Blog / Guest Post / Bodyweight Training (By Mr Julian Lim)

Bodyweight Training (By Mr Julian Lim) April 11, 2013 in Guest Post Training by Edwin Chew


With the current hectic lifestyle of modern society, many individuals find it hard to prioritize exercise as part of an active everyday routine. Family, work, travel and expensive gym memberships are the few reasons that hinder our motivation to keep active. Thus, it is time we explore a return to basic calisthenics; bodyweight training. Such training allows an individual to work in a 3-dimensional or multiplanar environment to overcome the force of gravity. Common types of bodyweight training include push-ups, squats and sits-ups


Advantages of bodyweight training

Most bodyweight exercises are closed-chain exercises, which use multiple joints as the resistance is moved away from or toward an anchored body part. Closed-chain exercises are deemed more effective as they strengthen several muscle groups at once. Bodyweight training also develops relative strength; the ability of an individual to move a load as a certain percentage of their bodyweight. This develops strength that incorporates more core stability and joint stabilization relative to an individual’s bodyweight. Furthermore, this form of training is greatly accessible and versatile, and can be done anywhere and anytime with minimal equipment. Take a look at gymnasts, some of the strongest and most skilled athletes in the world. They often use their own bodyweight to develop greater strength during training.

Training progressions

Progressions in bodyweight training can be a little challenging, but the key is to being able to manipulate several training variables. The push-up will be used to illustrate the following points.

  1. Exercise technique:

-          Proper exercise technique ensures that more muscle groups are being utilized.

-          Keeping a straight line between the heels and head during push-ups ensures that the gluteus , abdominal and shoulder muscles are engaged to stabilize the movement


  1. Sets and repetitions

-          These would depend on the training goal

-          As a general guide,

Strength                           = more sets + less repetitions + moderate rest interval

Muscular endurance       = less sets + more repetitions + short rest intervals


  1. Various speeds and tempos

-          This depicts the pace or how fast an exercise is done.

-          Fast concentric tempo would assist power development (clap push-ups)

-          Slow eccentric tempo would assist hypertrophy development (slow lowering of push-up position)


  1. Varying the base of support

-          A smaller base of support would increase the exercise difficulty

-          Changing the push-up from four point stance (2 feet and 2 hands support) to three point stance (1 foot and 2 hands support)



Bodyweight training is an effective means of strength development when time and equipment are not available, but it does require instruction on technique and proper progression. Thus, a qualified personal trainer (Mr Edwin Chew) is recommended to be on hand to ensure the safest and most effective training program for any individual.