Tips To Make Bodyweight Exercises Harder

How to make bodyweight exercises harder

I am a huge fan of bodyweight exercises not only because they can be done anywhere, but also because they are an effective way to improve flexibility, strength and balance. Bodyweight exercises are my personal number one choice for burning fat as high intensity bodyweight training has been proven to be an effective way to lose excess fat.

Now, what happens when your bodyweight exercises get to easy? Well, then it’s time to ramp them up.

The following are some methods that you can use to make your bodyweight exercises harder and more challenging.

I have more methods which i am currently experimenting with, but if YOU have any then please share them with us. It will be great to see what idea’s you all have:)

The 1 and Half Rep Method

This when you go all the way down, come up half way, go back down again, then come all the way up. That will be 1 Rep.

For example; let’s use the Pushup:

Get into Pushup position. Go all the way down then come up half way, then go back down and finally come back all the way up to the Pushup starting position. That will be 1 Rep.
This method can be used for almost all bodyweight exercises; Pushups, Lunges, Reverse Runges, Bodyweight Squats, Bulgarian Squats, Sumo Squats, Dips etc.

The 4 to 1 Rep Method

This is when you go all the way, come up half way, go back down again, come up half way, go back down and come up half way. You do this 4 times, and then you come all the way to the starting position. This will be 1 Rep.

For example; let’s use the Bodyweight Squat:

Get into bodyweight Squat starting position. Place your feet shoulder width apart. Extended your arms in front of your body. Perform a full Squat. Come back up half way, and then go back down. Do this 3 more times for a total of 4 mini reps. Then come all the way up to the Squat starting position. That is 1 Rep.
This method can be used for almost all bodyweight exercises.

The 90% Method

This is when you come back up on an exercise only 90% of the way. This method will also keep the muscle under tension all the time as you will not be performing a 100% range of motion.

For example; let’s use Close Grip Pushups:

Get into close grip Pushup position. Keep your elbows close to your sides. Perform a full Pushup. Come up to 90% before the top. Perform all the reps in this fashion. Try using this method with bodyweight Squats, Sumo Squats, Pushups, Decline Pushups, Pike Pushups, etc.

The Triple Stop Method

This is when you go halfway down and pause for 1-2 seconds, then go to the bottom of the movement and pause again for 1-2 seconds. Then you come all the way back up to starting position. That will be 1 Rep.

For example; let’s use the Decline Pushup:

Get into Decline Pushup position. Perform a Pushup but stop halfway down for 1 -2 seconds. Then continue until you are at the bottom of the Pushup position and stop for 1-2 seconds. Then come all the way back up to the starting position. That will be 1 Rep.

The Slow Fast Rise Method

This is when you take 5 seconds down and then rise back up as fast as possible. When I perform this method i count using 1001, 1002, 1003, 1004, 1005. The trick is rise up as fast as possible without compromising your form.

For example; let’s use the Sumo Squat:

Get into Sumo Squat position. This is when your legs are wider than your shoulders, a lot wider. Either place your hands behind your head or extend your arms in front of you. Take 5 seconds to lower yourself down into Sumo Squat position. Rise back up as fast as possible and repeat for given amount of reps.

The Fast Slow Rise Method

This is the same as the “Slow Fast Rise Method”, except it’s the reverse. Here you drop down as fast as possible without compromising your form, and come back up using 5 seconds. The trick here is not to rest at the top. Once you reach the top drop back down immediately.

The Explode Method

This is when you pause for 1-2 seconds in the toughest point of the exercise and then explode up and down back to the toughest point.

This method works extremely well with Jump Squats, Lunge Jumps, Explosive Pushups, Box Jumps, in fact most explosive movements.

For example; let’s use the Jump Squat:

Get into Jump Squat position with your hands behind your head. Lower yourself down half way. This should be the toughest point in the exercise. Hold that position for 1-2 seconds then explode up into a jump and return back down to toughest point and repeat.

The 541 Method

This is when you do 5 mini reps in the bottom of the movement, 5 mini reps in the middle of the movement and 5 mini reps at the top of the movement, then 5 full reps. Now with this method you can either count the full sequence as 1 Rep or as 5 reps. The choice is yours.

Try these methods and let me know how you do and remember if you have any great methods to add to this list, then please share them with us:)

Owen

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3 comments on “Tips To Make Bodyweight Exercises Harder

  1. I often use the 10 second rule (slow slow!) with any of my exercises just to mix it up – it is REALLY hard and requires a lot of concentration to move so slowly… so basic push-up – count 10 secs down, then 10 secs up and try for a whole work out – 1 set only required, so even though its slow – your workout is fast!

  2. Great tips!
    I am a personal trainer and I specilize in online bodyweight workout programs so I know that it can be easy to get stuck in an exercise rut. I will use a few of these ideas in my upcoming workouts – Thanks!

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