Strength Training Without Weights

Tips On Strength Training Without Weights

Strength training without weights isn't something new, and it isn't just the latest fad. After all, if you belong to a gym or health club and weights and machines are available, why not use them? It would seem in such a case, strength training without weights wouldn't make a whole lot of sense.

That's true, but the point is, not everyone has access to machines or free weights, and while one can always find substitutes for dumbbells or barbells, it's nice to know that weights really aren't essential. Helpful? Definitely. Essential? Definitely not.

Comic Book Ads - Strength training without weights has been around for a long time, even as commercially marketed program. Those who read comic books in the early to mid 20th century will know strength training without weights as the "principles of Dynamic Tension" as propounded by someone who knew something about strength training and bodybuilding, Charles Atlas. Dynamic tension, which also goes under the name of isometrics, is not a gimmick. It works, and it works very effectively.

The nice thing about strength training without weights, dynamic tension, isometrics, or whatever term you choose, is you can do strength building exercises almost anywhere. What does one use in place of, weights? You use your own body to start with, and also can use a desk, a chair, a wall, and even the floor. Pushing against a solid object strengthens muscles. Flexing muscles, even when not pushing against anything, strengthens them.  When you flex your muscles, by first contracting and then extending them, with as much force as you can muster, you are strengthening pairs of muscles.

The Dynamic Tension courses, as designed by Atlas, placed a great deal of emphasis on calisthenics, something we often would rather do without, if for no other reason than they can quickly become boring. If you are doing an exercise where you can isolate muscles or muscle groups, and really feel them getting a workout, it's much easier to stay focused on what you're doing, and follow a regimen that will indeed lead to stronger muscles and a higher degree of fitness.

Besides pushing against walls or desks and flexing your fingers or ankles, what else is there to do? Try some of these exercises for a start, most of which use your body as an excellent substitute for iron weights.

Leg Workouts - Deep knee bends, done very slowly will exercise several major muscle groups. Also by doing the knee bends slowly, less stress is placed on the knees as the leg muscles are doing all the work. Rapidly done deep knee bends will take a toll on the knees.


Calf raises are done by standing on the balls of your feet, raising your heels, then lowering them. Again the best results come when doing them very slowly. Let your muscles, not momentum, do the work. For a variation, after raising up on your toes, raise up on your heels and flex your toes. You'll need something nearby to touch or hold for balance.

Upper Body Workouts - For the upper body, do dips or push ups, especially good for strengthening arm and shoulder muscles, and chin ups or pull ups to strengthen arms, shoulders, and back muscles. Here your body is the weight, and when you first try pull ups or chin ups, you'll really see the need to strengthen your muscles or lose weight, or both, as these are among the hardest of exercises, and the most effective, but only when done slowly. As mentioned above, make your muscles do the work. Moving to fast, and letting momentum do part of the work is cheating, and will get you nowhere.

Guess what? In your workouts you've probably done quite a bit of strength training without weights, or utilized the principles of dynamic tension, without even thinking about it.