People sometimes ask me if it’s more difficult, as a trainer, to help clients get in shape through body weight exercise.
The truth is, I find it much, much easier to help folks get in shape through body weight training than any other medium.
The reason for this is because body weight training is one of those things that’s pretty hard to screw up.Getting some amount of progress with calisthenics is practically a sure bet when it’s done with consistency and progression.
Those are the two keys, consistency and progression. If you have those two elements you’ll have success regardless of how you go about your training. But that’s not what you might imagine when people make comments such as how someone is doing something wrong.
They might say that someone’s hand placement is wrong, or that their technique is incorrect. In the world of sport this can be the case, because doing something wrong would be breaking the rules of the sport. It’s also the case where doing something wrong can greatly increase your risk of injury. However, aside from breaking a rule or doing something that puts you at risk, almost everything else is fair game.
One of the most debilitating traps people fall into is thinking that there’s a right way and wrong way to do an exercise. It’s incredibly limiting because:
– Sometimes “cheating” can be done to your advantage and can help bring you better gains. It helps to bring advanced moves into your scope of capabilities. After all, you can’t advance your pull ups if you can’t do one with “correct form” in the first place.
– If you believe there’s a certain way to do things then your scope of possibility is limited within that range. There’s very little room for creativity and technical progression once you believe you have all of the things checked off that constitute the correct way to do something.
Not coming down all the way during a pull up isn’t wrong. It’s just a way to make the move a little easier. We could say the same thing for doing a pull up with one arm vs two arms. Is using 2 arms cheating? Not unless you’re in a contest to see who can do the most one arm pull ups.
There’s very little black and white within the world of body-weight exercise. There are hundreds of ways to do every exercise. There are thousands of ways to progress and regress your workouts.
Be flexible, be creative and above all be progressive. The only rules you need to observe at the 3 dimensions of progression and staying consistent with your training.