Because of the nature of body weight training and the minimal eccentric damage put upon the muscular system and little stress on the CNS, you can perform them 3-5 times per week and still make progress. Regardless if you are implementing a weight training program now, or looking for a new program, doing this can be easy.
Let’s take an athlete (13-14 years old) who is lacking proper movement efficiency, lacks mobility and strength, and is completely new to training.
Sample Beginners Program
Start with 4 weeks of body weight training and re-assess every 5th week. Example:
“SAMPLE” Body weight Training Workout Program
WEEK 1: M/W/F- Bodyweight Training
• Perform 5 body weight exercises, 3-4 sets of 8-15 reps each.
WEEK 2: M/T/Th/F- Bodyweight Training
• Perform 6-8 exercises, 3-5 sets of 10-20 reps each.
WEEK 3: M/T/Th/F- Body weight Training
• Perform 8-10 exercises, 4-6 sets of 15-25 reps each.
WEEK 4: M/T/Th/F- Body weight Training
• Perform 10-12 exercises, 5-7 sets of 20-30 reps each
You should see substantial improvement in your overall fitness and conditioning as you progress from week to week. With a 4 day cycle, divide most of the exercises into an upper / lower split. Even though body weight exercises are low stress, these are new trainees, take care of their muscles!
Bodyweight Training Coaches Notes
At Synergy Athletics, I like to combine these body weight exercises with sled dragging and light odd object training to prepare the “new guys” for the weights. This is essential general physical preparedness that a lot of trainers SKIP!
What are your tested lifts? I’d like to propose they change with the training age and abilities of the athletes. I see no reason to test a beginning middle school or even high school athlete on the bench and squat anymore. Instead, I like to create baseline bodyweight goals.
For example, I’ll test push ups. Once the person can get up to 30 pushups, then they can start doing some weighted pressing movements.
For young athletes, push ups, pull ups, number of body weight squats, etc are a MUCH more accurate way of assessing their current physical abilities as opposed to loaded exercise in which they have no experience….and barely enough strength to perform.
These exercises will build up a baseline of strength, balance, coordination, and neurological adaptations.
You can play with the rest periods too to see improvements in the number of reps you can do without stopping. Start with 60-90 seconds rest, depending on your fitness levels. Try to take off 5 seconds of rest per day.
Before you know it you will hit the recommended numbers listed above after a few weeks of solid training and consistency.
**Also, an important point to remember:** just because the numbers are written on paper doesn’t mean the athlete is ready for it on that given day! Remember if you’re training an athlete, client, or simply using these tips for yourself, when your form starts to go, terminate the set. It is not effective to use awful looking reps and reinforcing bad technique (especially in beginning lifters).
To quote World Class Speed Coach, Charlie Francis “First do it right, then speed it up!” In other words, perform correct reps, then add more when you’re ready!
Of course, this is just an example, nothing is set in stone. You can throw in a bodyweight training day a couple times a week, or add them in to your current weight training program.There’s nothing wrong with performing some high-rep body weight work to take stress off the joints, as well as aid with recovery from a brutal training session the day before.
The Top 5 Movements Explained
This luckily is pretty easy and the combinations are almost endless. The basics are always in place, but you can branch off to variations as the basics become too easy or you are looking for variety.
For the purpose of this article, I will discuss the 5 basic exercises in detail (squat, push-up, chin-up, sit-up, and dip). Then you can take a look at the variations that can be utilized after you’ve conquered these basic movements first.
The Ultimate Guide To Bodyweight Training Part I I I Later this week
If you haven’t Registered Yet, Click here to get new EF article updates