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Bodyweight Exercise Guidelines

Do not skip the warm up or cool down.

For building strength use the High Intensity Super-slow Protocol. The goal is to reach failure in the movement pattern being exercised in 60-90 seconds.Then when you cannot move in that pattern, continue your exertion for 10 more seconds. You should be feeling a burn during that 10 seconds, but once you stop the burn should disappear immediately.

Move extremely slowly to activate, challenge (and ultimately strengthen) all muscle fibers involved in that movement pattern. Moving too quickly creates momentum and bypasses muscle fibers. For most exercises a 10/10 tempo is good: 10 seconds lifting and 10 seconds lowering, taking care to keep the muscles flexed through the transitions, and also taking care not to rest at the top or the bottom of the movement. It's important not to unload the muscles being worked.

Take at least 60 seconds rest between each exercise. For bodyweight strength-building exercises, you should generally have full recovery between each exercise.

Where there is a progression of exercises, perform only one exercise in the progression per workout. When you can perform an exercise using the super-slow protocol and you do not reach failure within 2 minutes, move to the next exercise in the progression.

Core and Lower Body Workout

Warm Up
Perform a standard strength workout warm-up routine.


Note: All video links are to YouTube videos made by others, and those videos may or may not still be available. NONE of the videos use a super-slow protocol. Do what they are doing, only much, much more slowly - 10 seconds in one direction, 10 seconds in the other...


Squat Progression

  1. Assisted squat  video
  2. Overhead squat with dowel or light bar video
  3. Assisted single-leg squat  video
  4. Single-leg squat video

Bridge Progression

  1. Bridge  video
  2. Single-leg bridge  video

Stability Ball Hamstring Curl Progression

  1. Two leg  video
  2. Single leg   (no video)

Lateral Squat Progression  video

  1. Assisted without weight (like video but without weight and using straps - or something else - for support)
  2. Without weight (like video)
  3. With weight (exactly like video)

Monster walk  video
        or (not body weight)
Lateral leg raise (hip abduction)  video


Plank Set (not a progression)

Perform all 3 for maximum time with goal of 90 seconds (each). Rest 60 seconds between each exercise.

  1. Front (face down)
  2. Side (90 seconds goal each side)
  3. Back (face up)
Cool Down
Perform a standard shoulder cool-down routine or go for a walk.

Back to Strength Workouts Directory.


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