Start Bodyweight basic routine

Prerequisites: if you are a newcomer to exercise or strength training, it is important that you are healthy and injury-free. Always consult with a doctor before starting an exercise regime.

Equipment needed: a pull up bar or somewhere to do pull ups from; a bench and a chair; a set of dip bars or alternatives (optional).

Frequency: perform the following workout 3 times a week, with at least one rest day between sessions.

Workout format:


EXERCISE
SETS/REPS/TIME
10 min
Appropriate variation from squat progression
3 sets of between 4 and 8 repetitions;
Rest between one and 2 min between sets
Appropriate pull up variation
3 sets of between 4 and 8 repetitions;
Rest between one and 2 min between sets
3 sets of between 4 and 8 repetitions;
Rest between one and 2 min between sets
3 sets of between 4 and 8 repetitions;
Rest between one and 2 min between sets
(alternate between the two with  every session)
3 sets of between 4 and 8 repetitions;
Rest between one and 2 min between sets
3 sets of between 4 and 8 repetitions;
Rest between one and 2 min between sets
Appropriate plank variation
one plank between 30s and 60s
10 min

Here's a log for the Start Bodyweight basic routine, created by mycargus, one of our users.

And here's an infographic giving an overview of the routine and progressions.

Frequently Asked Questions:

- Where to start in the progressions?
- How to progress
- Alternating between push ups and dips
- Form
- Cadence
- Rest periods between sets
- What if the next variation in a progression feels too easy?
-  What if the next variation in a progression feels too hard?
- What to do when you reach a plateau
-  Left-right imbalances
Adding deadlifts to the basic routine
- When can I start introducing gymnastic rings?

Where to start in the progressions: which variation of a given exercise should you start with? Test yourself by trying the different steps in each of the progressions. Once you find a variation of which you can just about perform 4 repetitions with good form, go back one step in the progression, and start your program with 3 sets of 4 repetitions of that variation.
For the planks, find a variation which you can just about perform for 30s with good form, and go back one step in the progression. Start with 30s of that variation.

How to progress: assuming, for example, that you currently can just about manage 4 pull ups with good form. Go back one step in the pull up progression. Your program will start with 3 sets of 4 half pull ups (4,4,4). In your next session, after a day’s rest, you should aim to improve on that number, and perform one more repetition of the exercise (5,4,4). The next session would then call for 5,5,4. Once you can manage 3 sets of 8 repetitions for a given variation (8,8,8), move on to the next step in the progression and start again at 4,4,4. It is crucial that you do not attempt to progress faster than this, but rather stick to micro-increments of one extra repetition with each session. This not only allows for a smooth, constant progression, but it also gives the connective tissue in your joints time to adapt to the stresses placed upon it, and reduces the risk of injury. With planks, try to increase by between 5 and 10s between sessions. Once you can hold a variation for 1 min, move on to the next step.
Systematically aiming to add one repetition to the exercise you last performed is the key to constant improvement. Failing that, your routine will remain stale, and you will not see any strength gains.

Alternating between push ups and dips: it is recommended that you alternate between push ups and dips in each session. Thus, if you have done push ups on a Monday, do dips on a Wednesday (after one day’s rest). However, if you struggle to find a place to do dips from (see suggestions in the dip progression), you could skip dips all together and perform push ups exclusively.

Form: each exercise should be performed through the full range of motion, with good form. This cannot be emphasized enough... As you progress through the program, and as you start reaching your limits, you will be constantly tempted to cheat on your form (often this happens unconsciously), be it by not going through the full range of motion, or by decreasing the leverage of the exercise through subtle body positioning. Besides increasing the risk of injury, not performing each exercise with strict form will limit your progress in the long term and cause you to ‘plateau’.

Cadence: Unless otherwise indicated, when performing any exercise in the progressions, I recommend a cadence of 1 to 2 seconds on the concentric phase, a one second pause at the top of the exercise, and a 3 seconds cadence on the eccentric phase. Thus, when performing a pull up, take 1 to 2 seconds to bring your chin to the bar, pause for 1 second then take 3 seconds on the way down.

Rest periods between sets: strictly speaking, rest periods of between one and 2 minutes are in the realm of strength-endurance, rather than strength alone (see an explanation of rest periods on this page). However, sticking to these slightly shorter rest periods allows you to limit the length of your workout to around one hour, and they remain quite suitable for strength gains. Do not be tempted to increase your rest periods beyond 2 minutes, at least initially, as this will also limit your progress by giving you more time to recover, thus impairing consistency between sessions.

