As I mentioned in a previous post, once you’ve established the “habit” of doing a daily bodyweight exercise, you will want to “tweak” the exercise routine in order to improve results.
Today, I am going to share with you my own daily bodyweight exercise routine and the tweaks that I have made over the past 15 weeks to improve results.
I look at this entire process as 2 distinct phases.
Phase 1: Establish The Habit Of Daily Bodyweight Exercise
In Phase 1, the ONLY thing we want to do is establish the habit of doing bodyweight exercise each day. That’s it.
We don’t care about how many sets, how many reps or even how effective the workout is. We just want to establish the habit of doing bodyweight exercise each day. That’s it.
This is SUPER important because if you don’t establish the habit first, chances are at some point, you will hit some kind of roadblock and miss a workout.
Typically, one missed workout leads to another missed workout and before you know it you’re not working out anymore.
But if the workout is a habit, then you just do it each day almost without any thought. It becomes part of your life.
Phase 2: Tweak The Routine To Produce Better Results
Once the daily bodyweight exercise routine becomes habit, you want to make a small weak to the routine to improve results.
Why a small tweak?
I don’t think it’s wise to make any major changes to the routine because a major change could potentially wreck the habit.
So with that said, I think the key is to make small tweaks along the way so you continue to make progress while keeping the habit firmly in place.
How I’ve Tweaked My Bodyweight Routine
If you want to improve the results you get from your bodyweight routine, you’ve got to find new ways to challenge your body. The human body is an incredible system that is designed to adapt to new stimulus.
So regularly changing the routine in order to confuse the body and force it to adapt (build stronger muscle, burn more fat) is necessary.
There are many ways to do this but here is how I did it.
Step 1. Increase The Number of Repetitions
In the beginning (Phase 1) it’s important to keep the exercise routine the same because in this phase, we are ONLY focusing on building the habit of daily bodyweight exercise.
We’re not concerned about making the body adapt and get stronger. For that reason, we want to keep the number of repetitions the same. During this phase, I only did 10 Repetitions of each exercise.
However, once the daily bodyweight routine became habit, I began to increase the reps.
Here’s what this looked like for the first several weeks:
Week 1: 10 Reps
Weeks 2-4: 15 Reps
Weeks 5-6: 20 Reps
Step 2: Add A New Exercise
After about 6 weeks, I wanted to add a new exercise to work more muscle groups. Pushups and Air Squats were a perfect fit for the beginning phase because they work the entire upper and lower body and I could do them anywhere. No equipment needed.
However, now that the routine was a habit, I knew I could get away with adding a new exercise. One of the best bodyweight exercises is the Pullup so I decided to add this to the routine.
However, I wanted to keep doing the routine each day in my bedroom before I got in the shower. This was an important piece in forming the daily bodyweight exercise habit which I discussed in a previous post here.
So what did I do? I did some Google searching to find the best pullup bar out there. I decided to buy the Perfect Pullup Bar.
So in week 7, I added Pullups to my daily routine.
Step 3: Split Workouts
In week 9 I decided to split my workout. So instead of doing pushups, pullups and air squats ever single day, I decided to use a 3 Day Cycle where I do Pushups on day 1, Air Squats on day 2 and Pullups on day 3 and then repeat.
This allows me to put more energy into each exercise and therefore, more stress on those muscles which in turn causes the muscles to adapt – become stronger.
Step 4: Change Positioning
Another way to put additional stress on the muscles is to change the positioning of the exercise.
As an example, instead of doing pushups with hands aligned with your shoulder, you can move them out so you are doing “wide” pushups or move them in closer so you are doing “narrow” pushups.
As you change the angle of an exercise, you change the emphasis on the muscles used to do the exercises. This again forces the body to adapt and become stronger.
So over the next several weeks, I added various position changes to my pushups, air squats and pullups to increase the stress on the muscles and force them to become stronger.
Step 5: Add Sets
When I started doing the 3 day split, I was doing 3 sets of each exercise on each day. However, after doing this for a few weeks, the 3 sets started to become too easy – I had adapted.
So in order to continue to get stronger, I added a 4th set to each exercises on each day.
Step 6: Add Weight
After a couple of weeks of doing 4 sets of each exercise, I again became stronger and was able to do more and more reps. This presented me with a new challenge – how do I continue to challenge my body but keep my entire workout to 5 minutes or less?
The only logical next step was to add weight. The best way to do this is with a weighted vest, which I don’t have right now.
So I decided to throw some old ankle weights into a backpack and use that as my additional weight. It’s not as ideal as a weighted vest (the weight is all on the back and it slides around) but it’s working for the time being. Plus, I kind of like to force myself to be resourceful and find a way to meet my current need by being creative.
I’d really like to keep my entire workout to 5 minutes each and every single day because I believe it is totally possible for anyone to get in incredible shape by doing a 5 minute bodyweight workout each day.
The trick is finding ways to continuously challenge the body so it adapts and becomes stronger, builds more muscle and burns more fat.