How To Make A Bodyweight Workout Routine: The Ultimate Guide

 Bodyweight elevated push ups how to make a bodyweight workout routine.

First of all bodyweight exercises can be extremely productive especially if you have never done them before. For example, if you can’t do one push up but then by the end of the week you can do one or two. As a result of this, you’ve gotten stronger and built muscle and strength. In this article, you’ll learn exactly how to make your own bodyweight workout routine.

In reality, you’re not going to get as big and strong from bodyweight training as you are from a proper strength-based training program with weights. Just look at the strongest and biggest guys in the world they all use weights. You’re not going to be winning any powerlifting/strongman competitions with bodyweight training anytime soon. But you can still build an impressive physique. Don’t just take my word for it.

What You Can Expect With Bodyweight Training – A Good Bodyweight Workout Routine Is Super Effective

Bodyweight exercise's- Pistol squats. How to create a bodyweight workout routine.

The picture above is of Mark Lauren from the popular book you are your own gym. This goes to show what you can achieve with bodyweight training and good genetics.

This book is a fantastic guide to bodyweight exercises and goes to show that you can develop a strong healthy aesthetic physique with bodyweight training.

Bodyweight dip- Bodyweight workout routine.

Both of these physiques showcase top tier genetics with 1000’s of hours of bodyweight training. This goes to show that you can develop a fantastic physique with bodyweight exercises.

Why A Bodyweight Workout Routine Is Inferior To A Weight Training Routine But Is Still A Fantastic Option

To get bigger and stronger you need to utilise progressive overload. This is most easily achieved by adding weight to the bar, adding reps with the same weight, or using a larger range of motion with the same weight. These are just a few ways to use progressive overload.

With bodyweight training your exercises can get easy fairly quickly. What I mean by this is it isn’t difficult to build up to 20-30 push ups for most people. Then you’ll have to do more and more reps which basically turns a strength based exercise into more of a test of your endurance. A simple alternative for push ups would be to use elevated push ups which progresses the exercise to a more difficult variation. Eventually you’ll have to make each bodyweight exercise harder and harder the better you get at it. By doing this you’re progressing to a harder variation so that you can get stronger at the new exercise and utilise progressive overload. If someone goes from wall push ups to a one handed push up for reps this is like going from bench pressing with just the barbell to lifting an impressive weight.

It’s Easier To Add Weight Than Learning An Advanced Bodyweight Exercise

Although You Can Progress With A Bodyweight Workout Routine, It Won’t Be As Straightforward

The reason strength training is so good and convenient is because you simply just need to add weight or add reps. In contrast with bodyweight training you have to slightly change the exercise and there’s only so many times you can do that yet with proper strength training you can up the poundages for years, if you do things properly.

If you’re restricted to bodyweight only workouts then it’s still a great option and much better than nothing. Like I said you absolutely can gain strength and muscle by doing bodyweight training.

Now I’m going to list the most productive bodyweight training exercises too fast track your results.

Push Bodyweight Exercises

I’m going to start these exercises with the easiest variations first.

  1. Wall push ups
Bodyweight wall push ups - Bodyweight workout routine.

2. Counter push ups

Bodyweight counter push ups

3. standard push ups

Bodyweight standard push ups

4. Feet elevated push ups

Bodyweight elevated push ups

5. One handed push ups

One handed push ups

It’s most noteworthy that the chair dip and the parallel bar dip are great exercises if you have the equipment. This is because they target every head of your triceps and the parallel bar dip targets your Chest as well as your triceps. As a result of using these exercises you develop a great upper body. Similarly If you don’t have a dip bar you can use a counter top that has a right angle. This will result in a good dips station.

Parallel bar dips
Chair dips

Pull Exercises

I’m going to split these exercises into two variations. Horizontal and vertical pulls.

Bodyweight Horizontal Pulls

1.Let me up/ inverted row

 Inverted row. -Bodyweight workout routine.

2. Let me up with your feet on a stool/ chair.

Both of these exercise’s can be done with a supinated grip or a pronated grip.

