Reach Your Goals By Getting Some Air
A common mistake that a lot of new trainees tend to make is sticking with the very same workout plan for too long. Those three sets of twenty push ups may have been enough to tax your body a few weeks ago, but if you continue to follow that exact same set and rep scheme for too long, your progress will eventually cease.
In order to continue to achieve results, you need to try to make each workout progressively more difficult. There are plenty of simple strategies for turning up the intensity in your workouts; you can increase the amount of weight that you are using, increase the number of reps that you perform per set, increase the number of overall sets that you perform or some combination of all three.
If you’re a fan of bodyweight training and would like to stick to bodyweight movements, trying to add weight can seem a little tricky. You could opt to increase the number of sets or reps, which will work for a while, but you’d eventually end up investing an awful lot of time for each workout at some point in the not too distant future.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve got to abandon bodyweight training as your body gets physically stronger though. In fact, you can seriously crank up the intensity on two of the most popular bodyweight exercises out there by simply getting a little air underneath you.
The plyometric push up is one of my favorite variations for taking the traditional push up to a whole new level. Get yourself set into the top position of a traditional push up, lower your body to the ground. Once you’ve reached the bottom position immediately explode yourself back upward with enough force that you break contact with the ground. As your hands are off of the ground perform a single clap prior to returning them to the starting position to catch yourself.
The concept of the clapping push up is simple; it’s performing them that is hard. You’ve got to be very explosive from the bottom position in order to get the air necessary to perform the clap and very quick in order to get your hands back into position so that you don’t end up meeting the floor face first.
Squats are another great bodyweight exercise, but just as with the push up if you intend on increasing your intensity by adding reps your workouts will eventually border on endless. Fortunately you can crank up the heat on this bodyweight movement by getting a little air just as you did in the clapping push up.
The concept here is exactly the same as above, lower yourself down and then immediately push yourself up with enough force that your feet leave the ground. Make an effort to get some decent height on each ascent and land with your knees slightly bent rather than in a locked position.
These two variations are quite a bit more intense than the traditional movements, so you’ll need far less reps of each to get an adequate workout. The up side here is that you’ll be finished your workout in a lot less time than it would take if you were still performing regular push ups and squats, but you’ll need to be careful to not push your body too far too fast and risk injury.
Due to the increased intensity of clapping push ups and jumping squats, you should limit workouts containing these exercises to 2-3 days per week and always be sure to leave at least a day between workouts for adequate recovery.
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About Jeff Wilson Jeff Wilson has been involved in some form of sports and athletic training for more than two decades: as an athlete, a trainer and a writer.