Forget Isolation Movements: Three Bodyweight Movements that work 80% of your Body

Note, this is the second installment of the article “How to Design a Perfectly Balanced Full Body Bodyweight Workout.” I just didn’t feel like using the same title. I hope you understand.

In part one of this article, the goal was to get someone who’s used to bodybuilding, isolation-type training to recognize and understand the importance of developing a program with 100% compound movements. The article ended with the following workout:

  • Pullups, 3 sets
  • Pushups, 2 sets
  • Bodyweight Squat, 6 sets
  • Boot Strappers, 1 sets
  • Incline Pushups, 2 sets
  • Chinups, 3 sets
  • Close Grip Pushups, 2 sets
  • Situps, 1 sets
  • Calf Raises, 1 sets

I actually don’t like this workout routine at all. Now why the hell would I prescribe a program I don’t like? The reason is that you can’t take someone who’s been bodybuilding for at least 6 months and all of a sudden put them on a completely different program. You need to keep some high volume and isolation movements in there in order to make them feel “good.” This is one of the reasons why I never design a diet for people. I make them write down their foods intake for a week, then gradually have them phase out bad foods. So just as you can’t turn back 20 years of bad eating in 2 weeks, you can’t drastically jump from one training style to a different training style within a matter of days.

Image by Dragon Boat Blog

Image by Dragon Boat Blog

You also need a strong belief in the program. One person can look at this program and think it’s absolutely perfect. Another individual can look at it and claim that there’s no direct shoulder work involved. And yet, another person can look at it and say that this is the worst program ever designed on the planet.

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In part one, I left off with two important points:

  • You don’t need to work abs, calves, and hamstrings with their own exercise.
  • You don’t need to use multiple exercises to work one muscle group within the same workout.

If we throw in these two rules, here’s what our workout looks like:

  • Pullups, 3 sets
  • Pushups, 2 sets
  • Bodyweight Squat, 6 set

Now, lets even out the sets a bit:

  • Pullups, 3 sets
  • Pushups, 3 sets
  • Bodyweight Squat, 3 sets

So in other words, there is really only three types of exercises you need in order to create a well-balanced program:

  • Upper Body Push (Push Up Variations)
  • Upper Body Pull (Pull Up Variations)
  • Lower Body (Squat Variations)

Now, the absolute truth is that these three movements will train 80% of your entire body. So what about the other 20%. See, that’s where you specialize. Once you’ve been training for a good solid 6 months (actually, I think it should be even longer), then you can start to specialize. If, after six months, you feel that you have a week core, then throw in some more ab work. If you want to increase the size of you arms, then start doing chinups, close grip pushups, and dips. But the most important thing you can do for yourself is develop a solid base with pushups, pullups, and squats.

In order to simplify your training for better results, you need to focus on the big picture. Which exercises will give you the best results? Don’t get caught up in all the minor details. Save the details for your accountant.

For more bodyweight exercises and workouts, check out Bodyweight Exercise Revolution:

Bodyweight Exercise Revolution

Bodyweight Exercise Revolution is based off the Circular Strength Training system. In other words, hit your body from as many angles as possible. This is beyond basic pushups, pullups, and bodyweight squats.
Click here for more info


Parth Shah is the creator of which teaches people how to use mental mind tricks to conquer the world and become healthier and awesome in the process. Check out his Book Bodyweight Toughness Thanks, and enjoy the site!


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