What if the next variation in a progression feels too easy: be grateful! Each variation in the progressions places a slightly different emphasis on different muscle groups, and you might sometimes feel that an exercise which should be harder than the previous one is actually easier for you. In which case, start with 3 sets of 6 repetitions for this exercise, rather than 3 sets of 4. Do not be tempted to skip the variation all together however, as it is often the basis for the variations that follow.

What if the next variation in a progression feels too hard: if you perform the variations of each exercise with good form, the transition from one variation to the next will usually be seamless. Occasionally though –and for a variety of reasons- moving from one variation to the next might prove difficult. In that case, increase the number of repetitions for your current variation up to 3 sets of 12 repetitions. If this still fails to get you to 3 sets of 4 reps for the next variation, 3 sets of 3 reps is an acceptable point from which to build on.

What to do when you reach a plateau: eventually, you will reach a plateau and stop improving. This might be a single occurrence (everyone has a bad day from time to time). Ignore it for the first one or 2 sessions and resume at the point you left at before you stopped progressing (or even started regressing, in the case of a very bad day!). If you do not show progress more than twice in a row, it is time to deload and start rebuilding from there. Take an extra rest day, and start again at a lower point in the progression. For instance, if you get stuck at 8,7,7 repetitions for a given variation, start again with 6,6,6 after an extra rest day, and proceed from there. Failing that, modifying the basic routine to be better suited to your goals will often kick start your progress again.

Left-right imbalances: the Start Bodyweight basic routine contains a number of unilateral exercises such as one leg squats, one arm push ups, etc. Often, these can highlight imbalances inherent in the body, which are in fact quite easy to correct. Always start with your weakest side/arm/leg and never exceed the number of reps you have just performed when you switch to the other side. This will quickly correct any pre-existing imbalances, and prevent you from making them worse.

 Adding deadlifts to the basic routine: though the routine does target your lower back muscles through eccentric contractions during the lowering phase of leg raises, and through the planks, it is recommended that you add deadlifts if you have access to a barbell and plates, or dumbbells. Perform 3 sets of 4-8 reps at the beginning of every session, having sought proper instruction in the exercise. 

When can I start introducing gymnastic rings?: Gymnastic rings are a great tool, and incredibly versatile. They can be used for pull ups, dips, muscle ups, levers, hamstring curls, push ups… and the list goes on. And, if I could only have one piece of equipment at home, they would probably be my first choice. BUT, in the context of a beginner to intermediate workout, they are not an ideal introduction to bodyweight training: they add an element of instability which makes the transition from other exercises very difficult, particularly dips, as exercises on rings have a much higher motor unit recruitment. Their instability also means added stress is placed on joints and their connective tissue. Finally, because rings can rotate, they allow you to load the shoulder joint in a much greater range of motion than other exercises. This is great when movements are well controlled, but it can lead to injuries until you’ve developed the necessary strength to enable that degree of control.
I wouldn't recommend using them until you can do at least 3 sets of 12 parallel bar dips comfortably. And in the context of the Start Bodyweight basic routine and progressions, not until you reach modified russian dips. Even then, they should be introduced gradually...


NEXT: A simple dynamic warm up

133 comments:

  1. Thanks for the massive effort, I have been going throught fitness666 progression with lots of success. I will now switch and try the new one.
    One question, any oppinion on replacing deadlifts with kettlebell swings (I don't have any appropriately heavy weights).

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    1. Yes, replacing deadlifts with kettlebellswings is fine.

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    2. Hello, Nick, do you think that, by a strenght and body comp point of view, swings and deads can be considered equivalent? I have been thinking about this for a while. Swings appears to be much easier for the lower back, and have a strong cardio component, but the weight is much smaller.

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    3. There's a strong carry-over between kettlebell swings and deadlifts. Here's a really good article about it: http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/most_recent/are_heavy_kettlebell_swings_better_than_deadlifts

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  2. Great to see a new version. Is it my understanding that this workout now incorporates what fitness666 did all in one day, but half the amount of sets (with alternating dips and pushups)??

    And there obviously isn't a problem continuing the 666 program is there, since I am still making progress right?

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    1. Adrian, you are quite correct. The bodyweight666 actually transitions really naturally into this program, though you can of course carry on with it if you wish (I'll keep the website up for quite a while).

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  3. Diablo, I really like your new program but I was wondering about some modifications. I'm going to alternate between pushups and dips like you suggested but I was also going to alternate between pullups and chinups also. Do you think this would be ok. The other question I had was instead of going on to different variations of a exercise would it work just as well to add weight instead. Keeping the same rep scheme but add weight each time you are supposed to go on to the next variation of a exercise. I realize this may not work on all the exercises. Are there any plans to make a forum on here for people to post to.Thanks for the help and keep up the good work.

