6 Techniques to Add Variety to Bodyweight Exercises

different bodyweight techniques

Bodyweight exercises should be included in everyone’s strength training program to some degree. Heck, some people train with bodyweight workouts exclusively out of necessity or personal preference. So how can you change them up so you don’t bored doing the same thing every time and can keep getting stronger and achieving body-transformation results?

For the past year most of my workouts have consisted of bodyweight exercises and several months ago they started to get a little stale so I added some variety by using different techniques to make the same old exercises somewhat “new” again, and more challenging.

Below you’re going to see six ways to add variety to bodyweight exercises. These training techniques will present new challenges and shake out the cobwebs if you’re tired of doing the exercises the same way for weeks or months straight.

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How to Perform Assisted Handstand Push-ups

assisted handstand push-upHandstand push-ups are a great bodyweight exercise not only for your shoulders, but for building upper body pressing strength.

Most people can’t kick into a handstand and bust out a flawless handstand push-up from day one. This exercise usually requires slow and steady progression, but once you can do one, it’s definitely a great accomplishment.

You’ve seen handstand push-up progressions on Lift Like a Girl before, but today you’re going to learn a unique way to perform assisted handstand push-ups.

Before you watch the demonstration video I will note that you should not attempt this exercise unless you can hold a handstand (feet resting again a wall or other object is fine) for at least one minute. You need to be comfortable being in the handstand position and have the strength to hold your bodyweight for one minute or more, otherwise you may attempt this exercise and smash your face on the ground. Don’t do that.

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Fast & Furious Bodyweight Ladder Workout

Fast & Furious Bodyweight Ladder WorkoutYes, I know the title is somewhat stupid (okay, really stupid) for a workout, but it’s catchy. It’s also appropriate because . . .

Sometimes you just want a quick, tough workout.

Sometimes you need a workout you can perform at home when you can’t make it to the gym.

And sometimes, when you have a home gym and it’s a frosty and frigid 20 degrees in the garage and you don’t feel like putting on 37 layers of clothes and doing an extra long warm-up just to work out, you need a back-up workout that can be done in the comfort of your living room.

The latter applied to me the other day when it was in the teens outside and I wasn’t in the mood to bundle up and face the cold in my garage home-gym. Instead of skipping my workout all together and sipping a hot cup of peppermint tea, I decided to do a bodyweight workout in the comforting warmth of my living room. This is a perk of bodyweight-only workouts; you can do them absolutely anywhere.

Moving on . . . I wanted a “fast and furious” workout – something that would force me to work hard but I could complete quickly. What I came up with was a 25 minute(ish) bodyweight workout that included four exercises done in a 10-1 ladder fashion. You’ve seen how to use ladders for building strength on Lift Like a Girl before, but the 10-1 ladder in this workout results in much higher reps per exercise and isn’t focused on building maximum strength.

Let’s look at the workout and explain how to perform the 10-1 ladder.

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You Don’t Need a Gym to Get Fit – Try This Playground Workout

Playground Workout
photo by Carl Wycoff: some rights reserved

Outdoor workouts, or, in this case, playground workouts, are a terrific way to not only get in an effective workout, but to also get some fresh air and sunshine.

While lifting heavy barbells, hosting dumbbells, and using other machines and tools  available at your local gym are certainly terrific for strength training and building the body you want, it’s not mandatory.

In fact, I have a home gym loaded with lots of goodies, but it’s not required to get fit, improve your health, lose fat, and have fun with your training.

As I’ve discussed before, sometimes I get downright bored with traditional workouts and crave a change of pace. This is when playground workouts can really come in handy. You can get outside, do something different (which can be just a mentally stimulating as it is physical), and even have some fun.

Below is a video I filmed in the late winter of 2013 when I was visiting my home state of Tennessee. Instead of using the workout facility where we were staying, we stumbled upon a great little playground area. Check out the exercises we performed (in addition to some . . . umm . . . productive “resting activities” between exercises) and then I’ll show you how to make each exercise easier and more challenging.

Here’s the video:

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A Great, Underused, Single Leg Exercise You Should be Performing

Lateral LungeThere are so many great exercises that some of them, unfortunately, can go unnoticed or get left behind.

Today you’re going to see one of my personal favorite, underutilized, single leg exercises.

The lateral lunge.

You’ll also see the many benefits this exercise has to offer, reasons to include it in your program, and several progressions from beginner to advanced variations.

