Do you scoff at “body weight only” workouts? Perhaps body weight workouts are just not difficult enough for you, you don't seem to get results with body weight workouts, you're never sore after body weight workouts, or you're just bored with your body weight workouts.
I've got 4 simple tricks to make your body weight workouts harder (and a BONUS video at the end of the post):
1) Perform Mini Reps at End ROM – “ROM” stands for Range of Motion. End ROM refers to the very end of the range of motion. For example, the End ROM of a body weight squat is when your knees are bent, at the bottom of the motion. At this point in the exercise, you do 5-10 “mini-reps” or very short, bouncy squats, and then stand. Think about how many exercises that have an End ROM for mini-reps. Body weight push-ups? Yes. Body weight crunches? Yes. Body weight lunges? Yes. The list goes on and on.
2) Explosions. For this strategy, simply hold a rep in the toughest position, then explode up and down, then back into toughest position.For example, when you get to the bottom of a push-up, hold for 1-2 seconds, then push-up as fast as possibly (you hands can even leave the ground) and land back in the bottom of the push-up. Once again, this strategy works for many body weight exercises.
3) Integrated quarter reps. For this strategy, you do your normal exercise, but in the very middle of the repetition, you stop, do a quarter rep, and then continue. For example, while performing a lunge, you would stop when you're knee is halfway bent, stand halfway, then continue through the lunge, essentially turning every single rep into 1.5 reps.
4) Ladder reps. For a ladder rep, do 5 mini-reps in the bottom range of motion, 5 mini-reps in the middle range of motion, and 5 mini-reps in the top range of motion. For example, for a body weight dip, you would do 5 reps when your elbows are all the way bent at the bottom of the dip, 5 reps in the middle of the dip, and then 5 reps at the top of the dip. While none of the reps are “complete” reps, the focused control required for a ladder rep will throw your muscles an entirely new curveball.
OK, now, below is the bonus video I promised. This is a body weight workout from my book, “Top 12 Resistance Training Routines for Triathletes” (pictured at right).
Don't worry, folks…even if you're not a triathlete, you can get big benefits from any of the workouts in this manual, which also includes step-by-step video instructions, and an accompanying video of me performing each workout. You can grab the book by clicking here.