Exercise progressions

The basic progressions:

These basic exercise progressions constitute the main building blocks of the Start Bodyweight basic routine and of the custom programs.
They can also be used on their own as a reference, or according to your individual aims.
 

Squat progression
Pull up progression
Handstand push up progression
Leg raises progression
Push up progression
Dip progression
Horizontal pulls progression
Plank progression

Ancillary progressions:

The following ancillary progressions can be incorporated into your programme when an exercise has become too easy, or they can just be used as a fun addition to your training.
Skills progression (handstands, crow stands, double elbow levers) can be trained on the same day as your usual workouts, without impacting on the quality of your training.

The crow stand (Prerequisites: pike push ups and plank)
Double elbow levers (Prerequisites: decline plank ; crow stand)
L-sits  (Prerequisites: Hanging straight leg raises, dips)
Dragon flags (Prerequisites: leg lift plank, pull ups, hanging bent leg V-raises)
Back levers (Prerequisites: arm and leg lift plank, legs forward dips)
Muscle ups (Prerequisites: archer pull ups ; modified russian dips)
Ab wheel rollouts (Prerequisites:  Wall plank ; hanging straight leg V-raises)
Handstands (Prerequisites:  Wall handstand push ups )
Front planche on a rope (Prerequisites:  Dragon flags , pull ups )

NEXT: A simple static stretching routine

31 comments:

  1. Hello,
    Awesome website and progressions. I'm sure you're sick of hearing about Convict Conditioning, but I followed that book for quite a while and come to the conclusion that his set/rep scheme was just waaay too high for proper strength training (multiple sets of 20-30+ reps before progression...I mean, wow). The only thing that I am missing from that program to this one, however, is grip and finger training. Is there any chances of a progression to this effect from you? Basically, I've been working on a basic progression of 2-handed bar hangs, 2-handed towel hangs, 1-handed bar hangs, then 1-handed towel hangs along with fingertip pushups, all hangs progress at 3 sets of 30 seconds (I figured, since the fingers/forearms are used to high volume work that the large volume would be OK), and I've been tossing this in at the end of the progression listed here. Any pointers at all?

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    1. I don't have any pointers Dylan, because I think grip and finger training would just be a waster of time in the context of the start bodyweight program. There are already quite a few progressions that will develop your grip strength: vertical & horizontal pulls + leg raises.
      You can get too much of a good thing!

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    2. Ok, I can definitely understand your point there. I did notice that a little when I attempted my grip training today. After pullups, rows, and hanging leg raises my grip training seemed to be pretty low compared to when I was doing a split routine that was less grip-intensive (I did pullups and hanging core work on different days). Thank you for your quick answer, and thanks again for this fantastic resource, I will be following this program for quite a while as I am already noticing significantly more efficient strength gains compared to the much higher volume workload that I was doing before (Convict Conditioning, then a lot of "street workout" routines, mostly from Madbarz.com). Thanks again.

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    3. I'm not one to judge, so if those routines work for some people, that's great. But in my opinion, CC and the Madbarz routines are sub-optimal when it comes to strength training. CC can be adapted to become a very decent routine by changing the rep ranges. But Madbarz, etc, are just all over the place.
      The street workout videos are inspiring, and that's great, but the routines (which typically include many reps) carry quite a bit of injury risk.

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    4. Just wanted to come back and say that I've been following this program for nearly 8 weeks now and I love it. I've seen very consistent progress throughout the entire program (except for a week or so when I got impatient and tried to add too many reps, but I de-loaded and got it back on track when I realized my mistake). Thank you for your time, this is a great program that I have pointed out to anyone I know who talks about starting to exercise. Hope the book is coming along well, thanks again.

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  2. Hello

    Not sure if any of these exercises target the calf muscles. What would you recommend for those? Calf raises?

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    1. One leg squats do. Otherwise calf raises, yes.
      But why are you bothered? From a functional point of view, you get all you need from squats...

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    2. Plyometrics - Depth drops and depth jumps

      Depth Drops - drop off a box (10-40in high depending on your ability) and land on the balls of your feet - don't let your heels touch the ground

      Depth jumps - same as above, but as you land immediately jump as high as you can, as fast as you can.

