What’s not to love about bodyweight workout plans? They’re not only accessible (requiring little or no equipment), they’re also effective and suitable for beginners who need to find a base of strength before adding weight. That’s not all; bodyweight workouts can also help you to develop the functional strength needed for everyday activities such as bending to lift a heavy load, carrying an armload of groceries, and other activities around the home, without getting sore or injured.
Bodyweight workouts help you build strength in different ranges of motion, this way even when you find yourself in those kinds of situations, your body knows how best to respond. However, after working out consistently for a while, it can start to feel too easy. When this happens, it means you have to take things up a notch if you want to keep gaining. Thankfully, we have pulled up five different ways to make your bodyweight workouts harder. So, get ready to level up your bodyweight workout plans.
Bodyweight Workout Plan Ideas
Below are some of the ways to make your bodyweight workouts more challenging:
1. Take It Slow
Rather than rush through the squats and pushups, it’s best to take three to four seconds to lower yourself into the bottom position. Hold still for one second before returning to the top. Doing this increases the time under tension, thereby giving your muscles more challenge and thus more strength.
This strategy is not only limited to pushups and squats, it can also be applied to almost any bodyweight workout plan, including lunges, step-ups, and so on.
2. Explosive Workout
You can boost the intensity of a regular full bodyweight workout, such as pushups, squats, and lunges, by converting them into an explosive or plyometric exercise. How is this done? Simply speed up your moves, focusing on pushing your hands or feet to jump, explode, or hop upward so that your hands or feet leave the ground for a while.
Although plyometric exercises take up more energy and can tire you out easily, it also helps you to develop explosive power with a positive carryover effect when you engage in other exercises such as running. According to research findings by M.N. Muhammad Zulqarnian et al., engaging in plyometric exercise increases athletes’ health and sports performance.
Examples of plyometric bodyweight workout plans include squat thrusts, squat jumps, mountain climbers, box jumps, high knees, plyo lunges, plyo pushups, and the like.
3. Unilateral Workouts
If you are tired of regular bilateral workouts like lunges and squats, you should try a unilateral variation. Examples of unilateral exercises include lateral lunges, skater squats, step-ups, staggered-stance squats, and single-leg squats to a box. When you direct the bulk of the work to a side of your body or a single leg, you challenge your coordination and balance while also building your unilateral strength which, in turn, leads to an increase in overall body strength.
Unilateral exercises are ideal for runners as they help to prevent overuse injuries. This is done by balancing the dominant and non-dominant parts of the body. For instance, athletes lacking in hip strength on one side are more at risk of single-leg injury, according to a report by the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine.
Examples of unilateral exercises you can engage in include step-ups, pistol squats, and single-leg squats to a box.
4. Take Breaks in Between Workouts
Work around your work/rest interval so that a full bodyweight exercise is converted to a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) routine. For example, you can work out for a minute and take a break for a minute. Alternatively, you can also increase the intensity of your workout by engaging in six to eight rounds during which there is an alternation involving forty seconds of work and then fifteen seconds of rest. You can take it up a notch by working for two minutes and resting for ten seconds.
Furthermore, you can also try out the Tabata Protocol. This is a form of HIIT routine that involves twenty seconds of work and ten seconds of rest up to eight rounds straight (this gives a total workout time of four minutes). The Tabata Protocol has been proven to increase both aerobic and anaerobic fitness even more than regular cardio exercises. This claim came from a 1996 Tabata study.
Ideal plans for bodyweight workouts to try out with the Tabata protocol include squat thrusts, mountain climbers, plyo lunges, and squat jumps.
5. Isometric Exercises
This involves maintaining a static position for a period of time. Many think plank workouts and wall sits are the ideal isometric exercises; while this is true, you can also infuse an isometric element into a normal workout to make it more challenging.
One way to do this is by repeating a movement several times and when you begin to feel tired, keep the movement in a mid-range of motion for about ten to thirty seconds. For instance, you can hold a squat after doing a couple of air-squats. You can also hold on halfway through an inverted row. These types of isometric holds make the workout tougher.
Plan New Bodyweight Workouts
Bodyweight exercises are a no-equipment workout that’s fun, convenient, and effective. They can be done right in the comfort of your home. But as you become fitter, your body starts to adapt. It’s easy to challenge yourself more when you have access to weights and other fitness equipment, like the sklz slidez, but more difficult when it’s just a bodyweight exercise. Fortunately, we’ve got you covered.
Now that you know how to level up your bodyweight workout plan, you should give it a try.