One of the biggest mistakes athletes (from novice to advanced) make is neglecting bodyweight training in their programs. Everyone is so quick these days to start training with some form of equipment (free weights, machines etc.) before developing a strong foundation. I can’t count the number of times I’ve observed a young athlete who can barely complete 5 Push Ups with good form doing set after set on the barbell bench press or worse, the cable crossover. Don’t get me wrong; I am the biggest advocate of free weight training. Barbells and dumbbells are definitely my cup of tea. I also think many machines have a role in the training programs of athletes. However, bodyweight training in my view is way underrated. An athlete who has mastery of his or her own bodyweight has greater strength potential, will get hurt less often, and will in all likelihood, perform better at his or her own sport. Here are three great benefits of bodyweight training detailed below:
Two of my personal favorite exercises for complete muscular development of the upper body are the Pull Up/Chin Up, and Dips. Coach G and I have done Pull Ups and Chin Ups and Dips religiously for years, and I strongly believe that they have done as much for my physique as any free weight exercise out there. At least once a week, we will crank out up to 10 sets of Pull Ups and Chin Ups using every imaginable grip style – close grip, wide grip, mixed grip – you name it, and the soreness felt in the lats, rhomboids, biceps and forearms is unreal. Dips are added as a perfect finisher to a heavy pressing workout – they are one of the best triceps exercises you can do. Always make sure to use a full range of motion with Dips – your lower biceps should make contact with your forearms at the bottom position of every rep. Try the following routine once per week for a month for added upper body muscle growth:
Pull Up/Chin Up + Dip Upper Body Blast
|Exercise||Sets & Reps|
|1a) Wide-Grip Pull Ups||2 sets x 10-12 reps|
|1b) Chest Dips (torso leaning forward)||2 sets x 10-12 reps|
|2a) Close-Grip Chin Ups||2 sets x 10-12 reps|
|2b) Triceps Dips (torso straight, no lean)||2 sets x 10-12 reps|
|3) Parallel Grip Pull Ups||2 sets x AMAP (as many as possible)|
*Super set exercises #1a and #1b as well as #2a and #2b. Rest 90 seconds between supersets. Rest 60 seconds between sets of exercise #3.
Plyometrics are an advanced form of bodyweight training that offers tremendous benefits to athletes who require speed and power to be good at their sport, which are most sports for the readers of www.STRONG-ATHLETE.com. A true plyometric exercise requires an athlete to go from an eccentric contraction to a concentric contraction very quickly. The goal is to improve the speed with which you can exert force, known as rate of force development. Exercises like Plyo Push Ups, Single-leg Hops, and Box Jumps are all great ways to improve explosiveness and the ability to generate force quickly. The more explosive you are, the better athlete you are.
Bodyweight training can be an incredible way to burn fat, especially when used in the form of total body circuits. This style of training can be a great way to improve your conditioning, crank up your metabolism, and to deliver long lasting fat burning effects, especially after your workout is completed. In our experience, these types of workouts are great for building up your work capacity, which in turn will enable you to train harder and more intensely during your free weight workouts. If you want to learn more about bodyweight training to get ripped, you need to check out the book Shock Training for Fat Loss. In this 120+ page training book, we’ve put together 50 of the toughest, most kick-ass fat burning workouts along with over 80 detailed exercises to transform you into a lean, mean, fat-burning machine. To pick it up today, click here: www.strong-athlete.com/products.