How to increase muscle size with Bodyweight Training

Your muscles are burning, you are training constantly, you sleep more than enough and you consume a lot of protein daily. However, your muscles seem not to be growing.... What should you do? There are a couple of tips you probably didn't know yet.

One or more of these 5 factors may be influencing:

  • Food
  • Train to failure
  • Legs
  • Goals
  • Momentum

Read our tips below to increase your muscle size, even with bodyweight training! Possibly you already know a couple of tricks but this article can give you that last boost and make you BIGGER!

1. Food

You simply don't eat enough. 

Just because you feel that you're eating enough doesn't mean that you're actually doing it. There is no science behind it: if you want to gain muscle, you should consume more calories than you're allowed to consume daily. That will be the key to success. With regard to the amount of protein, in this article you can read the ideal daily protein intake.

Ideally, try to gain muscle by accumulating as little fat and sugar as possible. Aims to achieve between 0.5 and 1 kg of muscle per month. If you're gaining more weight monthly than that, it's probably fat.

2. Train to failure

It is true that failure training allows you to recruit more muscle fibers and stimulate muscle hypertrophy. But there is something else that is also important: the volume of training.

The training volume is the number of repetitions and series you perform. If in the first series you get to failure, you can hardly make enough repetitions in the next series! That way you will be decreasing the volume of your training and reducing muscle gains. Make sure you find the right amount of repetitions, if you want to do 4 sets, all sets should be tough but the last two sets you should train to failure. In addition, getting to failure in all your workouts can be harmful to your Central Nervous System due to the great fatigue that this training methodology produces.

You can have workouts where you always go to failure in every series, but not every day! An alternative may be to go to failure only in your last series, as mentioned above. Beginners should avoid completely failing until they get the strength to maintain a good technique even to the end of the series.

3. Legs

You're not training enough legs.

Want bigger arms? Do you think leg training is not necessary? Well, you're wrong!

As explained in point 2, the total volume of training is related to muscle hypertrophy. Since the legs are the largest muscles in our entire body, there are two important things to note:

- The legs need more workout volume to fatigue compared to other muscle groups.

- Legs training stimulates the hormones needed for muscle growth.


Doing 12 squats is not training legs. Train your legs just as hard as the rest of your bodyand you will achieve a better metabolic response after your workouts. Of course, with bodyweight training it might be difficult to train your legs as heavy as in the gym, but compensate that with more repetitions and sets. You can definitely get muscular legs with Bodyweight Training!

4. Goals

You want to get muscle definition and get big at the same time..

Well, it's not impossible. It is true that there are some people, who under certain circumstances can gain muscle and lose fat at the same time. Definitely with bodyweight training that's possible. What is also true is that, generally, these people are elite athletes.

However, for us, amateur athletes, it is best to focus on one goal at a time . It may be that doing too much cardio and / or consuming fewer calories daily will slow down your muscle gain.

How much cardio is ideal? 2 (maximum 3) times per week, between 20 and 30 minutes. Anyway it's not the same for everyone, so start with a weekly session and, as long as you feel it doesn't affect your strength workouts, add more cardio sessions or, if you prefer and you're well trained enough, you can choose to do High Intensity Interval Training. But beware, usually HIIT routines burn a lot of calories!


5. Momentum

You are using the famous so-called "momentum" to make exercises easier.

Many people use momentum to get those extra reps at the end of each series. Such repetitions without control or form, will not help you at all and the only thing that could cause unwanted injuries.

If an exercise is very difficult for you, there is always the possibility of modifying it to reduce the level of difficulty (for example kneeling push-ups) or practice negative ones (Negative Dominates instead of Balance Dominated). Also having a training partner who can help you with your last pull ups by holding your feet, so you can properly do your exercise it a great way to increase your number of reps. Another alternative is a pull up band!

Choose variants of exercises that allow you to do between 10 and 12 repetitions, getting tired to the last reps but still completing them with good technique. Repeat each exercise for 3 or 4 sets .

Remember the basic principle of quantity. Fewer repetitions with good technique will make you stronger than doing repetitions with swaying! 

  Patrick Hendriks         Comments (0)

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