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    Replies
    1. All these would work, though I would personally prefer to stick to different variations of the exercises as each of these will target your muscles slightly differently, making you a better rounded athlete. No plans for a forum on here, but Start Bodyweight has it's own group on Fitocracy where you can ask questions: http://ftcy.me/KxJmAi

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  4. And just very generally: This site is awesome! Thanks a lot!

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  5. Nick,

    Do you recommend that everyone start on the first step of each progression (e.g., wall pushups) as recommended in Convict Conditioning?

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    Replies
    1. No, that's a bit unneccessary, especially if you're not new to bodyweight training. Here's what I wrote in the article above: "assuming, for example, that you currently can just about manage 4 pull ups with good form. Go back one step in the pull up progression. Your program will start with 3 sets of 4 half pull ups (4,4,4)."

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  6. Sooo what if I am too weak to do Leg assisted pull ups on door?

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    Replies
    1. If you're strong enough to do an assisted squat (which you are, unless you're in a wheelchair) then you're strong enough to do leg assisted pull ups...

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  7. Hi, I do yoga for thirty minutes a day at the moment. How would I incorporate it into the program? In my off days, or replacing one of the days I'd follow your program? It's quite strenuous and I don't want it to hinder my recovery.

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    Replies
    1. Try it in your off days at first. If you find it difficult to recover from it, then replace one of the days of the program.

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    2. When you say find it difficult to recover, are you talking about stiffness and sharp pain? Should I just power through the DOMS type soreness on the most part? Thanks for your reply.

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    3. No DOMS goes away after a while... it all depends how severe DOMS is.
      I would only train through it if it's very mild.

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  8. Awesome site - just stumbled on to fitness666 and lead me to here.

    You recommend to do deadlifts at the start of the program (partly a leg movement as well) won't that contradict with squats as the next exercise move?
    Also there is only one leg move out of the exercises - I would add lunges either at the end or in between push-ups and horizontal pulls, what are your thoughts on that?

    Thanks in advance!

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    Replies
    1. I actually feel it's fine to do deadlifts in addition to the basic routine as the demands placed by bodyweight squats and one legged squats are not all that great. I'm not a great fan of lunges -not because they are not a valuable exercise- but because they are difficult to progress. That said, the mechanics of shrimp squats are actually closer to a lunge than to a squat.

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  9. Hey! I was just going to start with your routine but I had a question. I have been weight/bodyweight training for over a year now so I'm not a complete beginner. Now, I wanted to do both push-ups and dips in every workout... do you think it is suitable? I've always wanted to have better triceps and chest but a few months ago I had tricep tendonitis, which hindered my gains. What do you recommend?

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    Replies
    1. I wouldn't recommend it, as your ratio of pushing to pulling exercises will be skewed if you do. This might create muscular imbalances, and it could well be the reason you got tendonitis in the first place...

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  10. Hi Nick,

    I seem to be progressing much faster on planks than any other exercise (almost near the end of it on the basic routine).. How would you recommend continuing this exercise? I was considering going back a few progressions and aiming for twice the amount of time instead. Do you think that's a good way to go about it? Thanks in advance!

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    1. I would progress onto floor L-sits from there. I don't have a progression on the site for them yet, but this one is good: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUZJoSP66HI

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    2. Hey, another good one, if you have a bench, would be dragon flags... Here's a progression from the old site: http://www.fitness666.com/2012/11/dragon-flag.html
      I'll add all these progressions to StartBodyweight.com shortly...

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    3. Cool, thanks! Can't wait to get there.

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    4. So I'm stuck on the Tuck L-Sit. My butt refuses to budge from the floor. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong. Do you have any additional tips?

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    5. Raise your hands by putting them on two books/yoga blocks initially. See how that goes.

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  11. I have a question for you: is it possible to divide this up into a six-day-a-week routine that alternates two groups of exercises rather than doing everything in one hour-long workout three days a week?
    I'm a martial artist wanting to insert a routine like this into my mornings before work, but making a little bit of time every morning is so much easier to be consistent with than wrenching an early-morning wakeup time back an hour every other day. But I know the importance of rest, and don't want to go arbitrarily dividing this up myself...

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    Replies
    1. Hi Michelle,

      Yes, look at the routine customization page: there are a couple of examples of such split routines.

