Equipment has been one of the excuses that we sometimes used to put off exercising. But for those who are aiming to build more strength, are dumbbells, barbells and kettlebells really necessary?
Are weights necessary?
Strength training coach Nikhil Mishra had pointed out that you need not have equipment around you always, if strength building is your goal. Though the results vary from that of progressive overload through lifting free weights, it still provides you with a challenge. And it is not just limited to performing repetitive exercises over and over again.
Calisthenics is one of the best ways to do strength training without any weights. Armed with only your bodyweight and a pull up bar, calisthenics workout builds total body strength with major emphasis on the core. A common misconception is that calisthenics can only build strength to a certain extent after which you will have to lift weights. Exercises in calisthenics can be modified to the point where even experts can face quite a challenge, like performing a one armed pull up or doing an L sit to handstand progression.
However, if calisthenics is something you don’t want to pursue, try martial arts. Depending on the kind of weight category you wish to compete in, you may have to lift free weights to build the strength. But many arts like kickboxing and judo are mostly bodyweight oriented that can help you get fit and also learn self defense. Martial arts is one of the best ways to keep fit and build mental strength. So should a situation come where you have to defend yourself, you will remain composed and make a calculated decision rather than panic.
Benefits of Lifting Weights
However, this does not mean completely giving up on your gym membership. Lifting free weights can provide you with many other benefits. A regimented training program with focus on lifting free weights can help you drastically improve your tolerance to fatigue that is associated with the urban lifestyle. Weight training also strengthens tendons, ligaments and joints that can help women prevent symptoms of osteoporosis and is a recommended suggestion from many doctors.
One size does not fit all
Again, weight training is not simply limited to performing bicep curls and using gym machines. Following a powerlifting or Olympic weightlifting program whilst being spotted by a trainer can help you build explosive strength, muscle and core power that is a quick fix for those who cannot bear the patience of results that occur with calisthenics. Both provide strength and many physical benefits but calisthenics takes slightly longer to produce results and progression often takes patience which may not be suited for all.
So to answer the question - Yes, you can build muscle without any equipment. In the end, it all boils down to what your goals are. If you wish to be able to squat twice your bodyweight then free weights would help out a lot. But if you simply wish to develop an aesthetic look or perform feats of strength like the human flag, then calisthenics provides just the right training. It comes down to your goals as everyone has their preference for training and some people respond better to particular ones than others.