One of the biggest myths that we hear about bodyweight exercises is that they offer little room for progression, other than in the number of repetitions performed - and maybe a tougher version of the exercises if you're lucky, but thats about it. Most folks tend to view bodyweight exercises as "boring" and with "little potential to build real strength", and so forth. So when you ask someone to do bodyweight stuff exclusively for a while, you'll have people thinking of doing endless numbers of pushups or X number of sit-ups per day, or a few stretches - and not even believe that they can get any benefit from doing so - and therefore end up dropping the concept altogether in favor of the latest fancy machine in the gym.
The amazing thing is that in most cases, bodyweight exercises would actually HELP these folks more than other forms of exercises would. I've seen folks that couldn't do five pushups in correct form claim that doing pushups was of no benefit to them, while attempting to lift heavy weights in the gym (with poor form) was. And while I'm certainly not bashing weight training as a form of exercise, it's not a good idea to try and lift heavy if you can barely handle your own bodyweight for five reps in the basic pushup.
And as for gaining strength through bodyweight exercises, well, if you don't believe you can get stronger through bodyweight exercises - how do you think gymnasts develop the kind of "superhuman" strength they have? Certainly not from lifting weights. Elite army units consist of some of the strongest and fittest folks in the world - and what do these guys do for exercise? I could talk ALL day long about this - and as a matter of fact, I think I'll do so in an upcoming email.
But, for now, let's get back to the topic of endless progressions - this idea is tough for most to stomach - even those that HAVE been doing bodyweight exercises, and have been benefiting from them. There are literally dozens and dozens of ways that you can progress from bodyweight exercises - and you are NOT limited by the number of repetitions alone.
Let's take the good ole pushup (the regular pushup) as an example here. You first start with regular pushups, and when those get easy - no problem - you start doing them in higher reps. Ok, so you do those, and now you can bang out in sets of 25, so your done with the progression, right? Wrong - now you decrease the cadence of the movement, and go up and down slowly, while still maintaining letter perfect form.
That get to be too easy for ya? Well, do the same movement on your fingertips now - and then tell me.
Ok, so your getting good at those as well? Now do the same pushup, except on one hand - and then come back and tell me how tough it is.
You see what I'm saying here - I've already given you three or four different variations of the pushup, and thats NOT EVEN scratching the surface of the number of ways you can perform this exercise. And remember we've only dealt with the pushup - we haven't even gone on to the other exercises as of yet. And neither have I even begun to speak about the cardivascular benefits of this type of training; that is a whole another kettle of fish altogether.
So always remember that bodyweight exercises are second to NO other form of training when it comes to progressions, and potential strength gains. It's easy to get suckered into a fancy gym membership, or hours of yoga - and if thats what you prefer - no problemo amigo - but always remember that bodyweight exercises, done correctly give you far more bang for your buck than anything else can.
Grab a copy of Fast and Furious Fitness today; once you find out how bodyweight exercises will transform your body QUICKLY - and with far less time invested - you'll never want to go back to the other stuff.
PS: Scoot on over here to grab the book that will change the way you think about fitness forever.
PS#2: I gave you one very important tip on how to improve your pushup numbers in this email; see if you can spot it!