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    2. Wow! You really have included everything on this site -- what an incredible resource. Thanks very much for your reply!

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  12. This is a different way of going about increasing your reps than what I'm doing at the moment. Currently I'm trying to progress on chin ups after barely being able to do one. I'm trying to reach 5,5,5 for starters. I am nowhere near that right now, doing 5,3,0. How I try and progress is to do chin ups unassisted until I cannot anymore, and then complete the set using negatives. I've reached a plateau for the past week where I'm doing the same number of chins unassisted and no more.

    I will try your method by dropping it to maybe 3,3,3 and progress from there without completing the set of 5 with negatives. Hoping it works better!

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    Replies
    1. Also, make sure to read 'What to do when you reach a plateau:' on this page.

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  13. Hi, Diablo. Thank you for doing all this.

    I wanted to ask you one thing. What do you think about adding a HIIT exercise in the days between this routine? I saw a jumping rope HIIT workout on youtube that goes: 40s jumping rope, 20s active rest, 40s bodyweigth exercise (traveling push ups, lateral jumps, quick feets, lateral jumping lounges), 20s active rest and repeat. Doing every bodyweight exercises two times (with the rope jumping in between).
    I'm doing your old Bodyweight site intermediate routine (4 days a week), so the HIIT training would be 3 times a week. What do you think about that?

    Again, thank you for all the work you do.

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    1. Hey Javier,

      yea, that's absolutely fine. In fact, I do that myself fairly often...

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    2. Thanks for the quick reply. I'll start doing that routine then.

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  14. Hey there! I've just started this program a few days ago, and I've progressed to new exercises, but I keep finding them really easy. - can achieve 3 sets of 8 reps usually within the first workout. Should I add more reps? Or just stick with it in order to get on to the more difficult final exercises.

    Also, one of my fitness goals is to be able to do insanely high reps of each exercise - It just seems that 3 sets of 8 is too low for this. Again, should I increase the reps or the sets, or neither?

    I'm really interested to hear you thoughts on this!

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    1. If your aim is to develop your strength, then limit yourself to sets of 8 reps. By doing more than that, you will just be developing your endurance, with very minimal strength gains. So yes, progress on to the final exercises.
      If your aim is to do very high reps of a given exercise (may I ask why?), then by all means modify the program accordingly. Have a look at the routine customization page for other rep ranges.

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    2. Hey, So what you're saying is that If an exercise is easy for me and can complete all 8 even if its a new one than I should go for a more difficult one the next time. I'm asking because you suggested that if an exercise feels to easy you should do 3 sets of 6 and then reach to 8 so your nervous system will get to know them better, so which one would be more correct. I started CC and was able to do to sets of 16-17 reps with little more rest time in normal push-ups and did even 20 in my last one but when I switched to your and started them 8 felt like I'm not working out. I've considered going even slower than 5 seconds count with a pause in bottom position but maybe jumping from exercise to exercise until you reach the one that is truly difficult is the way to go? any thoughts about the matter?. I did read CC and know that the joints and tendons need to be adjusted accordingly to the muscles so it doesn't matter whether you strengthen them with low reps and each exercise increase one set only with one rep or do many reps on the weaker exercises to train the tendons and nervous system but if you go form exercise to exercise what will happen with the tendons. sorry for my so confusing post I'm really confused as it is but I want to feel I'm working out hard! btw I do love your way more and aside from this I've being doing cc for a 5-6 weeks so I guess I got some tendon strength in there but again. what would be the right approach to this matter because your answer to anonymous made be uncertain of your faq.

      thanks in advanced

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  15. Would back bridges work for lower back work in place of dead lifts if one doesn't have access to the proper equipment?

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  16. Thank you for this, I just had my first workout and it's great! I have a question - my right calf muscle is 2cm bigger than the left (circumference), because of some imbalances that aggravated while running, I assume. How can I correct this? Should I target more the left leg? Should I keep doing squats and eventually, they will be the same size? Thank you!

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    1. Read the question titled 'left/right imbalances' on this page. But you will need to add some weighted calf raises to your routine to target the calves specifically, as one leg squats only engage the calves minimally. The exercise you want is dumbbell unilateral calf raises: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUvsyKXsGhI

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    2. Thank you for the answer. Should I do that just for the left leg (the one with the smaller calf) or should I just alternate between legs and eventually it will correct itself? Enjoy the reddit gold :)

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    3. Do both calves: always start with the weakest leg, then do exactly the same number of reps with the stronger one, eventhough you could do more. Eventually, the left leg will catch up with the other one.

