I still remember one of the reasons why I wanted to lose weight and get in shape, one day I found out some videos on YouTube about calisthenics and all the guys looked amazing, lean and in really good shape, I finished watching the video and I stood up and tried to do some pushups, for my surprise I couldn´t do any… not even one. I felt so weak and angry and realized how could that happened if some years ago I could do 50 pushups?
I practiced Karate for about 11 years since I was 5 until I was 16 and I was able to do 50 pushups, squats, dips and bodyweight rows. Remembering this got me really angry, I wanted to be able to do that same amount of reps on each exercise and increase weight with weighted vest to go low rep.
You don´t need a gym or a lot of equipment to get lean and in really good shape, you may only need comfortable clothes and a pair of sneakers. Your body can is a great tool for an amazing workout.
Whether your goal is to get in shape, lose weight, improve body composition, gain muscle or maintain a lean physique you can achieve any of them with bodyweight exercises. What I like about them is that you keep everything simple and you can train almost anywhere.
Bodyweight exercises have so many benefits and they can reduce injuries when working out, with any bodyweight exercise you are moving your body through space and it requires more strength and balance but since they are compound movements or multi-joint exercises you are working several muscles at the same time and the range of motion is more natural which reduce stress on the joint and avoid injuries.
My approach to training is to keep reps low and weight high and get stronger to build dense muscle, even when most guys that use bodyweight exercises go very high in reps some of them around 50 or even 100 reps you can keep weight high and reps low by increasing difficulty of each exercise.
The way to build muscle and get stronger is progressive overload, you need to increase the weight or reps every time you workout the same muscle, you can do this with weights at the gym or with bodyweight, your body doesn´t care if you are paying a gym membership and using machines or if you are training at your home, so the way to do this is by increasing the resistance by making the exercises harder, once you get to the hardest version of each exercise you can use a weighted vest.
At the beginning you may not be able to do normal pushups so you start with a simple version like your knees on the ground for 5 reps until you can do 10 reps of pushups with your knees on the ground you start with the next level which is your feet on the ground. You keep advancing on levels until you can do one-arm pushups and one-arm pushups with feet elevated.
You need to apply this progressive overload for each exercise, from knee pushups to one-arm feet raised pushups, from squats to pistol squats, from bodyweight row to one-arm pull ups, from lying down leg raises to hanging leg raises.
When you start training with your own body and as you start leaning down you´ll see that it´s easier to perform the movements. The more weight you lose the less weight you have to move through space so it gets easier, as the exercises or the variation of the exercise that you are doing gets easier you need to do more difficult variations.
The physique you get with this type of exercises is great and it keeps you motivated to stay lean, many guys and girls fall in love with body weight training also known as calisthenics because as you advance on the variations of each exercise it gets more fun.
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