In the last couple of years, little by little, my shoulders have been turning into goo or something, and I’m at a point where I’m only doing flat bench presses every other week. So during all this time I’ve been toying around with bodyweight exercises (some of you have been seeing a few clips I’ve posted from www.bodyweightculture.com).
My search for bodyweight exercises has been motivated by a desire of minimizing injuries that come from free weight training. I love weight training, but I’m finding it harder and harder with age. Since I’m not attempting to reach great mass gains as a bodybuilder would want (and need for his/her sport of choice), bodyweight exercises (in conjunction with plyometrics and HIIT) can provide an efficient alternative for explosive strenght and high anaerobic capacity.
My initial skepticism of bodyweight type of training has almost evaporated. Pistols can blast the crap out of your quads and jumping push ups will hit the pecs deeply and efficiently without grinding your shoulders, and towel pull ups are a deliciously torture to the grip and forearms. I still can’t abandon front squats, though. I have a psycho-love relationship with them, so, no, I’m keeping them.
Anyways, I’ve been experimenting with a few bodyweight exercises to compliment my training, and I believe some of you will find them interesting.
Recently I learned an exercise called “explosive star push up”. It is a variation of the standard jumping/clapping push up, for which I’ve become infatuated with.
To the best of my abilities, and with a stomach full of salmon and stuff (never work out with a full stomach… it’s yucky), this is what an explosive star push up looks like (so far I’m able to do 15 reps before fallling flat on my face like a beached whale):
I’ve found a bit difficult to control the gradual opening and closing of the limbs. Actually, I find it really distracting. So I prefer to do a variation, and since I have not seen it named yet, I decided to call it jumping jack push ups (yeah, I know, I suck at naming things.)
With either variation, if you like to work out barefoot like me, then make sure you are not dumb enough to jam your toes 😛
Going on the subject of bodyweight exercises, the one thing I hate about them is that there is no easy way to hit the biceps unless you are doing some sort of chin up, pull up, or hanging-from-something-thingie. One way to go around that limitation is to mimic a face down incline (or preacher) curl, but from a plank position.
It looks “dee dee dee” retarded, and quite honestly, it’s a bit more trouble than what’s worth, but just give it a try and tell me if it doesn’t blast your biceps.
The trick is in not using anything but your biceps the moment you tilt your body forward and down from the plank. I can only do about 7 reps top. The only thing that hits my biceps better is when I do some sort of isometric holds, and that’s about it.
The only caveat is that it puts tremendous pressure on the wrists and metacarpals. For me, that’s what I’m looking for (sort of), but other people may want to use some caution.
Anyways, it’s amazing what a little bit of spare time can do. If you are into burpees, explosive push ups, and chin ups/pull ups, I think you will find these ones interesting.