Subj: The Beginner Bodyweight Workout Routine and How to Perform Basic Bodyweight Exercises including Push ups, Pull ups, body squats, dips and crunches. We’ll also cover how to do the bodyweight exercises if you can’t do one rep.
Bodyweight exercises are a secret weapon for getting fit.
They are so simple and so obvious, they are often overlooked.
Pity the trainer who doesn’t do their push ups and pull ups because their gains won’t be as impressive as yours.
Because you’re smart, and that’s why you’re here. You want to get fit and you can start right now using the equipment God gave you.
Your body is both chisel and clay – you can use your body to build and shape your body. No equipment needed. How cool is that?
Bodyweight exercises are critical for building a strong foundation of muscle. Bodyweight exercises are especially important for the beginner because they allow a way to train without getting injured. They allow you to get in touch with you muscles and build mind-muscle connection, the most important aspect of training.
You might be tempted to hop on the bench press first thing when you start your fitness journey. This is a bad idea.
Don’t touch the weights until you have bodyweight training experience. Hitting the weights before you’re ready leads to muscle imbalance and injury. Take your time and do it right and the rewards will follow soon enough.
Bodyweight Training Benefits
Build Mind-Muscle Connection
Bodyweight training is the perfect way to ‘learn’ how to use your muscles. You want to feel your muscles work when training. Concentrate hard and flexing your muscle to move the weight each rep. This is how you build muscle.
Strong mind-muscle connection allows you to contract your muscle harder – the harder you can contract your muscles the better off you’ll be.
Bodyweight Training Builds a Balanced Body
Train using natural motions and teach your body to work together as a single unit. This ensures both your left and right sides develop evenly and all muscle groups grow in proportion to each other.
Your body is one big ‘kinetic chain’ and bodyweight training teaches you to use your body as a single unit allowing all your muscles to work together which develops overall body muscle and strength.
Bodyweight Workouts are Safe
Bodyweight training is very safe. It’s difficult to injure yourself using bodyweight workouts. It’s still possible if you’re not careful but you’re less likely to get injured performing a bodyweight workout compared to using weights.
Bodyweight Workouts Can be Done Anywhere
In the office, in a hotel, at the beach. anywhere that you have a few short minutes to drop and do some pushups. This is a big advantage when you don’t have a gym around or are pressed for time.
You can crank out 50 pushups in less that 10 minutes and everybody has 10 minutes to spare for a quick workout.
The World is Your Gym. Sound empowering? It should. Get creative and have fun with it.
For example, here I am doing Pull ups in Venice, Italy:
(I could have done more if it wasn’t for all the canopies in my belly)
Why Beginners Should Train Using Bodyweight Exercises
If you’re just starting out and want to build muscle you need to start with bodyweight exercises.
If you jumped right into bench pressing with a barbell without being able to do 10 pushups in a row first, you’re likely to develop weak core and back muscles. This is because you don’t know how to train your body as a unit. The bench press is not just a chest exercises – it’s total body exercises when done properly. Your legs, abs, butt, back and core all flex and work together to press the weight from your chest.
Body weight exercises, push ups in this case, train your body as a unit. In the top push up position, your legs, abs, butt, back and core are all tense to support your body in the push up position. See how this translates to bench press?
The nature of bodyweight exercises allow you to train every muscle at the same time.
Train with free weights too soon and you could develop muscle imbalances or get injured. To get the most from free weights, your body weight training has to be solid.
The Beginner Bodyweight Workout
You’re a true beginner if you’ve never lifted a weight or been on a workout program. Before you start messing with weights you need to make sure you are ready for it. You need to be able to do all of the following before training with weights:
- 15 pushups in a row with perfect form
- 10 pull ups in a row
- 25 prison squats in a row
- 10 dips in a row
- 25 sit ups in a row
If you want to get to the point where you can start lifting weights and make the ‘Big Gains’ you need a plan. But you need to take the right steps to ensure you make the most of your workouts and maximize your gains, which we will discuss later.
When starting a bodyweight workout routine you should keep workouts simple and train frequently.
Frequent training helps your nervous system send messages from your brain to your muscles. The better the mind-muscle connection, the better your muscle gains will be.
A strong mind-muscle connection gives you muscle control and allows you to contract your muscle hard, which is very important for muscle growth.
Five Bodyweight Exercises each Workout
Every bodyweight workout you do will have each of the 5 exercises: Pushups, Pull ups, prison Squats, Dips and Sit Ups.
Frequency – Train Often
Workout a minimum of 4 times each week. You can do a bodyweight workout everyday. You can even workout twice a day, morning and night.
Consistency – Train Regularly
Never take more than one day off from working out. That means don’t take off two days in a row.
Intensity – Push Yourself!