A supinated grip means that your palms are facing you and targets your biceps more than the pronated grip.

Pronated grip ( your palms not facing you) this targets your back and lats to a greater degree.

For this exercise you can set up using two chairs. Do this by setting them up either side of each other. This should leave a gap so that you can fit between them easily. Lastly get a metal pole or a solid broom and put it between the top of the two chairs like in the picture.

Inverted row with elevated feet - Bodyweight workout routine.

Bodyweight Vertical Pulls

3. Chin up.

You can get a pull up bar on amazon for really cheap for your door frames ( bear in mind some people won’t have strong enough door frames so be careful). You can get pull up bars that bolt on too a concrete wall outside/ inside of your house. If that’s your preferred choice. These are fairly cheap on amazon. You can also use a strong beam in your house that supports your weight. Or a bar at a park or even a solid branch from a tree.

Chin ups - Bodyweight workout routine.

4. Pull ups.

These can be performed on exactly the same or similar equipment to a chin up.

 Pull up

Don’t worry if you can’t find anywhere to do chin ups or pull ups. If you need to buy a pull up bar and want to start your training now you can perform let me ups/ inverted rows instead while you wait for your pull up bar to come. And still reap good results.

Leg Exercises

  1. Bodyweight squats
Bodyweight squat

2. Body weight Bulgarian split squats

Bodyweight Bulgarian split squats - bodyweight workout routine.

3. Supported pistol squats

Bodyweight supported pistol squats. -Bodyweight workout routine.

4. Full pistol squat

Pistol squats demonstration -bodyweight workout routine.

How To Build Your Own Bodyweight Workout Routine

  1. Pick two leg exercises and do two sets per exercise to failure.

2. Pick two push exercises and perform two sets per exercise to failure.

3. Pick two pull exercises and perform for two sets per exercise to failure.

4. Do an ab circuit superset for two sets. I recommend bodyweight sit-ups paired with mountain climbers both to failure.

This gives you a solid full body routine.

Remember to track your reps on exercises and aim to surpass them every workout.

Training Routine Example

Here is an example of a full body workout with the previously mentioned guidelines.

1.Bodyweight squat two sets to failure.

2. Bulgarian split squats/ pistol squats (if you can do them) two sets to failure.

3. Push ups to failure for two sets.

4. Elevated push ups to failure for two sets.

5. Pronated (which means palms facing down )let me ups to failure for two sets.

6. Supinated let me ups (which means palms facing up) to target your biceps to a higher degree.

7. two sets of ab supersets with bodyweight sit ups and mountain climbers to failure.

Most noteworthy If you have the luxury of a pull up bar then you can do either pull ups/ chin ups instead of one of the let me up variations. If your really advanced you could do muscle ups.

If training to failure every set is difficult try to leave a rep in the tank or train to the last rep that you just manage to complete.

A Note On Warm Ups

For an easy effective warm up you don’t need to do anything spectacular. I like to do Forward arm circles for twenty reps followed up by reverse arm circles for twenty reps. A light jog on the spot for a minute can also be a good idea. Any sort of dynamic warm up can be acceptable. Remember your just trying to raise your body temperature and release synovial fluid in to your joints so that you can move better and reduce the likelihood of injury.

As its bodyweight only training the risk of injury is a lot less likely. It’s a completely different style of training in contrast to if you had 400 pounds on your back and you lost tightness when you were squatting and flexed your lumbar and gave yourself an injury. It’s no where near as intense as traditional heavy lifting.

How Many Times Per Week Should You Do This Workout?

You should do this at least 3- 5 times per week if you can do more and feel fine then great. Try it out and see what works for you. Because it’s only bodyweight training it won’t overly fatigue your central nervous system so you can train these muscles more often. If training full body is to intense you can try a push, pull , legs split or an upper, lower whole body split. Do what you enjoy and what you’re most likely to stick to.

Progressive Overload

Progressive overload is defined as – The gradual increase of stress placed upon the body during exercise training. In simple terms this means getting your body to do more than it has previously. This applies to weight training/ bodyweight training, cardio and other stressors you place on your body. You give your body a stimulus and it adapts. Your goal should be to do just a little more than last time.

