I was asked to participate in the #WorkForIt #EASPartner campaign, sponsored by EAS Sports Nutrition at Walgreens. Although I have been compensated, all opinions are my own.
Over the past 3 years, I’ve fallen in love with calisthenics. In fact, I’ve been able to pack on 35lbs of lean mass during these 3 years, which has been a proud achievement fro myself, considering I used to be the kid who didn’t have a single pound of muscle on his body.
Why do I love bodyweight workouts?
There’s a bunch of different reasons as to why I prefer not to use weights:
- I travel a lot, so rarely have access to gyms
- It’s free…
- Bodyweight progression is fun
- Your core strength gets tested enormously
Which brings me to the main point of this article…
4 Muscle Building Bodyweight Workout Routines
There are four routines I stick to every week, to work every part of my body. The great thing about calisthenics routines is that even though you might be targeting your chest on one day, you’ll also be hitting your back, core and shoulders to some extent.
My routines weren’t always this advanced… I was incredibly weak when I first began 3 years ago. However, you can always lower the difficulty by performing easier variations.
Here are the bodyweight routines I do every week:
Monday: Biceps & Back Day
It’s surprisingly easy to build back & bicep muscles with calisthenics. It’s all in the pull-up! And if you can’t do too many pull-ups to begin with, start with chin ups, or negative pull-ups (lowering yourself from the top of the bar).
My Monday routine looks a little like this:
- Wide Grip Pull-ups
- Regular Pull-ups
- Bear Crawl
- Narrow Grip Pull-ups
- Pull-up Hold
Tuesday: Triceps & Chest Day
The key to building your chest & triceps is push-ups. Lots, and lots of push-ups. Although, when your strength increases regular push-ups will become far too easy, and you won’t be able to build any muscle.
Which is where harder variations come in to increase the resistance, and keep the gains coming! Once you can do more than 4 sets of 12 reps, it’s time to switch out the easier variation, for a harder one.
My Tuesday routine looks a little like this:
- One-arm Push-up Progression
- Straight Bar Dips
- Clap Push-ups
- Weighted Dips
- Decline Push-ups
- One-legged Wide Push-ups
Thursday: Leg Day
Thursday is leg day, and nobody likes leg day… yet it’s got to be done!
I’ll be honest, legs routines that contain 100% bodyweight exercise are draining… Seriously draining…
Eventually, you’ll be doing exercises that require balance, and a lot more focus than usual. I’m talking about things like pistol squats (one-legged squats), and all those other tough variations!
My Thursday routine looks a little like this:
- Pistol Squats
- One-legged Back Extension
- Weighted Lunges
- Jump Squats
- Weighted Calf Raises
- Weighted Wide Squats
Saturday: Shoulder Day
Shoulders are a really tough muscle group to workout using just your body. A lot of the exercises that target your shoulders just require so much strength. When I first started working out, I’d use Saturday as an upper body day, rather than a shoulder day.
It took a while… but eventually I built up a good enough strength to incorporate shoulder specific exercises.
My Saturday routine looks a little like this:
- Handstand Push-up Progression
- Pike Push-ups
- Decline Push-ups
- Side Plank
- Hindu Push-ups
- Weighted Dips
How to Build Muscle in the Kitchen
Unfortunately, and as much as I hate to say this, working out to the limit 4 times a week doesn’t guarantee anything. In fact, it’s pretty much pointless if you’re eating garbage all the time.
Sure, us young guys might be able to get away with the occasional fast food here and there, but it won’t always be that way.
Here’s some simple nutrition tips to stop all that gym time from going to waste:
1. High Quality Protein
The quality and quantity of the protein you’re getting is crucial in order to help repair your body tissue after workouts, and grow stronger. The ideal amount of protein to be consuming daily is 1g/lb of bodyweight.
If you weigh 180lbs, your target would be 180 grams of protein a day.
Stick to foods such as:
- Chicken breast
- Ground beef
2. Stick to Complex Carbs
Carbohydrates are both bad and good, depending on whether they’re simple or complex carbs. Usually, you’d increase or decrease your carbohydrate intake to lose or gain weight.
If you’re looking to gain muscle, the easy option is to keep your complex carbohydrate intake a little higher than usual.
Complex carbohydrates are found in foods such as:
- Green Vegetables
- Sweet Potatoes
- Brown Rice
3. Eat Testosterone Boosting Foods
Boosted testosterone levels means improved fitness gains. So if you can incorporate testosterone boosting foods into your diet, you’ll feel some great benefits!
There are a ton of healthy foods that can improve your testosterone. Go ahead and take a look for yourself.
4. Eat Often & Eat Big
To gain weight you need to eat more than your maintenance calorie intake, but not huge amounts more. Try to split your meals out into 4-6 small meals a day.
Overall, this will add up to a large calorie intake.
5. Take Advantage of Supplements
Supplements are a great way to get all the nutrition you need, in case you’re struggling to do so with your normal diet.
Protein powders are the most common supplement for bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts, and I’m lucky enough to be trying out some awesome powders from EAS this month. Which I’ll explain more about below.
The EAS 30 Day Challenge
I’m fortunate enough to be participating in the EAS 30 day challenge, where I’ll be trying out their products for 30 days, and seeing how much of a difference they make to my fitness goals. You can participate in the Myoplex 30 Day Challenge by signing up for your own fitness program #MYO30.
Since my #1 aim right now is to build lean muscle, that’s what I’ll be judging these products on!
Here’s what I’m experimenting with for the next 30 days:
- EAS 100% Whey Protein Powder (Chocolate Flavor)
- EAS 100% Whey Protein Powder (Vanilla Flavor)
- EAS Myoplex Original Ready to Drink (Chocolate Fudge)
I’m going to break this down by having a shake a day, after my workouts or before I go to sleep, using the whey protein powder (alternating flavors everyday… just because…).
I have a 4 pack of the Myoplex Original, so I’ll drink one of these a week to make them last the month!
A big thanks to Walgreens for supplying these awesome products to me this month! If you’re up for taking the challenge with me, and you’re in the US, these products are on sale at the moment. So go grab them and join me!
Mark your shopping calendars for these Walgreens promotions:
From August 28th to September 24th the EAS Myoplex Original Ready To Drink Chocolate Fudge, 4 pk will be on sale for $10.99, and the EAS 100% Whey Protein Powder 2.0lb, in your choice of chocolate or vanilla, will be on sale for $19.99.
Plus, check your Sunday paper as most of them will have these coupons listed within:
- Save $2 on any one (1) EAS powder
- Save $1 on any one (1) EAS shake