Progressing with Bodyweight Training - Part 1: Increase Reps

Training with only your bodyweight is fun and convenient, but it can sometimes be tricky to know how to progress.  In this series of posts, we’ll talk about what it looks like to progress with bodyweight exercises.

One of the most important concepts is fitness is the idea of progressive overload.  That’s a fancy way of saying that if you want to get stronger, your workouts should get harder each time.

The first and most basic way to do this is to increase the number of repetitions, or reps, of an exercise.  For example, say today I was able to do 6 push ups.  Next time I work out, I’m going to try to do at least 7.  That is how I measure whether or not I am getting stronger.

We express this in the language of “sets” and “reps”.  If I do 3 sets of 8 reps of push ups, that means I do 8 push ups 3 times.  Usually, once you are able to perform 3 sets of 12 reps of an exercise, it has become too easy and increasing the amount of reps is not going to make you stronger.  So the question is, what happens then?

This is where bodyweight training gets a bit tricky, because unlike weight training, you can’t just add weight and move on.  You need a way to make the exercise harder without adding weight.  Hmm.  This is where you have to get a bit creative, which in my opinion is what makes bodyweight training so fun.  Next time I’ll share with you how to do this.  It’s quite simple once you see it.

So, I want to emphasize, make sure each time you work out you are challenging your body by making your workout just a bit harder than it was last time.  What you’ll find is that what was difficult yesterday is now easy.  It’s kind of magical, actually.

Anyway, that’s enough for now.  See you next time!

AM