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You asked and we listened! Here are another group of exercises that are sure to change your life for the better. Do the work and results will follow!

 

This second and final part of the moves to change your life series consists of strictly bodyweight exercises to help you gain full body strength and the fat loss that you desire. If you perform these exercises regularly, you’ll gain an advantage over your exercise buddies.

#1 Renegade Rows

This is one of the most underutilized exercises created. The renegade rows are tough. If you can’t do this exercise very well or at all, you must work at it constantly. You are going to experience a more defined chest and thicker back with this exercise. All muscle groups will be targeted. In particular, your glutes, abdominals, chest, triceps, biceps, latissimus dorsi and rhomboids.

How Do I Do The Renegade Row?

Place a pair of dumbbells on the floor, about shoulder-width apart. Drop down into a push-up position with your hands grasping the dumbbells. While gripping the dumbbells, your chest should be directly over them. Your feet should be wider than your shoulders. Your spine should be in the neutral position.

Keep your glutes tight and hips squared throughout the exercise. Activate your ab muscles. When you are stable, start by retracting your scapulae and then pull the opposite dumbbell to your side. Return the dumbbell to the floor in a controlled manner. Shift your weight to the other side of your body and repeat the rowing action with the other arm.

These Are Your Intensity Tips

You can make this exercise tougher by keeping your feet closer together. Having your feet closer together will make way for a change in the center of gravity that will be much more challenging.

Tips For All Beginners

If you are a beginner, make sure you do this exercise with no dumbbells. Also, make sure your feet are wide. This will allow you to get the right form. Keep your hips squared with the floor below you.

What Should I Avoid Doing?

Make sure you don’t use a dumbbell that is too heavy. The use of a heavy dumbbell will make things a lot tougher as reps and sets progress. Keep the right form and you will benefit very nicely from this exercise.

How Do I Program The Renegade Rows Into My Routine?

The renegade rows should be strictly an assistance exercise. This exercise can be done on various workout days. Obviously, this is a full-body exercise so you will be utilizing nearly every muscle group you have. The ideal day to do this exercise is on a chest or a back day.

#2 Handstand Push-Ups

The handstand push-ups are viewed by most as a very challenging exercise. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could do this exercise while others watched you in awe? Of course, it would be!

The primary muscles these target are the shoulders, chest, triceps and upper scapulae muscles. The secondary muscles targeted are the glutes, quads, hamstrings and abs.

How Do I Do The Handstand Push-Ups?

Face a wall and get down on your hands, then kick your feet up against the wall (have a partner to help). Have your back against the wall and then bend over at the waist and put both hands on the floor. Once you’re upside down in a vertical position, make sure you keep your glutes, quads, hamstrings and abs contracted. This will help with the balance. Once balanced, slowly lower your body downwards with your head touching a pad or pillow below. Don’t set your head on the floor with pressure. As you go back up, exhale and use consistent movement on each rep. Once completed, cautiously have your feet come back to the floor.

These Are Your Intensity Tips

To make this exercise as challenging as possible, you will need to perform it for the max amount of reps possible. Go to failure and you’ll gain the greatest benefit possible from this exercise.

Tips For All Beginners

If you are a beginner or wanting to do this for more than a few reps, you can use some progressive exercises. You can do exercises such as pike push-ups or push-ups with your feet up on an incline that isn’t the wall. You should have someone helping you with this exercise.

What Should I Avoid Doing?

Having extra weight that you’re unaccustomed to can set you up for injury. This exercise is already tough enough to where most individuals don’t need extra weight. Some people may try to use ankle weights, but there is no need for this.

How Do I Program Handstand Push-Ups Into My Routine?

If you’re a coach and have a group training class, you can program this exercise as a challenge for the participants. If they can’t do this yet, set this exercise as a goal for the class.

push-up challenge

#3 Burpee

Ah, everyone’s favorite exercise, the burpee. This exercise is one of a kind. Ever heard of the seven-minute burpee challenge? If you haven’t tried it, go do it. That challenge is one that will make you realize why this exercise is called the burpee.

Most muscle groups will be targeted. In particular, it will target your chest, shoulders, triceps, lower back, glutes, quads, hamstrings, and abs.

How Do I Do A Burpee?

Start in a standing position. Then, drop down to the floor, kick the feet back and perform a push-up. Jump back up with your knees coming up towards your chest. Then, jump up by performing a squat jump with your arms up overhead.

These Are Your Intensity Tips

To make this exercise as intense as can be, just perform it for as many reps as possible in a short period of time. Also, set a target area to jump to each time. Jumping 6 to 10 inches each time you hop up will make this exercise very challenging.
Tips For All Beginners

Make sure you pace yourself. Don’t rush! If you’re performing this exercise in a specific period of time, you want to get a rhythm going. Think of burpees as a marathon, not a sprint.

What Should I Avoid Doing?

When performing burpees, don’t try to fluff this exercise anymore than it needs to be. For instance, there’s no need to wear a weight vest while performing this exercise.

How Do I Program Burpees Into My Routine?

