Body Weight STRENGTH Workout
by Forest Vance, author, Body Weight Strong 2.0
I want to talk to you today about how to use body weight training to gain strength.
You probably think of body weight training when thinking about conditioning and fat loss. That’s how I used to think about it too.
I’ve been in the fitness industry training, doing boot camps, and blogging for almost the last ten years. But before that I played pro football for a couple of years. I was a 310 pound offensive lineman and a strength athlete. I was relatively strong back in my peak days. Back then we would go to the weight room and lift heavy weights and that’s how we trained to get strong. Then we would do the body weight training for conditioning and calisthenics.
That’s still a good way to do it. However, maybe you train at home and don’t have access to a lot of equipment, or maybe your body is a little beat up from years of heavy lifting and you want to take it easy on your joints.
I’m here to tell you that you CAN use body weight training to get stronger, you just have to make sure you’re setting up your workouts properly. Today, I’ll give you a few tips and examples on how to do that – and a sample workout 🙂
Here’s a Body Weight STRENGTH Workout
Make sure you properly warm up first. Do some stretching, joint mobility, and get your heart rate up a little bit – this is going to be specific to you.
The main “meat” of the workout is going to be two pairs of exercises.
The first exercise is going to be some type of push up variation. One principle you want to make sure and follow is to work in lower rep ranges when you’re training for strength. That means picking exercises that are more challenging for you and your fitness level. So if I was doing this, regular push ups wouldn’t cut it. But if you are doing 6-8 reps of push ups and that’s really hard for you, than stick with those. Just don’t go to failure, the goal is not to get smoked out doing these exercises.
If the regular push ups are too easy for you, we might shift to a foot elevated push up. The next step up would be a variation of a one arm push, called a shifting lever push up where more of your weight is on one arm. Then you could try an elevated one arm push up where your hands are elevated on a tire or box. And finally, you can work up to doing a few reps of the regular one arm push up on the floor. That’s a pretty challenging exercise. It’s high load, high resistance, and you can actually gain strength using your own body weight.
So, do 5-8 reps of a push up variation that’s challenging for you and super set it with a jump variation. Start with a regular vertical jump. If you can get 5 to 8 really good jumps with good landings, the next progression would be a tuck jump. That’s where you tuck your knees up at the top of the jump. So that’s your first superset. Do 4 sets each of those exercises and then take a little break.
The second pair of exercises is going to be an upper body pulling progression super set with some type of one leg squat variation. So to start with the pull up: you can use a suspension trainer doing a row. If that’s challenging for you to do those with perfect form for 8-10 reps, stick with that. From there you can go to some pull up progressions. You can try boosting yourself up while doing chin ups. Then you can do no boost, regular pull ups, chest to bar pull ups, even hand release pull ups. I’ll show you all of the progressions in the full Body Weight Strong program.
For the squat variation, you want to be doing some type of one leg variation. This is because a regular two leg squat probably won’t be hard enough to get you down in a low rep range. So try starting with a Bulgarian split squat where your back leg is elevated on a tire or box. From there you can work your way up to doing a pistol squat. Again, there are several progressions to work up to doing these. The pistol is a great challenging exercise for gaining strength using your own body weight.
There you have a basic template for a body weight workout, geared towards gaining strength. Keep in mind – you’re not going to be getting totally smoked out with this workout. It’s more about developing your skill on challenging exercises and building strength. And that is PERFECTLY fine. But, if you want, at the very end you can to do some type of cardio finisher to get your heart rate up and finish off strong.
And – if you liked this workout, make sure to check out the full 12 week Body Weight Strong 2.0 program, here:
That’s it for now! Thanks so much, and talk soon –