Bodyweight squats, lunges, and push-ups are awesome. Whether on the mat, at home, or traveling, bodyweight training is a fantastic way to stay in shape with minimal space and equipment. Often, however, while great for conditioning and muscle endurance, people struggle to actually get STRONGER with bodyweight training alone. Physiologically, strength is increased by progressively placing more and more load on the musculoskeletal system than it is used to. Increasing the number of repetitions you are capable of improves muscular endurance but does not make you stronger. Unless you are simultaneously gaining weight, improving your max push-ups from 30-60 will not make you as strong as lifting maximal weight for minimal reps. The National Strength and Conditioning Association guidelines for improving strength recommends doing six or less repetitions at a load of greater than 80% of your one repetition max for intermediate lifters and greater than 85% of your one repetition max for advanced lifters. How then do you get stronger with bodyweight training? The answer is simple. Do harder things. A great example is a gymnast. Using primarily their bodyweight, they become some of strongest athletes around. They also don’t limit their training to push-ups and lunges, rather, they constantly train to do amazing things on rings, bars, and pommel horses that no other strength athletes are capable of.
he purpose of this article is not to show you gymnastic routines instead, the goal is to provide several progressions from traditional bodyweight exercises that you can do with zero equipment to challenge your current abilities and make you stronger. After mastering these, if you want to work on your Maltese Cross, more power to you!
- JJM 360 Issue 1.1