Bodyweight Progress Week 1 (plus descriptions)

Wow. I do work out.

Progress link:
http://is.gd/nicehatworkout

Started the “Start Bodyweight Training” workout after much looking around on the internet. I did some good finding of stuff at reddit (/r/bodyweightfitness) and decided my motto around this should be “no equipment, so no excuses” and jumped onboard. I have previously done a sledgehammer workout– I called it sledging, this guy called it shovelglove(??) — but I know I need to do something I keep up with and continuously found workable but challenging. My sledging routine was good, but I felt like it wasn’t really progressing, plus carrying a 10 pound hammer around looks pretty badass, but it’s a little tough when one has to fly for work. I considered pure weight training as there are gyms for that, but I guess the cheap factor won out over that. Also it seems like i’d either need a lot of discipline and/or a trainer to keep track of what the reps and progression would be.

The bodyweight progression seemed convincing in that it was a low rep count, but it was always the hardest exercise you could do in a progression, and you progress reps up to a max, then move up to the next hardest exercise but drop the rep count back down and work the way back up. Adding a rep a day is easy for me to remember. The first day’s workout was figuring out which of the 12ish levels there were for each exercise and which ones I could and couldn’t do.

I was impressed that I could get up to level 7 for most things. I was most proud of the diamond pushup, though that is probably the hardest thing I do! I knew I had a lot of basic strength; I had done both the 100 pushup and 200 situp challenges a few years back and I had been trying to work my way up to 20 pullups in one session, but never quite made it. Still, from literally zero pull ups to as many as I was doing, it’s impressive, so I knew there was something to progression. I remember feebly in high-school doing the leg-kicking pull-ups just to get one. After quite a while of working, it’s still impressive to me when I do a pull-up from a dead hang. The 100 pushup and 200 situp challenges, though, taught me that high rep exercises suck. It’s clearly overtraining in a single exercise, and it also just gets really boring after about 15 reps. Doing 3 sets of 5 diamond pushups is genuinely difficult for me, so that’s a lot better than a bunch of vanilla pushups. Thus, I’m a big fan of progression and continually harder stuff.

The program’s progression seems to advance at the rate of a new level of each exercise after about a month, and with twelve levels, it’s a year’s worth if you started at absolute zero, and can dedicate about 45 minutes a day, 3 days a week. It’s hard, but it’s not that hard. The pull-up progression, is a great example. It starts at an assisted pull-up (using a chair) and seems gradual enough. I know when I did my pull-up progression, my big eye-opener was “negatives” or “eccentric” pull-ups where you just do the “down” part of the exercise to gradually work the muscles up. This has two levels of assisted ones before that, so if progressed with this program is 3 months from zero before a real pull-up. I think that’s attainable!

The low rep-count stuff seems to also emphasize strength rather than being a heart-exploding cardio thing. I do enjoy cardio, but I looked into things like P90X and even crossfit, and I don’t like how much cardio that appears to be. I like my cardio a little more pure – bicycling or spinning or rowing or sprinting seems to be better for that. Also tabata-sprints of cardio workouts looks like they’re more effective than a steady-state cardio, so I’ll look into that, too, but for now I like the pure-strength output goals of bodyweight.

This program also has some lofty goals of more gymnast-skills level things like handstands and planches. I can do a crow-stand, but need to work at it, some more. I like the idea of compact, quiet strength over mass. Plus, I’m short, so a lot of muscle mass I think looks odd. I think it honestly looks odd in general, but I’m happier being able to lift a lot or carry something heavy rather than looking like I can. Plus it means I’m not volunteered to so quickly, but I can rush in to help. (Ha!)

I opened up my progress doc, based on this one.

I think documenting the workout progress is a key for me. I like to think the internet holds me accountable. I started all the exercises at 4 reps. I’m a little concerned my dips and horizontal pull exercises were so much lower than everything else, but I will keep at it to progress and won’t shortcut them. I do need to figure out a better setup for dips (using two chairs seems a little janky, plus I don’t want to break any chairs), and for horizontal pulls. I do have gymnast rings that I can dangle from a ceiling beam, but they will dominate the room. I’ll maybe look into an outdoor pull-up tower or something.

Anyway, this is my first post, and hopefully not my last in this journey.Feel free to ask me about this workout, and check out the links for more info!

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