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The #1 No-Equipment Workout for Men To Gain Muscle & Strength

Ditch the weights and sculpt your physique with these trainer-approved bodyweight exercises.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

There's more to gaining muscle and strength than just pumping iron at the gym. If you want to sculpt your physique, increase your strength, and get jacked, your best bet is to incorporate various resistance training exercises into your routine and eat a well-balanced, high-protein diet. Resistance training comes in many forms, including free weights, resistance bands, and bodyweight exercises—all effective at increasing strength and muscle mass. We chatted with TJ Mentus, CPT, a certified personal trainer at Garage Gym Reviews, who shares his number one no-equipment workout for men to gain muscle and strength using just their body weight.

Studies show that resistance training (working your muscles against an opposing force) is an incredibly effective way to boost strength and stimulate muscle hypertrophy, or muscle growth and development. So read on for Mentus's stellar no-equipment workout for men to gain muscle and strength. When you're finished, be sure to check out The 5 Best Diet & Exercise Tips To Regain Muscle Mass.

Tempo Pushups


This pushup variation will get your heart pumping while targeting muscles in your chest, shoulders, and triceps. Performing pushups at a slow, controlled pace increases time under tension, resulting in increased strength and muscle gains.

"Start in a pushup position with your hands stacked under your shoulders and your body in a straight line," says Mentus. "Lower your chest to the ground on a four-count by bending your elbows toward your sides and keeping your core engaged. Once your chest touches the ground, press through the ground and extend your arms fully." Perform three sets of eight to 12 reps with one minute of rest between sets.

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Plank-ups are a versatile bodyweight exercise that engages multiple muscle groups, including the core, shoulders, and chest. This move adds intensity to the traditional plank by incorporating upward and downward motion for upper body and core stability.

Mentus instructs, "Start in a pushup position again with arms straight. One arm at a time, lower down to your elbow while keeping the core engaged. Then, transition from elbow back to a straight arm, one arm at a time. Continue alternating these positions for the entire duration of the plank." Aim to do three rounds of 30-second plank-ups followed by one minute of rest.

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Walking Lunges

reverse lunges exercise

Walking lunges are a powerhouse exercise for building strength in your legs, glutes, and core. According to research, lunges can improve balance and coordination while engaging major muscle groups, adding overall strength and size to your lower body.

"Step forward and lower your back knee to the ground so that both knees form 90-degree angles while keeping an upright torso," Mentus explains. "Then, push through your front foot and stand up, bringing your back foot to meet the other. Alternate on the other side." Complete three sets of 12 to 15 reps per leg with 90 seconds of rest between sets.

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man doing squats

Squats are a fundamental exercise whether using a barbell, kettlebells, or your body weight. This movement targets muscles in your legs, glutes, and lower back, providing a versatile way to build muscle and increase strength.

"Stand with your feet about hip-width apart and toes pointed slightly out. Lower your butt toward your heels while allowing your knees to bend forward. Once your thighs are at or below parallel to the ground, stand up by pushing through your heels and driving your hips forward. Try to keep your chest up the entire time," Mentus tells us. Do three sets of 12 to 15 reps. Rest for 90 seconds between sets.

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Straight-Leg Sit-ups

straight-leg sit-up

Straight-leg sit-ups are a classic core exercise that delivers a killer way for men to isolate their abdominal muscles and boost core strength, a critical component of overall strength.

Mentus instructs, "Lie flat on your back. Keep your legs straight and sit up while reaching your arms to the ceiling until your torso is vertical. Slowly lower your body back down in a reverse motion to the lying position." Perform three sets of 15 reps with one minute of rest between sets.

Adam Meyer, RHN
Adam is a health writer, certified holistic nutritionist, and 100% plant-based athlete. Read more about Adam
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