Can You Build Muscle Mass without Weights?

Desk Jockey
31 Jan

Last Updated on April 7, 2016 by Michael Brockbank

Not everyone feels comfortable in a gym or has the money for a home weight set. Luckily, the human body can create muscle mass without either of these. It’s all about keeping muscles flexed for a longer duration. In reality, you could get the same workout sitting at your desk as someone gets lifting 50 pound dumbbells. It’s not really tricking your body to develop mass without weighted resistance, but more of allowing your body to do what comes natural.

How You Develop Mass without Weights

When your muscles are flexed for extended periods of time, they begin to build density. Now, adding weight to the activity does help create mass faster in some cases. However, these are not totally necessary.

An example of flexing to strengthen muscle mass is through planks, pilates or yoga. By maintaining the posture, your abdomen becomes more defined and stronger. If you were to keep your bicep flexed over the same amount of time as a plank, you’ll have a similar experience. The longer you keep specific muscles tightened, the more developed they’ll become.

Pretending to Lift Weights Works

By pretending to lift weights, you’re allowing the body to do what comes natural: create muscle mass. This is because the body is trying to create the appropriate physiology to accommodate your activities. For example, bicyclists have incredible strong legs when compared to the average Joe. When you “pretend” to lift dumbbells in each hand, your body will try to compensate by building this mass.

How to Do This Exercise:
Flex your muscles as much as you can while envisioning lifting heavy dumbbells. Do three sets of 20 reps each in this fashion. For myself, it felt as though I was actually lifting weights while sitting at my desk.

Reps or Time?
Both repetitions and total time are beneficial for building muscle mass. While the repetitions can help people remain focused on the activity, the time of keeping muscles flexed is similar to exercises like planks, yoga, pilates and a plethora of other activities.

The Key to Building Muscle Mass without Weights

Keep Focused
The above example may sound easy enough, but it can be pretty tricky to master. First of all, the activity relies on a great deal of focus to keep your muscles flexed during a workout. It can be easy to get distracted, which may cause you to quit flexing halfway through.

Keep Flexed
You have to keep your muscles flexed throughout the entire routine in order for the imaginary weights to be of any use. If you get too tired to keep them flexed, that’s good. The parts of your body that you’re flexing are supposed to get tired in this fashion. Take a 60 second break and do the same number of repetitions for another set.

Ideal Situations for Flexing?

I flex my muscles all the time at my wife and daughters in order to get a laugh. However, my arms are starting to turn into some heavy-duty guns. Although I don’t want tree trunks attached to my body, I wouldn’t mind looking like eye-candy for my wife. Yes, I want to be treated like a piece of meat. So, when is it ideal to do these flexing exercises?

At the Office
While you may look like a weirdo pumping imaginary iron sitting at your desk, it’s nothing to take about three or four minutes to give your arms and legs a workout. Simply do 30 seconds of flexing your muscles as much as possible for three consecutive sets. The more you do this, the greater the time you can add without feeling sore. You could even sit back in your chair and close your eyes while flexing – it’ll look like you’re meditating.

While on the Bus
When you’re sitting on the bus and heading to work, why not whip up a few flexing sessions? Since you may have a few moments while you’re being transported to work, there is nothing that says you can’t practice muscle development. Again, time may be a better factor instead of repetitions in this environment. Not everyone appreciates public displays of imagination – especially from an adult sitting by him or herself.

Sitting on the Couch Watching TV
Why not add a few flexing sessions during the commercials of your favorite TV show? It’s a better use of your time rather than sitting there with a remote in your hand. By the end of your show, you may have given yourself a hell of a workout without actually getting up on your feet.

The Reality of Flexing

Your body develops certain mass automatically in order to help you do specific tasks. Mountain climbers will develop different groups than cyclists. Dancers will create different mass than swimmers. It’s related to the activity you perform and centers around what muscles are used the most often. The more muscles are flexed, the greater the mass will become. Theoretically, you could develop a body like a young Arnold Schwarzenegger without lifting a single weight – as long as you focus on flexing as much as you can and imagine greater resistance to lift.

In fact, I’ve been periodically flexing throughout writing this entire article and I feel like I just worked out with 10 pound dumbbells the whole time. And I can also say that flexing did increase my heart rate – which allowed my body to burn more calories. This is an interesting side effect. Could I lose more weight practicing a flex routine a few times a day while I work? I might have to do a study on that.

There you have it…it’s possible to develop muscle mass without the use of a single weight. Personally, I’d rather use the weights because I like to track my progress in things like and MyFitnessPal. However, I might have to start adding this routine to my day to help burn calories. The more you flex, the more energy you use. This energy is taken from carbs you consume.

Keep on flexing and give your mate something to drool over. Well, that’s my goal anyway. I don’t want to be an underwear model, but I would like to be more attractive for my wife.

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