People argue whether bodyweight exercises are good enough for gaining big muscles. Those who favor agree that they are even better than free weights. As for me, my bodyweight workout plan worked effectively since I aimed at muscle building. So, it’s quite safe to say that bodyweight bodybuilding is a must-try if you are serious about increasing size and strength. This article aims to guide you through the process of planning your bodyweight workout so you can gain bigger muscles.
1. Main Advantage Of Bodyweight Workouts
One advantage of using a bodyweight workout to build muscles is that you don’t suffer from too much joint pain. I often did when I was using traditional weight training exercises.
Bodyweight exercises encourage a more natural range of motion. Your overall athleticism is consequently improved without compromising other body parts.
2. Get On An Advanced Bodyweight Workout Plan
Advancing on your bodyweight workout plan is the way to go to gain more strength and build muscles. If you’re going for advanced bodyweight exercises, you’re requiring full body tension at high levels. As a result, you will gain incredible strength.
Some still argue that if the goal is muscle building, it is better to lift weights rather than rely on body weight. They say that weight lifting is way better than bodyweight training. However, the focus of such an argument is on the number of reps and the endurance training involved. The image associated with weight-lifting is military strength and endurance, hence the doubt on bodyweight workouts.
If, however, you’re looking at how gymnasts develop the muscles of their upper body, you can make sense out of what bodyweight training can do.
So, it turns out that it’s more about the way people use bodyweight progressions. Without the proper progressions, you won’t increase resistance. Basic variations of common exercises such as inverted rows and pushups will not suffice for building strong muscles. What eventually helps is an advanced bodyweight workout plan.
3. How To Advance In Bodyweight Training
The key to gain big muscles with a bodyweight workout is to provide enough tension or an overload. Here are some ideas:
- Instead of sticking to as many reps of push-ups as possible, advance to a one-arm push-up.
- Aside from trying different angles in your inverted row exercises, advance to one-arm inverted rows.
- In place of regular push-ups, try harder variations such as steep-incline push-ups.
- Instead of resting for a minute, decrease the resting period to 30 seconds, or down to 15 seconds, or to 5.
To advance to an even higher level of difficulty, you may add weighted vests to the above exercises. To be honest, a routine using such vests will not be a strict bodyweight workout, but it still qualifies as a variation. Technically, it will be called a bodyweight-plus-resistance training, and it’s one bodyweight progression that you need to explore.
4. An Advanced Bodyweight Workout You Can Begin With
If you’re confident enough to go advanced, you can head to the following workout suggestions. But, please be sure you’ve come way past the beginner’s level. Jumping to bodyweight workouts of high intensity can injure you if you’re not ready.
A 5-Minute Quick Workout
Before anything else, here are a few reminders for you to get the most out of this workout.
- Keep the definite form. If you can’t get the form perfectly correct, you will not maximize the benefits of this workout.
- In this set, there is no allotment for a resting period in between each exercise. That shows how intense this quick workout is. So, better prepare for it.
So, here’s the sequence you need to perform. Do each in 30 seconds.
- Lie face up on a mat. Place hands at the back of your head, using your fingers as support.
- Bring your knees to your chest. Lift shoulders but don’t pull your neck.
- Rotate first to your left. As you do, bring your right elbow to your left knee. Straighten your right leg.
- Do it on the other side of your body.
- Alternate sides in pedaling motion.
- Assume a standard push-up position.
- Swing your knee toward your chest and swing it back to the starting position.
- Repeat on the other knee.
- Alternate sides. Go as fast as you can.
- Drop into a squat position.
- Position hands on the floor, right in front of your feet.
- Kick feet back behind you towards a jump.
- As you jump straight up, keep your arms extended. Your position while in the air would look like you’re in an upright plank position.
- Do the whole thing again.
- Assume a standard push-up position. Align the whole body from the head.
- Lower yourself toward the floor while you lift your right foot.
- Swing your right leg sideways, moving your knee toward your elbow.
- Go back to your starting position and repeat with the other side.
- Form an inverted V by placing hands and feet on the floor while raising your hips.
- Set hands two to three inches wider than your shoulder-width.
- Lower both shoulders. As if in a dive, glide chest forward. Let it pass through your hands and move it up toward the ceiling. Keep your hips two to three inches above the floor.
- Reverse your move by raising hips back and lowering shoulders.
- Repeat moving forward with your chest and backward with your hips, as if diving back and forth.
- Assume a push-up position. Place your hands just below your chest.
- Make a diamond shape with your index fingers and your thumbs close together, respectively.
- Lower your body to the floor and push up.
- Keep the back, abs and chest tensed.
- Sit on the floor, straightening your legs in front of you.
- Put hands on the floor. Place them close by your hips. Straighten your arms and lock them.
- Lift your bum from the floor while your shoulders push your hands to the floor.
- Tighten your core and let shoulders support your torso.
- Lift your feet off the floor. Keep legs straight and tightened by pointing your toes to your front.
- Bring your hips through your arms. Put them slightly in front of your hands. In effect, your feet are kept above the floor.
- Stand with your feet together. Step the right leg back to a reverse lunge.
- Drive your right leg toward your chest as you hop up.
- While coming down, return to your reverse lunge position (your right feet at the back).
- Repeat 5 to 8 times with your right leg, and then switch sides.
Pistol Squat (Left-Leg Stand)
- Stand on your left leg. Point toes forward. Reach both hands to the front.
- Slowly sit down into a squat while keeping your torso slightly leaning forward.
- Press your left leg into the floor while locking your core tight.
- Stand up to a stable upright position.
- Repeat the whole process.
Pistol Squat (Right-Leg Stand)
- Perform the same steps in item number 9 with the right leg on the floor.
You should have observed that the five-minute workout just described involved only the body weight. If you want more load, you can add weights to increase resistance.
Moreover, you may find some of the bodyweight squats mentioned to be quite intense for your level. Feel free to modify the bodyweight workout and make it perfect for your current ability. You may even have to master each exercise first before you finally sweep through all of them in just five minutes.
A 15-Minute Advanced Bodyweight Workout
If you wish to add more exercises of high intensity to the above workout sample, you may. The following exercises will expand the 5-minute workout to a 15-minute intense bodyweight training. Do each exercise in 30 seconds.
Left Elbow Twist
Right Elbow Twist
Left Knee-Elbow Twist
Right Knee-Elbow Twist
Low Plank Hold
Left Uneven Push-Up
Right Uneven Push-Up
Straight Leg Sit-Ups
Burpees with Weight
Bicycles with Weight
High-Intensity Bodyweight Workout Can Pump Up Muscle Gain
Using the human body weight instead of iron weights has become handy in bodybuilding. You can maximize the benefits of a bodyweight workout by working on your progressions.
Before trying a high-intensity workout, make sure you have mastered each of the bodyweight exercises above. Try the shorter workout first before proceeding to the longer one. Give time for yourself to progress and be sure to extend your resting period if you feel you’re not ready for higher intensity training.
Remember to be in control of your body. You can have your own pace and gain those dream muscles using purely bodyweight exercises. You know I did.