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8 Ways to Upgrade Your Home Workouts

By Brandon Holder April 23th, 2020 | Image Source : T- Nation

Get More From Bodyweight Training

Bodyweight training is a lost art. Decades ago, it was a staple of a lifter’s training. You couldn’t have a complete program without push-ups, pull-ups, dips, gymnastic-based movements, and isometrics.

But as time passed, we stopped viewing bodyweight training the same way. It lost its appeal… maybe because most lifters think it’s too simple, easy, or predictable.

And that’s a shame. Controlling your bodyweight through space is another piece of the puzzle in helping you live your healthiest life possible. Besides, if you can’t lift and move your own body, how strong are you really?

Here’s how to add new challenges and variety to your bodyweight training:

1 – Play With Tempo

Let’s say you usually do a normal set of ten push-ups. Now do those same ten reps, but lower yourself down for five seconds, hold the bottom for five seconds, then return back up for five seconds. That’s just ONE pec-popping rep!

Sure, many lifters already DO lengthen the lowering phase and isometric holds of their bodyweight movements, but few extend the time they spend in the concentric or lifting phase.

This helps increase time under tension and forces you to focus on executing the full range of the movement. You also get a killer mind-muscle connection, which might not have been accomplished by just going through the motions.

Examples

Push-Up

Do 3×5: 5 seconds down, 5 second pause, and 5 seconds up

Bodyweight Bulgarian Split Squat

Do 3×5 each leg: 5 seconds down, 5 second pause, and 5 seconds up

2 – Add Weight

This will increase the challenge of basic bodyweight movements. You can do this in multiple ways including weighted vests, heavy backpacks, chains, bands, manual resistance, etc.

Once you can crank out several pull-ups with good form, don’t stop progressing them. Keep track of your weighted five-rep max the same way you keep track of your bench max.

Examples

Weighted Chin-Up or Weighted Dip

Test with a quarter of your bodyweight, so if you weigh 200 pounds, add 50 pounds of weight onto your body.

You can do a whole workout going from one exercise to the next while wearing a heavy backpack. Load it up with as much weight as you like and get to work. This is a “flow” series of exercises which we’ll get to in just a bit.

3 – Hit a Rep Goal As Fast As Possible

This type of challenge creates a sense of urgency and helps you focus. No stipulations, just accumulate the prescribed number of reps as quickly (and correctly) as possible. Then record how long it took and try to beat it next time.

Examples

Barbell Push-Up: 100 reps as fast as possible. Record your time and work to beat it next week.
Bodyweight Dip: 100 reps as fast as possible. Record your time and beat it next week.

4 – Add a Time Cap

Do as many rounds as possible (AMRAP) within a specific amount of time. Instead of aiming for a number of reps, you’re aiming to complete as many rounds (of a series of exercises) before your time is up.

Example

Do as many rounds as possible within 10 minutes:

A1. Bodyweight Squat: 10 reps
A2. Burpee: 10 reps
A3. Mountain Climber: 20 reps each leg

This is just an example. Don’t like burpees? Don’t do them. Replace any or all of these exercises with what you want.

5 – Timed Sets

Instead of aiming for a total number or reps, or doing a series of exercises within a time cap, you’d do one exercise continuously for a prescribed amount of time, then move on to the next.

Example

A1. Hindu Push-Up: 30 seconds
A2. Step-Through Lunge: 30 seconds
A3. Lying Glute Bridge: 30 seconds
A4. Speed Skater: 30 seconds

Repeat 2-3 more times, resting 60 seconds between sets.

6 – Animal Crawls and Walks

It’s a completely forgotten aspect of training.

Animal Exercise Examples

Backward Bear Crawl

Lateral Bear Crawl

Spiderman Crawl

Crab Walk

Monkey Jump

7 – Bodyweight Flows

Bodyweight flows are a type of circuit training where you do movements in a back-to-back fashion – “flowing” from one to the next. They’re excellent as warm-ups or cooldowns.

Examples

Bodyweight Flow One

A1. Push-Up: 10 reps
A2. Scap Push-Up: 10 reps
A3. Mountain Climber: 10 reps each side
A4. Push-Up Plank Hand to Elbow: 10 Reps
A5. Hand Walkout: 10 Reps

Bodyweight Flow Two

A1. Squat Plus Reverse Lunge: 10 reps
A2. Single Leg RDL: 8 reps each leg
A3. Groiner: 8 reps each leg
A4. Roll Over to V-Stretch: 10 reps

8 – Ladders

These are giant continuous sets of movements where the reps will often ascend/descend throughout the series. You can accomplish a lot in a little bit of time.

You do the first exercise for the prescribed number of reps, then immediately move on to the next exercise for the prescribed number of reps. Ideally, there’s no rest between exercises or rounds.

Example

For this one, the reps are set up in a pyramid-style: they ascend and then descend.

A1. Plank Shoulder Tap: 3,5,5,3
A2. Lying V-Up: 5,8,8,5
A3. Russian Twist: 10,15,15,10

So you’d do three plank shoulder taps, five V-ups, then ten Russian twists before moving on to to the next round.

So, What’s the Point?

Neglecting aspects of training as simple as moving your own body will only hinder your progress. No one says you have to become a bodyweight guru, but adding a few of these variations will help you become a more physically competent, mobile, and healthy person.

Author: Brandon Holder

Source: T- Nation: 8 Ways to Upgrade Your Home Workouts

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