articles/posts, I have discussed the benefits of bodyweight-only – and bodyweight-primary
– strength training. Since I first
started blogging about bodyweight training few years ago, I have received many
emails from readers who are interested in this stuff. The readers usually want one of two
things. One, they just want to tell me
how much they have been enjoying bodyweight strength training, and they want to
offer their two cents on how effective/ enjoyable this kind of training has
been for them. (I love reading these
kind of e-mails because, first, it inspires me, and, second, it means I don’t
have to reply to some of the odd-ball questions I occasionally get asked.) Two, they want to know exactly what kind of program they should be following. It is to this second set of questioners that
this post is addressed – well, sort of.
You see, I think it’s important for people to learn to think for
themselves. When you learn to think for
yourself in regards to training, guess what?
You learn to think for yourself in other areas of your life.
strength training can be confusing for some.
This is especially so if you have been performing a lot of traditional
bodybuilding programs that involve lots of “high-intensity” training with heavy
weights and plenty of recovery between sessions – which, by the way, I really
don’t care much for; that kind of training just isn’t effective for a good
number of people. So, never-the-less,
when you are asked to perform very frequent training that involves lots of
sets, reps, and very little in the way of external resistance, you will often
end up confused as to just how to regulate volume, intensity, and then
incorporate this into a weekly schedule.
we get to the nuts and bolts of an actual program, I would like for you to read
the following points I made about this kind of training many blog posts ago in
some other articles. (If you just read
these points, and ignore the minimalist program at the end of the article, then
that’s fine with me. Creating a workout
program – be it bodyweight training or any other form of resistance workouts –
is just that: an act of creation. If you can create a good workout program for
yourself, then by all means, do so.)
·This kind of training should be done
frequently. There's no reason that—if bodyweight training is going to be your
only form of resistance training—you shouldn't train six-days-per-week for 1
(beginners) to 2 hours (intermediate to advanced) per session.
·You recover fast from this sort of training.
This is good—and bad, I suppose. Not only should you train more frequently, you
really need to train more frequently.
·This stuff is great for conditioning—and
getting you in shape fast. As Paul Chek has said, the key to being in great
shape is to perform anaerobic exercise until it becomes aerobic. Bodyweight
training can easily fit the bill here.
·Bodyweight-only training is excellent for the
athlete who wants to be ageless. You want to live to a ripe old age, and be
able to look half your age, have sex like you were half your age, and out train
guys half your age? Then these kinds of workouts should be the staple of your
·This kind of training is great for mixed
martial artists. If you are into MMA, I would advise that you lift weights 2
days per week (HEAVY) and the other 4 days a week should be comprised of
bodyweight-only strength training.
·When performing bodyweight squats, don't
count reps during a set, count the time of your sets. You should work up to 5
to 10 minute sets of squats. Then you will be in very good shape.
·This kind of training teaches you to eat
well. You can't do these workouts and eat like a super-heavyweight powerlifting
competitor—you'd be winded within 5 minutes of starting your workout. You need
lots of lean protein, and plenty of complex and fibrous carbohydrates.
·Everyone should do this kind of training at
least once per week. (Yes, that even goes for your super-heavy powerlifters I
was talking about.)
·These workouts are great as "extra
workouts" in your powerlifting arsenal, especially if your workouts in the
gym are mainly comprised of "maximal effort" training and
"dynamic effort" training.
·You will not lose your muscle mass if you
switch over from typical bodybuilding training to bodyweight-only training.
Don't believe me? Try doing 100 push-ups, 50 chins, and 500 bodyweight squats
six days per week for the next month. You'll be absolutely- friggin' sold on
bodyweight training at that point (more on this below).
Just the Basics, Performed Frequently
This is one of
the easiest – and, yet, most effective – workouts that you can ever
perform. (Hell, I just mentioned it in
the last bullet point.) Simply perform
100 push-ups, 50 chins, and 500 bodyweight squats 6 days a week.
Sounds simple –
which it is – but this doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s easy. The first day that you do it, it actually may
be easy. The next day you might be
surprised how sore you are, especially if you haven’t performed this kind of
workout any time in the recent past.
But, no problem, you should still be able to do it on the second day
without being in too much pain.
By the 3rd
day, however, things are going to get tougher.
You may have to take more time to get through the workout. Just make sure you do it, no matter what.
and 5th days probably won’t be much easier, but once again just make
sure that you complete the workout.
the 6th day, most trainees have adapted to the program enough that
it’s relatively easy to perform.
In fact, by the time you’ve finished two weeks on the program, you may
feel the “itch” to do more – resist that particular itch. Stick with the program “as is” for at least
one month. The program works from
the accumulative effect of daily training (high frequency, high volume, low
intensity), not from adding more and more work to it.
Of course, you
can only do this program for so long before complete boredom sets in and/or you
need to do more work.
free to combine this with more traditional methods of lifting. For instance, you can do this 2 days each
week, combined with 3 to 4 days of regular barbell and dumbbell workouts. Alternatively, you could also do this program
3 to 4 days each week, combined with 1 or 2 days of the traditional training.