My Bodyweight Home Workout Routine
NOTE: The following eBook was released in 2014 via IgnoreLimits for a short period of time, I thought what better time to share this content then now… you can easily maintain your fitness outside of your gym utilizing this routine.
So what is this ‘Bodyweight Barrage’ program you speak of?
The bodyweight barrage is my bodyweight workout routine I have been performing for the last couple of years. This routine has allowed me to not only maintain my size, strength and endurance level while I’m away from the gym but it’s also promoted new growth too!
This workout generally takes me between half an hour and 45 minutes to perform in its entirety and is ideal if you’re unable to get to the gym on a particular day or if you’re travelling abroad.
All of the exercises included in this workout are based around the resistance of your bodyweight, you don’t need any fancy equipment – no dumbbells, barbells, lateral pull down machines or the like for that matter.
As a couple of the exercises require a bar or pole of some description I generally find myself performing this workout in a park or any outdoor area with a suitable tree branch.
The best thing about this workout regime is that it is suitable for anyone – each exercise has variations that make it both harder and easier based upon your current strength, fitness level and experience, whether you’re 300lbs and overweight or 180lbs shredded.
This workout will take you that much closer to the success you desire.
When and where should I perform this workout?
As this is essentially a full body workout I do not recommend performing it every day, I recommend allowing 1 rest day between workouts – therefore performing this work out 3 times per week is ideal.
Or whatever best suits your schedule, as you can see as long as you’re getting that rest day between each consecutive workout you’re good to go.
As mentioned above, this workout can be performed just about anywhere, If I don’t have time to make it to the gym on a particular day I’ll perform it at home, If I’m abroad and don’t have access to a gym I’ll perform it in a park or outdoors at the hotel I’m staying at.
What if I have access to a gym?
If you have access to a gym I recommend performing your routine as per normal, however if you’ve reached a plateau (perhaps you’re struggling to increase strength or overall muscle mass for an extended period of time) you can still benefit from this workout regime, and may even return to the gym stronger than before.
Bodyweight based training has many advantages, such as:
Cardio & strength based training in one
Bodyweight exercises such as push ups and lunges combine strength based training with cardiovascular endurance; you will burn calories while promoting muscle growth at the same time, eliminating the need to split your cardio and resistance workouts.
A fantastic benefit of bodyweight training is that it is entirely scalable, hence why the majority of personal trainers include bodyweight exercises in their boot camps and training sessions. Not everyone can do a weighted squat below parallel or perform an overhead press correctly but everyone can perform a variation of the push up, whether this be on their toes, knees, wide hand placement or narrow hand placement.
Heavy, frequent resistance training can lead to inflexible or damaged joints and tight, non-functional muscles if performed incorrectly and if recovery time is disregarded. However, If instead you perform bodyweight exercises to increase your strength while utilising a full range of motion on your exercises your joints will be permitted to move freely, you will also be reducing your risk of exercise related injury and will improve your posture over time. Bodyweight exercises are ideal for improved flexibility.
Following a gruelling workout regime in the confines of an old gym is not everyone’s idea of enjoyable, although it does suit me.
Bodyweight workouts are quite the opposite of this, you can assemble a group of buddies and head outdoors for a bodyweight circuit, you’ll get fit, fresh air and a laugh all at the same time.
Heavy resistance exercise, if performed incorrectly can cause serious injury – damaged rotator cuffs, hernias and damaged discs are all too common today, these injuries all require a lengthy recovery and rehabilitation approach.
Bodyweight exercises are commonly used for rehabilitation.
Bodyweight training has been around since the beginning of fitness, it’s not a new fad like many of the workout regimes that come and go each week on the news and in your local fitness magazines. Bodyweight regimes are comprised of compound exercises, meaning that multiple muscle groups and joints are utilised with each exercise. Compound exercises have been proven to be the most effective form of exercise for increased strength, size and athletic performance.
Push ups are by far the most common and popular bodyweight exercise – for good reason too.
Push ups work the chest, triceps and shoulders.
Start with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
Support your body on your toes as if you were holding a plank position.
Keep your body as straight as possible.
Lower your chest to the ground by flexing your elbow joints.
Extend your elbows as your draw power through your pectoral muscles to return to the starting position.
Dips are a great upper body compound exercise that can be performed in 2 different variations based upon whether you would like to place greater emphasis on the chest or the triceps. Your anterior deltoids (front of your shoulders) are also targeted as a secondary muscle group as you perform dips.
Assume an arm’s length position from your parallel bars with arms locked out.
While maintaining an upright position with elbows closed to your position begin to lower your body until your upper arm and forearm resemble a 90 degree angle.
