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Bodyweight Training Standards

I was having dinner the other day with a new friend of mine who’s coaching 7th and 8th grade football players.

We got on the discussion of training for youth athletes and how most of the current high school programs are complete sh*t.  He’s got a number of kids that have gotten injured over the summer and now their paying for it in practice.

This is far too common for me to hear.  I’m constantly hearing about kids getting injured from their high school program and it’s starting to really piss me off!

From what I hear, many of the schools out there are still doing the same old stuff which consists of…  Lifting heavy, trying to lift heavier, then trying to life the HEAVIEST weight you can and then guess what…. lifting heavy again…

It’s all about LIFTING HEAVY it seems….

Typical.

When I was in school, it was no different!  For football, everyone had the SAME program which consisted of: Squats, Bench, Cleans, and Incline Press.  We would throw in curls and tricep work for supplemental stuff.

On my own, I would usually hit up pull ups, and extra ab stuff but, it was real bare with ZERO bodyweight training other than the sprints and agility’s we would run AFTER we lifted heavy.  Luckily, I learned the a better way to train around the time I was a senior in high school when I started to hit up more bodyweight based stuff.

At the time, mostly all of the bodyweight training knowledge and skill I learned to do on my own was from what I learned in wrestling and from my dad.

The sad thing is, most high school programs (or at least the one’s I’ve been hearing about) are still doing the same things!  Heavy lifting focusing on the squat, bench, and power clean with little to ZERO focus on bodyweight training!

Hence all the kids getting injured!  Well, there needs to be a stop to all this and one of the ways I feel we can improve these programs is by having some sort of “Bodyweight Standard” test in place that will force kids to “qualify” themselves eligible to get under a bar.

At my gym, The Forged Athlete, we put a HUGE focus in on athletic based bodyweight training befrore we even think about putting a kid or general athlete under the bar!  In all honesty, me may not even get kids squatting heavy.

We’ll, deadlift, clean, floor press and push press with our young kids but hardly ever squat.  We actually prefer front and zercher squats over your traditional back squats.  It’s worked well for us thus far.

But mainly, we hammer the bodyweight movements!  Take Adam for instance…

He came from a Div II college where their whole program was based around the “big three’ – bench, squat, and the clean.  We hardly did any of those movements within the 3 months he was with us over the summer.

Just got word back that he upped his clean to 360 lbs and also had the 2nd fastest time in the pro agility of 3.9.  For what ever reason, they didn’t test the 40 or do squats and bench.

I know he’ll be tearing sh*t up on the field where it matters most!

Adam regularly hit tons of power-based bodyweight movements such as squat jumps, bounds, skips, and single leg hops mixed in with strength-based movements like pull ups, rope climbs, push ups of all kinds, and different types of hand walking variations.

This was the norm for him and all of our athletes!

So basically, the point I want to make is before one can squat, bench, clean, military, or even deadlift, I think there should be a qualification’s standard in place.  I think this should be for EVERYONE, not just young athletes.

As far as qualification standards are concerned, I took a great example from (what I feel is one of the absolute BEST bodyweight training books available out there today) Convict Conditioning.

These are a little bit EXTREME for most all people and especially young athletes but it’s still a GREAT example of where you should try to get your bodyweight strength levels to be at.

According to the tenets of Convict Conditioning a TRUE man can achieve:

     

  1. AT LEAST one set of 5 one-arm pushups each side—with the ELITE goal of 100 sets each side
  2. AT LEAST one set of 5 one-leg squats each side—with the ELITE goal of 2 sets of 50 each side
  3. AT LEAST one set of 1 one-arm pullups each side—with the ELITE goal of 2 sets of 6 each side
  4. AT LEAST one set of 5 hanging straight leg raises—with the ELITE goal of 2 sets of 30
  5. AT LEAST one set of 1 stand-to-stand bridges—with the ELITE goal of 2 sets of 30
  6. AT LEAST one set of 1 one-arm handstand pushups—with the ELITE goal of 1 set of 5

I think  these are GREAT ELITE LEVEL and HIGHLY SKILLED standards but, mostly a little bit too extreme for most athletes and people in general.  THIS DOES NOT MEAN YOU SHOULDN’T TRY TO GET YOURSELF TO THESE LEVELS!

