Right around this time of year, you will see an influx of bodyweight workouts popping up all over the internet, showing you how to use what your mama gave you to get in a quickie. Bodyweight workouts are a great choice during the holidays when you can't get to the gym and can still be super effective.
Traditionally, the movements are done quickly to get your heart rate pumping and give you a nice lil glisten before you dive face first into a pile of mashed potatoes. Ever heard the term metabolic conditioning or metcon?
While doing all metcon work is great, there are additional ways to get in bodyweight work that will add a whole new level of badassery to your bag of bodyweight tricks.
An Isometric Hold (Iso) is when you contract your muscles but they don't change length. Traditionally in weight lifting, your muscles shorten and lengthen when they perform the exercise.
Think of a bicep curl. When your elbow bends, your bicep contracts and gets shorter - the concentric phase. When your elbow extends, your bicep controls it down and gets longer - the eccentric phase. If you hold your arm at 90*, your muscles are still fired up, but they aren't getting longer or shorter. This is isometric.
It can be done with any exercise if you are holding with a contraction. Iso holds may look like nothing but they are a whole lotta something and will level up your bodyweight game. Here are a few examples:
1 and 1/2 Reps
Adding an additional half rep at the bottom of each rep increases time under tension (TUT) and will have your muscles totally turnt up (TTU). TUT is the amount of time your muscles are working during a set. In a squat, if it takes you two seconds to go down and two seconds to go up, the total TUT is 4 seconds. When you add in a half rep, it increases the time under tension because it takes longer to complete the rep, and your muscles have to spend additional time working. If you're used to doing 10 reps of an exercise, adding in a half rep will pretty drastically change the way 10 reps feel. Here are some examples:
Plyometrics are explosive movements, like jumping. The goal is for your body to produce the maximum amount of force in shortest period of time. Not only will these help with power development, you'll also get a nice little spike in your heart rate. If you have space, exercises like broad jumps and skipping can be added to the mix. Trying to go for maximum height is a great way to challenge your plyometric abilities - just make sure to land softly.
The lever length is the distance between the weight and the fulcrum, which is traditionally the moving joint. Remember the bicep curl? The lever length in a curl is the distance between the weight in your hand and your elbow (fulcrum).
By making your body move farther away from a set point, you make your lever length longer, and it is no joke. Check out these variations on lever length.
If you're use to picking bodyweight exercises and going at one speed for the duration of the workout, try incorporating some of these variations into the mix. Adding in holds, plyos, and creating more tension is a wonderful way to kick your bodyweight workout up notch, while keeping it fresh.
Try This Bodyweight Circuit
Cycle through each circuit 3-4 times.
- :40 sec - 1 and 1/2 Bodyweight Squat
- :20 sec - Iso Push Up
- :40 sec - Glute Bridge Walk Out
- :20 sec - Rest
- :20 sec - Iso Split Squat Right Leg
- :10 sec - Single Leg Jump Split Right Leg
- :20 sec - Iso Split Squat Left Leg
- :10 sec - Single Leg Jump Split Left Leg
- :30 sec - Plank Walk Back
- :30 sec - Rest
- :30 sec - 1 and 1/2 Push Ups
- :30 sec - Single Leg Deadlift to Hop Right Leg
- :30 sec - Single Leg Deadlift to Hop Left Leg
- :30 sec - Hollow Hold
- :30 sec - Rest
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