Progressive Tension Bodyweight Training – Part 2

Welcome back for your second article on progressive bodyweight training! In the first article I dispelled all the myths surrounding bodyweight training. As you know now bodyweight training can be used to gain lots of strength and muscle.

If you haven’t read the first part yet, make sure you go here – Bodyweight Training Part 1, and read it first.

In today’s article I am going to show you how you can take a simple exercise like a push up and make it a true strength and muscle builder. Get Ready!

Bodyweight Exercise #1 – The Push Ups

The first exercise we are going to look at is the push up. This is a tremendous movement that is similar to the bench press. However the push up is superior to the bench press in terms of overall muscle recruitment and injury prevention. In other words push-ups will build a strong core and protect your shoulders from injury. But push ups for most people are way too easy. That’s okay because I am going to share with you three push up progressions you can use to keep you challenged for a long time.

Bodyweight training

Push up is probably one of the most favorite exercises and allows to be performed with many variations that may be very challenging.

Bodyweight Strength Progression #1 – Side to Side Push Ups

In this variation you are going to start from a push up position with your hands very wide apart. The wider your hands are – the harder it is. Now what you are going to do is lower your body towards your left hand so that when you reach the bottom position your chest is right against your left hand. You are then going to push up and then repeat on your right hand. You will keep alternating back and forth for 5-8 reps per side. This variation is much harder than a traditional push up because you shift most of the weight onto one side.

Bodyweight Strength Progression #2 – Assisted One Arm Push Ups

Once you have mastered the side to side push ups you can progress to a harder variation. In this variation you are going to elevate your non-working hand on an object such as a basketball. You are going to stretch the non-working hand all the way out to your side. This will put all the tension on your working side. Perform 5-8 reps per side. Once you have mastered this variation you can move onto the one arm push up.

Bodyweight Strength Progression #3 – One Arm Push Ups

The final variation is to perform a one arm push up. This is a very challenging feat that few people can perform with good form. A proper one arm push up is done with your hand behind your back and feet no wider then shoulder width. You want your working arm tucked right against the side of your body. This takes incredibly strong triceps. No flaring of the elbows. In addition you want to avoid any leaning. Keep your shoulders square to the floor. This requires incredible core stabilization. If this is too challenging that start with your legs wide apart and gradually correct your form as you get stronger.

Bonus Bodyweight Exercise – Elevated One Arm Push Ups

For the over achievers out there I got a bonus challenge. The feet elevated one arm push up. This takes a ton of strength to pull off and is far more impressive than a big bench press.

Here is a video I took for you that shows it all.

In the next article I will be taking you through the pull up. I will be showing you awesome pull up variations that will build super strong and muscular lats, biceps and forearms.

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About Gregory O'Gallagher

Greg is a guest blogger for Muscle Pyramid. He is a fitness enthusiast and believer in doing things differently than what conventional fitness community dictates. He loves bodyweight training and teaches advanced methods to build a lean "Hollywood look". You can check him out at KinoBody Fitness Systems and also get his free Greek God Workout Manual here.