Okay…so you might need some equipment…like a wall, or some chairs, maybe a bar at the park, a pull-up bar…but it’s fairly minimal, I promise!
In order to build strength (possibly size as well – this relies heavily on diet) we need to progressively overload muscle with more resistance. Most people just continue to increase repetitions, yet in order to get stronger we actually need to complete lower repetitions (6-10 maximum). One of the issues folks have with body weight training is that it is perceived to be more difficult to make the exercises more challenging.
When you choose an exercise that challenges you, you’ll automatically only be able to do lower reps of that exercise – as you get stronger the number of reps increase. At this point you need to modify the exercises in order to do so – just like you would add heavier weights if you were lifting weights. Now the progression of body weight exercise is not an exact science, however below I have outlined progressively more challenging exercises for each area of the body.
Shocking: You will notice I have not included biceps, triceps, calves, etc. because unless you are into serious body building (if so there are equipment-less exercises you can do for those areas too – shoot me an email if you have questions) you don’t need to isolate those areas as you use them in the exercises outlined below already. For instance, a row involves the back, shoulders and biceps, where a push-up involves the chest, shoulders and triceps.
A few things:
- Please read my disclaimer here. In writing this, I am not condoning nor saying all of these exercises are safe or appropriate for every individual – in fact improper form can cause injury. C’mon though, you know that.
- Do more back work than chest work. Always. Our chests and triceps are typically over worked and overdeveloped in comparison to our back muscles that are lengthened and taut.
- Expect soreness. 1-2 days after – you should feel stiff. This is not a bad thing, this is your body adapting. Epsom salt baths can help!
Directions: choose one exercise from each group – making 4 exercises total in one workout. Once you can do 10 reps or hold the exercise for a good period of time (might take a few weeks) move on to the next. You should aim to complete 3-5 sets of as many reps of you can of the exercise 2-3 times per week. You need at least 48 hours of rest between these workouts. If you want to workout more, do cardio on the days in between. I recommend choosing the exercises from each body area in the order I’ve laid out below.
Your workout might look something like this:
- Hindu Squat – 3 sets of 10 reps
- Incline Pull-up – 3 sets of 8 reps (let’s say 8 is all you can complete in one set – work up to 10.)
- Incline Push-ups – 2 sets (remember to do more back than chest) of 10 reps.
- Knee Plank – 3 sets of 60 second holds.
- Hindu Squat
- Bear Squat
- Wall Sit
- Lunge Kick
- The Falling Tower
- Harop Curl
- Duck Walk (RIP Mr. Chuck Berry )
- Shrimp Squat
- Pistol Squat
- Incline Pullup
- Kipping Pullup
- Eccentric Pullup
- Around the World Pullup
- Archer Pullup
- Uneven Pullup
- Assisted one Arm Pullup
- One Arm Pullup
- Incline Pushups
- Knee Pushups
- Standard Pushups
- Wide Pushups
- Decline Pushups
- Chest Dips
- Uneven Pushups
- One Arm Pushups
- Tuck Planche (Yes, I said Planche, not plank.)
There are also many variations on planche once you can do the tuck.
- Knee Plank
- Frog Pushups
- Wall Assisted Negative Handstand Pushups
- Wall Assisted Handstand Pushups
- Handstand Holds
- Handstand Pushups
Remember – always check with your physician prior to starting any exercise program especially if you are a beginner. Now have fun!
Enjoy this day!
Stay tuned for Part 4 next week! Want to receive it in your inbox? Subscribe and never miss an article!