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  17. I am an avid indoor climber, usually two to three times a week. I boulder and do top-rope climbing. How would I handle the rest-days and combine it with the seesion-days and climbing days?

    Should it be like:

    Morning: BW routine - Evening: climbing
    Restday

    Or
    Evening: climbing + BWroutine
    Restday

    Or
    One day climbing
    One day routine
    One day rest

    Not sure how to mix this routine with the restday and climbing.

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  18. You are not going to like my answer, simply because there is no right or wrong answer to your question: it depends how fast and easily you recover from the strength sessions. All the possibilities you list might actually work for you, and you just have to try it to see what you feel yields the best results... Another thing to consider is to do a split routine (see the routine customization page). You could easily combine a push routine in the morning with climbing in the evening. The next day would be pulling. Then a rest day. This would give you more time for recovery from all pulling movements.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for the quick reply!

      I'm 38 and I am a recovering couch-potato. I've lost a lot of weight and now I want to be stronger and perhaps even look better. But I'm not the young stud I never was. Usually when I boulder I feel it the next day. With top-rope climbing not so much, as it is more cardio exercise while bouldering is pretty much acrobatic weightlifting.

      So I could try:
      full routine in the morning + climbing in the evening
      restday
      push-routine in the morning + bouldering in the evening
      restday
      full routine.

      And in regards to the pushing routine and bouldering. Do you reckon that bouldering in itself is mostly a pulling exercise without the pushing? Is that why you suggested to mix a pushing routine with bouldering on one day?

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    2. You got the idea right.
      Though on your first day it should be:
      Pull routine in the morning + climbing in the evening
      Give that a go ; see how you get on with it...

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    3. First things first i love this site and thank you for making all this avalaible for free!

      I'm a climber as well - i train 2 days a week and i'm trying to include as much as i can from the bodyweight program into my routine.

      I'm having trouble because i can't really do any exercise in the mornings as proposed above - i'm starting work early. Any other ideas?

      Another thing - i have reccuring elbow injuries, tennis, golfer elbow and tricep tendonitis as well now. It's not as bad as it's used to be, i'm doing a lot of exercises for it, but should i avoid any of the exercises? Do you have any tips for fixing elbows?

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    4. Can you do the exercises on your off days?
      With the elbow and tendonitis problems, my advice will be to stop any activity which gives you pain, or you risk it becoming chronic. Straight arm isometric holds are particularly bad (back levers especially), but also pull ups (and particularly one arm chins).

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    5. Yeah i can, whatever it takes.

      I found that eccentric exercises are particuraly good for tendon injuries so i will be doing them exclusively for a coming month and then gradually work my way back to regular workouts.

      For anyone struggling with elbow problems here's a good article (you can apply the princple presented here to any tendon injuries you may have).

      http://www.drjuliansaunders.com/resources/feature_articles/dodgy_elbows/

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    6. Thank you for that link: I downloaded the pdf, which is a really good reference document.

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    7. Not to claim I am more knowledgable about bodyweight training than El Diablo, but in the climbing community it is generally accepted that the most productive structure is to climb first and train afterwards, if both are to be done in the same day. This is because climbing is a high skill activity and it is more productive to practice skill when you are less fatigues.

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    8. No you are quite right Tavis, but I assumed the original poster's schedule of bodyweight exercises in the morning was dictated by his schedule/access to a climbing wall or site.

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  19. Hello, i am training in boxing 3 days a week, will this program gonna be good supplement in my training?

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  20. Can you do this as well as another program e.g gymnastics?

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  21. For the deadlifts how much weight do you recommend increasing by? Also it should be the same format right? 4,4,4 then 5,4,4 and so on?

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    1. Increase by 2.5kg (or the smallest standard plate you have available), initially. A rep range of 5-8 is enough for the deadlift, so start with 5,5,5. As you begin to reach your maximum, use fractional microplates if you have access to them.

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  22. Is it OK to mix in body weight and gym weights training on alternate days, with maybe a day of rest between? Let's say Mon. gym weights, Wed. body weight, Fri. gym weights, and so on. Or some other schedule?

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  23. I don't get sore after these workouts am I still building muscle?

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    Replies
    1. As long as you're increasing your reps and moving through the progressions, then yes.
      Soreness is a very poor indicator of progress. You could get sore after each session, be overtraining, and actually be regressing...
      If you eat enough, and keep increasing your reps, then you're building up your strength.

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  24. I just posted a comment about CC and I've just read some of your other replies on this subject, so I kind of know how you feel about it now. However, any other comments are still welcome. Thanks!

