How To Use Bodyweight Training To Gain Maximum Strength
Bodyweight training is something I’ve not spoken about before, but it’s gained an increase in attention on both Twitter and Instagram. I’ve had a few questions in relation to how to use it properly if you haven’t got enough time to go to a proper weight lifting gym.
Home workouts & bodyweight training will both certainly save you time, and they will save you money too, in the long-run. I love bodyweight workouts, and I have had great success with them in the past; especially when I was fairly new to lifting.
But there’s something very important that you must keep in mind before you embark upon your bodyweight training journey…
Once upon a time, in 6th century AD, there was a Greek wrestler named Milo. Milo was an excellet wrestler and enjoyed a fantastic career; celebrating many victories in the athletic festivals of ancient Greece.
He, apparently, decided to carry a baby bull on his daily walk as a means to grow stronger. His theory was that as the baby bull grew older, larger and heavier, year by year, he himself would have to grow bigger and stronger in order to keep lifting this bull.
So Milo carried this bull day in, day out; sweating as he became more and more fatigued from this intense carrying. But he knew he had to keep going if he wanted to become bigger and stronger, and to maximise his genetic potential.
Year in, year out, the bull continued to grow, and Milo continued to carry the beast. The bull grew older. It grew larger. It grew heavier.
But Milo grew stronger, because he had to; so it turned out that his theory was correct. This gradual adaptation to slowly increasing resistance is commonly known as progressive overload.
Progressive overload is the underlying fundamental for weight training, assuming you want to get stronger. The problem with bodyweight training is that it only takes you so far – unless you eat yourself into oblivion and keep gaining weight.
The resistance you experience can only increase as far as your total bodyweight.
How To Use Bodyweight Training Properly
There are a few “tricks” you can employ to keep the progression going for longer with bodyweight training, such as; supersetting exercises, taking everything to failure, doing insane numbers of sets. But the thing is, eventually you won’t be able to keep progressing, unless you add more weight.
This is where dumbbells and/or a pull up belt comes in. I personally have a heavy dumbbell set in my garage with adjustable weights. They are high quality, thick dumbbell handles with separate plates that you can pick and choose to put on (depending on the exercise and intensity) and then secure in place with spin collars.
My dumbbells go up to 110 pounds each, which is enough weight for me; I can just about chest press them, and I can do them for higher rep sets of rows.
In terms of a pull up belt; I don’t actually have one. But what I do for my home workouts is a high volume row workout with the 110 pound dumbbells, then I will often superset with normal, bodyweight pull-ups on my cheap-ass pull-up bar.
This way you get to keep progressing in terms of muscle and strength due to the heavy progressive overload, but you also get to put your bodyweight strength to the test. This means you will always stay lean and keep improving relative strength; which I always think is more impressive than absolute strength. Anyone can get fat and stronger as a result.
With the following workout below, you can save time and money, you don’t have to sign up to a gym, and you get to grow big, strong, and you utilise your body’s strength properly, in a functional manner:
Bodyweight Training Like A Beast
This is what a typical workout will look like for me:
A1) Standing dumbbell presses – 4 sets of 10 with 60 pound dumbbells (these are a LOT harder than seated!)
A2) Superset with 4 sets of 5 explosive, clap push-ups
B1) Dumbbell rows – 4 sets of 15 with 110 pound dumbbells
B2) Superset with 4 sets of 10-20 normal, bodyweight pull-ups
C1) Incline dumbbell presses – 4 sets of 10 with 100 pound dumbbells
C2) Superset with 4 sets of 10-40 push-ups (very fatigued at this point)
D1) Dumbbell lunges – 4 sets of 8 with 70 pound dumbbells (still learning these – it’s been years since I last did these until recently)
D2) Superset with paused bodyweight squats until failure
Let me know if you have any further questions on this, but I hope this clarifies a few things. If you want to maximise your body’s functional strength, then at some point, you will need a lot more than just pull-ups and push-ups. You also need to give your legs a good beating. You can’t ignore these realities.
But the above template gives you very effective ways to workout at home, get big, strong, and functional, and also save a load of time and money.
If you want to lose weight without rebounding, check out my coaching services here. Nobody else will do this for you. Only me.
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