Building strength requires tools.
Which sometimes aren't available.
Not to mention the fact that your living space may not be ideal for training either.
So how can you maintain or even get stronger without any equipment (or limited equipment)?
Going to Dr. Hans Selye’s chart of the GAS syndrome (general adaptation syndrome) which he discovered in the mid 1950’s, it can be useful to recall that training adaptations don’t necessarily require gym equipment or weights to get stronger or build lean muscle.
As shown in the chart above, creating the specific adaptations required to stimulate hypertrophy (muscle growth) or increase our strength (max strength) involves an undulating process of ups and downs.
Which means that as long as the right stimulus is there, the capacity to build strength or muscle is possible regardless of what equipment you have available.
And you, my friend, have the most useful piece of equipment available: your body!
While bodyweight training has been derided for many years in different training circles especially bodybuilding forums, there is no doubt that using the right amount of intensity paired with intelligent programming, can increase your overall strength and allow muscular gains to happen.
That being said, it’s always good to review the fundamentals before diving into a new training program.
Plus, you have the added bonus of being stronger than you were last time you trained in the gym.
Let’s look at a simple overview of how your protocol can be run intelligently.
Example Exercise Progression/Regressions
LB KD (lower body knee dominant)
LB HD (lower body hip dominant)
UB Hpush (upper body horizontal push)
UB Hpull (upper body horizontal pull)
Bodyweight upright row
Single-arm band row
Bands Bent-over row
Simplicity is the key to brilliance but so is balance.
Keeping in mind the structure above, you’ll find that the often-used concept of adding more exercises and more training variables is NOT found here.
Instead the focus is on creating a simpler, more effective training protocol which can reap better results and be more realistic to stick too.
Although the template above is simple, it gives you the framework to adapt your programming to your specific needs while allowing you to progress each month.
The main theme is to use exercises that challenge your strength development while keeping your RPE ranges in mind.
There's plenty of research pointing towards the importance of overall training volume and intensity as being key contributors towards strength and muscular development.
Although the template above can be used for a few months without any equipment (except possibly a few bands), ideally investing in a few weights could be very beneficial.
That being said, if you choose to continue with only bands or bodyweight, then keep in mind that the complexity and intensity of the exercise must increase in order to continue to adapt to the training protocol.
The main idea is to keep progressive overload in mind because this coupled with the SAID principle is what allows you to keep improving over each training cycle.
If you found this article useful, please with someone who wants to keep training and may not have equipment. To your v-gains!