When structuring your workouts, order is important. So today I am going to talk about the different components of a bodyweight strength training routine and how to organize them. Much of what we will talk about is borrowed from Steven Low’s book Overcoming Gravity. It is an incredible resource for anyone interested in gymnastics and bodyweight training. Let’s get started!
Bodyweight Workout Template
A typical workout can be broken down into the following four pieces:
1. Warm-Up and Mobility
2. Skill Work (Handstands, tumbling, flips, dance, etc.)
3. Strength work
4. Prehabilitation, Flexibility, Cool Down
Let’s talk about what each of these four means, and then I’ll give you a specific example of what a workout might look like.
Warm-Up and Mobility
The goal of this phase is to get your blood flowing and to gently prepare your joints for the exercises you will be performing that day. This will involve low-intensity exercises to increase your heart rate, as well as some targeted mobility work.
Skill work involves training exercises that need a lot of practice to achieve, such as handstands. Again, this is low-intensity work. This is placed before strength work so that your body is fresh and you can focus on maintaining good technique.
This involves your standard strength work: power, isometrics, eccentrics and dynamic exercises. Make this the main focus of your workout if your primary goal is to get stronger.
Prehabilitation, Flexibility, Cool Down
The cool down includes various kinds of mobility and flexibility exercises to help prevent injury and increase range of motion. Static stretching is placed at the end of the workout as the muscles will be nice and warm and thus more responsive to this type of stretching.
Putting it All Together
To illustrate, here is what a full workout might look like:
Warm-Up and Mobility:
A1. 2 min Jumping Jacks
A2. Joint Rotations x10 per joint
B1. Chest-to-Wall Handstand: 5x15s, 60s rest between
Rest 2 min
C1. Dip Progression: 3x5-15, 90s rest
C2. Pull Up Progression: 3x5-15, 90s rest
(This notation means do one set of C1., rest 90s, do one set of C2., rest 90s, repeated for 3 rounds.)
Rest 2 min
D1. Push Up Progression: 3x5-15, 90s rest
D2. Row Progression: 3x5-15, 90s rest
Prehabilitation, Flexibility, Cool Down:
E1. Couch Stretch: 5x30-60s
E2. Back Bridge Variation: 5x30-60s
Now there’s a lot going on here, but I hope this gives you at least a rough idea of what a well-programmed bodyweight routine looks like. If you like this and want to know more, let me know in the comments below.
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