Hey Angels and Alphas,
In the last two years, training (whether it is for weight loss or muscle gain) has largely been centered at home due to restrictions and lockdowns. Many of us spent our days working out at home, and because of this, an emerging trend in bodyweight exercises came to be. Whether you’re someone who did bodyweight exercises during home training or someone who loves the old school park workouts that get you shredded, we can all agree on one thing. It’s always a good idea to add an extra edge into your bodyweight workouts and give your body a new type of stimulus to adapt to.
When you are in a gym and you have access to all of the equipment at your disposal, increasing the difficulty in your training can be as simple as just piling on more weight on the bar. But when you’re doing bodyweight exercises, that approach to improving intensity looks a little different.
Today, we’re going to talk about the three most effective ways that you can use today to start adding that extra edge into your bodyweight workouts.
Let’s get started.
(You can always use the most obvious and intuitive option – to increase your workout volume by adding more sets and reps. But if you’ve already tried this and you’re craving variety, or you’re just someone who wants to leverage bodyweight exercises to achieve more muscle gain, pay attention to the following tips.)
#1 INCREASING YOUR RANGE OF MOTION
If you want to make bodyweight exercises harder, you can increase how far your body has to move (or a muscle extend) to complete a given task.
Increasing your range of motion can be done by elevating your front foot in lunges or doing chest-to-floor pushups with your hands on two blocks. This increases your difficulty, helps you recruit more muscle fibers and places them under more stress, allowing you to build more strength and stability.
It will also allow you to engage your muscles throughout their entire range of motion (or as close as you can get to its entirety.) This will not only increase the difficulty of the exercise, but it will also allow you to engage muscle fibers that you’re typically not used to engaging. This can be a gamechanger for your workouts and can even help you bust through stubborn strength plateaus.
#2 INVOLVE ISOMETRICS.
Isometric exercises are all about holding a static position for a period of time.
Most often, we think of planks as a great example of isometric exercises, but the truth is, the isometric element can be added to any exercise to make it more intense. Especially if we’re talking about bodyweight exercises in which your main resistance is gravity, isometric exercises can help you develop strength in key support areas of your body such as your core. Perform numerous repetitions of a movement, and as you start to feel fatigued, hold the movement in the mid-range of motion for 10 seconds.
#3 DOING THE 1 ½ SET.
Another great way to change your range of motion is to add a half-repetition between full reps of an exercise. If you’re squatting, this means starting out standing, then flexing your hips and knees to 90 degrees, going up half of the way, dropping back to 90 degrees, then going back up to your original position.
This helps you increase the time under tension for your muscles, and in turn, the intensity of the exercise you’re performing. When you increase the amount of tension your muscles are experiencing, you’re also increasing the amount of muscle fibers that will need repair after your workout, and thus, you’re making more progress in less time.