Progressive Difficulty Challenges – Make Your Bodyweight Routine Progress With You

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Burpee - New Level Of Functional StrengthPull-Ups, Sit Ups, Push Ups, Squats, Burpees, Crunches, Lions, Tigers and Bears…
The biggest point of confusion when it comes to bodyweight exercise sis that they can’t progress in difficulty as your strength and endurance improve.  Well, that’s a wrong answer.

You don’t have to sign up for an expensive gym member ship once you can do 100 push-ups.  There are endless variations of just about every exercise that can be compounded to make them challenging even for an Olympic athlete.

Any and all strength building exercises can be made more challenging by changing one or more of the following principles:

  • Leverage – increase or decrease
  • Instability – make your surface unstable
  • Stop / Start – pause in the middle or at the end of a movement
  • Single Limb – Do a two handed exercise with one hand

Today, we’ll focus on just the push-up, as an example.  You can apply the same theory to almost any bodyweight exercise in your routine.

Wall Press
Face a wall with your feet half your height away from the wall.  Put your hands out in front of you and place them on the wall.  Mimic the same motion as a push-up.  
Do these until you can do 100 without stopping.

Desk Press
Place your hands on a desk or table that is stable and will not scoot forward when you put some weight against it.
Move your feet backward until you are in the starting position for the push-up.
Again. mimic the movement of a regular push-up.  
When you can do 100, then do regular push-ups.

Regular Push-ups.
You should already know how to do these.

Intermediate and Advanced Variations:
The most common variation is to start raising your feet to higher and higher surfaces until eventually you are in a hand stand and still doing push-ups.  If you ever reach this point, my hat’s off to you.

Part of the beauty of bodyweight exercise is the variations

are limited only by your imagination.

Other variations are using a platform under one hand then switching it to the other hand.  Use a phone book, block of wood, small chair, whatever you are comfortable with.

Use a basket ball or soccer ball under one or both hands to make it really interesting.

Add a Stop/Start to any of these variations to turn up challenge factor.

Just remember, every movement used in weight lifting can be reproduced either easier or more difficult in bodyweight exercises.  It’s really simple if you think about it.  Before there were gyms with fancy equipment, athletes trained with bodyweight.  Every movement gym machines isolate started out as a bodyweight exercise.

Don’t be afraid to experiment.  Tell us what you discover.  Comments are always welcome.

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