This is The Stephane Andre and today I’m talking about how you can gain muscle anywhere and anytime. The solution, this bodyweight plan. Maybe you think you can’t gain a lot of muscle with it, but this is the first step to build a solid foundation.
When I decided to be in shape, I didn’t have the money to buy a gym membership. I used a bodyweight workout to be stronger and it learn me the basic movements to use gym equipment. When I am in a hotel and I don’t have the time to train, this is amazing. This kind of workout is very helpful for people who are under 16 years old and want to have a better body.
you know people who gained muscle years ago, and when you see them
now, they gained fat instead? Generally, it’s because of a change in
their life and they don’t have the time to train anymore. It’s sad.
now or never to bring sexy back anytime, anywhere, no matter what
changes in life.
Full bodyweight workout plan
Do this plan 2 to 3 times a week with at least one day of rest between. This workout plan can be done in 2 ways:
For each exercise do 4 sets of the maximum repetitions you can do
For each exercise do the maximum of repetition you can do for 30 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds and go to the next exercise.
can alternate these two training’s type in a week.
with a warmup of 20 jumping jacks
push up (chair or bench)
(chair or bench)
this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.
Before to read this article, I advise you to read Find The Gym For Your Goals Part 1 et Part 2; Back To The Source Of Equipment Part 1 et Part 2; Back To The Source Of Human Strength Part 1 et Part 2.If you already read it, continue and have fun.
A strong body is a healthy body, you have heard this many times but it’s not easy to do. Starting a new workout can be intimidating. It’s, for this reason, a lot of people fail.
How you will train
To start, you have to find out what kind of strength training you want to do. It depends on the equipment and your goals. Here are several types of training programs :
With a bodyweight training, you need little equipment (or not at all) and you can train everywhere (home, hotel, playground, workplace). As long as you have room to move, you can train.
If you like bodyweight training, take a pull-up bar and a set of gymnastics rings. If you’re really a beginner, an exercise band can assist you in the movement like pull ups and dips.
If is that you can do bodyweight training without equipment, the disadvantage is that you need to constantly change exercises difficult to be sure to progress.
Dumbbells are excellent for starting a workout with weight for several reasons.
First, gyms always have a good set of dumbbells. If you want to train at home, you can buy a set of adjustable dumbbells (that’s how I started in my bedroom).
The second reason is that dumbbells allow you to add a small amount of weight to do an exercise and exercise with dumbells are less intimidating that exercise with a barbell. For example, if you’re a beginner, starting with a 20kg (45lbs) barbell is a bit too much.
Dumbbells also allow you to work your symmetry and allow you to balance the strength of your right side and left side of your body. It’s ridiculous to have an arm or a leg extremely bigger and stronger as the other.
If you can’t finish a repetition, it’s easy to throw dumbbells on the floor compared to a barbell. For a beginner, it’s excellent for learning movements.
The disadvantage is that to evolve, you need to buy new dumbbells and this can be expensive. A gym membership is handy to avoid this problem.
If your goal is to gain only strength, this is the recommended option. Barbell allows you to progress cleanly and quickly by adding a small amount of weight each week.
A barbell is really stable because you use your 2 hands instead of 1 hand for dumbbells so it’s easy to lift heavy (especially for the lower body like squat of deadlift). For exercises like the squat or the press, you can use the rack to load and unload weights safety.
The disadvantage is that to do this at home, you need to have a squat rack, a barbell, a bench and enough weight plates in your house or in your garage. A gym membership is handy to avoid this problem.
What’s the best way to train?
The barbell is optimal for gaining strength. Bodyweight training is good but you have to seriously motivate you to train at home.
Sometimes you have to adapt to the situation to be able to do your training. When I travel a bodyweight training is perfect if I don’t have access to a gym.
But the best workout is when you lift heavy. Nothing can replace squat, deadlift and body weight pull up.
There are also other ways to have a strength training like rock climbing, yoga or parkour.
Choose the program to follow
Never go to the gym without having a plan. To get results, it’s necessary to have a plan to track your progress.
For to make a lot of progress, a beginner can have a full body program of 3 times a week with a day off between training days. Be sure that the program you choose matches your goals, A powerlifters will have a different training from a bodybuilder or an endurance athlete.
In my article Back To The Source Of Human Strength Part 1 and Part 2, I talk about numbers of repetitions and their goals :
Reps in the 1-5 range build super dense muscle and strength
Reps in the 6-12 range build a somewhat equal amount of muscular strength and muscular endurance.
Reps in the 12+ range build muscular endurance and size
Many beginner strength training programs say to do 5 sets of 5 repetitions to optimize progress to gain strength.
