Making Bodyweight Workouts Harder

We posted a video asking for your feedback over the weekend, and got some great responses. Over the coming weeks we’ll do our best to give you the information you need to stay jacked, lean, and sane during this time.

First up let’s talk about how to make body weight workouts harder. Because for lots of us, who have been hitting the gym regularly, just push ups and lunges aren’t going to feel too tough. Luckily we do have options for increasing intensity so let’s go through some of them now.

To make body weight workouts harder we need to identify variables and modify them.

Resistance: Adding a band or dumbbell to a movement will make it harder/heavier. This can be a good and cheap way to do things. BUT, that is not an option for everyone.

Mechanics: We can adjust the mechanics of a movement to make it harder. If push ups are too easy, elevate your feet, include slow negatives, change your hand placement. For lunges you can elevate your back foot, play with slow negatives, or try elevating both feet to increase the ROM. You can usually find at least one thing you can do to make a movement harder, meaning the limited weight you have (body weight) will feel heavier and effectively be at a higher intensity.

Rep and set ranges: This might be obvious, but doing higher reps and more sets when the weight is light will help you get more out of it. Pushing your final set close to failure can also help increase the relative intensity.

Density: Getting more done in a shorter period of time can help increase the difficulty a lot. Supersets, short rest time, giant sets, circuits, all of these will mean you are doing more work, more reps per minute, and working harder.

Frequency: Because a body weight workout is generally lower impact you can recover more easily and quickly than you would from a regular session with the barbell. This means you can workout frequently! 4, 5, or even 6 days a week if you are feeling good.

Hopefully this gives you some ideas on how to approach upping the difficulty for your home workouts. Stay strong, stay safe!

- Nigel, Kizen Coach (IG @captain.planet)