Welcome to the Bodyweight Strength Program!
This beginner program is focused around bodyweight training — exercise using just your own body’s weight, and not weights. It consists of three full-body workouts. All three workouts are designed to be completed within a week, with at least one day of rest in between each.
The same workouts will be repeated each week, but you will continue to progress them by increasing the intensity, gradually and consistently.
For the best results, review our complete Muscle and Strength guide at strength.guide. It goes deeper into the science of all the variables needed to build or maintain muscle muscle, including proper nutrition, progression, and rest.
Who is this for?
This program is designed with beginners in mind, but we also provide ways in which you can progress each movement to make them harder.
What equipment do I need?
The one piece of equipment that is highly recommended is a suspension trainer (often branded as TRX). This is so we can work your “pulling” muscles (upper back and biceps) with rows, otherwise the program would be too biased toward “pushing” muscles (chest and triceps) with exercises such as push-ups and dips. It is important to be balanced in your training, and the guide to starting resistance training explains this in more depth.
If you do not have a suspension trainer, you could use some suitable bars at the local park or equipment in the gym, too.
How to keep making progress
We’ve suggested a set range of reps for you to work within. To begin, find the rep range that really challenges you, especially in the last couple of reps. For example, if we have suggested 8-20 reps of push-ups, find the most challenging level for you within those 8-20 reps.
You should be able to perform all reps with good form, and ideally still have 2-3 reps left in the tank. Then, each week you increase the reps. When you can perform the movement with good form and are able to do 20+ reps, try one or all of the following progressions to make it more challenging and keep making progress:
- Slow the movement down. Increase “time under tension”, especially in the lowering phase of the movement, for example the lowering phase of a squat
- Pause at the bottom and top of the movement for 1-2 seconds. For example, in a push-up, lower yourself to the floor pause for 1-2 seconds while holding yourself off the floor, the push back up
- Move onto a harder progression of the same exercise by looking at the more advanced suggestions for the movement
- Adding some weight to the movement is also an option. For example, if lunges are too easy and you can do them with good form, hold onto some dumbbells or something heavy while you do them
Before starting, review the Training Tips which have important information on warming up, cooling down, workout progression and weight selection. Then you’ll be ready to follow the 3 workout programs. Done correctly with the principles of progression, your exercises will stay the same — but the intensity will continue to increase, providing constant stimulus for more muscle and strength to develop!