What exercises can I try for building strength without mass? I am 15, 130 lb, and 5'7. Also take note that I don't have equipment and am not able to go to the gym. Could you please give a detailed specification for the exercises i would need and the amount of reps and sets.


  • Rep range, no the exercises in particular, will have the biggest impact.
    – Eric
    Jan 9, 2018 at 19:45
  • You are unlikely to be able to increase your strength significantly without increasing your mass, because increased muscle size is the biggest contributor to strength gains. Why don't you want to gain bodyweight? You're in (or near) the best developmental period to build useful tissues, and -- perhaps you'll excuse my bluntness -- you should gain weight. Mar 25, 2018 at 20:44

2 Answers 2


If you don't have access to a gym or other fitness equipment and your goal is to increase your strength, look at the Recommended Routine on Reddit. This routine of bodyweight exercises, carried out consistently over time, will hugely improve the strength of an untrained individual. As a consequence, you will also add muscle and lose fat. The overall effect on body mass will likely be neutral, but body composition should improve.

In order to add significant (>5%) body mass as a result of any resistance exercise routine, you need to undertake it for a significant period while also maintaining a significant ongoing calorie surplus. To get big, you need to eat big. If your diet is sufficient for your activity (but not in surplus), you won't increase in size.


The best starting workout routine I can recommend for what you ask is StrongLifts 5x5. Make sure you start it off with a naked bar as Mehdi Hassan (he's the guy who invented it) recommends and be patient. It will give you a lean look and you will be very strong in very little time:


If after that you want to train for aesthetics then you can do the other hypertrophy/split based routines out there. StrongLifts is a great way to start, especially if you've never lifted. Take your time and I can't emphasise this enough: make sure your form is correct. If you squat or deadlift with bad form it will haunt you later and you may end up badly injuring yourself. Watch the videos... and enjoy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EP2g3Sj3qSw (This is workout A) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ro3Mh9o7JPU (This is workout B)

  • 2
    I can't help but disagree with this in its entirety. The question was how to build strength WITHOUT building mass. Mehdi wholly states that StrongLifts isn't a routine you should do in a deficit, and you need to eat a lot. And because you're eating a lot, StrongLifts is specifically a beginner routine for building strength AND mass.
    – Jun Kang
    Nov 17, 2017 at 23:16
  • 2
    It also ignores the "no equipment or gym access" stipulation. If they were willing to use equipment, the question is a duplicate of others.
    – gwaigh
    Nov 17, 2017 at 23:17
  • I am looking to get strength without size actually and that isnt for me then.
    – user27022
    Nov 18, 2017 at 22:38