Here at Men’s Fitness, we don’t just do lunges and pushups and situps, like old-school body-weight training—we supercharge them. In this video, I’ll show you five different ways to intensify your reps:
Do 5 reps, hold the contracted position for 5 seconds, and then 4 reps followed by a 4-second hold, and so on. This method works great with TRX rows—perform 5 good pulls on a suspension trainer, driving your elbows back, and then hold for 5 seconds. Want to do something hard? Try it with pullups. You could also go the other way: 1 rep/1-second hold, 2 reps/2-second hold, etc.
Stuck in a hotel room with no equipment? Do 1½ reps of pushups. Go all the way down, then halfway up, and then back down and all the way up. This method works well with single-leg exercises. Try it with the Bulgarian split squat, which you’ll soon be re-naming the Vulgarian split-squat, because of the vulgar words that’ll be coming out of your mouth while doing 1½ reps of squats.
For pushups: on your first rep, go down one second, go up one second. Then two seconds down and two seconds up. You could probably go up to 12-15 reps if you’re relatively fit, 20 if you’re super-advanced. You could even add a pause in between (eg. 2 seconds down, 2-second pause, 2 seconds up)
Don’t go to full extension on your exercises. No rep goes all the way up. That way, you maintain tension on the muscles. Great for close-grip pushups!
Again, using the pushup as an example: Once you get to a rep that’s your max, hold at the bottom for as long as you can. You won’t be able to push back up, but you’ll build strength that will help you get better. Also works with pullups.
Craig Ballantyne is well-known fitness expert and creator of Turbulence Training – a popular high-intensity weight loss system. For more on Craig, visit TurbulenceTrainingFanpage.com