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Work Out Without A Gym

By Gary Matthews,

Editor's note: when Arnold Schwarzenegger was making the movie Predator, the film crew was several miles deep in the jungle. It wasn't practical to carry weights that distance. Arnold used trees to do chin-ups and pull-ups for his back. He did squats and other exercises with what was available.


You probably know that using free weights and machines is the fastest and most efficient way to improve your metabolism and strength. But for many reasons, these may not be convenient or readily accessible to you. You may also have no access to a commercial gym or equipment at home. For example, when on a business trip.

Exercises done correctly without weights will build the lean muscle and increase your metabolism in the same way as performing exercises at a gymnasium, but without the time constraints and associated costs. These exercises can be easily done in a bedroom, hotel room, a park, school yard, or any other place.

You can use ceiling rafters in a garage or the jamb of in a doorway. The one thing you must use is your imagination.  There will always be a way to add more resistance to your workouts. Consider these exercises:


Leg Exercises


Editor's note: This is a core exercise, rather than just a leg exercise. It's commonly called "the mother of all exercises." Done correctly, squats work the muscles in your trunk (best ab exercise there is) and create the correct hormonal environment for all muscles to grow. Your biceps will grow faster if you do just squats twice a month than if you do biceps curls every four days. You can do squats without weighs and have a brutal workout.

Position your feet about 13 to 17 inches apart or at shoulder width, keeping the back straight and your head up. 

Now squat down to where the tops of the thighs are parallel to the floor, hold for a second and then stand up, but donít bounce at the bottom of the movement, use a nice fluid motion. Always exhale your breath as you stand up.

Editor's note: Exhale deeply and contract your abs very hard.


Stand straight in correct posture. Next, stand with one leg forward and one leg back. Keeping your abdominal muscles tight and chest up, lower your upper body down, bending your leg (don't step out too far).  

You should have about one to two feet between your feet at this stage, the further forward you step, and the more your gluteus and hamstring muscles will have to work. 

Do not allow your knee to go forward beyond your toes as you come down. Stop where your feel comfortable (try not to let your back come forward) then push directly back up. Do all your reps on one leg then switch legs and do all your reps on the other leg.


Back Exercises 


Chin-ups are a great upper body workout, particularly targeting your biceps, deltoid, and lat muscles. Use a doorway chin-up bar or ceiling rafters in a garage. Or grab the molding of your door frame.

Position your hands with an under hand grip and hang down, stretching the lats. Slowly raise your body until your chin reaches the bar level.  

Pause a moment before slowly lowering yourself back to the starting position. Donít swing or use momentum to get your body to the top, just use the target muscles. Doorway chinning bars remove from the doorway when you are not using them and can be put up and taken down in seconds.

Editor's note: The pull-up is the same thing, but you use an over hand grip. If you do both exercises alternately in the same back workout, you'll target the lats in different ways to build thickness and width. This routine is superior to using a pulldown bar, and should be done in lieu of that for maximum training.


Bent Over Row 

Take up a position with your right hand and right knee braced on a sturdy bed or some other flat surface that will provide a good support. Now pick up a dumbbell or something heavy that you can hold onto with your left hand.

Editor's note: A suitcase may be just the trick! 

Visualize your arms as hooks, and slowly bring the dumbbell or object up to the side of your chest. Keep your back straight. Then lower the weight back down to arm's length--no lower on extremes, safe form only please. Concentrate on your back muscles. Reverse the whole procedure and do the exercise now with your right arm.


Chest Exercises 


The push up is used for building chest, shoulders, and arms.  Lie face down on the floor with your hands about shoulder width apart and keep your palms turned slightly inward. Now push up until your arms are straight. Lower and repeat for repetitions.

To make it more difficult, elevate your feet. Try placing the toes of your feet on a stable, elevated surface such as a bench, chair, or a stair. Straightening your body, position your hands on the floor at shoulder width. Lower your body until your chest touches the floor at the bottom, and then return to the starting position in a nice fluid motion.


This exercise can be done between two sturdy chairs or other surfaces that provide stability. The dip is another great upper body exercise. Itís a compound movement and works all the muscles that the push up works. 

Keep your head up and body as vertical as possible. For the beginning of the movement, start at the top (arms fully extended) and lower yourself until your upper arms are parallel to the seat of the chairs. Hold and then push up to the top of the movement until your arms are fully extended again. Keep looking straight ahead and donít bounce at the bottom of the movement.


Adding Weight 

Although the simple weight of your own body is enough resistance to provide an effective workout, we need progressive overload (added resistance) to become stronger. 

So all we need to do is add some weight wherever we can find some. There are no metal plates and fancy machines to use, but it doesnít matter because the body doesnít care where it is as long as it's receiving resistance of some kind. 

You can use heavy books clasped in your hands. You can buy some cheap weighted dumbbells or ankle weights.  A weighted vest will also allow you to add resistance for both chin-ups and push-ups. Try to buy one that will let you remove and add weight as you see fit. Also a backpack filled with books can be perfect for most of the exercises and is a cheap alternative. 

How about a couple of buckets and fill them with a certain level of water? As you get stronger, fill them with more water. This is perfect because depending on the exercise, all you need to do is to increase or decrease the amount of water in the buckets for the required amount of resistance.

We know that using free weights and machines is the fastest and most efficient way to gain lean muscle and strength. But they aren't always available. By performing the exercises in this article, youíll have nearly the same benefits you'd get from using a weight set.

Gary Matthews is the author of the popular fitness eBooks Maximum Weight Loss and Maximum Weight Gain. Please visit right now for your free weight loss e-course

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