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  25. Hi,

    I recently began the Start Bodyweight progressions and have really enjoyed the program so far. I'm a beginner to strength training and have started within the first 1-3 progressions. I have a quick question though. For progressions requiring an elevated leg, or the side planks, should we be doing this with each leg/side during a single session or alternating legs/sides per session? Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. I don't understand why you would start with only 3 progressions... Your routine will be unbalanced. If you are a beginner, start with the beginner program on this page: http://www.startbodyweight.com/p/some-sample-custom-programs.html
      Regarding your question, it depends on the exercise: for dips for instance, the point is not which leg you raise ; it's to work your triceps and chest. So it does not matter if you only raise one leg.
      For side planks, you need to to both sides in the same session. Read the exercise descriptions.

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    2. I guess the way I worded that was confusing. I'm doing all six of the exercises plus a plank progression. I was just saying that since I am just beginning I have started within the first 1-3 steps of the progression for each of the six exercises.Thanks though, that answers my question.

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  26. Hi
    can I do chin ups instead push ups? I think about biceps... is it good option one workout pull ups then next workout chin ups etc.? Or maybe I should do pull ups and horizontal chin ups? What You think about it? Alot of exercise focus on triceps but any on biceps... Please advice

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    Replies
    1. You can if you want to, but I'd advice against it if your goal is to progress towards muscle ups. The later stages of the progression focus heavily on biceps anyways with archer pull ups, towel assisted chin ups and one arm chins.
      The exercise are not focussed on particular muscle groups, but rather on movements: you'll be limiting your progress in other areas if you start thinking about muscles...
      If -for some reason- you want to develop your biceps, why don't you add some biceps curls as a finisher, at the end of the workout?

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  27. Thanks for your hard work. I plan to follow this in a month or so when I finish my current program.

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  28. Hi, I just found about this site on reddit and I'm planning to start on this on Monday! I just had one question: what is your opinion on alternating exercises? For example, can I alternate sets of squats and pullups, or do you recommend just finishing off one exercise before moving on to the next? Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Don't alternate. This is not optimal for strength gains. Unless you are doing supersets to save time...

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  29. I know you have said in other comments you said doing both dips and push ups was a bad idea because there could be push/pull imbalances in the work out. My question is since the deadlift counts as a pull exercise would adding both the dips and deadlift into the complete 3 day routine fix that or not.

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    Replies
    1. It wouldn't. The deadlift is a straight arm exercise. The others are not.

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  30. Hi El Diablo,
    could you give some pointers as to when to incorporate rings in other exercises aside from dips? I just bought a pair and they seem to be the most convenient tool to use for pull ups AND rows. If you recommend against it, what would be a good way to introduce rings to the routine in general? Should I just perform support holds as skill work and work up in time or leave the rings aside until I have progressed (almost) completely through the beginner routine? Thanks in advance.

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    Replies
    1. In my opinion rings are fine for all pulling movements (pull ups, horizontal pulls, and muscle ups when you get to them). I would not recommend them for pushing movements (push ups and dips) until you have reached the end of the progressions on this site, as the unstability makes the exercises significantly harder and cause a fair amount of shoulder instability). Rings are also great for front and back lever training, once you get there. Meanwhile, as you suggest in your post, support holds are fine as skill work.

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  31. On the push up/dip progressions, if I alternate each time do I still stick with the rep progression e.g. in a week all exercises at 4,4,4 push ups at 4,4,4 then next time everything at 5,4,4 and dips at 4,4,4. Would this mean that progressing through the push ups and dips takes twice as long as the rest.

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    Replies
    1. You can increase push ups and dips by 2 reps each time (rather than one) in order to keep up with the rest of the progressions.

      Delete
  32. Rest time and single limb progressions question. On things like one arm pull ups and most of the middle to later squats, I know that each side needs to get its 3 sets starting on the weak side, but is the pattern:
    weak, strong, 1-2 min rest, repeat
    weak, 1-2min rest, strong, 1-2 min rest
    weak side and then use the rest time for that side to work the strong side and back

    Also with the one arm leg raises does one just alternate each set each session which arm holds them up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. weak, strong, 1-2 min rest, repeat.
      With the one arm leg raises, alternate arms on each set.

      Delete
  33. I would like to add HIIT workouts in between sessions. Would that work or do I need more recovery for legs? For hamstrings I added glute raises but with my legs more straight. It targets the hamstrings more.

    Ex:
    Mon- calisthenics
    Tue- hiit
    Wed- calisthenics

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd suggest doing something different for HIIT workouts. Like rounds of boxing on the heavy bag, or hill sprints, or tabata sprints on a rower.

