We know that many of you have weight rooms and monthly gym memberships and you go there routinely because they have the “necessary” equipment to enable you to perform your workouts properly. I have a gym membership myself that allows me to use the bars, machines, and dumbbells to increase intensity and create some variation inside my workout. What we all neglect to realize sometimes is that you are able to do a lot of the same workouts without any of these tools that you find in a gym.

Today we are giving you some bodyweight exercises that you can do whether you are at a hotel, a park, or at home. You can even increase the intensity in a couple different ways aside from just cranking up the reps!

How to Increase Intensity

1. Time Under Tension

This is the age-old trick for hypertrophy training.

Once a muscle contracts beyond 50%, blood flow is occluded, meaning that the waste products build up within the muscle. Higher levels of lactate form, which in turn pushes growth hormone production up.

To take advantage of this method you can take a full five seconds to perform every rep of an exercise. Do this by lowering to a two count, pausing at the bottom position for a full second, and then slowly raising yourself back to the start for another two count. Taking out the momentum and bouncing from the movement is a great way to develop control and end range strength too.

2. Limit Rest Periods

Limiting rest periods is another way to drive up lactate and growth hormone production. When combined with slowing down our movement, limited rest packs a solid one-two punch to help with boosting muscle size.

3. Use Leverage

Many times a huge roadblock for many people is the lack of imagination. For many, they get to a point where they can do ten push-ups, or twenty or more, but at that point, unless they start to slow down their training like I mentioned above, their progress will halt. At this point, it’s necessary to start playing around with leverage. Using push-ups as an example, you can make them harder by placing your feet on a box behind you so that you’re on an incline. By doing this you are training a different area of your pectoral muscle and you end up working your chest in a different way.

4. Asymmetry

We function in asymmetry. Consider these asymmetrical activities of life: carrying groceries or a toolbox, swinging a hammer, shoveling, sweeping, eating, using the mouse for your computer, carrying a small child, or gardening. These activities are performed with a dominant side performing most of the work so why to do we train almost exclusively in symmetrical workouts? Most gyms and rehabilitation facilities still utilize balanced, symmetrical resistance loading. Think of the exercises which are most often utilized at gyms: bench press, squatting, barbell curls, pull downs, leg presses, leg curls, and certainly most weight lifting machines. These symmetrical exercises train our muscles in a way they are not utilized in daily function.

Instead, farmer carries, lunges, step ups and assymetrical and unilateral exercises like these increase stability and proprioception. They help connect the mind and body.

The point is that there are some huge benefits to not using the “gym isn’t open” excuse. Take a couple weeks to take a break from all of the machines and equipment. Go outside and do some functional movements. There is a reason why kids are so healthy and that is they have fun being active outside playing ball, riding bikes, throwing rocks at each other, all that good stuff. Maybe we should take some hints from them.