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Pack on Serious Muscle with These 8 Bodyweight Exercises

If you pump iron regularly, you must also be aware that building muscle is also about building total body strength. It’s important to learn what the progressions are and how to program advanced movements into your routine. You should prioritise incorporating something more than just the standard planks and pushups.

Some of these movements can take years to master, but the rewards can be amazing, and well worth the effort. Here are 8 bodyweight exercises that will help you pack some serious muscle:

Bodyweight exercises

#1 Pushups (with variations)

This is probably one of the very first exercises you must have learned. The one way to get optimum benefits here is to embrace all the variations this exercise offers, such as handstand pushups, one-arm pushups, diamond pushups as well as Plyo-pushups.

#2 Pull-Ups (with variations)

This exercise helps build an impressive back, superior grip strength and it’s great for developing biceps. It’s important to work in many different grip variations such as palms facing in, palms facing out, wide grip, narrow grip and neutral grip etc. In fact, you can also try one-arm pull ups. Add more variation by using clock handles; or gymnastic rings or just get creative by heading outdoors and use tree branches for pull ups.

#3 Glute Ham Raise

These are important to develop your glutes and hamstrings. Most builders tend to have weak posterior chains and this has a negative impact when you are doing deadlifts or squats etc. Do a minimum of 50 glute ham raises as part of your warm-up, before every leg workout.

#4 Jumps (Plyometrics)

These are an excellent conditioning exercise; however they also help you develop greater leg strength as well as total body power. You can start off with the standard vertical box jumps, but make it a point to add variations such as split-lunges, jump-squats, one-legged jumps and broad jumps etc.

#5 Animal Walks

This isn’t something you would notice at most conventional gyms, but you should try to include partner hand-walks and bear crawls into your routine. They help you develop core stability as well as shoulder strength and compel you to create a certain amount of total body tension.

#6 Hanging Leg Raise

This is a superb abs exercise and is very effective in working all the muscles in your mid-section and your lats. When you perform these consistently, they help improve your grip strength and add power to your deadlifts and farmer’s carries.

#7 Pistol Squat

This is a highly advanced bodyweight movement that requires a significant amount of body strength & balance; and this is one movement you should definitely work up on a regular basis.

#8 Recline Rows

Also called inverted pull-ups, they should be super-set with your standard pull-ups at the same bodyweight. In these, you have to keep your feet on the ground while your body is almost parallel to the floor. You use a rope, a low fixed bar or rings to pull your body upwards, just like you would do a pull up. They are perfect if you want to light up your biceps and lats.

Consistency with the Routine

It’s true that you would need practice to build the level of skill, power and strength required to build a considerable amount of muscle. But if you include these in your routine and do this with consistency, you will definitely notice a difference in the way your body looks and feels.

If you have any questions about a proper diet and workout routine that would help you pack on serious muscle, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at Schembri PT. Our number is 02 9648 6405. You can send us an email to or fill in this contact us form and we’ll reply as soon as possible.

Thanks for reading,
Schembri PT Team
02 9648 6405