      Delete
    2. Thanks, I don't have a bag but I'll probably try shadow boxing. I googled tabata sprints and that looks good too. Maybe I'll alternate.

      Delete
  34. Hey, excellent stuff! We aren't really into BW training, but this site seems very very informative and very dynamic. I remember when I was doing assisted push-ups, I can't really track progress (extra fluffy guy), so what I did was stand on a weighing scale and have my friend scream when it goes above my previous assistance force. kinda helped me push out of the leg assistance area because previously I can't really tell how much help my legs are doing and thus can't train my upper body enough. Just a thought. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yea, I had a few people point out this technique to me. My reaction was: "genius!". It can come in really useful...

      Delete
  35. Hello, sir, I am really, really loving your program. You've put it together masterfully and I'm so excited to start it later tonight. I am not new to strength training, as I used to do a lot of weight training. I am also fairly flexible, as I dance for a few hours everyday. I'm wondering if it would be alright for me to progress reps from 4,4,4 one day to 5,5,5 on the next? Or is that going to be bad for my strength progression? Thank you very much for this amazing resource!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Try using the reddit Start Bodyweight group for your questions: http://www.reddit.com/r/startbodyweight/
      And yes, it's fine to do that, but the question is why? You'll reach a plateau sooner, and give your tendons and soft tissues less time to acclimatize. I mean, strength gains happen over years, not over weeks, and as long as you're only increasing by one rep, you can ensure that your improvement is more linear and painless.

      Delete
  36. Hi. I want to start this basic routine but i was wondering if i can do this 4 times per week in a split routine.

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

      Delete
  37. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Hi, I have 1 question. I want start this routine but i need to get more mass, so can i instead doing between 4-8 repetitions do 4-12 repetitions and is this gonna affect on my strengh?

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

      Delete
  39. hey,

    Regarding the side planks, Do I need to reach 30 seconds on each side totaling 1 minute of plank or I need to do 1 minutes each side before I move to the next variation? thanks

    ReplyDelete
  40. Hi, I recently started to do body-weight training and your programs seems very good, but I would have 2 questions. Does training in a low rep range (4-8) can still make muscle mass gain? I would also like to know how could I modify the routine to make it more cardio. I have a bad cardio and I would like to train it but still gain muscle. Maybe by doing circuit? Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Great website. Thank you! I have always wanted something I could do at home on a whim without having to get a bunch of gear.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Hey Diablo, can you tell me is this program with 8 reps and 3 sets better than program from fitness666 with 6 reps and 6 sets, and where is difference? I'm working out with fitness666 program and I feel good muscle grow, should I change program or stay on fitness666?
    Thanks and keep up wirh good work!

    ReplyDelete
  43. Good afternoon. I have been doing bodyweight workouts for about 2 years and find that your progressions are fantastic and very well described. My question is about the need to mix up intensity and, more generally, the need to follow periodization as in the Mark Lauren book. Would you recommend introducing a few weeks of super sets and then tabatas/stappers/circuit workouts after doing say 4 or 5 weeks of interval training as suggested by you in the "basic workout"? I find that the mix of approaches keeps the workouts very interesting and I generally like the idea of periodization since it constantly challenges the body with different pace/intensity. Grateful for your thoughts.

    Thank you

    S

    ReplyDelete
  44. What do you think of doing one or two sets instead of three? According to http://www.exrx.net/WeightTraining/Research.html and http://www.exrx.net/WeightTraining/Guidelines.html there is little benefit to doing more than one set pre exercise.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mr. James Griffin of Exrx.net gives the one set guideline based on his experience and ACSM position stand 1995 written by the late Dr. Michael Pollock. However, ACSM 1995 is obsoleted by ACSM 2011 position stand- Quantity and Quality of Exercise for Maintaining Cardio, Muscles, and Neuro Fitness for Healthy Adults. You can download this document for free with search word "ACSM Position Stand". In it, the requirement for progression is two to four sets with 2-3 minute rest between sets. One set is for beginners or seniors.

      Delete
  45. Hi, I see on the poster it says there are full descriptions of all exercises on the website, but I cannot find this page. Can you provide a link?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Click on the exercises names on this page.

      Delete
  46. This program is exactly what I wanted. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  47. Hi firstly thank you.

    So deadlifts should be done before the routine?

    Is it the same principle with deadlift progression. E.g. fine a weight you can bust out 4x4x4, progressing to 8.8.8. then add say 5kg and start from 4x4x4 again?

