Short on time with fat to burn? Try bodyweight training. You don’t need any equipment whatsoever, just enough space to move around in

Bodyweight training is principally useful for two things. The first of these is endurance, which can be improved simply by gradually increasing the duration of your exercises.

The second is muscle building.

But, since a lot of bodyweight exercises are simple affairs such as push-ups, they often lack the intensity our bodies really need to properly build muscle, unless we work to gradually increase the strain and difficulty of the exercises themselves. If we do this, they can be excellent for muscle development.

Keep It Short

A short number of repetitions of any one exercise is usually optimal for muscle building, as this will be most effective for working the fast twitch muscles that have the best capacity for growth. 12-15 reps are usually more than enough for upper body exercises, and 20 for lower body exercises.

Core strength and flexibility are two more attributes that are very well developed through bodyweight training, and mixing in some stretches to your workout can be a very valid way to proceed. As one of the safest forms of workout they also rate highly as a suitable regime for all ages, even for rehabilitative purposes or for those with limited mobility. In these cases, exercises can be readily adapted to down-shift the intensity as needed, such as performing those push-ups on one’s knees.

Push It

To illustrate this, let’s take the example of the simple push-up, a zero-equipment alternative to the bench press. Gradually increasing the number of push-ups you do per session will build up your endurance. But when it comes to muscle building, someone who works out regularly may complain that they can do push-ups ad infinitum without getting tired, and that this can’t possibly develop muscle effectively.

Well, on their own, perhaps not. But build up the challenge and they sure can. It is true enough that if you’re managing over 20 repetitions of any bodyweight exercise without breaking a sweat, that while it’ll certainly keep you fit and improve your endurance, it won’t do much for your six-pack, or any other muscle for that matter.

So begin by switching it up from standard push-ups to diamond push-ups, where you bring your hands close together so that the edges of your fingers and thumbs are touching in the shape of (you guessed it!) a diamond.

If it’s too tough to start with, you can begin on your knees. No, seriously. This exercise will work your chest, deltoids, triceps and also your abdominal core pretty well.

Go Further

Once you’ve reached saturation point with diamond push-ups, and they’re coming as easily as standard push-ups once did, you can move on to something tougher. Try out those rock-hard looking one-arm push-ups.

Mastered those? It’s time for clapping push-ups. There’s always a step further you can take it, just pace yourself and take on just a little bit more than you can currently manage. By the way, there’s a stage beyond clapping push-ups: handstand push-ups, which need some pretty solid upper body strength to even attempt.

Related Posts