You Can Build Muscle Without Weights, and This Bodyweight Workout Is All the Proof You Need

You don't need any equipment to build muscle, you just need the right workout. Instead of trying to spot-train muscle groups, you should focus on the bigger picture and do compound exercises, because they're multi-joint movements that target groups of large muscle at once. Because compound exercises require more energy to perform, you'll also be able to burn more fat when they're in your workouts and done consistently.

If you're just beginning or returning to exercise, you want to build muscle, or you're looking for ways to train sans equipment, this four-move workout by Felix Ferreira, NASM-certified, is for you. It incorporates compound exercises, the format is set to help optimize muscle building and fat burn, and it will leave you feeling equal parts sweaty and strong.

"Pairing these four exercises together will increase muscle by challenging multiple muscle groups at one time," Ferreira explained. "This will help break down muscle fibers that will rebuild during rest (after a workout and as you sleep) and become stronger and larger over time, he added. This workout will definitely help you reach your muscle-building goals, but don't forget about getting adequate sleep, managing and decreasing your stress, and eating foods that will support your goals. Now that you know what to expect, grab a mat, a towel, and some water, and get ready to build muscle!

Bodyweight Muscle Building Workout

Directions: Before getting started, make sure to warm up; here's a dynamic warmup we like. This workout should be performed as a circuit, meaning you will complete each exercise back-to-back, taking little to no rest in between each move. If you do need rest or water, feel free to take it.

Once you've completed the designated reps for all four movements, take 90 seconds to two minutes of rest, and then repeat for a total of three to four rounds. If you're a beginner or returning to exercise, it's recommended you complete three rounds. If you're more advanced or conditioned, it's recommended you complete four rounds. Once you've completed the workout, make sure to take time to cool down and stretch.

  • Squat with alternating reverse lunge: 10 reps (one squat and a lunge on each leg counts as one rep)
  • Glute bridge: 10 reps
  • Triceps push-up: 10 reps
  • Superman with lat pulldown: 10 reps

Love trying new workouts? Want a community to share your fitness goals with? Come join our Facebook group POPSUGAR Workout Club. There, you can find advice on making the best out of every sweat session and everything else you need to help you on your road to healthy living.

Squat With Alternating Reverse Lunge
POPSUGAR Photography | Kyle Hartman

Squat With Alternating Reverse Lunge

"The squat-lunge combo works on strength and building muscle in the quads, glutes, and hamstrings. Because it is a multi-joint movement, it will elevate your heart rate which also aids in burning fat," Ferreira said.

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart, feet parallel or toes slightly turned out.
  • Bend your knees and shift your hips back as if you were going to sit in a chair. Continue lowering down until your thighs are parrallel to the floor.
  • To help you balance, you can simultaneously bend your arms at the elbow and bring them in front of the chest as you lower down into the squat.
  • Rise back up, straightening the legs completely, squeezing the glutes at the top of the movement to get the most out of the exercise.
  • From here, step your left foot backward, about two and a half feet, lowering down into a reverse lunge. Your left knee should be underneath the left hip, and should be at approximately a 90-degree angle.
  • With control, push through your left foot and return to standing. Repeat with the right leg.
  • This counts as one rep.
  • Complete 10 reps.
Glute Bridge

Glute Bridge

"The glute bridge is a great exercise to build the posterior part of the leg. It focuses on strengthening and building the glutes and hamstrings," Ferreira said.

  • On your mat, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet hips-width apart and flat on the floor. Be sure to keep your feet underneath your knees, not in front. Plant your palms by each side, facing down.
  • Press through your heels to raise your hips up to the ceiling, tensing your abs and squeezing your butt as you do. You should be making a long diagonal line with your body, from shoulders to knees.
  • Hold for one to two seconds, making sure your spine doesn't round and your hips don't sag. Keep your abs and glute muscles engaged.
  • Lower down to the ground; this is considered one rep.
  • Complete 10 reps.
Triceps Push-Up

Triceps Push-Up

"Push-ups vary depending on hand position, but will build muscle not only in your chest but also in your arms, including the shoulders and triceps," Ferreira said.

  • Place both hands on the mat shoulder-width apart with your legs extended behind you and your feet together. You should be resting on the balls of your feet. Gently draw your ribs to your hips to engage your core. This is your starting position.
  • Maintain a neutral spine, and on an inhale, bend your elbows and lower your torso toward the mat, ensuring that your elbows remain in close contact with the sides of your body.
  • Exhale, and extend your arms, straightening your elbows, and lift your body back to the starting position.
  • Complete 10 reps.
  • To modify this movement, place your hands on top of stable object/surface such as a chair or a bench and perform the triceps push-up in an elevated position.
Superman Lat Pulldown
POPSUGAR Photography | Kat Borchart

Superman Lat Pulldown

"The Superman lat pulldown is the perfect exercise to build muscle in the entire back. From the upper, mid, and lower back, this movement will tone the entirety of the back," Ferreira said.

  • Lie on your stomach face down on the floor, engage your abs, and straighten your arms over your head. With control, simultaneously raise your arms and legs up off the ground.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades and begin to bend your elbows, lowering them toward each side of your body. Stop right before your elbows reach your obliques, then return your arms to the starting position above your head.
  • This counts as one rep.
  • Complete 10 reps.