5 Tips to Make Body Weight Exercises Not Suck

So, I have been doing a lot of body weight stuff for awhile now. The biggest reason was due to my shoulder injury but I also wanted a completely different challenge. Body weight stuff is completely different from BB and DB stuff. Hell, this sounds weird, but the muscle fatigue and pump doesn’t even feel the same.

A lot of people doing BW stuff are do it wrong if they actually want to use if for something other than cardio. Here are 5 tips to make it actually worth a damn, after the jump


1) Slow Down

Too many people do quick choppy reps when doing body weight stuff. Sure, that is fine for cardio but it is worthless for gaining any sort of strength or size. When you slow the reps down, your core and all of your little stabilizer muscles are forced to actually work and work hard. You will notice your core isn’t as strong as thought when you start swaying all over the place. Maybe your grip isn’t as good as you thought. Your shoulders start burning from holding the push up position for 20 TUT reps. And of course, we all know that TUT is a huge component of size and strength. Slow your negative down and pause at the bottom.

2) Use Full ROM

Now, full ROM can be different for different people for certain exercises (aka pull ups). For pull ups, pick what you consider full ROM (for me, all the way down but BEFORE my scapula rises and up until my eyes over the bar) and stick to it every single rep. Don’t shorten it when you get tired. For push ups, actually lock out. For dips, go all the way down (shoulder health permitting) and LOCK OUT. Too many people do these short chopping reps for push ups and dips and that isn’t using these exercises to your full advantage. Just another example of peoples egos getting in the way of actually getting better. If you cannot use full ROM with BW exercises, A) you are probably lying, and B) you have a serious joint dysfunction going on.

 Shitty Reps

3) Stop Going to Failure

When you see some HIT Jedi on the internet going to full failure every set you make fun of them. When someones posts a routine online, one of the first things people say is stop going to failure all the time and stop 1 or 2 reps short. Louie Simmons doesn’t like powerlifters (or didn’t, I don’t know what he says these days) going to failure constantly.

Yet, when people do body weight exercises, you see them failing every single set. Why? Why does all common sense go out the window when doing body weight exercises? When your form breaks, you are done. If you are arching your back to finish your push up, you are done. When doing pull ups, if you are swinging your legs up to finish your rep, you are done. Stop blowing your load every set.

4) Lower Your Reps

Everyone wants to do high rep body weight stuff. I wouldn’t go over 20 for pressing stuff and 10-15 for pull ups. Hell, to be honest, I like 15 for pressing and 8-10 for pull ups. “But they get too easy!” Well for one, do the stuff above (aka do real ROM and slow down). And then…


5) Pick More Challenging Exercises

People have the imagination of a fruit fly when it comes to body weight stuff. Pull ups, push ups, maybe some dips. Try something different. Try Close grip push ups and pull ups. Try uneven. Hell, work up to doing one arm stuff. Or Google those crazy negros that do stuff on the playground. Can you do that? Probably not… so work up to it. Pick something you can do for a rep or two and build up to doing to 2×10. Challenge yourself to something other than no ROM pull ups and choppy push ups.

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