Push through your triceps to bring yourself back to the starting position.
Assume an arm’s length position from your parallel bars with arms locked out.
Begin to lower yourself with your elbows flared out and your body leaned forward at roughly a 30 degree angle.
Lower yourself until you begin to feel a deep stretch in your chest.
Use your chest to push your body back up to the starting position
Pull ups are without a doubt the ultimate upper body bodyweight exercise, Red Bull won’t give you wings, pull ups sure will though!
This exercise targets the lats and middle back with the biceps assisting as the secondary muscle group.
Utilising a wider than shoulder width grip, grasp the pullup bar with palms facing away from you.
Push your chest forward and curve your lower back slightly backwards to create a slight angle in your positioning.
Pull your body up by driving your shoulder blades and arms down/back – you want to be pulling through your back, not your biceps.
Hold for 1 second at the top of the rep with your chest touching the pullup bar
Squats are the ultimate lower body exercise – squats target the quads, glutes, hamstrings and core.
Begin with your feet shoulder width apart, place your hands wherever you find them most comfortable (by your sides, behind your head, in front of you).
Flex your hips and knees while sitting back, aim for your thighs to reach an angle parallel to the floor.
Reverse the movement to return to the starting position.
Walking lunges are a lower body compound exercise; lunges primarily target the quads, with hamstrings, glutes and calves acting as secondary muscles throughout the movement.
Start with a shoulder width stance with your hands placed on your hips.
As you place one foot forward flex your knees in order to drop your hips back, lower yourself until your rear knee brushes the ground.
Ensure your front foot is in line with your knee; maintain a straight back for the duration of the repetition.
Drive through the heel of your leading foot as you flex both knees to return to an upright position.
Repeat to bring your rear foot forward.
Hand Stand Push-Up
In my opinion the handstand push up, commonly referred to as HSPU is one of the most affective exercises to increase shoulder size and strength. The traditional handstand push up is quite an advanced exercise – however don’t fret as there are several beginner and intermediate versions available that will have you performing the traditional HSPU in no time!
Place your hands shoulder width apart as you bend down against a wall.
While maintaining straight arms kick yourself up against a wall.
Position yourself against the wall with your arms and legs at a full extension, keep your body as straight as possible (tip: look at the wall, don’t look down at the floor).
Lower yourself slowly until your head almost touches the ground.
Push yourself up until your arms are fully extended.
The sit-up is the most common abdominal exercise in existence, sit-ups are performed to increase core strength. It is worth noting that you will not get six pack abdominals simply by performing sit-ups or any other abdominal exercise for that matter, this comes down to a manipulation of diet to achieve single digit body fat – at which time your abdominal region will be visible.
Lay on the floor with your feet hooked under a bench or object to prevent movement.
Interlock your hands behind your head.
Elevate your shoulders and upper back off the ground by engaging your abdominal muscles.
Breathe out as you contract your abdominals.
Lower yourself back down slowly while breathing in.
A simple core exercise that yields massive results.
The plank is a static hold in which the abdominal muscles are used to stabilise the body.
Assume a prone position with your weight being held by your forearms and toes, keep your forearms directly below your shoulders.
Hold this position while maintaining a straight body for the duration of the plank.
Push Ups, 10 – 15 reps
Dips, 10 – 15 reps
Pull Ups, 10 – 15 reps
Squats, 10 – 15 reps SUPERSET walking lunges, 10 – 15 reps (per leg)
Hand Stand Push Ups – 6 – 10 reps
Sit Ups, 10 – 15 reps SUPERSET Plank, 45 seconds – 1 minute
Putting it all together
As you can see above the Bodyweight Barrage is comprised of 8 different exercises, 4 exercises are performed by themselves, with 2 groups of 2 exercises being superset together (2 leg exercises and 2 core exercises).
Now, there’s 2 different ways in which you can perform this workout routine.
Each exercise is to be performed for 3 sets.
Perform all 3 sets of each exercise with 20 – 30 seconds rest between sets before moving onto the following exercise.
Perform a circuit style routine by performing 1 set of each exercise before moving immediately to the next exercise, this circuit will then be performed for 3 consecutive rounds.
Both styles of this workout are great, when I am focusing on building strength and size I personally perform all 3 sets of each exercise before proceeding to the next exercise.
However, when I am in a cutting phase I like to perform the Bodyweight Barrage in a circuit style workout; this allows me to keep my heart rate elevated for the duration of the workout as the only rest between sets is the time it takes you to get into position for the following exercise – ideal for burning additional calories or if you’re strapped for time.