Bodyweight Exercises – Part 2

Why Do Bodyweight Exercises?

Here’s a few of the advantages to doing bodyweight exercises:

  • Doesn’t take up much (if any) floor space
  • Inexpensive – no gym fees
  • Very little equipment required
  • Quicker – no travel time to the gym
  • Less embarrassing – you can do these alone without someone watching
  • Less likely to get hurt than with heavy weights/equipment
  • Muscle gains are “natural” in appearance (as opposed to looking “jacked”)
  • Not cardio focused, but strength focused (although your cardio will also improve)
  • Improve mobility and coordination

One program that I really like the looks of is the StartBodyWeight.com program.

Caveats

Note – I haven’t tried this particular program myself since I am doing CrossFit but many of the elements are the same as CrossFit. The difference is instead of using heavy weights and doing Olympic style lifting bodyweight training uses the weight of your body as the weight you are lifting. Not a bad place to start since we’ve all got more than enough body weight.

Exercises

The Start Body Weight program consists of seven basic exercises intended to work each muscle group. These are:

There’s also a warmup period and a cool-down period at the end of the exercises. Each exercise includes rest times between sets as well.

Progressions

Since it’s unlikely that a person who is starting out can do these exercises, for each of these seven exercises there is a progression of steps to reach the ultimate form of the exercise. With the progression you start with your current abilities. For most of us untrained people that will be in the first of the progressions within that particular exercise.

Example: Pushup Progression

The progression for pushups goes through the following steps:

  1. Wall pushups
  2. Box pushups
  3. Three quarter pushups
  4. Three quarter pushups + Eccentrics
  5. Pushups
  6. Elbows in pushups
  7. Diamond pushups
  8. Uneven pushups
  9. Decline pushups
  10. Decline elbows in pushups
  11. Decline diamond pushups
  12. Wall one arm pushups
  13. Incline one arm pushups
  14. One arm pushups
  15. Decline one arm pushups

Very few people can do #15 (decline one arm pushups) but everyone can do #1 (wall pushups). The idea is to progress over weeks from #1 through #15. There’s a lot of advantage to doing this as a progression compared to other ways which say, maximize the number of pushups. Plus, wouldn’t it be just plain cool to be able to do one-armed pushups?

How Often?

This program is set up to be done three days a week with a day or two of recovery between each workout day. The recovery time between days allows your muscles to rebuild themselves.

How Many Reps?

Each exercise consists of between 4 and 8 repetitions with a 1-2 minute rest between sets. After you can do three sets of 8 reps move to the next exercise in that progression.

Equipment

Resources

Other Bodyweight Programs

Here are some videos which describe the basic progressions for each of the seven exercises.

 

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