      These both improve calf strength, and will also help you with improving vertical jump and sprinting.

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  3. Hey, just wanted to say that this site is exactly what I have been looking for in terms of detailed explanations of progression and guidance. But also wanted to ask if there are other ancillary you plan to add? Such as Planche pushups and Human flag. While they wouldn't be practical to incorporate into a workout I think it would be awesome to learn through your method of teaching.

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    Replies
    1. Yep, these will be coming eventually.

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  4. Yo man, can you tell me the main differences between the 3x8 routine and the 5x5 routine? I'm not new to bodyweight training so i've already started with the 5x5 since my goal is strenght (but correct me if I'm wrong). Thanks

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    1. No great difference... Both are considered traditional strength routines. 3x8 takes slightly less time (and is perhaps just a little less strength oriented) than 5x5. The main advantage of a rep range such as 3x8, as far as bodyweight training is concerned though, is that you can progress the number of reps (from 3x5 to 3x8) as well as increasing the difficulty of the exercise.

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  5. Sir, can you please add Planche Push Up progression? :)

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  6. I do not know what is special with this program, I did increase my push up count from 10 to 50 push ups per set in only a span of 1 month. Not bad. I have attempted to increase it for so long, I didn't know it was easy. I didn't have changes with regard to my diet and anything else. Just the routine.

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  7. Hey, i kinda need help, I can't progress to "knees front leever rows" I am doing it on the smith machine, the exercise before that is easy but I can't hold that one, any help?
    Can't do decline pike push ups, though I can do 8 reps of decline push ups, how can I progress?

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    Replies
    1. Try using the reddit Start Bodyweight group for your questions: http://www.reddit.com/r/startbodyweight/
      Which version of front lever rows are you doing? Are your knees tucked to your chest? Are you going through the full range of motion on the previous exercise?
      Decline pike push ups and decline push ups are not part of the same progression. I don't understand what you mean...

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  8. When will you put a human flag and planche progression?

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    Replies
    1. When I can do them myself... I hate posting stuff I'm not able to do.

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  9. Hi Nick, what do you think about bridges?

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    1. Try using the reddit Start Bodyweight group for your questions: http://www.reddit.com/r/startbodyweight/
      But I think they're ok. I would consider them more as skill work than as a strength progression though.

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    2. What about bridge pushups? Those are pretty tough, and they help to achieve a kip up. Bridges are also a great stretch.

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  10. ei, can i progress to an ancillary even if i don't quite meet the prerequisites? i.e. dragon flag>>>i am past the last plank progression but am not yet at bent leg v raises.

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    Replies
    1. Try using the reddit Start Bodyweight group for your questions: http://www.reddit.com/r/startbodyweight/

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  11. Wow, this seems to be a very nice programme! What I'm missing though is some kind of app on which to track my progress as I don't have a fixed workout location and carry too much stuff around already. Anyone's got a good recommendation? Might also be a simple spreadsheet which only shows the last number of reps for each exercise or something like that.

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  12. Once I have reached an advanced level of fitness, would this be a good workout?
    Dynamic Warmup 10 minutes
    Pistol Squats 3x8
    Muscle Ups 3x8
    Hanging Leg Raises 3x8
    HSPU 3x8
    Stretching 10 minutes
    (Do I need to add anything else such as the plank and horizontal bar progressions?)

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  13. Great website and progressions. Do you recommend, being able to do all of the basic progressions in their entirety, before moving to the ancillary progressions, even if they are not prerequisites.

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  14. wow thank you, well done great JOB!

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  16. I have been performing this exercises kind of in a circuit style for a few weeks now. I am a beginner. I am already seeing HUGE improvement in my strength and fitness and even my body is looking better (also eating a body builder diet and lost 20lbs so far). I have also spent only about 50$ for a chinup bar and exercise mat and some shorts. No expensive gym or equipment needed. Thank you so much for making this information available for free. Your teaching approach is absolutely perfect. Thank you, seriously, thank you.

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