For bodyweight training the primary way of utilising progressive overload is by adding reps. Another way of using progressive overload when using bodyweight training is to make the exercises harder. For example going from normal bodyweight squats to pistol squats or doing standard push up to a progression of elevated feet push ups.

Say for example you can only do ten wall push ups at the start of your bodyweight training journey. And then you get stronger and in a few weeks time you can do ten bodyweight standard push ups. This is the epitome of Progressive overload.

Progression On Your Full Body Bodyweight Program

So now that you’ve customised your workout using the previous guidelines and picked exercises based on your current capabilities. Now you have your workout written down and you’re ready to rock n roll.

So how do you use progressive overload in your training. Here I’m going to give you three workouts of progression to show how you can get stronger with this program for your push ups. You can also use this progression method with all bodyweight exercises. As a result of using progressive overload you will have bigger and stronger muscles. This is especially true if you are a beginner.

Exercise workout 1 workout 2 workout 3

Push ups 20 reps 22 reps 23 reps

You see It’s as easy as that. Progressive overload is simply the golden rule for your progress.

Remember this throughout your training career use it and you will make progress for a lifetime.

If that current variation of push ups gets to easy you can simply just do feet elevated push ups for all of your sets or even try elevated diamond push ups with a slightly higher elevation.

Equipment That You Already Have

If you can do pull ups/ chin ups for reps you can easily add weight to them. To add weight you just need to get a backpack fill it with books and you can add weight to your exercises. As a result of getting good at pull ups/ chin ups you will have well defined biceps and lats. Another way to do this is to fill a couple of empty gallon milk jugs or alternatively a water bottle the ( the big kind) for example if you used a big 15 litre bottle this would give you a 15kg weight you can do lateral raises, bicep curls or you could put it in a big back pack and do weighted chin ups.

Furthermore you can use a stack of books to do push ups on. As a result of doing these you will get a larger range of motion and a stronger chest.

You Are Limited To Your Own Creativity -Your Bodyweight Workout Routine Is Limited To How Creative You’re Willing To Be

First of all there are parks everywhere and all around us trees everywhere and odd shaped furniture and stool/chairs to do all sorts of bodyweight training that you can think of. If you buy some bands to do bodyweight training then you can mimic nearly all ordinary weight training exercise’s. You can also do weighted push ups by doing push ups with a heavy back pack.

Just know that for your bodyweight training your legs are the hardest to train. But they can be trained. It will just take sets of thirty + reps close to failure. This is only true for the more intermediate to advanced lifter that can squat twice his bodyweight for reps. If you’re new to bodyweight squats, push-ups or chin-ups/ inverted rows you can build plenty of muscle just doing these movements.

More Time Out Of The Gym = More Time To Spend On Your Nutrition – How To Make Your Own Bodyweight Workout Routine

If you’re new to training and keeping a daily food log that’s fine. It’s easy. Because you have less time spent commuting back and forward from the gym. As a result you can put that time into preparing your food. While getting more micronutrient dense foods. If you want to learn how to count your calories then just click on the link below.

The Bottom Line On How To Make Your Own Bodyweight Workout Routine

  1. You certainly can improve/ maintain you’re physique with bodyweight training. Just look at gymnasts.
  2. Furthermore, you need to use the right exercises.
  3. You need to be getting stronger on your exercises.
  4. If the exercise is easy try a harder variation and try and get more reps.
  5. Above all progressive overload is the golden rule.
  6. Finally your limiting your own creativity. Go to a callisthenics/normal park. Try making your own weights, like we previously discussed.

Lastly, for further reading and a wealth of information. Not only on bodyweight exercises but on training in general click on the link below. Stronger by science has lots of fantastic information.

I hope this article has been of value to you and showed you how to create your own bodyweight workout routine. If you have any questions or need any extra help comment below or send me an email at I answer every email.

Published by henrypaget

Hi, I'm Henry and it's my mission to help you succeed with your fitness & health.

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