Content of the material
- The beginner bodyweight workout plan
- The routine
- One Arm Rows, 8-15 reps per arm
- Other ways to progress with your bodyweight workout plan
- Progressing from an easier version of an exercise to a harder one
- Time under tension
- Increasing reps
- Increasing sets
- Decreasing rest time between exercises and or sets
- Tips, Tricks and Thoughts on Bodyweight Training
- Stick with it! Some days you will feel stronger than others. This is normal, but it doesn’t mean you should slack off. Make sure you do all your reps each workout!
- Bodyweight Workouts Can be Done Anywhere
- Benefits of Bodyweight Exercises
- How to Train Prison Squats
- Designing a Bodyweight Workout Program
- How Progressions Work
The beginner bodyweight workout plan
Move at a pace you’re comfortable with. Use the first workout as a feeling-out process. Get familiar with the movements and what your current level of fitness is.
- Complete all 5 exercises in a row with 0-60 seconds of rest after each exercise
- Once you have completed 1 full circuit or all 5 exercises in a row rest 60-120 seconds and repeat
- Complete 2-3 full circuits
- Try performing this workout 2-3 times per week on non-consecutive days (i.e. Monday, Wednesday, Friday)
5 minutes of movement to work up a little sweat, loosen up, and get your heart rate up. You can walk up and down your stairs, march in place, or step side to side.
Under each bodyweight exercise, you’ll also notice some exercise substitutions.
The order you do the exercises can change based on your personal preferences. But I have structured it so that it focuses on the most taxing body part first
- Bodyweight squats, 8-15 reps
- One arm row, 8-15 reps per arm
- Knee or elevated push-up, 8-15 reps
- Straight arm plank, 5-20 seconds
- Steam engines, 10-20 reps per side
One Arm Rows, 8-15 reps per arm
You can use a gallon water jug or paint can
If you have a resistance band
Other ways to progress with your bodyweight workout plan
Progression is the number 1 requirement for getting stronger and building muscle (along with diet). Without this, it is virtually impossible.
At some point, you most certainly will progress past the bodyweight workout plan outlined here. Below are a few other ways to challenge yourself when you’re ready.
Progressing from an easier version of an exercise to a harder one
An example of this would be from wall push-ups to knee push-ups. Then from knee push-ups to elevated push-ups where you slowly start to bring down the elevation. Eventually doing regular push-ups. After regular push-ups would come decline and then explosive or clapping push-ups.
But at some point, you’ll get strong enough where you’ll run out of variations. From here you can try a few things to help with progressive overload.
Time under tension
Try taking 5 seconds to lower yourself while doing a push-up. Do the same thing with a squat. Notice how much more difficult that is.
Most of the time you want to stop 1 to 2 reps short of failure. The reason being, going to fail on your first set can ruin you for later sets. Thus, decreasing the total volume of the workout.
An example week to week progression in reps may look like this:
- Week 1: 3 sets, 8 push-ups
- Week 2: 3 sets, 10 push-ups
- Week 3: 3 sets, 12 push-ups
Much like the example above, you could keep the reps the same but increase the number of sets you do weekly or bi-weekly.
- Week 1: 2 sets, 12 reps
- Week 2: 3 sets, 12 reps
- Week 3: 4 sets, 12 reps
- Week 4: 5 sets, 12 reps
Decreasing rest time between exercises and or sets
This is a simple and great way to add progression and difficulty to your bodyweight workout plan.
- Week 1: 60 seconds rest after each exercise and or set
- Week 2: 45 seconds rest after each exercise and or set
- Week 3: 30 seconds rest after each exercise and or set
- Week 4: 15 seconds rest after each exercise and or set
- Week 5: 0 seconds rest after each exercise and 60-second rest after each set
Tips, Tricks and Thoughts on Bodyweight Training
Put a pull up bar in your doorway. I picked one up at a thrift store for $3.
The pull up bar is super convenient and can be set up anywhere. But the power rack and wall-mount are more stable. Either option is effective so get what works best for you.
Stick with it! Some days you will feel stronger than others. This is normal, but it doesn’t mean you should slack off. Make sure you do all your reps each workout!
Everyone will progress at different speeds. It might take you 4 weeks to hit your numbers or maybe it takes you 4 months. Either way, make sure you are able to do the appropriate number of continuous reps before moving onto weight training.
Trust me, bodyweight training is essential to building healthy muscles and doing so will allow you to make the most of your training in the long run.
Once you can do all of the above you can move on to the weights. You are likely to get injured or develop an muscular imbalance if you just jump into the weights without being able to do this stuff first.
You’re bodyweight and body fat percentage will absolutely play a factor in how effective you are at performing bodyweight workouts.
If you have high body fat I would recommend walking, biking or light jogging daily in order to lose some body fat. This will have a double benefit for you because you will get stronger and leaner at the same time.
Once you can of the bodyweight exercises you can move on to Beginner Weight Training which is the perfect into to barbell weight train to make the most of your workouts and build some serious muscle.