For each workout, do each exercise for as many reps you can in a row without stopping. Each workout try to do one more rep for each exercises that you did the time before. Even if it takes you longer or an extra set. You need to push your body to do more then it’s used to so it grows stronger.
When doing bodyweight workouts you might notice some lifts are easier than others. This is normal. It’s also tempting you train using the exercises you’re good and more than the others. Do not do this.
Make sure you train your muscles equally to avoid lagging muscles and weak points. If you’re having trouble with a particular lift check out the following tips for training the 5 bodyweight exercises.
What If You Can’t Do One Push Up/Pull Up/Squat/Dip
If you can’t do one rep, train up to it following the instructions below.
How to Train Push Ups
If you can’t do 10 pushups in a row you can try these two techniques to get there.
- Do as many pushups as you can in a row then when you can’t do anymore, immediately start doing ‘girly’ pushups where you do pushups with your knees on the ground instead of up on your tiptoes. This will help push your muscles farther and get them stronger, faster.
- Do 25 pushups in the morning and 25 pushups at night everyday. Even if you can only do 4 pushups in a row, do 4 then rest a minute then do 4 more. Repeat that process until you do 25 push ups total. You’ll notice that you can start doing 5 or 6 in a row within a week or two.
How to Train Pull Ups
Pull ups can be tricky to train. You can do pull ups overhand or underhand when starting out. To perform pulls you need to have grip strength to hold onto the bar long enough to get 5 pull-ups in a row.
There are a few techniques you can use to increase the amount of pull ups you can do:
Hang Loose, man
Just hang on the bar as long as you can with your arms fully extended and while squeeing the bar as hard as you can. Your hands, arms, shoulders and back will get used to the pull up position this way.
Pull and pause reps or ‘negatives’
Pull yourself up with your chin over the bar and hold that position for as long as you can. When you start to get tired and your body lowers, fight gravity as long as you can and go as slow as possible on the way down.
These are called negatives or negative reps. Where you focus on the resisting the lowering part of a lift as long as possible. Do 5-10 negatives in a row, twice a day.
If you can’t pull yourself up step up on a chair or have a friend help lift you up. Just don’t fall down and hurt yourself! Always be aware of your surroundings.
How to Train Prison Squats
Walk up hill or on an incline to strengthen your legs. Walks, jog and do sprints.
Do static lunges where you but one foot in front of the other and hold that position as long as you can, then switch legs and do the same thing. These are all ways to strengthen your legs so you can do more squats.
How to Train Dips
Do chair dips
Grab two sturdy chairs and with your butt toward the ground put your hands on one chair and your feet up on the other with your body suspended between them.
Push your arms straight up until they are fully extended then bend your elbows to lower your body as low as you can, then press your self back up. This exercises works your arms and shoulders.
Get good at doing pushups
Training push ups will strengthen your arms and shoulders allowing you to do more dips.
How to Train Sit Ups
Do as many as you can as often as you can
Your core can be trained every day. even if you can only do 3 sit ups in a row. Do 3, then rest a minute, then do 3 more and repeat. eventually you’ll be able to do 4 in a row, then 5 then 6 and so on.
Do leg lifts
Lay on the floor with your back and butt on the ground, tighten your abs and lift your legs up.
Keep your legs as straight as possible the whole time. Leg lifts are great for working your abs and entire core.
Tips, Tricks and Thoughts on Bodyweight Training
Put a pull up bar in your doorway. I picked one up at a thrift store for $3.
The pull up bar is super convenient and can be set up anywhere. But the power rack and wall-mount are more stable. Either option is effective so get what works best for you.
Stick with it! Some days you will feel stronger than others. This is normal, but it doesn’t mean you should slack off. Make sure you do all your reps each workout!
Everyone will progress at different speeds. It might take you 4 weeks to hit your numbers or maybe it takes you 4 months. Either way, make sure you are able to do the appropriate number of continuous reps before moving onto weight training.
Trust me, bodyweight training is essential to building healthy muscles and doing so will allow you to make the most of your training in the long run.
Once you can do all of the above you can move on to the weights. You are likely to get injured or develop an muscular imbalance if you just jump into the weights without being able to do this stuff first.
You’re bodyweight and body fat percentage will absolutely play a factor in how effective you are at performing bodyweight workouts.
If you have high body fat I would recommend walking, biking or light jogging daily in order to lose some body fat. This will have a double benefit for you because you will get stronger and leaner at the same time.
Once you can of the bodyweight exercises you can move on to Beginner Weight Training which is the perfect into to barbell weight train to make the most of your workouts and build some serious muscle.
Remember, you have to be able to do the stuff I mentioned here first or else you are likely to get injured or develop an muscular imbalance if you just jump into the weights.