In fact the military still does the bulk of its physical training with nothing more than bodyweight exercises. It is not practical to require an entire base to visit the weight room daily. However, they can use their body weight to perform exercises to build muscle. The military has some of the most fit and strong people in the world.
Please don’t confuse the steroid enhanced muscle growth of bodybuilders with normal muscle growth. If you are looking for normal muscle then it is quite easy to build muscle without weights.
What exercises should you perform? You might get a variety of opinions on this subject, however, I would perform four core exercises that I believe are the best bodyweight exercises to build muscle.
The first is push ups. You can build a strong chest without weights. I would perform 3 – 4 sets to failure every other day or so. Another way to approach it is to do anywhere from 200 – 300 push ups on the days that you are working your chest. I guarantee that this will give you a good workout and begin to pack on the muscle.
The next exercise I would use to build muscle is the pull up. This is most probably the best back exercise you can do. Pull ups are difficult to perform so you may have to do them in small sets. Set yourself a goal to do 50 each day that you are working out your back. In might take you 10 – 15 sets to accomplish this but stick with it.
Another bodyweight exercise that will pack on slabs of muscle is the handstand push up. Much of your weight is used in this exercise which makes it very difficult. Handstand push ups will give your shoulders a great workout. If you can’t do many to start then begin in a pike position with your feet about three feet from your hands and lower yourself (keep your legs straight) until your head touches the ground. When you can do enough of these then do them with your feet on a chair and slowly work your way up till you can do them with your feet up against a wall.
One legged bodyweight squats (better known as pistols) will develop great strength in your quadriceps. This is another great exercise to build muscle. You may need assistance to perform these at first so you may want to be next do a door knob or something else you can grab on to when performing them.
All four of these exercises will build muscle for you and as a side benefit they are bodyweight exercises that burn fat as well. The more muscle that you pack on your frame the more fat you will begin to burn.