Let me tell you something you already know: Life would be easier if there was more time each day.
But until someone magically expands that 24-hour window to 25, you have to find innovative ways to be efficient with your time. One way to squeeze as much time from your busy day as possible is through bodyweight workouts.
On any given day, you may only have 45 minutes to an hour to work out. Commuting to a gym, finding parking, changing in the locker room, and stacking weights onto a barbell adds up to time you don't have.
That’s why bodyweight workout plans are my preferred form of exercise.
Why Bodyweight Workouts Are More Efficient Than Traditional Workouts
With bodyweight workouts, there's no lines, commutes, or asking your fellow gym goers to "cut in" between sets. The amount of time carved out for your workout is the length of the workout itself (and perhaps a few minutes to catch your breath afterward).
And, as long as you follow the 4 Legs Fitness training program, there's no wasting time deciding which exercise to do next — I handle the programming for you.
The benefits of bodyweight workout plans extend far beyond saved time and pure convenience. Below, I share why bodyweight exercises are harder than you think and a three-day bodyweight training program to do on your own.
Why Bodyweight Workout Plans Are Harder Than You Think
Like most things in life, a workout becomes easier the more times you complete it.
In a traditional gym setting, when a workout no longer challenges you the way it once did, you do one thing: add more weight. You go from picking up lighter dumbbells to heavier ones, or add another plate to the rack.
In reality, increasing resistance is just one way to challenge yourself in your workouts. Defaulting to this one method again and again might build muscle, but it might not improve your overall athletic performance. Instead, your goal should be to stress your body in a variety of ways — which can be far easier to do through bodyweight movements.
To continuously make your workout more challenging (known as “progressive overload”), try these methods:
Try Single Leg Exercises
As a beginner, a bodyweight squat might challenge you at first. As you progress switch, for instance, to sissy squats. Eventually doing 50 squat reps will begin to feel easy.
To continuously progress your workouts, try single leg exercises instead. Trade in your standing squats for Bulgarian split squats, single leg squats, or curtsy squats (each of which can be done weighted or bodyweight only, and offer excellent progression possibilities). Or, if you're really an overachiever, give the coveted pistol squat a try.
Add a Source of Instability
Adding a source of instability (such as balancing on a bosu ball or using a TRX) forces you to use the smaller, stabilizer muscles that often get ignored.
When working out at home, you can use everyday household items to get the same result as expensive gym equipment. To test your strength and balance, try doing step-ups or decline pushups while balancing on a couch cushion.
Adjust the Speed
Many times, when you think "cardio" your mind drifts to logging kilometers (or miles) on the treadmill. However, that's not the only way to spike your heart rate.
Instead of increasing the number of repetitions in a workout, aim to do as many rounds as possible. For example, set a timer for 20 minutes, and do five exercises for as many rounds as possible (you’ll do this in Day 3 of the program below).
Add in Holds and Pulses
Adding a "pulse" or "hold" to an exercise increases the intensity of any strength training workout. You can progress any exercise by adding in these subtle movements.
For example, if you're doing a chin-up, try to do a pulse at the top of the pull-up bar before returning to your starting position. Or, if you're doing a burpee, hold yourself in a low pushup for three seconds before kicking your feet in and jumping up. Finally, if you're doing a bodyweight hamstring curl, place a towel under your feet, and hold your legs in the extended position for a count of three before returning to a bridge position.
Lastly, increase the intensity of your workout by reducing breaks between rounds. Typically, I monitor my rest time in between sets and rounds, helping me to progress my workouts and shorten my workout time.
A 3-Day Bodyweight Workout Plan You Can Do at Home
To do these three bodyweight circuits, you don't need any equipment. Actually, you don't even need to leave your home. Simply push back the coffee table and follow along with this bodyweight workout routine from the comfort of your living room.
This bodyweight training plan encompasses three days. I recommend implementing the exercises on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with active recovery (stretching, foam rolling, or taking a brisk morning walk) on Tuesday and Thursday.
All Days: Start With a Dynamic Warm-Up
This is a quick warm-up you can do before each workout. If you're working out at home, do each exercise while standing in place for 12 reps (you may want to perform the exercises over carpet or other cushioned surface). If you have access to a field, outdoor patio, or backyard, you can "travel" through each exercise.
Complete each exercise twice before moving on to the next exercise.
- Jumping jacks x 12
- High knees x 24 (12 each leg)
- Butt kicks x 24 (12 each leg)
- Walkout to pushup x 12
- Walkout to squat jump x 12
Day 1: Upper Body Workout
Perform each circuit four times. Complete each circuit in its entirety (all four rounds) before moving on to the next circuit. The number following the "X" denotes the repetitions. Each circuit is a superset containing two exercises. I recommend a break of maximum 30 seconds per round.
Both exercises are done for time, rather than repetitions. Complete four rounds.
- Low pushup hold x 10 seconds
- Superman x 20 seconds
You will need an elevated surface (a couch or chair) to complete the tricep dips. Complete four rounds.
- Tricep dips x 10
- Tricep pushup x 5
If you have space, travel in your bear crawl for 3 meters (10 feet) forward, 3 meters backward. Complete four rounds.
- Plank up downs x 10
- Bear crawl x 6 meters (20 feet) (3 meters forward, 3 meters backward).
Day 2: Lower Body Workout
Perform each circuit four times. Complete each circuit in its entirety (all four rounds) before moving on to the next circuit. The number following the "X" denotes the repetitions. I recommend a break of maximum 30 seconds per round.
Complete four rounds. For the squat and pulse, one full squat plus one half squat equals one rep.
- Squat and pulse x 10
- Squat jumps x 10
Complete four rounds. On the reverse lunges, complete five on one leg before moving to the other leg — do not alternate back and forth.
- Reverse lunge x 10 (5 on each leg)
- Jump lunges x 10 (5 on each leg)
Complete four rounds. For an added challenge, add a bit of weight like carrying a water bottle in your hands. . On the deadlifts, complete ten on one leg before moving to the other leg — do not alternate back and forth.
- Single leg deadlift x 20 (10 on each leg)
- Broad jump x 10 (if you don’t have enough space do Tuck Jumps instead)
Day 3: Total Body HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)
Set a timer for 25 minutes. Try to do as many rounds as possible in 25 minutes.
- Pushups x 5
- Burpees x 5
- Squat jumps x 5
- Broad jumps x 10 feet (5 feet forward, 5 feet backward)
- Mountain climber x 20 (10 on each leg)
- Bicycle crunch x 20 (10 on each side)
QuarantineFit.Life Offers a Bodyweight Workout Plan All Month Long
A bodyweight workout plan saves time and money while testing your body as much as other workout programs.
The best bodyweight exercises are those that continuously improve your fitness level. If a previously challenging workout has become too easy, try adding single leg exercises, a source of instability, adding a pulse at the top of a movement, or reducing rest time.
For workouts that require zero equipment (and very little space) yet continuously challenge you physically, check out the QuarantineFit.Life by 4 Legs Fitness. Each day, you'll get new bodyweight workouts with easy-to-follow video tutorials. And while each workout can easily be completed from your living room, a personal coach is just one message away.
Ready to get started? Start your bodyweight training program today for just €6,99 EUR a month.