This is without a doubt the fastest-growing fitness craze in North America for good reason; it's fun, easy on the wallet and an intelligent way to approach resistance training to build overall athletic strength, agility, coordination and balance, without free weights.
A solid body weight training routine will always extend a host of athletic benefits: increasing strength, enhancing muscularity and body symmetry: with one other hidden bonus... these exercises seriously, sizzle body fat.
A few household or garage apparatuses, can take you to a completely
different fitness level. If time or finances won’t allow you to make it to the gym or
there isn’t one in your area, or perhaps you’re just not interested in the gym
atmosphere and what it has to offer, either way...
a challenging body weight training routine will always-enhance your life physically and mentally.
Most men or women that weight train at a serious level will admit... body weight exercises either with some resistance or without; inevitably wind up in almost everyone’s training routine.
Your body weight training routine can be executed anywhere, from the living room, neighborhood playground or forest park, BW exercises can be summed up simply: their convenient; just don’t mistake simple or convenient for Easy!
If performed intensely, body weight exercises build real-world strength and muscle, meaning: athletic-strength that's used to perform everyday tasks and sports.
Keeping in mind this is not weight training, body weight training is different; you’re not trying to go for a one rep max or to complete muscular failure. Exercises should be performed with strict form, clean and precise to make the nervous system and muscle mechanics fire properly.
Are often performed with a slightly slower motion in the eccentric (lowering), slightly faster or explosive in the concentric (pushing or pulling), followed by a momentary squeeze isometrically at the contraction point of each repetition.
Learning and applying this in each exercise consistency is what builds control, or (control of movement) in your body weight training routine.
Once the control and speed in each BW set is beginning to wane, you’re probably within one repetition or so of being done, don’t try to train to failure.
Because of the dynamic nature of body weight training the muscles, tendons and central nervous system heal faster between workouts, therefore yielding better strength and muscle producing results in the shorter term.
This can also be termed as (Sub Max) training; this is a major key to increasing your body weight strength over time. Don’t focus on being the strongest guy on the block, instead: focus on perfecting every rep of each movement, making each of them smooth and crisp.
E.g., whenever you look at Olympic gymnasts, their bodies are forged one way: by - hard work and executing control in every exercise.
The Mechanics of Body weight Training:
Note: most BW movements should utilize a full range of motion, as you become stronger, the bodies not always enough resistance in some movements, performing partials or cheating movements only cheats you out of the results you want to see.
When it comes to a routine: a 15 - 25 second rest for beginners between exercises is recommended... advanced athletes should be down to a fraction of this with only a few exceptions.
The whole idea of your body weight training routine is progression; if you’re not progressing in your workout, meaning: increasing overall strength and endurance then you’re static, (not moving forward)... allow this progression to be part of your goal.
Focus on strict form while increasing your rep range, e.g., if you did 14 push-ups last week, try for 15 this week. Increase effort for growth and strength to occur and continue.
Body weight training is a first cousin to weight training. But...
Body weight resistance is not restricted to movements like that of barbells and dumbbells or machinery that often include Bi and Unilateral movements. An advanced body weight training routine should include a more diverse, dynamic, plyometric and cardio style training...
reduces body fat composition and refines new muscle ultimately taking your strength and endurance to the next level.
Weight training is often paralleled with trying to build muscle bulk and sheer strength. Body weight training is more specific to building body strength, without the increase of excessive bulk. In other words: sleek defined natural looking muscle development... and hey, let’s face it, the Ladies love this look to!
If you were to compare body weight training vs weight training, you would find pros and cons on both sides, weight training is the easiest form of external resistance used to increase strength and muscularity.
With that said: there’s a difference between somebody trying to solely take their strength training and muscle gains to another level. But...
as great as weight training is: it can have a tendency to overshadow real-world athletic movements, such as; playing recreational sports, or other lifestyle outdoor recreations like; hiking, mountain biking, climbing etc.
Weight training movements with barbells, dumbbells and especially machinery often puts the athlete at a strong mechanical advantage.
Whereas an advanced challenging body weight training routine should have the exercises and variations of them manipulated routinely, by moving the body into different positions increases this strain and intensity on individual muscle groups.
By moving the hands in front, ahead, behind or to the sides, even raising or lowering foot position, dropping your hips or holding a plank position, all offer and apply different stresses and intensities to the exercises, which were going to investigate.
Body weight exercise technique and variations are as limitless as your imaginations creativity will allow. I encourage you to give the exercises we show here a try and see what you think?
Always switch and change things up, the body does one thing and does it well: it adapts.
The point being: at the end of the day, your body weight training routine is only as good as what you put into it. There are hundreds if not thousands of variations and ways to progress with these exercises. Obviously, the harder and more intense you make them, the more strength and muscularity you will build!
This body weight training routine is going to take into
account that you are or have some natural or self-made athletic ability. If
you’re relatively new to this type of training, that’s fine; take your ability
into account and train accordingly.
Don’t worry about staying in the exact rep and set range: instead, focus on perfecting each exercise
It is never easy to design a body weight routine (that’s a one size fits all), with that said: I’ve set up - a 3 day a week body weight training routine.
Starting with Monday: this day is reserved for upper body strength training.
Wednesday: increasing core endurance and strength, meaning; the abdominal's hips lower back etc.
Friday: The final day of the three-day routine will focus on conditioning and building leg strength - builds stamina, increases testosterone levels and athletic endurance.
