Tips On Bodyweight Strength

Today’s Daily Battle Plan – 11/4

1A) Every 3 Mins x 12 Mins

Push Press Cluster – 2.2.2
***Rest 15 secs between 2’s

2A) 3 Rounds EACH For Time

12 Strict Pull Ups
15 Hand Release Push Ups
18 Toes To Bar
15 KB Push Press
12 Recline Rows

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Today, I want to talk to you about how to build strength with bodyweight only training.

Odds are you’re used to using body weight exercises for conditioning and fat loss.

Too many people out there tend to think bodyweight training is only good for conditioning and fat loss… WRONG!

A perfect example of this would be with doing high rep sets of bodyweight squats, burpees or lunges.

All of these exercises are great for increasing your heart rate and revving up your metabolism for fat loss, but are they great for strength?

It DEPENDS.

Back when I played football, I used to train with these movements for the exact same purpose, which was mainly for conditioning.

We would be in the weight room using heavy weights to get stronger, and then to end things out, we’d do bodyweight exercises for conditioning and calisthenics.

But let’s say if you want to start using bodyweight only to train at home, or because you’ve done years of heavy lifting and your body is a little beat up and you want to take it easy on your joints, can you get strong without lifting heavy weights?

The answer is YES, but there’s just a few key things you need to take into consideration when putting these types of bodyweight only workouts together.

Here’s 3 tips on how to get STRONGER while just using your bodyweight:

Number one – shoot for a lower rep range.

That means to keep it challenging, you probably need to switch up the type of exercises you’re doing. Everyone is going to be a little bit different here, but for me and most people – unless you are more of a beginner exerciser – a body weight squat is NOT going to be challenging enough.

You could (and should) probably do 100 of those before you get really fatigued so exercises like that aren’t going to get you to the rep range we’re shooting for to gains in strength.

Here’s an example on how to progress a movement like the basic bodyweight push up to transform it into a STRENGTH movement:  Standard Push Up –> Push Ups On Rings –> Single Arm Assisted Push Up –> Unassisted Single Arm Push Up

As the movements get tougher, the reps will drop down significantly. 

In addition to this, it’s always important to note that when it comes to STRENGTH, it’s about PROGRESSION – This goes with any type of movement variation whether this be squats, pull ups, push ups, when you make it harder it’ll force you to become stronger.

Number 2, Train with MORE VOLUME.

When you’re working in a lower rep range you’re also going to be doing more sets. So instead of 3 sets of 20 reps, you might do 6 sets of 3 pistol squats for example.

When I really want to increase the amount of STRENGTH I possess in a movement, I’ll make sure I get my volume in by keeping the sets real small like Forest mentioned above and increasing the sets up to 10, 15, even 20 sets if need be.  It’s all about QUALITY and overall VOLUME.

So, even 20 sets of just 2 pistol squats per leg or even 20 sets of just 2 Hand Stand Push Ups over the course of a whole training session would do the trick.

Number 3, keep things LOW FATIGUE.

Now, we’re not trying to burn you out if you’re trying to build strength. That’s the LAST thing we want to do.  Look at it as more of trying to build a skill instead of trying to go to failure.

Simple focus here on this 3rd tip is to do as many reps as you can with perfect form.

In addition, I’ve got to add in just how important it is to key in on overall RANGE OF MOTION which obviously goes right along with “perfect form”.  People like to cut their movements a bit short which will NOT do them any good so always make sure you’re going FULL range of motion.

[bctt tweet=”ALSO, A good rule of thumb that I follow when doing bodyweight training specifically for STRENGTH is to STOP your reps well short of fatigue”] and if fatigue hasn’t yet set in because you’re a bit more in shape, but form starts to suffer a bit, STOP there as well. 

It’s not always about fatigue, but more so about range of motion and solid form.

QUALITY is STRENGTH – STRENGTH is QUALITY ;)

So, there you go with 3 quick and dirty tips about bodyweight strength training.