Manipulating your bodyweight is no easy task. There is a lot of functional strength involved in bodyweight training. The gym is great to get in shape but bodyweight training can give you serious results!
Why bodyweight training is great
Bodyweight training is not taken very seriously nowadays. We think about someone that doesn’t take their training seriously, but this is not true in every case. Even in the gym there are a lot of people that do not get serious about lifting, and they do not categorize all the gym goers because of those people.
One of the advantage of bodyweight training is that you can get great results and the basic bodyweight exercises can help you to build a base of strenght and muscle. There are a lot of variations of bodyweight exercises like pullups and pushups, and resistance is resistance. Your body makes your muscles bigger because they adapt to the stimulus that you are giving to your body. Typical resistance training will include; free weights, machines, bodyweight and resistance bands. All of those are tools to build a body and get a nice training sesion.
Another advantage of bodyweight training is that you can train almost everywhere. Prison workouts are known for utilizing bodyweight as resistance and as an effective method to build muscle. A lot of people build muscle with just their bodyweight, if you don’t believe me just check out the calisthenics youtube space, it will surprise you that they are in very good shape.
Another advantage of bodyweight training is that you work your whole body in a better way than with weights. Doing pullups for example has been shown to also work the mid back and the lats, not to mention that you need the stabilization for the exercise and that will also engage more muscles compared to a typical way of training your back in the gym which is the lat pulldown machine, i love the pulldown machine but you cannot neglect the added benefit of something like the pullup.
Do not underestimate bodyweight training because we have been told that the gym is the only way to make gains, of course i love the gym and i would choose it any day over bodyweight training only, but bodyweight training is great and you can always incorporate some type of it in your routine for a change or a challenge.
Pushing bodyweight exercises
Let’s start with pushups, the first completely newbie variation will be the knees on the ground pushup.
The next variation is a normal pushup.
The next variation, which has been shown to effectively work the triceps will be the diamond pushup.
The next variation is a one arm ball pushup.
Make sure to do one arm at a time and not to alternate if you want to keep tension on your chest. The further the ball is from your body, the tougher it gets.
The next variation and very challenging is a one arm pushup, which looks like this;
Pushups are a great way to build strength, and if you can do more than 5 one arm pushups it means that you are very strong and you will likely have a nice foundation of muscle mass to go with that strenght, specially if you are big.
Legs bodyweight exercises
Basic bodyweight squats are the most newbie friendly and basic variation.
A pistol squats is the next variation you will want to focus on, they look like this;
The pistol squat is the best lower body bodyweight exercise, if you build up to about 15 reps you will have good leg strength and size.
Pulling bodyweight exercises
Most total begginers cannot do a full range of motion pullup, if this is the case you can do the lat pulldown machine or get some resistance bands until you are strong enough to do pullups.
Once you can do about 20 pullups, you should start to try to get to the one arm pullup which is the most difficult variation of a pullup.
Bodyweight training methods
A full body workout with pushups, squats and pullups is a great way of structuring your calisthenics workouts, you can do them Monday, Wednesday and Friday, just make sure that you can recover from your workouts.
A great way to train is to aim to achieve more reps or a more difficult progression of the exercise. For example if you start with normal pushups, you can train to do one arm pushups eventually. If you cannot do a one arm pullup, then aim to get about 15-20 pullups and start to train for the one arm pullup.
High rep bodyweight training will give you a good muscle building stimulus if you go to failure or close to failure.
Create more options with resistance bands
Resistance bands are highly underrated. I highly recommend to you to buy a set of resistance bands, they will last a long time and they are relatively cheap, if you don’t want to spend more then with bodyweight will be enough but a set of resistance bands is definetely a good investment. With a set you can mimic almost every gym exercise, plus you can add resistance to bodyweight exercises such as push ups and you can get assistance from them when training for advanced movements such as the one arm pullup.
You can isolate certain muscles that do not require a lot of tension like the shoulders and arms which are the ones that are not worked directly. With your bodyweight, a pullup bar and resistance bands you can have a complete gym that will allow you to be in great shape and have great workouts.
Incorporate some bodyweight training!
Now that you know all of this, you can go ahead and start to train for all of the variations. Make sure that you use good form and stay safe. Even if you are at the gym you can add weight to pullups and dips with a dip belt for great strength exercises.
Do you have exeperiences with bodyweight training? Questions? Anything to say? Let me know in the comments!