Doing pushups on a stability ball is intensely challenging -- no weights required.
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Getting buff is equal parts building lean muscle and losing body fat. Working out in a gym -- where you have access to almost every conceivable piece of exercise equipment -- certainly helps. But with a little creativity and perseverance, you can get the same results at home. You don't even have to buy any weights.
Body-Weight Strength Training
You can't build muscle without some sort of resistance for your muscles to work against. If you don't want to invest in weights, you can use your own body weight as the resistance. In fact, body-weight exercises like pushups, pullups, lunges and squats do more than "just" build muscle: They also train your muscles to work together, moving your body as an entire unit, in a way that gym machines just can't quite duplicate. That's a big step on the path toward getting buff.
Furniture and Other Equipment
The more you work out, the stronger -- and more buff -- you'll get. That means you have to find new ways of challenging your muscles; otherwise you'll hit a plateau and improve slowly, if at all. Up your body-weight workouts by using other equipment you might find around the home: Prop your feet on a chair to do decline pushups, or place them on a stability ball. Use the same chair for chair dips or bench lunges and do calf raises on the stairs. If you're willing to invest in a little nonweight exercise equipment, purchase a suspension trainer to amp your workouts to the max.
Just building muscle isn't enough to get you buff -- you also need to trim back any excess body fat. If you have the money, a home exercise bike, elliptical, treadmill or rower is a convenient way of getting your fat-busting cardio in. If you'd rather save your pennies, though, you can get a challenging cardio workout by doing calisthenics like jumping jacks, mountain climbers, burpees and squat jumps.
Create Your Own Equipment
If you're trying to do without weights because of their cost, you can create your own -- albeit limited -- weights at home. Hefting soup cans, bottles of water and sacks of potatoes will only get you so far; before long, you'll get strong enough that these makeshift weights just don't offer enough of a challenge. Still, they're a worthy start for beginners.
For easy-to-grip -- and adjustable -- homemade weights, fill plastic milk jugs with water, gravel or sand. Add or remove some of the fill to adjust the weight.
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