When you visualize Olympic athletes competing, chances are that gymnasts come quickly to mind. Male gymnasts have amazing musculature — bulging biceps, powerful shoulders, and a V-shaped torso — that is accentuated by exceptional leanness. Female gymnasts have lean, perfectly toned physiques and astonishing command of every movement. To begin developing your body to look and perform like this, you’ll need great resolve, but you already own the equipment!
What you need to get started with bodyweight training
You already have the most basic component needed to train optimally in your arsenal — your own bodyweight! It’s amazing how many options are available to you if you look around: you can stick to basics like pushups, air squats, jump squats, planches, burpees, mountain climbers, and lunges. To gain the full benefits, you will need to learn how to do these exercises perfectly and make each rep flawless. If you keep rest between exercises to a minimum, you’ll have an excellent workout for a beginner.
What can I do to make bodyweight training harder?
There are several pieces of equipment that can help you push the envelope with bodyweight training:
1. Parallette bars
If you have access to parallette bars there are several superb exercises you should work to master:
- Parallette pushups allow you to gradually extend your range of motion.
- Parallette dips with feet elevated increase triceps and shoulder strength.
- V-sits build powerful abs; you may want to start with L-sits and progress.
- Handstand pushups build core, shoulder, and arm strength.
2. Suspension trainer
If you have a suspension trainer, you should practice:
- Inverted rows
- Plyometric squats
- Body saws (the culmination of a planche progression)
3. Gymnastics rings
If you have access to gymnastics rings, use them to do:
- Duration L-sits and V-sits
- Planche pushups
- Inverted shrugs
- Inverted rows
4. Power rack
At the gym, there are many uses for the power rack:
- Front lever holds
Don’t have gym membership or access to any of this equipment? You can still challenge yourself with skaters, frog stands, glute-ham raises, pistol squats, and high step-ups. If you can still walk, come and tell me that you need something tougher!
Should I give up conventional exercises and switch totally to bodyweight ones?
No! But in a periodized training program, bodyweight exercises have several benefits:
- They provide necessary relief for joints, ligaments, and tendons.
- They serve as a barometer for your strength-to-weight ratio, and thus “keep you honest.”
- They enhance core strength, balance, and body awareness.
Even during cycles of heavy powerlifting or bodybuilding, it is beneficial to add complementary parallette or ring exercises to your iron regimen. Increased core strength will improve your barbell work noticeably.
If instead you are training metabolically, why not add muscle-ups, burpees, and box jumps to your regimen of kettlebell swings, sandbag complexes, and landmine thrusters, and finish your session with 5,000 meters all-out on the erg?
The message is simple: never take your body for granted! It is your gym, your temple, your blessing. Use it often, and wisely, and you will unlock your potential.
CATEGORIES: Home Workout, Bodyweight Training, Fitness Plan