Monday 3 March 2014

Twelve principles of bodyweight training

1. Master your body
It’s not about how much you can lift, but whether you can move and control your own bodyweight in the first place.

2. Progressive overload does not discriminate.
It does not matter if you lift iron or your own bodyweight ; for the same weight lifted (or equivalent mechanical disadvantage) your strength gains will be the same!

3. Stay out of the comfort zone
Work on your weaknesses: chances are, you’ve been avoiding certain movements and patterns all your life simply because you weren’t very good at them. This will create imbalances in the long run, and stall your progress. Venture out of your comfort zone: it’s the only way to grow and improve!

4. Beware of dogma
There are no firm rules when it comes to training, just general parameters from which –as individuals- we are free to stray. Beware of dogmatic approaches, and don’t be scared to experiment and see what works for you.

5. Enjoy it
The best routine is the one you’re going to stick to. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, your will power will only take you so far before you give up.

6. Train movement before muscles
Concern yourself less with aesthetics, and more with the quality of your movement.

7. Take your time
You will max out on your progressions much sooner than you think! Use micro-increments. Stop aiming for instant results, and enjoy the journey. Give your tendons, ligaments and connective tissue time to adapt. Make your training a lifelong habit.

8. Explore your ROM
A pull up which does not start from a deadhang, and does not finish above the bar is only a half pull up.

9. Move
A pull up is only half a muscle up. When you start linking exercises together, you start to move.

10. Think strong and light
Bear in mind your power-to-weight ratio: it will serve you well in most other sports and activities.

11. Fitness is not a commodity
We live under the illusion that fitness is a commodity, and that it can be bought… it can’t.

12. Play for results
You do not need a gym and you do not need fancy equipment. By all means, buy what you need, but you really do not need much. Play with what you have: a tree in the park, a staircase, a bench. Don’t pay for results, play for them!


  1. Really cool article, I definitely agree with your approach to training. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Really motivating guidelines, thanks!

  3. Cool article! Thanks for this!

    -From NF

  4. Hi El Diablo

    Other than the progressions of strength that I've made following your routine a cool difference I've noticed in myself is my general posture and balance has improved. I think of myself as a clumsy person but that seems to have faded away since starting this plan. It's no Human Flag but I'm happy with that none the less.


    1. This is not unusual, and it certainly is one of the advantages of bodyweight exercises: they will help you develop a fair amount of balance, coordination, but also flexibility, as well as strength.

  5. Hi El Diablo.Is it ok to follow these routines with plyometric exercises,jumping etc.

  6. Can you give us some dietary advice/suggestions?