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Turn it up — How static holds can transform your bodyweight workouts

20160619_134019One common question I get regarding bodyweight training is “the exercises are too easy now, how can I make them more challenging?”

This is not only a good question, it is the question when it comes to bodyweight training.

I spend a large chunk of my book dealing with this very problem.

There are many ways to address this but an increasingly common solution I recommend is to use static holds in conjunction with full range of motion movements.

This approach can work great for exercises where you can smash out tonnes of reps. Bodyweight squats, for example, are too easy to be effective as strength exercises for many people so sets of 50-100 reps are a waste of time unless you’re doing them for conditioning.

Instead of doing that, try this protocol:

Half squat isohold 10s > Squats x10 > Half squat isohold 8s > Squats x8 > Half squat isohold 6s > Squats 6

Now, this is just one scheme you could work with. Here I’m reducing the hold times and the full reps that follow by two each time. I guarantee you this will transform your squats in quad burners, making them ideal for both conditioning and strength.

However you choose to do it, isoholds (isometric/static holds) demand more muscle fiber activation and therefore put your muscles in a position where they are forced to fire more during the dynamic reps.

To try this idea out, maybe you could perform isohold/full exercise pairs so you can see the challenge you are presenting to your muscles and nervous system.

For example:

Push ups: Half position isohold 5s > 10-15 full reps

As I mentioned, this is a great method to employ with exercises you find are just too easy but obviously beneficial to do for strength and conditioning.

There is a point where an easy exercise becomes ineffective if you keep pushing it the same way. With the method I describe above, you can confidently return to using familiar and awesome exercises without external weight or going to sleep halfway through a mega set!

For more examples of how to transform bodyweight exercises for strength and conditioning grab my book on Amazon — Skip The Gym and Get Strong Anyway.

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