Home Workouts? If you’re new to bodyweight training or need a boost to intensify your training while gyms are closed during the coronavirus lockdown, here are six ways you can optimize your bodyweight workouts to keep making gains.
1. Alter the tempo of exercises
As mentioned, this is an effective way to stimulate mechanical tension, one of the key mechanisms for muscle building. Mechanical tension involves increasing the time under tension i.e. the time in which your muscles are contracted, and the force they need to generate to complete the movement. Remember, your muscles do not know the size of weights you use, they only know how much tension is being created.
Performing an exercise slowly, alternating between a slower concentric and fast eccentric or vice versa increases time under tension and forces your muscles to adapt.
2. Play around with set intensities
There are not just sets and reps. There are a wide variety of set and rep styles, like drop sets, supersets, giant sets, as many reps as possible (AMRAP) and working to failure. For intensity you can perform a superset (performing each exercise immediately after each other), which may be a pre-exhaustion or post-exhaustion superset, a compound, isolation or staggered. Read more about different supersets here.
3. Manipulate range of motions
When you perform an exercise with weights, you are causing axial loading which may prevent full range of motion. For example with a squat, with a barbell on your back your spine is in a manipulated position so full range of motion may be reduced. Without any external weight, your range of motion is likely to increase. So play around with the depth and breadth of movement planes.
4. Manipulate your stance
Similarly to the above, you can alter your form to activate different muscles. Following the example of a squat, narrow squats target your quads while wide squats target your glutes. With just slight alterations in your stance or position, all exercises can feel totally different.
5. Change the position of your torso
While this doesn’t work for all exercises, some bodyweight exercises can be made more intense by changing the position of your torso. For example, next time you do a push up, try and put one hand behind your back and shift your weight onto the grounded hand. This slight torso shift changes the plane of motion and rotation of your shoulder joint to hit very differently.
6. Use partials and constant tension
When you’re doing an exercise, play around with partial reps and constant tension. For example, with a squat, you can try constant tension pulses in which you only come up a quarter of the way of a normal squat and pulse there for reps.
Bodyweight training doesn’t have to be easy, you can get a sweat on and reach your fitness goals at home by using these six steps to intensify your workouts.
Looking for home workouts? Check out our post! The 5 Best Full Body Workouts To Do At Home