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7 Best Exercises for Men to Gain Strength Without Equipment

Try these bodyweight moves for a muscular, head-turning physique!
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

To build great strength, the key is to challenge your muscles with a lot of resistance so that they have to rebuild and grow. Usually, guys lift weights to do so—which is a great approach—but sometimes you don't have access to a gym (or just don't feel like going to the gym). Then what can you do to pack on the muscle? The answer is simple: Use a few specific, intense, and hard-hitting bodyweight exercises that stimulate your muscles to get big and strong. The below exercises for men to build strength without equipment are time-tested to get results. Best of all, you can do them anywhere and without one piece of equipment!

Read on for these best no-equipment moves to improve your physique, and next up, don't miss 7 Most Important Exercises for Men To Build Muscle.

1. Pushups

muscular man doing pushups at the gym, concept of daily exercises for men to stay fit

Whether you have a gym or not, the pushup is unbeatable to build your chest muscles, shoulder muscles, and core. It's perfect as is, but if you want to increase the challenge, put your feet on a small box or get a weighted vest.

Keep your elbows in as you descend and go all the way down. Then at the top of the pushup, when you think you've pushed all the way up, push just a little more and feel your shoulder blades roll around your ribcage.

2. Pike Pushups

fitness man demonstrating pike pushups

This is a great pushup variation to target your shoulders and traps so you can build a wider upper body that fills out your shirts. To boost the resistance, simply elevate your feet on a small box. (You can even work up to handstand pushups!)

Start with a pushup position, and raise your hips until you have a straight line going from your hands to your hips. Keep your elbows in as you descend, drive yourself back up, and keep your hips up the entire time.

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3. Single-Leg Box Squats

Chances are that a regular bodyweight squat is too easy for you. In that case, try the single-leg box squat to build lower body strength and even improve your balance. All you have to do is just sit down and stand up.

Stand facing away from a bench or chair. Lift one leg, and keep that leg up the entire time. Sit onto the bench, and drive yourself up with the leg that's down. Once that gets easy, choose a lower surface to sit on.

4. Bear Crawls

Next up in our exercises for men to build strength without equipment is the bear crawl. Crawling is an underrated move to build total-body stability, core strength, coordination, and conditioning. Use it as a warm-up drill to activate your shoulder-stabilizing muscles, or you can use it as a finisher to increase your endurance and conditioning.

Get on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips; keep your knees an inch above the ground. Crawl forward by taking a small step with your right arm and left leg at the same time and alternate. Keep your hips low and your head up.

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5. Hip/Thigh Extensions

Every guy needs stronger glutes—it's where the power in your lower body is generated and, if you have weak glutes, it can force other muscles to compensate, leading to knee pain or even back pain. That's where the hip/thigh extension solves your issues.

Lie on your back, bend one knee so that it makes a 90-degree angle, and stick the other leg straight out. With your bent leg, squeeze your glute, push through your heel, push your hips up, and keep your hips level as you rise. Keep your straight leg extended throughout the exercise, and keep it in line with your torso.

6. Salute Planks

This is a simple plank variation that skyrockets the work on your core muscles. Lifting one arm and holding it forces your entire body to tense much harder to stabilize yourself.

Start in a plank position. Keep your core tight and your glutes squeezed. Bring one hand to your forehead in a salute position, and hold for five seconds. Prevent your hips from twisting, and stay tight. Alternate sides.

7. Ab Walkouts

The ab walkout is the final one of our exercises for men to build strength without equipment. Take your ab training to the next level with this rarely-used exercise. As you move your arms further and further away from your torso, you significantly raise the stimulus on your midsection. Translation? Harder-hitting ab training.

Start in a pushup position. Slowly march your arms forward while keeping your feet still and your core braced. Do not let your lower back sag or bend your hips as you extend forward. Go as far as you can, and march to your original position. If this is too difficult, start on your knees instead of the pushup position.

Anthony J. Yeung, CSCS
Anthony J. Yeung, CSCS, is a fitness expert featured in Esquire, GQ, and Men’s Health and the founder of GroomBuilder, the destination for men who want to transform their bodies for their weddings. Join the free 5-day course to burn fat and build muscle for the big day! Read more about Anthony
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