“Progressive Overload” defined for bodyweight exercises
Talk about the basics, how much more basic can you get then good old pushups and pullups. . Military, police and schools require pushup and pulliups as a basic test exercise. Every fitness test ever given seems to include these exercises. What none of these ever include is a training program to use to increase your ability to do these exercises.
What I want to do in the article is to give you a basic NO-FAIL program to increase the number you can do. Yes and it’s all based around the good old “overload principle”.
If you read my post a couple of weeks ago, Defining Progressive overload, the Heart of bodybuilding I spoke about this exact subject from a strength training with equipment point of view.
When it comes to basic bodyweight exercises such as push-ups, pull/chin-ups, and even throw good old dips in for good measure. These are our basic strength exercises and it is just as important that you apply the progressive overload principle to them also.
The reason most people never really make any gains in them is the same as when people overtraining in strength exercises. They train them to exhaustion every time they do them. Just watch any military show or police recruits trying to increase their pullups or pushups.
Since these exercises are a strength exercises they too have to be treated with the same principles as any other strength exercise. Allow the body to adapt to them in a slow progressively design manor.
The key to these type of training is we use the progression using the repetitions with the bodyweight or weighted exercises instead of using weight as the overload. This is due to the fact that it is hard to judge the effect the weight of the different bodyparts have on the progression. In pull-ups your always at a stating point with the weight of the body in one form or another. In push-ups s for example it is hard to judge weight increases due to the constant being part of the body in this case how much does the upper body weigh? As you will see we can then use a progression using a test for reps and then the spread sheet will give you the reps to increase each set and each week.
As you can see from the photos I have attached you can use this principle in numerous ways.
- With bodyweight
- For women’s or children’s pushups on their knees
- With Bans for pullups and pushups (just test and use the same band time)
- With weighted pushups, pullups or dips use the same weight for each workout as you do for the tests.
Before you click on the link for the pieces of the program I have to go over a few things with you.
The first thing you need is a starting point. I sure I don’t have to tell you the form has to be correct, so I won’t. In the examples program I will give I will use 3 basic exercises. Pushups, pullups and dips.
You can use any bodyweight exercise or exercises that the bodyweight is a big factor in your 1RM. Sit-ups is another perfect example.
- Test your current strength level. I have included an explanation of how I suggest you do the test and a test sheet. Also is a video on Taking a Reps test.
- Take the test results you get and plug the name and results into your Bodyweight workout sheets. These are all MS excel sheets and are easy to change the names and numbers.
- After you plug in the results you will see the numbers change throughout the sheets. These are the workouts you will be doing.
I have set the sheets up for 2 or 3 workouts a week. If you are just doing pushups and pullups then 3xs a week is best. If you are doing other exercises too, then 2xs is good. If you do this system make sure you do these exercises first so as not to pre-exhaust the muscles used. That will throw off the progressions on the workout sheets.
- It is important that when you test you don’t make it into a contest by cheating. You need to find your current strength levels.
- Once you test don’t do more than the listed reps per set. The goal is to increase in a month not the next day.
Just click here and you will get all the pieces to give this program a try.
- Explanation of “Testing for Reps” and video Taking a Reps test.
- Test sheet
- MS Excel workout sheets
- Results sheet
- The step sheet is just to give you an overview of the progression you will be doing.
For an example to try yourself for the first phase just take your test and plug in your test results and hit print.
In my next article on “Progressive overload” I will show you this same method of defining progression with time. Then you can add the progression in your classes or with groups of people all at one time.
Fred Koch, P-SCE is the International Director for Tudor Bompa Institute, TBI, one of the world’s top certifications systems. Fred has been in trainer in the bodybuilding world for over 30 years. He first was know when he used Dr. Bompa’s theories as the creator of the “Ironman Training Sysem” and a writer for Ironman Bodybuilding magazine being the first to have the title “the Musclecoach”, when he worked with such pro bodybuilders as Lee Labrada, Michael Ashley and Rich Gaspari. For more information you can e-mail Fred, fredredkoch.com. or see his blog at www.fredkoch.com. Fred does custom training with this system see Fred Koch Training on facebook or read more about the custom system here.