There are many reasons why a person would choose to use a body weight exercise routine instead of a weight training program. This is because body weight training is more natural of a movement and also most of the exercises work some type of stabilizer muscles, and this is something that standard weight training routines just do not offer.
Now I bet you are thinking, well isn’t body weight exercises a little easy, man? I would have to answer you by saying no, you can advance through multiple levels with the right additives. This will allow you to be able to keep the same body weight form, yet still benefit from it being challenging. Let us check out one way to use a progressive overload body weight exercise routine.
Standard Beginner Body Weight Exercises
Let us begin with talking about a standard body weight routine that you can use to start getting stronger and start to pack on some muscle. This is a good area to start if you are new to lifting weights, or haven’t done strenuous exercises very much in the past.
A standard body weight routine includes the following types of exercises: standard push ups, inverted rows, pull ups (with bands if needed), handstand holds, body weight squats, and single leg Romanian dead lifts. I recommend moving up the rep range until you get to 4 sets of 10 reps before moving on until the level. Start out with 3 sets of 5 to 6 reps and see how that feels to you. If it is too easy aim for a couple more reps, but do not go to failure leave a rep or two left unperformed.
Moderate Body Weight Exercises
After completion of the standard bodyweight routine, we then move onto the moderate body weight exercises. This level is going to step up the standard body weight exercises a little bit and start putting some demands on your muscles to grow.
With the moderate routine, you are going to be mostly using the same types of exercises, except with a weighted vest. The only exceptions are for the single legged Romanian deadlifts which you should use dumbells, the handstand holds and most likely pull ups. With the weighted vest start slowly adding weight every time you workout. A lot of the weighted vest come in small pound weights of either 1 or 2 pounds. This allows you to be able to go up slowly to prevent injuries. The handstand holds will now be turned into handstand negatives. This is where you go into a handstand and then you go down to a headstand but the whole way down you are resisting with your muscles. Pull ups can just be standard pullups without the bands now, unless you need the weighted vest.
I recommend following the same rep and set set up as before. Start with 3 sets of 5 to 6 reps, at a comfortable weight when using the weighted vest. Stay on this stage for at least 2 months before moving on to the next advanced body weight phase.
Advanced Body Weight Exercises
Now we are moving onto the more advanced levels of bodyweight training. As we progress you may have noticed that we have to keep adding equipment to help us along. This is no exception here; now we have to add in a pair of Olympic Rings. The Olympic Rings add a whole new level to stabilizer muscle training around the joints that the previous two routines did not demand. Here we will do some of the same exercises, yet on the rings.
Some of the exercises include: ring push ups, inverted ring rows and ring pull ups. Handstand negatives now turn into handstand push ups. The only things that probably needs to be on a more weight based structure that uses barbells, or deadlift bars are the squats and the deadlifts. These two exercises have probably already exceeded the levels that you can go up with difficulty and in order to add enough weight you need something like the barbell or the super deadlift bar. Try to start out using the same rep scheme as the previous two times, 3 sets of 5 to 6 reps.
Concluding and Beyond
As you can see you can progress nicely with a bodyweight training routine. These types of training routines allow you to grow nicely yet still have the structure of a body weight exercise. By following this route you can hopefully save your joints with more nature of movements, yet still pack on tons of muscle mass so you can look good for the ladies. Oh and in case you want to go beyond the rings, I guess you could always put the weighted vest on that you now have and give it a go;). Now we are talking. Until next time.
Cory D. Cook