Looking for the ultimate bodyweight workout you can do from home and carve out lean muscle?
When it comes to bodyweight workout routines, there are a lot of questions people usually have about it. For example, many people want tot know if bodyweight training is just as successful as weightlifting is? What about muscle? And strength? Can you build these two important components when you’re just doing bodyweight exercises by themselves? Should you couple your weightlifting up with your bodyweight workout?
Obviously, there are quite a few things to consider here. Plus, we want to share what we consider to be the best bodyweight exercises in order for you to get the best workout from anywhere.
There are some seriously positive results that can come along with bodyweight workouts. Here’s a pretty big one – no more hefty gym membership fees. You also won’t have to purchase a ton of expensive at-home equipment either. You can do these exercises anywhere, from the comfort of your house to your hotel room when you’re traveling, even at work on your break. Bodyweight workouts save you money and take away excuses to miss training.
You won’t waste time driving to the gym if you don’t have it, or standing around waiting for equipment to open up. Really it’s great to combine the gym and bodyweight workouts from home. Remember, the best workout plan is the one that you stick to. By having a few bodyweight workout routines up your sleeve, you continue to remove your ability to talk your way out of working out.
Bodyweight workouts are hands down one of the best, most effective and affordable ways to get into shape. We’re often asked about how to build muscle and burn fat at the same time. One of the best solutions is today’s plan. So keep reading.
If you have a great bodyweight regimen, three things will happen. First, you will lose fat. Second, you will build up your muscle. And third, you’re going to be increasing your strength as well.
However, these are the end-all to exercises. They’re going to have their restrictions.
The first one is connected to just how much strength and muscle you’re going to be able to build.
Bodyweight Workout Tip: Optimizing The Strength-Endurance Continuum
If you’re wondering why, here’s the answer – something called strength-endurance continuum. That’s what researchers dubbed this seemingly simple concept. Basically, this is what it is:
When you lift heavier weights with less reps, you’re literally forcing your muscle cells to get used to what’s known as this progressive overload. And the whole idea behind going into overload is to grow bigger muscles.
When you lift lighter weights, with more reps, however, you’re forcing your muscle cells to get used to fatigue. The whole point of adapting to this is to progress different metabolic functions, but not exactly to focus on getting bigger muscle fibers.
So this is why a lot of people feel like bodyweight exercises don’t give the most powerful results. Generally, most people see some size gains steadily over the first couple of months. Then in a few months, even when adding more reps, the size gains sort of taper off. There isn’t much activity in the way of growing muscles or boosting strength. What gives, how do you beat a plateau?
Well, here’s what’s going on. When many people start these types of programs, the bodyweight exercises serve as low rep, high weight training. Think about how hard it was to do 20 chin-ups when you were first getting started. When you work in a lower rep range, which is generally from 4 to 6, what you’re doing is overloading your muscles. And they respond in the best way they know how – by getting bigger and stronger.
But once you keep doing more workouts, and these seemingly-daunting chin-ups continue to get easier and easier, you find yourself getting better, and the chin-ups getting easier. Then, in a blink of an eye, you’re doing 15 chin-ups without thinking twice.
So now, the heavy heavy “strength” adjustment is made , and you’re doing endurance training. This doesn’t count as “overload” anymore. Instead, your body changes its response, switching to having an improved aerobic power and even time until you get exhausted. But here’s the downside – there isn’t going to be growth.
In order to get back to this muscle growth, what you need to do is get back into the strength-training area. This means you’re going to have to increase the overload that is being put on the muscles.
Increasing Load with Key Bodyweight Exercises
So of course you can make this happen with various bodyweight workouts, which we’re going to talk about in a minute, but we just want to make sure you grasp that the idea of progressive overload is essential with resistant training. This is exactly what makes your muscles grow, so you want this to happen.
And this is what leads to weightlifting outweighing (no pun intended) bodyweight workouts in the long-term with getting to max size and strength. It’s a hell of a lot easier to overload all muscles in your body when you have a solid weightlifting routine.
You can’t necessarily replicate the level of resistance available in a weight room. That doesn’t mean you can’t build muscle with nothing but gravity.
With that in mind, remember that you can get to bigger, stronger muscles when you’re doing bodyweight training. And we’re going to share with you exercises that will get you there. But something else important to remember is that, if you’re going for size and strength fast, doing bodyweight workout regimen isn’t exactly the best way to get there. Bodyweight workouts are really geared more towards a lean chiseled physique than a huge bulky frame.
So what happens when you couple a weightlifting regimen with bodyweight exercises?
Combining Weightlifting with Your Bodyweight Workout for Best Results
This can be worth it if the exercises you’re going with are the appropriate overload for your muscles.
So there isn’t really a point in doing over 100 push-ups if you just had a killer chest workout.
Going with this approach can put a hold on the bodyweight exercises, narrowing your choices to go with. But look over what we provide you with and see if you want to go for any of them.
Obviously, the whole point behind a bodyweight workout routine is to continually supply your muscles with overload. It isn’t exactly your normal routine of conducting higher reps.
In order to make sure you’re getting the best results, you’re going to need equipment, but we’re going to keep the costs pretty low.