You can do this exercise at any point in your workout. The burpee is great for warming up or even finishing the workout. One way to program it into your routine is to plug this exercise into a circuit of three or more exercises.

#4 Lunges

Need to perform cardio? Lunges are a great substitute for your cardio routine. If you want to ramp up your heart rate and boost your metabolism, performing lunges will get your body in the state of max fat loss.

How Do I Do Lunges?

Take an exaggerated step forward or back. Once your foot is placed in front, keep your weight distributed evenly between both legs. While keeping balance, descend without letting your back knee hit the floor or ground. Drive up through the front heel and explode backward to the standing position. The lower body muscles are the primary targets as well as your quads, hamstrings, glutes and even the core as a whole.

These Are Your Intensity Tips

This exercise can be done with just your body weight. Or, you can do this exercise with a load. When performing this exercise with resistance, you want to use a plate or dumbbell. If you want to ramp up the intensity, you should perform walking lunges for up to 400 meters or 20 minutes.

Tips For All Beginners

If you’re a beginner, you should work on simply performing this exercise in place, with just your body weight. For some people, lunges put a lot of stress on the knee joints. But, don’t think this stress upon the knees is bad stress. Lunges will really help strengthen the tendons and muscles around your knees.

What Should I Avoid Doing?

Don’t perform this exercise with a high amount of volume if you are not accustomed to it. Large strong muscles surround the knee joints, yet the cartilage is irreplaceable. Too much, too fast can cause wear and tear on the cartilage.

How Do I Program Lunges Into My Routine?

Lunges are one of the best lower body accessory exercises you can do. You can add weight or simply use your body weight for eight to infinite amount of reps. If you want to give your quads a huge pump, then perform multiple sets of lunges. Or, even better, you can perform walking lunges for up to 20 minutes.

Deloading

#5 Pull-Ups

Having the ability to perform a pull-up is something that many set not only as a short-term goal, but also as a life goal. The pull-up is an exercise that can really help develop a great V-taper. If you want to wear shirts that will drape over your waist and help make you appear bigger, then being able to execute pull-ups is a great tool to have. The targeted muscles are the biceps, latissimus dorsi, rear deltoids and abs.

How Do I Do Pull-Ups?

Jump up and hang from a pull-up bar with a grip of your choice. Start by retracting your shoulder blades and pulling your chest up towards the bar. Once the shoulder blades are engaged, start by pulling up with your back muscles. After you’ve utilized and engaged all of your back muscles, start using your biceps to finish the pull-up. Hit the top of the exercise and then lower yourself in a controlled manner.

These Are Your Intensity Tips

To make this exercise harder than most, put on the plate loaded weight belt and use resistance. If you can work up to where you’re doing pull-ups with additional resistance, you will experience the gains in strength and size that you have long wanted.

Tips For All Beginners

If you can’t yet do a pull-up, there are many ways to where you can give yourself some assistance. If you have some resistance bands, you can simply attach them to a power rack and place your knees on the band for assistance. If your gym has an assisted pull-up machine, you can use that as well.

What Should I Avoid Doing?

When it comes to grip strength, try to refrain from using wrist straps. If you train yourself to use no straps, your grip strength will become a lot stronger.

How Do I Program Pull-Ups Into My Routine?

A great way to really torch the lats is to perform a set of deadlifts and superset that exercise with pull-ups. If you are performing the deadlifts correctly, your lats should be engaged during the entire movement. With the deadlift exercise typically being a heavy load, you can create a great stimulus in pull-up strength by performing them directly after the deadlifts.

#6 Muscle Ups

This is an exercise that started to gain a lot of popularity because of CrossFit. The muscle ups show your true upper body strength. The primary targeted areas are the abs, latissimus dorsi, biceps, deltoids (front and rear) and triceps.

How Do I Do Muscle Ups?

Hang from a pull-up bar or set of rings with your thumbs on top of the bar or handle. Gain momentum from your core and hip power, then pull yourself up and get your chest over the bar. Now you’re in the muscle up or dip position of the exercise. Push your body over the bar. Control the weight back down and regain momentum to repeat the movement.

These Are Your Intensity Tips

To gain an advantage, use your legs and hips to give your body some momentum to perform the pull-up and muscle up a bit easier.

What Should I Avoid Doing?

If you want to get good at this exercise, don’t practice when you are at your most fatigued. Just like all complex exercises, you need to practice when you are at your optimal level of performance.

Tips For All Beginners

Find a proper progression scheme. Master the standard pull-ups and dips before you try attempting the muscle ups.

How Do I Program Muscle Ups Into My Routine?

When you master the muscle up, make sure you don’t neglect the exercises that got you to where you are now. Working on chest to bar pull-ups and dip variations will help you get better at the muscle ups.

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Conclusion

These are six bodyweight exercises that can help change your life. The best part about all of these exercises is that they can be performed at any time. Whether you are at the gym or on the road, having this list of six exercises will help you maintain strength and size. These are truly must-have tools to have in your fitness toolbox.

By Patrick Thompson, NSCA-CPT

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