    ReplyDelete
  48. Hi firstly thank you.

    So deadlifts should be done before the routine?

    Is it the same principle with deadlift progression. E.g. fine a weight you can bust out 4x4x4, progressing to 8.8.8. then add say 5kg and start from 4x4x4 again?

    ReplyDelete
  49. Hey Nick,

    Thanks for this awesome guide. I wanted to know whats the difference between Jackknife pull up and elevated inverted pull up.

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  50. Hello,
    I'm a girl that would like to tone my body and lose fat mass, but did not want the muscles to grow. How should I do the reps and sets?
    Many Thanks in advance

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The female bodybuilders you see with giant muscles get that by abusing steroids. For more natural female bodybuilders you should look for say South American women's bodybuilding.

      The simple fact is that ordinarily women do not have that level of testosterone to have those types of gains (and in fact most men also won't achieve those types of bodies either).

      So in short, don't worry about it. You may get your arms and legs to harden up (most likely will) as well as glutes, but you won't visibly see lumps of muscle.

      Delete
  51. Do you have a suggestion for progressing with these:http://q.equinox.com/articles/2013/09/plank-workout

    I have lower back pain, and I'd like to do something about it and these seems like they work the core. Any comments?

    Thanks for a really good website.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Im starting it today, keep your fingers crossed ! :D

    ReplyDelete
  53. Do you have any input on how to approach nutrition?

    Paleo, gluten free, low carb?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i think you should try to stick to the food chart. but if you want something more specific then try to stick with fruits and veggies protein shakes

      Delete
  54. do you think this will actually help me build muscle

    ReplyDelete
  55. Thank you for this, great compilation of info

    ReplyDelete
  56. Thanks a ton for this!

    Just wondering if it's ok to go for about a 30 minute run after I finish my workout?

    Also, and probably a stupid question but when doing movements like Bulgarian Split Squats, am I doing 3 sets on each leg?

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  57. Hi Nick.Thanks a lot for the great stuff!For the first time I found an easy to follow and awesome!
    It's almost 2 weeks i'm following Complete beginner routine.When do you think I should start this basic routine?
    And don't horizontal pull and pull ups target the same muscles?We should do them both each session?And also Handstand push ups and push ups together?The first variations of HSPU especially.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Great Article.
    Will be starting with the beginners routine soon. Will give you the feedback. Thanks a ton.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Hello , thanks for this program ,, but I want to ask what is the difference between this workout and the one in Fitness666 ? and which is better ? because they look similar but the reps are higher in the fitness666

    ReplyDelete
  60. I love this program. Just wondering if you had any plans to create a more hybrid program that incorporates more barbell/weight training? I think that would be awesome! Also, you recommend deadlifting before every session but wouldn't 3x a week of heavy deads be a bit much? Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom :)

    ReplyDelete
  61. Can i super set weighted chinup and dips with plyometric exercises. So like doing weighted chinups super set with explosive chinups. And doing weighted dips super set with plyometrics pushups?

    ReplyDelete
  62. How long do you think it would take to reach the final progression.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Can I add barbell squats to this programme?

    ReplyDelete
  64. How long should you rest between exercises?
    Is it the same length as between sets? (between 1-2 minutes)
    Meaning after you've completed your 3 Sets of Squats reps(or whatever) how long should you rest before staring your Pull Up sets?

    ReplyDelete
  65. Just started this routine a few weeks ago and I love it. I'm coming from a barbell based strength training background and I love how similar the progressions are to powerlifting type exercises. It's really forcing me to work on mobility and core strength which has been great. I'm decently strong already and I definitely feel challenged with this routine. Keep up the good work and I hope to see more updates!

    ReplyDelete
  66. How much should you rest between exercises? the same 1-2 minutes for the rest between sets?

    ReplyDelete
  67. Thanks for the basic workout routine and the variations on your infographic poster. I already tried some other bodyweight workout routines and now I like to challenge yours. I'm excited to the progress.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Congratulation for this.
    My guestion is if i can change the order of the exercises thinking of that the first exercise is that i want mostly improve and etc

    ReplyDelete
  69. Can you add a full bridge (push ups) progression as well? Please

    ReplyDelete
  70. What are your thoughts on doing both the pushup and dip progressions each session instead of alternating between them?

    ReplyDelete
  71. I don't know about altering pushups / dips.. I assume we'll quickly get ahead in the handstand pushup routine, while running behind in the regular pushups. If think that's odd. I mean you'll be halfway the regular pushup routines but you'll already be doing handstand pushups if progressions go smoothly.

    ReplyDelete