This is a full body program. Each day, you will be training multiple muscle groups. This allows you to train muscle groups multiple times a week, or at a higher frequency, which is better for muscle growth. The days are split up by anterior, posterior, and core focus. This simple means the muscles on the front of the body (anterior) the back of the body (posterior) and the entirety of the mid-section (core). Each workout has 3-4 movements a day with a combination of upper and lower body muscles groups.
Progression is the basis for making progress with any fitness goal. This program is no exception. Even though all the movements are body weight, each week, the movements get a little bit more challenging. We accomplish progression in this program a few different ways:
- The first way is just by making the movement more difficult, for example with the BW squat movement we start doing squats to a chair and by week 4 we are aiming to do Jumping BW squats.
- Another way we progress movements is by slowing down the tempo to increase time under tension. Tempo is simple the amount of time it takes to perform a movement. For example, we start with doing regular pushups in week 1 and by week 4 we are slowing down the push ups to a 3 1 0 tempo (3 seconds down 1 second pause and up at a regular speed). The tempo always follows the way the movement is performed. For example, with a BW squat at a 3 1 0 tempo, you start by lowering yourself (the eccentric phase), you go as low as you can comfortably, and then you push yourself back up (concentric phase). So the tempo starts with the eccentric, 3 seconds down, 1 sec pause at the bottom, and up at a normal tempo during the concentric.
- The last way progress in this program is by doing more reps or sets and keeping the movement the same. For example, with the basic plank in week 1 we are aiming for 3 sets of 1 min, by the week 4 we are aiming for 5 sets of 1 min. Sometimes, multiple progressions are happening each week, IE the movement gets harder and the tempo is changed.
You should always warm up before you train! Whether it’s a heavy lift or just a body weight circuit like this, warming up is crucial. An easy way to warm up especially if you are stuck at home is a quick jog around the house or 3-5 min of jogging in place, you could even run up and down your stairs, or just do a a few minutes of jumping jacks.
How to Perform this Program/Rest Periods
Rest periods for this program are up to the individual, however these workouts should be done in a circuit fashion, meaning perform 1 movement, take as little rest as you can then proceed into the next movement, and repeat for the remaining movements. You can take as little or as much rest as you need, the goal being to take less rest each time you do a workout. Most can start with 0-30 seconds between exercises, and reduce down to 0-10 seconds between exercises as the program progresses week to week. Rest periods between rounds can be between 1-3 minutes depending on your personal fitness/comfort level.
Modifications in Intensity
This program is meant for beginners. However, you can feel free to modify this program to your fitness level. Along with rest times you can tailor the volume of this program to your personal needs. Volume is simply Reps x Sets x Weight. Since this is a body weight only program the only variables we can control are Reps and Sets. This program only prescribes 3 sets of each exercise, but you can feel free to start with less sets if you need (1-2sets) or more (4-10 sets) . You can also increase or decrease the reps, for example most movements start at 20-25 reps, but you could easily decrease (10-15 reps) or increase the reps (25+ reps).
*A final note:
This is not a program for the serious powerlifter or strength trainee looking to increase their strength drastically. In fact, if you have been training for several years, this program will not be enough for you. No amount of body weight movements will replace your current training regime with weights. While we acknowledge there is no replacement for resistance training with weights, this body weight program is good for many people who have been struggling to get into the gym, have had an inconsistent relationship with training, or have not trained at all but are looking for something to do while they're stuck inside during the COVID-19 pandemic. This program will keep you moving, help you develop a daily routine and maybe even get some of your loved ones involved with training who previously didn't.