Four Reasons Bodyweight Programs Fail People Either Doing Too Little or Doing Too Much
Since I started this project, very often people come to me for advice on their bodyweight workouts. The following are usually the two main reasons they are not progressing: Either they are doing too little or they are doing too much. The first category usually adopts a bodybuilding philosophy in their bodyweight routine – such as dividing workouts into back training days, chest training days and leg training days. This training approach of training one muscle group once or twice per week will not benefit you when applied to bodyweight training (more on this later in Strength Basics).
The second category is usually doing too much. Not so much in terms of training volume, but rather in the variety of exercises. Doing a numerous variety exercises in one workout but not really going hard on any of the important exercises won’t do you any good either. This is a common problem with most of the bodyweight ebooks I have read. Most of them offer people a huge overwhelming variety of bodyweight exercises. As a result, people end up doing a little bit of this, a little bit of that without focusing on the simplest, but also most important principle of strength training, Progressive Overload. Progressive Overload simply means to focus your training efforts in such a way that you continue to increase the intensity of your exercises through time (more on this in Strength Basics).
Bodyweight training, in comparison with weight lifting, may have limitations when it comes to finding a variety of high intensity functional exercises. Because there is a lot of extra fluff in terms of how many bodyweight exercises there are out there, you will have to – as Bruce Lee would simply say – “absorb what is useful and discard what is not.” You need to take maximum advantage of the big muscle building bodyweight exercises. If you remember only one thing from this chapter, remember the following:
If an exercise is important, do it three times per week; if it’s not, don’t do it all…
2. Not Doing The Right Exercises.
If you want to get strong and build muscle you have to train using your primal movement patterns. Pull, push and squat. If you are not focusing on Pull ups, Push ups, Dips and Pistol squats as a beginner in every bodyweight workout, you are training in vain. These multi-joint exercises give you the best bang for your buck and focusing on anything else will simply waste your time. The whole secret to bodyweight strength is to repeatedly do these exercises in every workout while keeping your rep range between 5-15 reps as you will see in point
Pull, Push & Squat – The Big Muscle Building Movements
10 Beginners Exercise Plan For Weight Loss Photo Gallery
3. Tooooo Many Reps.
If you want to build muscle, science has proven that an intensity level between 70% and 90% is the most optimum range. This means that you have to use a rep range of between 5-15 reps. Applying this rep range to all the big muscle builders will recruit muscle fiber in depth and trigger anabolic hormones in the most effective way in order to build muscle and burn fat. Higher rep ranges of 20 reps can offer some extra benefits but only after you have been training seriously for at least a year. We will discus this topic more later on.
Unfortunately, most people who train with bodyweight turn their strength workouts into cardio workouts by doing push-up sets of 30 repetitions or more. If you have reached a point in an exercise where you can do 15 clean push-ups, its time to move onto a more difficult progression. If you are wondering how to increase the intensity of an exercise, I have included in the last chapter of this book enough progressions for all of the bodyweight exercises. Stick around long enough and you will be doing one arm push ups and all kinds of cool progressions in the near future.
Keep your form clean and stick between 5 and 15 repetitions
4. Not Keeping Notes.
Always write down your reps and the progression you are using. Especially in bodyweight training, it’s very difficult to keep track of your progress if you don’t do this. If you neglect this detail you will never get passed your newbie gains. Here is how I do it. I always note the exercise, my reps and the point after which my form started breaking down a bit.
For example: Pull ups with elastic band: 3 X [8 + 8 + (6+2)]
This means I did 3 sets of 8 repetitions. The first two sets were done with perfect form and in the third set, after the sixth rep, my form started to break down a little bit.