This article originally appeared in Shape.
You already know that lifting weights will help you build muscle. (And that heavy lifting won't make you bulky!) But if you're working out at home with no equipment except your own body, you might wonder whether you'll still see gains—or, frankly, lose some you worked hard to get previously. The simple answer: You certainly can still build muscle without all those weight plates and barbells. But, of course, there's a little more to the story about using bodyweight training to add muscle. Here's what you need to know.
Can Bodyweight Exercises Build Muscle?
If you're used to lifting super heavy at the gym, grabbing barbells, or moving weight on machines, replicating that at home can prove somewhat difficult, says Alexis Colvin, M.D., an orthopedic sports medicine surgeon at the Mount Sinai Health System. But that doesn't mean you can't build muscle if you're limited to bodyweight exercises; it just means you'll have to switch up the way you typically train.
Maybe for you, that means moving through exercises much more slowly or upping the reps, sets, or timing of each move. "In order to build muscle, you need to challenge the muscle," says Colvin. So, whatever change it takes to challenge your muscles, that's the goal. And figuring out what works best for you or what tests your body that most? Well, that'll take some trial and error.