With a circuit or superset, you do a set of each exercise in an order and you repeat the process.
For example :
20 bodyweight squat
10 push ups
20 walking lunges
10 dumbell rows
15 second plank
30 jumping jacks
Repeat all these 5 times to do 5 sets
In traditional strength program, you do a complete set of an exercise, you rest and you do another set of the same exercise and so on.
For example :
If your goal is to be healthy and lose weight, you don’t need to focus on strength, a circuit (superset) is perfect.
This allows you to spend less time at the gym and to make up your high heart rate longer.
If your goal is to have more strength and have more muscle, choose a traditional strength training.
One important thing, your diet corresponds to 80-90 % of your success or failure. The quality of your diet will help you gain strength and lose fat.
When you choose a workout to develop your strength, be sure to increase the difficulty over time. To become stronger, you need to write a plan. This can be to do one more squat, lift 2kg (5lbs) more or do your circuit (superset) 10 seconds faster.
The main goal is to always be better than the last time, this is what ensures the continuity of being stronger and faster.
You can write your own training program or fortunately, there is a lot of excellent beginner program.
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Frequent bodybuilding’s athletes are often confronted with acromioclavicular diseases.
This doesn’t happen in the same way as with sports like rugby, football, riding or combat sport with projections where the shoulder joint can be damaged by a fall or violent contact which leads to acromioclavicular dislocation with a ligament tear.
In bodybuilding, it’s micotraumatism caused by excessive, repetitive and poorly controlled work of the shoulder joint.
The pain happens little by little and after a while, pain prevents doing exercises like bench press or dips.
When doctors examine the acromioclavicular joint, it’s painful to pressure and slightly swollen.
It’s a problem without real gravity but the cure is long. The joint capsule and ligaments stretched because of inflammation, which give play to the joint. It takes some times for the entire articulation to return to its inital size.
Firstly, it’s necessary to stop the upper body training for 2 weeks
Note : from a bone view’s point, the upper limb connected to the bust by the clavicle which goes from the sternum to the scapla. In bodybuilding workouts, clavicular joints are often over-solicited and this create inflammatory pathologies of wear and tear.
Back to train
When upper body workout starts again, it’s necessary not to do bench press, dips and all movements with pushed down for at least 2 months. This is important to avoid re-stretching acromioclavicular ligaments.
Military press with barbell/dumbbell, inclined bench press and all movements with pusched up are allowed as they stabilize acromioclavicular joint. These movements limit the risk of ligament stretching.
If these tips aren’t respected. The joint inflammation will continue causing intra-articular calcifications and seriously compromising a sport career.
These acromio-calvicular inflammations often occur after excessive training with the bench press due to a poorly controlled movements, with a too rapid descent, rebounding on the torso, sets too long and jerky.
The bench press in powerlifter’s style can also trigger inflammatory pathologies.
It’s for this reason that, at the least suspicious pain, it’s necessary to stop these movements for a time and to replace them by cable chest fly, dumbbells movement with a certain inclinaison of the bench for continue working chest.
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To do squat, there are differents equipements, we name it « racks ». Let’s go.
It’s 2 pieces standing, next to each other to hold the Olympic bar. It’s handy because it’s portable and you can do squat outside. But in a gym, it’s not great because you can’t put heavy weights, it’s too fragile.
It’s 2 bars that are standing tied with horizontal bars. With the Squat racks, you can put heavy weights.
It’s my favorite. It looks like a large rectangle with poles in vertical and horizontal. The Power racks have holes for placing J-hooks to adjust the height of Olympic bar. What is cool is that you can do several exercices with like pull-up, bench press, overhead press and dips.
Smith machine looks like Squat racks except that the bar is guided.
Gym staff will tell you that it’s a machine to do squat safe. I don’t advise to use this machine because it forces your body to make unnatural movements. This scientific study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19855308 ) shows that you have better results with a squat with free weights.
The difference between Squat racks and Smith machine is that the bar where you put weights is fixed on Smith machine.
Weight machines are in 2 categories : Pin loaded (stack machine) and Plate loaded. Pin machines have a rectangular weight stack with a hole to put the pin. More the pin is low, more the weight is heavy to lift. What is cool with this machines is that you don’t need to look for weights anywhere in the gym.
With Plate loaded, there is no weights attached to the machine. You put weights on the machine yourself. Plate loaded machines have a wider range of motion than Pin loaded.
No matter the size or design of the cable machie, it will always be a pin loaded (stack machine). A handle is at the end of the cable and you can pull or push in different directions. Cable machine can be an alternative for some exercices you do with dumbbells or barbells. Cable machine has a wider range of motion.
