-ups, and planks.

Our body needs many calories and nutrients to nourish growing muscle mass. Your diet should adjust to these new requirements and contain all of the food that the body needs to function and perform optimally.

Different protein sources to build muscle.

You must eat sufficient amounts of proteins, which will help to build muscles (meat, fish, chicken, eggs and dairy products). Your diet should also include carbohydrates, guaranteeing the body vital reserves of energy while exercising. Healthy fats contribute around 20 percent of the total calories needed.

A physical activity regimen based on body weight should respect our abilities, and include a healthy and balanced diet.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.