The first thing you’re going to need is a weighted workout vest. Allowing you to hold 40 pounds, you’ll get more out of your workouts because it’s all about that progressive overload we talked about.
So if you’re working on your wide-grip pull up and work your way up to doing 8-10, and add another 15 pounds with the vest, you can go back down into the rep range of 5 and keep working your way up.
It’s a great way to keep your body working hard, and a step ahead. Next, you want to get push-up bars. This goes hand in hand with the vest, because it’s going to mess with your form. Kettlebells are also acceptable for this, too.
At some point, the weighted vest isn’t going to cut it for things like pull-ups and dips, so you may need to get a dip belt. Along with this, grab some weights to go with it. Kettlebells can also work here too, because they can hang off the belt and work shoulders/arms.
For the kettlebells, get a 20 and 35 pound one, while also getting 2 50-pound bells for squatting and lunging.
The best kind of bodyweight workout regimen incorporates dips and pull-ups. The beloved Power Tower will get both of these taken care of for about $100. Plus, you can use it for Captain Chair leg raises and hanging. You can always start with a pull-up bar and save up for this dip station.
If you’re working out at home or at the gym, ab wheels are an awesome way to train your abs. Plus, it’s pretty cheap. You want to build a solid core, you’ve got to do weighted ab training and a weighted workout ball is a great way to get there. You can do hanging and Captain Chair leg raises, then put the medicine ball in between your feet.
While you’re doing all these exercises, grab some foam matting and put it down where ever you’re working out. It’s going to protect your floors and help make things a little more comfortable for you.
So that’s the equipment. Now let’s get to the workout program.
Ultimate Bodyweight Workout Program
We have some rules to jumpstart this. First, you want to aim for 6 to 10 reps, except for when you’re doing abs. This means you have to think ahead in terms of weights – make sure you put on a weight you can do at least 6 reps of, but not go over 10. When you get to the point where you can do more than 10 reps, you will want to start adding weights. We will touch back on this later.
If you’re looking to bulk up, you may want to check out building muscle not fat.
Next, keep a journal so you can keep track of everything you did for the week and what you need to focus on the following week. And accept the fact that at some point, you’re going to run out of ways to increase overload on specific exercises. When that happens, that’s when you started focusing on keeping up with resistance until you can’t go anymore.
Allow yourself 1 to 2 minutes of rest in between each set in order to regain your strength. This isn’t the type of circuit training where you don’t get to rest. Because of this, you’re going to want to train for 5-6 days a week and rest 1-2. Stagger these accordingly. If you decide that you want to include some cardio, incorporate some HIIT and do it separate from the resistance training.
Each week, you have one goal – do more reps with the same weights as the week before. Eventually, you want to be able to get to 10 reps, so you’re able to get more weight on there.
Day 1, do 3 sets of good old fashioned push-ups. Guys, if you’re able to do 10 push-ups without weights, put on your vest and put enough weight on it so you can only do 6 reps. Work with this until you get to 10 and add more weight. Ladies, if you aren’t up to doing the proper set, start on your knees. You will build up strength over time. Then you want to do 3 sets of decline push-ups, so put your feet on something. Men, same rules as the push ups and same with the ladies.
Next up, go for 3 sets of chest dips. Guys, you’re going to want to go 10 dips without weights. If you can do more than 10, reach for the weighted vest and limit yourself to 6. Ladies, if you aren’t able to do 4 dips, you can use the bands to help you out.
Where do Abs Fit into the Ultimate Bodyweight Workout?
We mentioned the importance of ab training earlier. And that’s how you’re going to end your workout. Go for 3 sets of weighted work and follow up with 6 sets of unweighted workouts. When it comes to the weighted workouts, keep it within the 8 to 10 range. Any unweighted work goes until failure.
Do these ab exercises continuously and rest in between each circuit.
Day two is going to be a little different. Start with 3 sets of pull-ups, which are a great opener to anyone’s routine. Both guys and ladies, if you can’t do pull-ups without weights and you’re struggling, use the bands.
Or if you can do unweighted pull-ups, go for 4 sets. If you can do more than 10, you’ll want to add some weights to your vest. Ladies, you may have to do chin-ups until you can work your way up.
After that, follow up with 3 sets of chin-ups and 3 sets of inverted rows. This is a great exercise for your back. Focusing on your core can have major benefits on every other area of your body. If you have a workout bar, just elevate the bar with chairs so that you’re able to hang from it. Go for 10 reps with your feet on the floor, then pick them up and keep them elevated.
Day 3 will be start off with 6 sets of full squats, which incorporates your whole body. Guys, if you can do more than 10, put on that weighted vest and keep adding weights until you’re only able to do 6 reps. Ladies, same goes for you. Follow up with 3 sets of lunges, with the same rules applying. Then you want to do the ab workout from your first day again.
Day 4: Rest!!
Day 5, start back with your routine from day 1, day 6 is the same as day 2, and day 7 is – yep you guessed it – same as day 3.
There is no doubt that bodyweight exercises can carve out some serious muscle. Combine these moves with a weight training program for added growth and you’re well on your way to a more chiseled body. The greatest part about a bodyweight workout? There’s never any excuse to miss your workout when you can do it anywhere you go!
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