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Building a bodyweight workout part II

Alternating sets, or super sets work.

Not just for bodyweight training for just about training style, assuming of course, you do it right.

The key point to remember is that the two exercises must not compete with each other, they must be antagonistic.

What does this mean? Simples, if you do a bicep curl, then you are obviously working the biceps so the triceps is inhibited to allow the arm to bend. While being inhibited, the triceps are relaxed and therefore getting time to recover. If you’ve worked push ups and your pushing muscles are fried, take 30 seconds break and perform your bodyweight rows, rest another 30 seconds before returning to the push ups. You will have rested somewhere in the region of 1 1/2 to 2 minutes between push up sets but will hae used that time wisely. As well as the time spent resting there is evidence coming out to support the theory that due to the reciprocal inhibition caused by working an antagonist you actually get a more thorough recovery.

You don’t have to stick to true antagonists such as bicep/triceps, we can also use distal antagonists. as in upper / lower body or even unilateral antagonists such as right leg / left leg.

Here are a few pairings:

True antagonists: Push Ups / Bodyweight Row Handstand Push Ups / Pull Ups Walkouts / Bridge

Distal Antagonists: Push Ups / GHR Pull Ups / Squats Dips / Broad Jumps

Unilateral Antagonists: Lunge Left / Right 1 Arm Push up left / right Pistol Squat left / right

For fat loss we found that distal antagonists work the best. The cardio vascular system has to work very hard to supply blood to the working muscles in the upper body, then as you move to a lower body drill the blood is mostly redirected with some still being sent to the upper body to aid recovery. This puts your cardiovascular system under pressure so will get you breathing and skyrocket the metabolism into a fat burning furnace.

Try putting together a Density Training program, it’s simplicity in itself. Simply take two antagonistic drills, set a countdown timer for 15 – 20 minutes and bang away. Do as many sets as possible, never going to failure, untill the buzzer goes of. Ensure you record every rep, next time you repeat the workout, try to get more reps done, even a single rep more is progress.

Here’s an example:

Workout 1: Push ups / Walking Lunge

Workout 2: Bodyweight Row / Squat Jumps

Train 3 days per week alternating between 1 and 2.



PS – For the person who searched “Bodyweight Tricep Isolation Exercise” on Google and landed on this site – why isolate when you get better results from integrating, here are a few that will hit the tri’s hard and put some size on your guns:

Close Grip Push ups (place hands in a diamond shape, finger and thumb touching, and lower the forehead to them) Dips, try to keep the torso vertical One arm push ups Handstands Handstand Push Ups Tiger Bend push ups 


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