Bodyweight training is an interesting topic in the fitness world. A lot of hardcore fitness enthusiasts write it off completely, opting for a steady diet of iron instead. And at the same time, a lot of people who will never in their life build any muscle exclusively rely on bodyweight training.
I more or less fall somewhere in the middle.
I’m a big fan of using bodyweight training during fat loss phases for myself and for clients. It’s an easy way to make sure that you’re getting plenty of metabolic work in while keeping the load light enough to where it won’t impact recovery.
I don’t love depending on bodyweight training alone at any point in time, especially when you’re trying to get shredded. Lifting weights is necessary for maintaining muscle mass while your calories are reduced. Plus it’s just nice to throw heavy shit around.
But using bodyweight circuits on off days or as finishers to a training day is a great tool to ramp up your fat burning efforts without putting a ton of strain on your joints or hindering your ability to recover from lifting sessions.
When you’re in a fat loss phase the whole point of everything your doing is to get shredded and become the epitome of sexy. That means you’re going to be eating fewer calories than normal. That much is obvious.
Where it’s not so obvious for a lot of folks out there is that with fewer calories in the tank you fatigue more quickly from both a metabolic and neurological perspective. Which means while you’re trying to get all sexy and show off your abs, if you’re doing really complex lifts you’re also increasing your risk of injury.
This is where bodyweight training shines.
The beauty of bodyweight training for fat loss is that it’s got a built in fail safe. Once you hit technical failure on a bodyweight move like a push-up you’re done for. And while failing at something like a push-up may suck, it’s a hell of a lot safer than failing with a few hundred pounds on your back during a squat.
The important deets.
Training for fat loss is pretty clear-cut nowadays.
Compound movements + reduced rest periods = getting shredded.
This is part of the reason why HIIT and Tabata training, which take roughly 20 minutes and 4 minutes, respectively, are so popular.
But those methods typically involve some sort of resistance or load. Obviously the only load with bodyweight training is your body. When the only load you’re moving around is one you deal with every single day it’s naturally going to take more time to reach the same level of metabolic demand that lifting weights would.
The caveat to that point is that’s if you’re relying on bodyweight training alone. Which unless you’re a complete jabroni, you’re mixing bodyweight and traditional weight training.
So you can get by with using quick bodyweight circuits as off day training sessions or finishers for the days spent tossing around the iron.
The best damn bodyweight circuit imaginable:
T spine flow x4 each side
Single leg hip thrust x12 each side
Perform 5 rounds, resting 45 seconds between each round.
Yogaplex x4 each side
Bodyweight lunge x15 each side
Inverted row x10
Perform 4 rounds, resting 30 seconds between each round.
Jumping lunges x10 each side
Side plank pulses x10 each side
Mountain climbers x20 each side
Perform 3 rounds, resting 20 seconds between each round.
Remember, bodyweight training is awesome, and it’s one of many tools that you can pull from in your fat loss toolbox. But like anything else, you can’t depend on it for everything.
This type of training works well as a quick and dirty off day metabolic workout and/or something you can use as a finisher a couple of times each week to get your heart rate up and take your fat burning efforts to the next level.
As always, if you’ve got any questions about incorporating bodyweight training for fat loss, or putting together your own fat loss program then don’t hesitate to reach out. We’ll put together the perfect program to get you shredded for the summer.