Today I’d like to talk a little bit about body weight exercises- you know like push-ups or pull ups.  However, first I’d like to talk about the way to build muscle the most efficient way.  You see, I feel that the most efficient way to maximize muscle gain is by creating high tension in your muscles by using heavy weight training and low reps.

Now the issue with body weight exercise is that once you get to a certain level of strength training, then you’re body weight just isn’t heavy enough without doing extremely high reps.

So you can’t build the muscle density and increase definition as efficiently.  Over time, yes, you will build some density -but let’s talk about what we can do to modify bodyweight exercises in order to increase their efficiency

First, I must say that I can’t take full credit for this information because I actually learned this years ago…without even realizing it.  Often I find that I have learned things and forgotten about them.

Think about this for a moment.  In military boot camp when you do strength training PT, and you are doing push-ups, you often are required to hold your position either in the top or bottom of the movement- and at times in the middle of the movement. I hadn’t thought about this until I read about Scott Sonnon’s course based on his real-life work with Special Ops teams around the world.  The bodyweight exercises only training course is called TACFIT Commando. It talks about this particular boot camp techniques and actually focuses on body weight training.

body weight exercises

The technique is static body weight holds and it seems like a relatively simple idea but many people have never thought about it.  By just doing a few workouts this way, you’re likely to experience more muscle tone fairly quickly.

Let me explain static hold for you: A bodyweight static hold is when you stop you movement in a condition where you are creating tension in your muscle.  So for instance, when you’re doing a pull-up you want to stop and hold yourself at the most difficult part of the movement.  If you take push-ups for example, you need to stop and hold it about halfway down and you want to hold it for a certain interval.

You want to do these bodyweight exercises like interval training. Do the exercise for a set amount of time with a resting time in between.  So you can hold it for 60 seconds and 30 seconds break or hold it for 40 seconds and 20 seconds break.  As you get stronger just increase the length of time you’re doing the rep.

The way I do bodyweight holds is in the form of supersets.  This means that I’ll do one bodyweight exercise then take a short break and then move into a new position. Then I take a break and move into another position and take a break, etc. Each exercise should be opposing each other so if you do one chest exercise then the next exercise should be a back exercise. And you can set up your workout routine for upper body or full body or lower body muscle building.

These are great for your warm-up exercises.  In fact I do about 8 min. worth of these exercises prior to my weight lifting routine.  It just seems to get all the muscles loose and ready to work better.   Bodyweight static hold exercises are also great for when you’re traveling because often you don’t have access to a gym to work out.  So you can do bodyweight exercises in your hotel room very quickly before you go out.

hotel room bodyweight exercises

*Can you imagine doing your bodyweight exercises in this room I found on Google Images?

Don’t get me wrong, this should not replace your weight training workout routine but it is great to do when you just don’t feel like going to the gym to work out.  Sometimes that lack of motivation hits me and I don’t go to the gym, but then when I’m watching TV during the commercial breaks I will do body weight exercises so that at least I get some sort of workout.

Body weight exercises are great for when you’re short on time, are great for when you travel, and they’re much more difficult than what you think so give it a try for a couple of weeks see if you don’t find that you are getting more muscle tone and definition.  Try the bodyweight static hold strength training exercises and let me know what you think!

Filed under: Body Weight Training

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