Remember, you have to be able to do the stuff I mentioned here first or else you are likely to get injured or develop an muscular imbalance if you just jump into the weights.
You want to get fit and you can start right now using the equipment God gave you. Your body is both chisel and clay – you can use your body to build and shape your body. No equipment needed. How cool is that?
<!– wp:paragraph –><p>Since man could stand upright he’s been conditioning himself by sprinting, pushing himself off the ground and pulling himself up trees and cliffs.</p><!– /wp:paragraph –>
<!– wp:paragraph –><p>Cavemen didn’t have chairs. They squatted to relax. Most people that try this would fall right over. We’ve forgotten the art of bodyweight training. we’ve forgot how to train our bodies the way they were designed.</p><!– /wp:paragraph –>
<!– wp:paragraph –><p>Our bodies are designed to do bodyweight training. Build muscles the way nature intended by pushing and pulling yourself against gravity. Bodyweight training keeps you fit for anything life throws at you.</p><!– /wp:paragraph –>
Bodyweight Workouts Can be Done Anywhere
In the office, in a hotel, at the beach. anywhere that you have a few short minutes to drop and do some pushups. This is a big advantage when you don’t have a gym around or are pressed for time.
You can crank out 50 pushups in less that 10 minutes and everybody has 10 minutes to spare for a quick workout.
The World is Your Gym. Sound empowering? It should. Get creative and have fun with it. For example, here I am doing Pull ups in Venice, Italy. (I could have done more if it wasn’t for all the canopies in my belly)
Benefits of Bodyweight Exercises
Here are 12 benefits that will motivate and excite you to put your body to work.
- It helps improve any muscle imbalances, especially from rounded shoulders and tight hips from sitting too long (hello, new work from the home model).
- It works the whole body.
- It lays down an excellent foundation for future weighted programming.
- It helps improve strength, endurance, balance, flexibility, and coordination.
- It can increase your confidence.
- It saves time going to the gym.
- It can be done anywhere, so there is never an excuse not to work out.
- No equipment is necessary.
- It never gets boring.
- It’s free.
- It’s great for any body type.
How to Train Prison Squats
Walk up hill or on an incline to strengthen your legs. Walks, jog and do sprints.
Do static lunges where you but one foot in front of the other and hold that position as long as you can, then switch legs and do the same thing. These are all ways to strengthen your legs so you can do more squats.
Designing a Bodyweight Workout Program
With bodyweight workouts, the variety is endless and can be applied to any current life situation. Whether you have 10 minutes or an hour, use the simple format below to keep your muscles constantly guessing. If you are just starting, begin with 20 minutes twice a week for two to four weeks. As your fitness level improves, increase the time and amount of days/week.
The greatest thing about bodyweight workouts is there are multiple variations, and you will never get bored. Select an exercise from each category. Always starting with a movement that works numerous muscles at once ex push-ups and squats, then move to exercises that work smaller muscles, aka dips for the triceps.
To perform this workout routine effectively, you need to have access to the following:
- A place to perform your rows. Low bars, gymnastic rings, sturdy table are good options. In this program, you cannot substitute the rows as they form the crux of the entire routine.
- A place to do pull-ups. A typical pull-up bar, monkey bars, or even rings are a great option.
- Parallel bars that will let you perform your dips and Handstand Push-Ups progressions. If you don’t have access to them you can use two sturdy chairs or even a kitchen counter.
How Progressions Work
You cannot adjust the difficulty of bodyweight exercises like with weight training by simply adding or removing plates of weight. Therefore, in order to effectively increase or decrease the difficulty, you need to use different variations of a type of exercise. For an example in the push-up progression, some people may find a push-up on its own too difficult, and some may find it too easy. Therefore, variations of the pushup exist to make it easer (e.g. incline push-ups) or harder (decline, diamond, ring, pseudo planche etc. push-ups) so that you can pick a variation that is appropriate to your strength level, rather than simply doing an exercise that may be far too easy to make you get stronger, or far too hard to do properly.
When you get to the strength training, you will be greeted with progression exercises listed in order of increasing difficulty. Pick an appropriately difficult progression for your current level of strength, and perform 3 sets of 5 reps of that progresssion on your first session. In subsequent sessions you should try to add one rep per set until you are performing 3 sets of 8 reps with good form. From here you should move on to the next progression, but again at 3 sets of 5 reps. Note that this means that you only perform one of the exercises from each of the listed progressions in each session. Once you move up in the progression, there's no need to keep the easier exercises in your routine (except for using it as a warm-up if you feel like it).
Some of the exercises are static holds, such as the support holds or the "tuck front lever" in the rowing progression. Instead of dynamic reps, one set here consists of simply holding the position statically for 10-30 seconds. Move on to the next harder progression once you hit 30 seconds for all 3 sets.
You'll see there are multiple "progression paths" for the exercises. However, don't overthink this – if you're not sure pick the main progression and do it. If for some reason you can't follow the main progression (lack of specific equipment, for example) then pick one of the alternatives and do it.
Overwhelmed? You may prefer starting with the Minimalist Routine.