First, let’s kick this off with the demonstration video and then I’ll provide some additional coaching cues and information for proper performance.

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3 Bodyweight Exercises You Should Try for Glutes, Shoulders, and Legs

bodyweight exercises

It’s no secret that I like bodyweight workouts and exercises.

Not only can bodyweight workouts be the ultimate time-saver (because you can do the workouts absolutely anywhere) but there are dozens of excellent exercises you can use that will help you get stronger, sculpt some muscle, improve your overall health, and lose body fat.

Below you’re going to see three bodyweight exercises you can use for targeting your glutes, shoulders, and legs.

And let me just say — many people think bodyweight exercises are “too easy”. Well, if you try these exercises (which you absolutely should) prepare to be humbled.

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5 Extreme Bodyweight Strength Exercises

alkI’m super excited to share this great guest post with you courtesy of Al Kavadlo the author of Pushing the Limits! Total Body Strength with No Equipment and Raising the Bar: The Definitive Guide to Bar Calisthenics.

In this article he’s going to share 5 advanced bodyweight strength exercises. If these are too advanced for you right now, then check out progressions for hip thrusts, pistols, push-ups, and handstand push-ups that will show you how to work your way from beginner to advanced variations.

Oh, and don’t think for a second that bodyweight exercises aren’t challenging or won’t help you build a better looking, stronger body. We’ve already busted those bodyweight workout myths.


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Busting Bodyweight Exercise Myths – The Truth about Building a Better Body with Bodyweight Workouts

IMG_0418 (640x480) - CopyIt’s always fun to take a sledge hammer to popular myths. We’ve done it before with 6 Female Strength Training Myths that Won’t Die.

Today, we’re gonna shatter some common bodyweight exercise and workout myths.

Loosen up your arm and let’s start swingin’!


Myth #1 – You Can’t Get Strong With Bodyweight Exercises

Yes, you can get crazy strong with bodyweight exercises. But please keep in mind the rule of specificity. There’s a difference between getting strong on the powerlifts (squat, bench press, and deadlift) and being able to perform advanced bodyweight exercises such as pistols and handstand push-ups. The term “strength” is relative and we must keep things in context.

Will you become a world record powerlifter using nothing but bodyweight exercises? No, of course not.

Can you constantly challenge yourself, increase your strength, and accomplish great physical feats with bodyweight exercises? Of course.

There’s no arguing that an individual who can perform L sit pull-ups, one arm push-ups, pistols, handstand push-ups, and other advanced bodyweight exercises is strong.

handstand pushup

I recommend moonwalking after completing a set of handstand push-ups, but the choice is yours

Building strength with bodyweight exercises is a huge plus for trainees who can’t perform heavy barbell lifts. Whether it’s due to a lack of equipment or, as was  my case for a long time, due to an injury. I tweaked my back over a year ago and I couldn’t squat, deadlift, or press a barbell without being in pain.

But, I still wanted to be strong.

My solution? Focus on what I COULD do – and that was bodyweight exercises.

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Women CAN’T Do Pull-ups (Guest Post)

IMG_0419 (640x480)Howdy, everyone! I’m excited to bring you a terrific guest post by fellow Beautiful Badass Shawna Kaminski.

Here’s an awesome fact about Shawna – she can do more pull-ups than most men I know. And she’s almost 50. Shawna’s a serious badass!

Got your attention didn’t I?

It’s true. According to the New York Times and a study from the University of Daytona, women CAN’T do pull ups. Researchers came up with all kinds of reasons for the fact that in this particular study, exercise physiologists were unsuccessful in getting their subjects to achieve an unassisted pull up. Clearly if these ‘experts’ couldn’t get this group of 17 women to do at least ONE pull up, it’s fair to assume that NO WOMAN should be able to do a pull up ever. Right?

Go ahead, sit back down on the couch girls. The experts have spoken.

Oh dear, I need to go find my pull up bar and knock out a few sets. Even though I’d be the least likely candidate to be able to do multiple sets of multiple reps of pull ups…

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Christmas Gift Ideas

It’s December first and Christmas is right around the corner, and I did something for the first time this year – I completed the majority of my Christmas shopping by the second week of November. I have never shopped this early, but I’m determined to get it done and out of the way. In fact, I think I only have two more things to get.

Today I’m going to share with you some awesome Christmas gift ideas. You can get these for the Beautiful Badass in your life or add them to your own personal wish list.

In no particular order:

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