Bodyweight HIT Workouts

Bodyweight squats on the UXSLast April I mentioned SuperSlow bodyweight squats in a comment on the post Time. A reader asked about the difference in weight one would use when switching from performing squats at a 2/2 cadence to to a 10/10 cadence and I suggested he try them with just his bodyweight to get a feel for how much harder it is when moving that slowly. A lot of people gave them a try and I’ve also had a few in-the-gym and phone clients do these and the response has been interesting. One person who tried them and has incorporated them in his sons’ workouts told me his family refers to them as “damned fucking hell squats”.

If you haven’t experienced them you might be wondering if they’re really that intense. You probably won’t believe me if you don’t try it, so stand up right now, move your chair out of the way or set your phone or iPad down and try this. Ladies, if you’re wearing heels take ’em off.

  • Stand with your feet approximately shoulder width, toes angled out slightly.
  • Look straight ahead, chin slightly down. Breathe through your mouth.
  • Hold your arms straight out in front of you with your hands at shoulder height.
  • Bend your knees slightly and tuck your hips under (this is fine when squatting with body weight or a hip belt).
  • Settle back so your weight is slightly more over your heels than the balls of your feet.
  • Very slowly squat down until the tops of your thighs are slightly below your knees. This should take at least ten seconds.
  • As you approach the bottom gradually slow to a stop, do not stop suddenly.
  • Hold the bottom position motionless for at least three secondsDo not sit on your calves or rest in any way.
  • Do not lean forwards onto the balls of your feet or sit back too far onto your heels. Keep your weight just slightly more over your heels.
  • Very slowly begin to stand back up. Barely move at first, taking a few seconds just to rise the first inch.
  • As you begin to rise, focus on contracting your glutes and keeping your hips tucked under.
  • Continue to rise very slowly, only going back up about half way. Your knees should still be bent around 45 degrees at the top. This should take at least ten seconds.
  • Do not pause at the top. Immediately but slowly turnaround and begin the negative.
  • Repeat for as many repetitions as possible in strict form. When you are no longer capable of positive (upwards) movement continue to hold for another five to ten seconds.

If you’re not sure about the cadence go to Metronome Online and set the metronome to 60 bpm. Make sure your volume is on.

If you really want a challenge next time you workout start with these, then do the same for chin ups, push ups, inverted rows, half dive-bomber push ups (similar movement to overhead presses), and heel raises. On the chin ups and inverted rows hold for three seconds at the top of the first two reps, then starting with the third repetition hold and squeeze for five; use the squeeze to “empty out” your biceps, back, and rear delts. Turnaround just shy of lockout at the bottom of the pulling movements and the top of the push ups; no resting! On heel raises hold the stretch at the start and hold (first two reps) then squeeze at the top (starting with the third).

When you reach momentary muscular failure keep contracting for five to ten seconds then immediately move to the next exercise. You should move slowly during the exercises but very quickly between them.

A few months ago I resumed alternating bodyweight workouts on the UXS with my regular workouts and I started training on it exclusively in July when I started working on a new design and HIT-based bodyweight program to go with it. I’ve come up with dozens of workouts and variations, but the following is a favorite and might interest those wanting to focus more on arm development:

  • Timed Static Contraction Arm Curls followed immediately by…
  • Chin Ups
  • Timed Static Contraction Triceps Extensions followed immediately by…
  • Push Ups
  • Squats
I do these on the UXS using one of the dip bars for the arm curls and triceps extensions but you could do them with the safety bar in a power rack set to elbow height, or with no equipment at all. To perform TSC for biceps with no equipment bend your elbows placing the inside of your wrists on your chest close to the middle with the heels of your palms just under your collarbones. Press your wrists against your chest contracting your biceps for 90 seconds; moderately hard for 30 seconds, then almost as hard as you can for 30 seconds, then as hard as you feel you can safely contract for 30 seconds. To do this for your triceps, sit down on a chair or bench or kneel and lean forward slightly, placing the backs of your wrists on your thighs just above your knees. Press them against your thighs for 90 seconds, using the same progression. The advantage of this is it allows you to start chin ups or push ups almost immediately afterwards in the absence of a power rack or other suitable equipment. If necessary, the entire routine can be done with nothing but a chin up bar and some empty floor space.

If you give it a try let me know what you think in the comments.

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