I’ve left a day between for rest, this way the muscles and nervous system have ample time to recoup from each day’s workout with no overlapping body parts throughout the week; other than what might be used as stabilizing muscles in the next day’s exercises.
Upper body: arms, chest, back, shoulders, etc.
Spend 2 to 3 mins warming-up the major upper body muscles, this can be done with some push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, shoulder rotations, bend overs, planking, etc.
Most exercises for upper body will be based on push-pull movements and arranged in a (super-set) pattern, to add difficulty to your body weight training routine.
If your strength and endurance level can’t handle the super-sets take a small rest as needed between each set, until conditioning allows shorter rest times.
Superset: e.g. two sets performed one after the other, with no rest.
Keep in mind: if you’re adding enough intensity to your body weight training routine, every 5 to 6 weeks schedule a one-two week rest.
Allowing the bodies muscles, tendons and central nervous system heal from this type of training.
I've compiled a free video outline, (each video lasting just over one minute) to walk you through your weekly body weight training routine, starting first with this introductory vid.
Wide grip chins - Chain push-ups/floor stir-ups.
2 sets of each exercise, 8 - 10 reps of chins, Chain push-ups 15 -20
Pull-ups - Dips with chains.
2 sets of each exercise, 8 - 10 reps of pull-ups, prison-dips 6 - 10 reps
Upper back strap pull-ups - Pike push-ups
2 sets each exercise: Pike push-ups 10 - 12 reps. Strap pulls 10 - 12 reps
Strap Ring pull–ups - Triceps Extensions
2 sets each exercise: ring pulls 8 - 10 reps ea. arm - Triceps extensions 10 - 12 reps
Strap Ring push-ups - Body weight Helicopter
2 sets each exercise: Ring push -ups,10- 12 reps. Helicopters 10 -12 reps ea. arm
Strap Ring Flyes - Elevated Parallel bar push-ups
2 sets each exercise: Strap Ring flyes 8 - 10 reps, Parallel Bar push-ups 15 - 20 reps.
The Core: oblique’s, upper, lower abdominal's, serratus, lower back
The core needs more aerobic intensity than other body parts; I've set the exercises up to be preformed as a tri-set with 3 different abdominal exercises in a row, taking rest only where you feel you need. I’ve set up your ‘body weight ab routine’, to work different areas of the abdominal wall and lower back within each video tri-set.
As mentioned: train with a little higher Intensity as the abdominal's are a higher density muscle.
Note: use the suggested rep range as a guide; In the beginning if your athletic level doesn't allow for this many, do what you can - work at your natural progression... and before long you will have full command of all of them!
Ab Wheel roll-outs/Sandbag crunches - parallel bar leg raises
1 - 2 sets each exercise: Ab wheel roll-outs 10 - 12 reps Sandbag crunches 15 to 20 reps. Parallel bar leg raises 8 to 10 reps.
Hanging sit-ups/Decline twisting sit-ups - Mountain climbers with floor stir-ups
1 -2 sets each exercise: Hanging sit-ups 6 - 8 reps, Decline sit-ups - until it really burns, Mountain climbers 15- 20 reps ea. leg.
Lower body: the legs, upper and lower quadriceps, leg biceps and calves.
There is some difficulty with trying to build more powerful stronger looking legs with a typical body weight training routine, but... not impossible!
The leg muscles on their-own are powerful and routinely lift your entire body weight from morning till night, with that said: some ingenuity and proper exercises and a few simple apparatuses go a long ways to increasing overall strength, endurance and muscularity of the legs.
I always encourage everyone, be creative; use what’s available, it doesn’t have to be fancy, it’s about progressive resistance to increase strength and endurance of the lower body.
Again: always spend 1 to 2 minutes of stretching and warming up the legs before you actually break into your body weight training routine.
Prison squats (hands behind head or sandbag) - dead lift (sandbags)
2 sets of each exercise: Prison Squats/without resistance 15 -20 reps, Sandbag squats 10 -12 reps, sand bag dead lifts 10 -12 reps
EROM Bulgarian Split Squats – wide stance Goblet Squats
2 sets each exercise: Bulgarian Split squats 8 - 10 ea. leg, goblet squats 10 - 12 reps.
EROM Walking lunges (back pack) - sideways Lunges
2 sets each exercise: walking lunges, 10 to 12 ea. leg, sideways lunges 10 - 15 ea. leg
Seated leg extensions - seated calf raises
2 sets each exercise: leg extensions 10 -12 reps, calf raises 10 -12 reps
Putting it Together:
Seeing serious results from your body weight training routine should have 5 main components...
Choose exercises that are effective, and try to connect with them, meaning: if the exercises aren’t working, change what you’re doing; pick different ones, or do them in a different order, etc.
Avoiding the most common mistake
Often a lot of guys have a tendency to pick exercises they like doing, not that this is all bad, as I encourage anyone that makes it to the gym, backyard or shop and puts in their time, but...
If you really want to see results step out of your comfort zone; especially with body weight training. Results come from picking exercises that your natural body mechanics have to strain against, easy has little to do with results!
Ultimately, you have to train and work hard to build a rock-solid body, and unified
Like anything in life; if it’s worth having, then it’s worth the hard work! Use the exercises and body weight training routine over and over, add some fun, change it up, make it challenging and exciting and you will see results; best of luck. DWT