You know in most gyms, there is no real pullup bar (like in my gym). If you don’t find a freestanding bar, there are several alternatives like power rack, smith machine or the top of the cable machine.
Usually dips station is integrated into the power rack or the cable machine. You can find some that are freestanding.
Assisted Pullup /Dip station
It’s a Pin loaded (stack machine). You choose a weight and you put yourself on the platform. The weight you choose will help you to do pullups or dips. For pullups, I advise you to do Lat pulldown and the day where you can lift your bodyweight, you do freestanding pullup.
Ajustables benches and standard flat benches are types of benches you will see in a gym. To do incline and decline exercices, ajustable bench is perfect. Benches are the equipement the most use in a gym, especially on Monday. I don’t know why but Monday is the international chest’s day and it’s hard to find a bench that day.
Squat stand and Squat rack are use to do bench press in small gyms and Crossfit. In big gyms, there are special bench press with a stand attached.
Now you know the main gym’s equipment, I will show you small equipement items.
There are several collars/clips designs but they have the same purpose that is to keep weights safe on the bar.
There are several type of plates :
Standard metal plates/ rubber encased weight plates
They’re made of metal and they shouldn’t be thrown to the ground. There are circle with the denomination of weight on. Depending on the weight, they have different diameters.
They’re made of rubber and can be thrown to the ground for above your head (clean and jerk).
Plates can have a denomination in kilograms or pounds :
You can also find plates with a combination of metal and rubber that can be thrown to the ground but not from aboe you head.
This is looks like a cannon balls with handles. Most gym don’t have the same weight repertoire than dumbells but it’s possible to find kettelbells of 24kg (53lbs) and 31.75 (70lbs) and more.
The translation is « Glute Ham Raise » or « Glute Ham Developer ». With this you can do glute ham raise, back extension or sit ups.
Put weights on a prowler and push or pull while you run.
If you don’t intend to make a strongman competition, kegs, yokes, hammers, tires and atlas stones are good to do from time to time.
These boxes have several size. You jump on and off of.
Those are big rubber bans to work mobility and speed lifts.
It’s funny because people ask me often : « What do I wear ? ». I noticed in gyms, it’s often a fashion show. It’s for this reason beginners are impressed. Unless you have an injury, clothes don’t matter. When I started, I took some clothes that I rarely used and I always do that. Sometimes I see people with cool clothes and I say to myself : « Wow, I have to buy it » and when I see theirs performances I say to myself : « Pffff, show-off ! ».
Gym isn’t a fashion show. You’re not going to win a prize because you’re well dressed. We’re here to sweat so wearing comfortable clothes. You know, my clothes and shoes are torn and the funny thing is that people ask me, if they can train with me because they see my body evolve.
It’s important to have a good pair of shoes to do deadlift and squat. A good pair of shoes allows you to put your weight on your heels to be as stable as possible. Running shoes don’t allow you to do this because their soft soles. If you don’t have the budget for this type of shoes, the classic Converse Chuck Taylor All Star works well and is what many top powerlifters still wear.
Personally I use my Converse Chuck Taylor All Star for my strenght training and my Puma to run.
Gloves are used to protect hands from callouses. At the beginning, I wore gloves and I still had callouses and sometimes my hands slipped inside gloves because of the sweat. I notices that gloves could also mess up your grip and technique. I don’t use gloves and I don’t recommand to have gloves.
Wraps allow you to have support and stability when you lift heavy weights (squat/deadlift).
Straps allow you to hold the bar longer in your hands. Straps are wrapped around the bar which relives your grip. It’s excellent for intermediate and advanced lifters. Beginners don’t need to use it.
There are 2 type of weightlifting belt : leather or velcro. It’s very usefull for intermediate and advanced lifters. I use my weightlifting belt only for deadlift and squat.
Stop, stop, stop, I see you start to worry about buyiing all this. Don’t panic, the most important thing to have is a good pair of shoes to get started. It’s simple, let’s go my friend.
Whats’s the biggest mistake you made when you started lifting ?
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Very often in gym’s advertisements, we watch a lot of high-tech machines to do exercises and the free weight zone is a small hidden room.
What I see in my gym, it’s people start their training with a little bit cardio and they use machines. They do this because it’s easier and this look more secure. Unfortunately, this is not the reality. The Matrix trap us with these machines.
Attention : If you have a medical prescription or you need to use machines for a special reason, continue to follow your training program prescribed by your doctor or physiotherapist.
The truth is that machines force muscles and joints to make movements that aren’t natural.
