Many people don’t realize the benefits of bodyweight training because in every magazine you see, there are dudes in the gym hitting weights. But, with all training, there is a regression and progression to every exercise. For example a regression for hanging leg lifts is performing a plank. The progression would be performing the movement with a medicine ball between your feet.
Bodyweight Training Benefits
- Versatile, many different variations
- Can be done anywhere
- Improves movement
- Improves relative strength
- Can improve reactive strength
Here are my top 5 bodyweight movements ( www.muscleandfitness.com )
Not only builds up the chest, shoulders and triceps, but is a great stabilizer of the torso and lower back.
Can be done with various hand, feet and elevated positions. Push-ups variations such as EQI’s, hindus and push-up plus are incredible rehabilitative exercises.
2. Bodyweight Squats
This basic movement has huge benefits! It can be an indicator for ankle, hip and thoracic mobility, or it can be an incredible conditioning tool.
Perform them against the wall to drill proficiency and technique, or perform linked in a bodyweight circuit.
You can also create a complex linking with a plyometric movement like sprints, jumping or zig zag hops.
One of the biggest mass builders for the back, pull-ups are also one of the most versatile.
How to Modify the Pull-Up:
- Varying grip element (towel, thick rope, offset grip)
- Modifying linear movement; you can perform side to side movement, you can perform a leg lift or l-sit with each rep
- Overload the movement with a bookbag between your feet.
Remember if you can’t do a pull-up, inverted rows are an excellent choice!
4. Bulgarian Split Squats
I really like this movement because it not only builds muscle and leg strength, but it also improves hip mobility and knee stability. If you have a bookbag with some books in it, you can hold it during this movement overhead, in a zercher or bear hug at the chest or out in front of you.
Don’t forget, elevating your front leg on a box will extend the range of motion for this exercise. Also, an EQI in this position is amazing for rehabbing hip and knee issues.
5. Ab Roll-Outs
A more advanced modification to a plank, this movement forces torso rigidity for better movement and increased strength potential for compound, ground-based exercises.
The difference between this movement and a plank is that movement of the upper body is engaged while the torso remain rigid (resisting extension). Many of you know that there are some pretty innovative modifications to this exercise in Combat Core. I suggest an ab roller, but you can also use blast straps or gymnastic rings to mimic the movement.