View Full Version : What Bodyweight Exercises?

06-30-2007, 10:52 PM
I'm adding bodyweight strength training to my workouts because basically I started lifting weights first, and what benefit will that give me if I can't maneuver my own body first? Plus, look at gymnasts. They use mostly all bodyweight training and a vast majority are stronger than a lot of gym rats. Plus some of this stuff would be cool to show off at partys and stuff. :thumbup:

I'll keep lifting weights, but probably drop the volume on upper body and use more bodyweight strength exercises. Lower body training will stay the same, except I'll probably add in pistol squats.

Anyways, here's what I was thinking. I can't yet do all (or nearly any) of these exercises but I'll work on the progressions until I get there:

Planche pushup
Handstand pushup
Front Lever pullup
One hand pullup

And ab exercises such as:

Janda situp? (want something that doesn't require a partner or money spend on more equipment, that defeats the purpose)
Dragon Flag
One arm standing "evil wheel"

Does anyone have sugguestions as to any other exercises they would use or drop from this list and reasons why? Also, frequency and intensity. I read that when doing isometric progressions (like frog stands for the planches) you can perform them everyday, or Mon,Tue,Thur,Fri for the best benefit with recovery. What about the ab exercises?

And...Should I go for a progression in all the exercises each time I train? It would make more sense to me to use only one bodypart progression on a certain training day and mix it up (ex: Front lever or one-arm pullup but not both on same day). I am just starting to learn about these exercises but any advise would be appreciated.

07-01-2007, 06:42 PM
Remember not to work whatever progression you're on to failure. Find out whatever your max time you can hold for (10, 20, 30 secs etc) and do sets of half of that until you reach 60 seconds (I'm assuming you're referring to dragondoors article - http://www.dragondoor.com/articler/mode3/229/ ).

One arm chins/pullups take a LONG time to get. I would work on weighted pullups/chinups first then once you're moving around some big weight start on more specific exercises, such as alternating comedowns or uneven pullups (there's more great articles on dragondoor).

As far as frequency and intensity: planches and front levers, at least during the beginning, you can train every day or every other day as long as you don't go to failure. The first couple weeks/months you're probably not going to get very sore as your body is just teaching itself the movement. I have found that "greasing the groove" with these works the best, i.e. spreading your sets out throughout the day instead of all at the same time. Once you get into the more advanced progressions you should probably lessen up on the volume.

Really, frequency and intensity are things you're going to have to find out for yourself. Everyone is different and no one can really give you any set principles - try out a bunch of stuff and find what works best for you.

L-seats might be another suggestion for abs.

Oh, and check out beastskills.com . I think Jim's sight will have a lot of what you're looking for.

07-03-2007, 11:59 AM
Since I can only do about 7 bodyweight pullups or so, I was thinking of doing the "greasing the groove" technique for those too. Just go down to the pullup bar periodically throughout the day and pop off a set of 4 or 5. Gradually increase the reps over the weeks and once I get to about 10 or so start adding weight and going back down to 4 or 5 reps and working back up the ladder but with a little less volume.

It's amazing how some of the static holds are coming along so fast. I guess I had the strength but now my balance is getting better pretty fast.

07-03-2007, 01:01 PM
Get good at the basics ...

- All variation of chinups (strict, kipping, clapping, weighted, rings, towel, l-sit, etc)

- All variations of pushups (strict, clapping, incline / handstand, rings, weighted, etc)

- All variations of muscleups (strict, kipping, full hang, weighted, bars & rings, etc)

- All variations of l-sits (parallettes, rings, floor, combo with chins, etc)

07-03-2007, 01:47 PM
So instead of the same thing all day, I should switch up the sets with the different variations...number of reps dependent of how hard the variation is...but never go to failure. Correct?

07-04-2007, 12:18 AM
I put up a ring set in my garage, except instead of rings I just made handles of PVC pipe and used some rope. I think it should do alright. Pullups seem about the same difficulty level but the pushups are a lot harder.

07-05-2007, 08:10 PM
Ladder training for pull ups is also a great way to increase your number:


Interesting note: Does anyone think this same technique could be used for isometric exercises, i.e. front levers or planches, only instead of reps you work your way up in time?

07-06-2007, 12:06 PM
After reading the Pavel article, I'm going to try just what you said Hazer with the front levers and planche. I might even do it with static holds to improve my grip strength since it's one of my weak points.

07-06-2007, 12:24 PM
I am not gymnasts, but parallettes are crazy hard. You can make them cheaply out of PVC piping. I think crossfit.com has a journal on making your own parallettes and a training routine to fallow.

07-06-2007, 01:23 PM
Being the thrifty (cheap) person I am, I use cinder blocks for now until I can get something better. Only problem using these is that it's hell on the wrists. Still gets the job down.

07-06-2007, 07:27 PM
Try it, though keep in mind I have no idea if the same principal (ladders) will work for isometric holds. Keep us updated if you're having some great progress with it!

07-07-2007, 09:41 AM
So basically, ladders are a good way to increase the number of reps you can do? Or do they increase the entire level of strength a lot too? For example, if you can do 10 pullups and 1 pullup with 15 pounds, if you used this approach to get to 20 pullups would you be able to do a lot more weight with 1 pullup? I know you would be able to do more, but would it be significant, or not as good as adding some low volume weighted pullups?

07-07-2007, 04:25 PM
It's good to test max reps and max weight. Do both. Eventually max reps will turn into a conditioning exercise.

07-08-2007, 09:07 PM
I like the Pavel's Ladders. I just got done doing them with chin-ups and ring pushups since I didn't have time to do anything earlier today. I finished with 19 total chin-ups: 1,2,3,4...1,2,3...1,2,3...1,2 and 117 ring pushups: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11...1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8...1,2,3,4,5

That would have taken over 4 sets of 4 chin-ups and 10 sets of 11 ring pushups throughout the day. I'm about to go downstairs and do the same thing with the ab wheel (dumbell) from the knees.

How should I incorporate both the greasing the groove for reps and maximal strength work? I was thinking "grease the groove" every day. In addition do max strength work (weighted chins, weighted pushups/bench press, weighted dips, shoulder press) three times a week (Mon, wed, fri). Would that be a good way to go? Or should I drop the "greasing" on the strength days?

07-09-2007, 01:05 PM
I can already see a big improvement in overall strength. I lifted today for fitness club. I did 3 reps of 195 on bench which is a PR, and I did 4 reps of pull-ups with a 15 pound medicine ball on my legs.

07-09-2007, 04:31 PM
I couldn't get to the website with the parallelette designs, so I made my own out of 1 1/4" PVC.

If anyone else made one of these, what dimensions did you use? Mine is 1.5' high and 4' long. It seems a little unstable though, so I was thinking about making it shorter and closer to the ground, but wanted some feedback first.

Edit: Nevermind, I got the website to work. Turns out I made it way to big! It should only be 10-14inches long and 3-8inches high.