For anyone wanting to put together a good bodyweight exercise routine the key factors to consider are your present fitness level, the amount of time available to workout and the specific goal you want to achieve.
So before you devise your bodyweight exercise program it is always a good idea to have an honest assessment of how things stack up now.
To do so take into consideration your age, weight, diet, body fat percentage, illness, injury, lifestyle and to what extent have you exercised regularly in the last 12 months if any.
For this test do one set of maximum repetitions of each exercise resting for one minute between each set and record your scores.
The results will then give you a good indication of your present bodyweight strength and stamina and from this you will have a good indication of what exercises you should and shouldn’t use in your bodyweight exercise routine.
For example, if you couldn’t manage to do a standard press up then you will need to start your training with press ups on your knees.
If on the other hand you managed to do 50 repetitions which is a very good number for anyone who hasn’t practised press ups. Then you know that to make continued gains in the strength and muscle size of your chest, triceps and shoulders you need to do far more difficult versions of the press up such as triceps press ups, hip press ups or perhaps start training for the ultimate one the planche press up.
The same will be true for the results of the other 4 fitness test exercises so for example, if you didn’t manage to do one pull up and many people can’t, you can still include a version of this exercise in your training with the far easier horizontal pull up.
If on the other hand you managed to do 15 or 20 reps, then you might want to consider training to master the legendary one arm pull up.
However, the good news is that whatever fitness level you discover yourself to be at there are plenty of great bodyweight exercises for you to achieve your goal.
The next factor to take into consideration is what goal have you set yourself.
In order to know what exercises to include in your bodyweight exercise routine you must first have a clear and precise understanding of what you want your training program to achieve.
The reason for this is because the number of sets and repetitions of each exercise that you do will vary greatly depending on whether you want to build strength, muscle size, muscular endurance, lose weight or improve sporting performance.
For example, if you want to build size and strength in a particular muscle or your whole body.
You have include exercises that will only allow you to do between 3 – 4 sets of 6 – 10 repetitions.
Once you can do the required number of sets and repetitions you would then move onto either a more difficult version of that exercises or a different one.
An example would be if you could do the required number of sets and repetitions of triceps press ups. You could then do the more demanding incline triceps press ups or begin doing V sit tucks instead.
However, if your goal was to improve your muscular endurance or general fitness then the sets and repetitions done for size and strength would not be suitable.
Instead you would have to choose bodyweight exercises that allowed you to do 25, 50 or perhaps even a 100 repetitions in one set.
The same type of understanding would also need to be applied if the goal was to lose weight because then circuit training consisting of 10 bodyweight exercises would be the best option.
Conversely if it was improved sporting performance the bodyweight exercise chosen would need to match the specific sporting movement as closely as possible.
Finally, before you devise your bodyweight exercise routine you also need to take into consideration the amount of time you can dedicate to your workouts and whether illness or injury will prevent you from including certain exercises.
For example, you should not devise a split program that involves training half your body in one training session and half in another if you cannot train 4 times per week.
What ever your goal, present fitness level or time restraints you will be able to find the right bodyweight exercise routine to suit you.
However, it is a wise idea to first have an honest evaluation of your present condition and perform a simple fitness test involving the press up, pull up, crunch, free squat and dip before you begin.
That way you can be sure that the program you design has the right exercises sets and repetitions to reach your goal, whatever it is!
Remember to also keep a bodyweight exercise routine diary to record you progress.
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