The Hybrid Bodyweight Program

I wrote a few weeks back that I have a theory that bodyweight exercises are better for fat loss than externally loaded resistance training.  I can’t prove it, but I like it as an idea.  Coming out of that, I had a few requests to see how I would set up a program for this purpose.  Lucky for you, I was just coming out of a mostly-bodyweight program at the time, and it worked great.  Plus, I’m willing to share.

allie mckee one arm push up

Bodyweight training - good for lots of things

First, I have to give credit where credit is due.  The program was initially based off of Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 program, which is my all-time favorite program.  It’s great for strength in any configuration and configurable for many purposes.  Highly recommend you pick up a copy (and no, I don’t make anything if you do).  For a preview, check out his article on T-Nation.  That said, this program will be heavily modified from the original 5/3/1.

My goals for this program were:

  • Maintain strength in 4 major lifts (squat, rack pull, overhead press, bench press)
  • Maintain muscle mass
  • Improve mobility, joint health, and movement symmetry after 8 months of heavy strength programming
Unexepected benefit of the program:
  • Fat loss!

If you’re an experienced lifter (or even intermediate), expect to feel a little weird not using a lot of external load.  You’ll think you’re getting weaker, but you aren’t.  I did this program for a couple of months in the middle of my 5/3/1 experience, and didn’t lose anything on my major lifts.

If you’re a beginner, I don’t recommend starting with this program.  The heavy lift component is probably best saved for folks who have more experience.  Think about starting with my exercise essentials program.

Here we go.  4 days a week.  One barbell lift and three bodyweight lifts per day.  I did not use any external load for any of the bodyweight exercises, which made the reps quite high in many cases (up to 20 to 25 sometimes).   I want you focusing more on form and volume rather than moving huge weights.

Day 1

  • Deadlift or Rack Pull (5 sets of 3)
  • Pushups – feet up on bench (4 sets of as many reps as possible)
  • Single Leg Hip Thrust (4 sets of as many reps as possible)
  • Neutral/Parallel Grip Chin-Ups – hands facing each other (4 sets of as many reps as possible)

Day 2

  • Bench Press (5 sets of 3)
  • Inverted Rows with feet on bench (4 sets of as many reps as possible)
  • Judo pushups (4 sets of as many reps as possible)
  • Scapular pushups (4 sets of as many reps as possible)

Day 3

  • Squat (5 sets of 3)
  • Pull-Ups with hands facing away (4 sets of as many reps as possible)
  • Glute Ham Raise (4 sets of as many reps as possible)
  • Push-Ups on handles (4 sets of as many reps as possible)

Day 4

  • Barbell Overhead Press (5 sets of 3)
  • Supinated Inverted Rows – hands facing face  (4 sets of as many reps as possible)
  • Parallel Bar Dips (4 sets of as many reps as possible)
  • Hanging Scapular Retraction / Depression (4 sets of as many reps as possible)
Give it no more than 4 weeks before a de-load week.

Exercise Library

Here are vids of some of the weirder exercises.

Single Leg Hip Thrust

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baTlVyx3RS8

Inverted Rows

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvkIaarnf0g

Judo pushups

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgKJBJMUPEI

Scapular pushups

Glute Ham Raise

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=nRoYRAeXqUo

Hanging Scapular Retraction / Depression

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icPZniIefwA

 

 

Questions?

Leave them in the comments.