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Body Weight Exercises Can Be Super Effective

Football great Herschel Walker speaks to the Class of 2016 during Basic Cadet Training in the U.S. Air Force Academy's Jacks Valley in Colorado Springs, Colo. July 17, 2012. Walker spent time talking to the Class of 2016 about resiliency, his own personal struggles in life and encouraged the cadets to reach out and seek help if they need it.

Football great Herschel Walker speaks to the Class of 2016 during Basic Cadet Training in the U.S. Air Force Academy's Jacks Valley in Colorado Springs, Colo. July 17, 2012. Walker spent time talking to the Class of 2016 about resiliency, his own personal struggles in life and encouraged the cadets to reach out and seek help if they need it.

I LOVE body weight exercises! I like “weighted” body weight exercises, even better!

More precisely, I love exercises that don't require much — if any — in the way of equipment. You can do body weight exercises anywhere: At home, in an apartment, at the beach, in a hotel room.

Some of the best athletes in the world use body weight exercises in their exercise regimens. Herschel Walker, for example, is known for doing hundreds of sit-ups and push-ups a day (up to 2000) and look at him!

Push-ups are one of the best upper body builders known to man. As you gain strength and endurance in the shoulders, chest, and arms (they're great for the core, too, by the way), you can either elevate your feet on steps or a chair, use simple push-up bars, or add a weighted vest so that you can push more weight.

And I don't care who you are or what you say, sit-ups and crunches build core strength like nobody's business. They are not bad for your back (if you're healthy), either.

Pull-ups, or chin-ups, build upper body strength and bulk, too, especially in the lats, shoulders, and arms. You can do these at any park you can find. You can also buy doorway pull-up bars for very little money. Again, as you gain strength and endurance, you can add a weighted vest to give you more resistance.

Body weight squats are a little more difficult to do. Oh, you can squat with just your body weight but you need to do a LOT of reps to get any kind of burn. And you'll improve your endurance but your strength will not increase by much after the first couple weeks of body weight squatting.

However, after you gain enough strength to do 50 body weight squats, try doing some “pistol squats”. These are one-legged squats, where, at first, you do them while supporting yourself by holding onto a bar and then eventually, as your coordination gets better, you can do them without holding onto anything.

The venerable “sissy squat” is also a great body weight exercise that really works the quads. You do these by rising up on your toes and forming a straight line that does not bend, all the way from the knees to the head. As you “squat” down, your body is forming a “V” that is getting more and more “shrunk”. Here's a video showing exactly how to do a sissy squat:


Image credit: Licensed for re-use – https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a7/Flickr_-_DVIDSHUB_-_Herschel_Walker_visit_with_USAFA_Class_of_2016_Basic_Cadet_Training_(Image_4_of_17).jpg

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