Machines force your body to move weights in a single pattern (up – down or left – right). Our bodies naturally don’t move like it, this is the problem. Movements or our bodies aren’t straight lines, it’s rather « S ». The result is that machines develop our muscles in a way that isn’t balanced and they endanger our joints and spine.
Like you can see, machines don’t put your body in safety and in addition, they don’t work your stabilizing muscles. Don’t work stabilizing muscles is very bad for everyday activities.
When you bent forward to take something on the floor, you body use a dozen and a dozen muscles at the same time. But since you no longer work your stabilizing muscles because of machines, your muscles don’t know how to work together so your body uses a muscle.
« Smith Machine » is famous to do squat in safety so it protects your back. Lie ! This machine is perfect to destroy your back and compressed your spine because this machine force your body to move only up and down. The real squat allow to do the fundamental movement and when you do it, you notice that your body doesn’t do a straight line from up to down. With the real squat you do a natural movement.
Do exercise with weight or with bodyweight is more efficient to burn calories than machines.
All exercises classified in 2 categories : pull and push
I remember, I did a full body training program for 1 year before lift weight. This is what my Taekwondo’s teacher advised me and he was right (wow, Korean wisdom). A full body training program, 3 times per week is more efficient than a machines training program, 5-6 times per week for beginners. If you want to train more, you can do Tai-Chi or walking during rest days.
Full body is important
With full body, you learn to each body’s muscle to work together, you synchronize you body. This is allow you to be healthy, avoid using too much a muscle and avoid injury due to a weak stabilizing muscle. To maximize your body, eat healthy and you’ll burn more fat, build muscle and build a body of which you’re proud.
What is great with a full body training program, it’s when you skip a training day, it doesn’t matter. You’ll not have certain muscle more developed than any others because each training session work all body’s muscles
Bodyweight (full body)
Mastering basics movements with bodyweight is perfect to prepare you for a training with weights.
It’s primitive movements therefore natural that allow you to become stronger without material.
The best example are gymnasts. Look gymnasts body, it’s amazing, impressive and the majority of their training are with bodyweight exercises.
Push = push up, dips, handstands
Pull = pull up, body rows
Legs = bodyweight squat, pistols squats, lunges, box jumps
For each exercise, you do 2-4 sets of 8-10 repetitions.
No it’s too simple ! =>Do this training program and if it’s too easy, increase the difficulty. You can do push up with one hand or pull up with one hand (like my friend Inti). You can also add more set ou repetition.
No it’s too difficult => Do this training program and if it’s too difficult, decrease the difficulty. You can do sets of 3 repetitions. The principle is you progress to do 4 sets of 10 repetitions. Take your time but be regular.
No I want abs => When you do squat, push up and pull up, you keep your core tight and by this way you work your abs. But if you want to do an exercise specially for abs, you can to plank and side plank.
Strength training (full body)
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a man or a woman, dumbbells and barbells are your friends.
Push = Bench press, Overhead Press
Pull = Deadlift, Bent Over Row
Legs = Squat, Deadlift
For each exercise, you do 2-4 sets of 8-10 repetitions.
No I don’t like squat => Do you think squat is an useless exercise ? I advise you to read the book of Mark Rippetoe. If you seriously want to train, this book is for you !
No I afraid of weights => Don’t panic. Most people in free weights section are too busy to look at themselves in the mirror, they will not look at you. You can use a barbell or dumbbells for each exercise to improve your pure strength. I advise you dumbbells.
No I’m afraid of being ridiculous=>Everybody don’t care if you life a dumbbell of 4kg (8.8lbs) or you squat 181kg (400lbs) because everybody struggle to do their training program. Forget people, stay focus and do you training program until the end.
But if I do bad => At the beginning use light weight to do movements with the good form, the good technique. When you’ll stronger, you’ll can add weight slowly each week to reach your limit. You can hire a personal trainer for 1-2 sessions to learn and improve basic exercises techniques or form.
No I want only lose weight => It’s simple, you do basic exercises and you eat less. The training is the same for lose weight or gain muscle. It’s diet that make the difference ! It’s a science :
Eat more calories than you burn = gain weight
Eat less calories than you burn = lose weight
Your physical condition, it’s 80 % diet and 20 % training. If you want bulk, you need to have a specific diet to do this.
Track and adjust slowly your training program and your diet to see your progress.
No matter what you do, don’t be afraid of the free weight zone. Remember than 90 % of people inside are focus to do their exercises by looking in the mirror therefore don’t worry. Do your exercices, become better and become stronger.
What do you feel when you train with free weights ?