What I want to do is lay out my own personal strength standards to help people see as to where they exactly line up as far as their bodyweight strength is concerned.

This will not only give people a good measure as to where their at but also give people a good view of where they need to get!

Basic Standards (THESE MUST BE MET – NO EXCEPTIONS)

30 x NON STOP – Full “Ass-To-Grass” Squats

25 x Full Chest To Floor Push Ups

5 x Chest To Bar Pull Ups (NO KIPPING)

20 / Leg x Walking Lunge

60 secs x Plank Hold

15 Full Burpees In 1 Min

30 secs x Handstand Hold

10 x Pike Presses

15/ Leg Controlled Single Leg RDL Reach

10 x 20 Inch Box Jumps

5 x Controlled Hanging Leg Raises

These are the BASIC STANDARDS I believe everyone should be able to get their bodyweight strength levels to.  If you’re a young athlete, being able to do these standards above will give you a much greater chance at NOT getting hurt when you start to dig into regular lifting with barbells, ect.

I wish more youth coaches would realize that kids need to get strong with their own bodyweight first before they start to dig into the weights. We would have less injuries happening and more badass kids walking around….

If you’re not quite here or are lacking in one certain area, make sure you zero in and focus on your weaknesses!

Now, let’s go over some ELITE level standards I feel people should try and push themselves to get to.  These aren’t quite to the extreme as some of the more highly skilled standards from Convict Conditioning but, they are still extreme and if you can get yourself to these levels, you’re one strong Mo’ Fo’!

100 x NON STOP – Full “Ass-To-Grass” Squats

60 x Full Chest To Floor Push Ups

30 x Chest To Bar Pull Ups (NO KIPPING)

50 / Leg x Walking Lunge

120 secs x Plank Hold

25 Full Burpees In 1 Min (30 would be INSANE)

20 x Handstand Push Ups

25 x Bar Dips

15′ + x L-Seat Rope Climb (no legs allowed – all the way up and all the way down)

15/ Leg x Pistol Squats (these are a HUGE weakness for me – still working on em!)

10 x 30″ Inch Box Jumps

20 x Controlled Hanging Leg Raises

HIGHLY SKILLED and SUPER ADVANCED MOVEMENTS:

  • 10 x 1 Arm Push Ups per side
  • 5 x Strict Ring Muscle Ups
  • 5 x Bar Muscle Ups
  • 15 yards + x Handstand Walk
  • 5 x Ring Handstand Push Ups

That’s all I can think of off the top of my head…  I know I’m missing some movements out there somewhere….

Some of these standards I can complete with ease while with some, I’m not yet to the point of being able to do quite yet.

It’s always a work in progress to GET STRONGER EVERYDAY!

I want to hear from YOU….

What do you feel some standards should be when it comes to training and bodyweight??  What did I leave out???  ALSO –  share with me your current level of bodyweight strength and ability!

Live Aggressive and Get Strong!

PS – If you’re struggling with your bodyweight strength levels or general STRENGTH at all, it’s time you step it up!

Here are some solid resources to help you improve on your overall abilities and strength with your own bodyweight…

#1 – I would highly recommend Convict Conditioning because this supplies a solid blueprint on how to increase in all of the basic strength movements.  If you want to build up some impressive levels of bodyweight strength in a short amount of time, this is the blueprint!  But with anything you do, you MUST STICK TO THE PLAN….

For an overall increase in athleticism, POWER, speed, strength, and conditioning, I would recommend my Project: Mobile and Hostile bodyweight training system.

 

 

Get Strong, Jacked, Athletic! Go 110% H.A.M. The Lean and Mean Blueprint
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  • http://www.TrainAtEds.com Ed Stedman

    Travis, this is one of your best articles. Great info and I really agree with your different body weight standards that you wrote up. Thanks for this post. Keep it up Beast!

    • forgedstrength

      Ed,

      I appreciate your feedback man!

      Thanks for reading and coming by the blog!

  • Chris

    Nice article, I just started to do a ton more bodyweight exercises a couple a months a couple and started to adapt a similar philosophy as you..But man, pistol squats are killing me, it is my biggest weakness by far, what have you been doing to try and improve your pistol squats?

    • Strahinja

      You should try with trx, blast straps or a piece of rope.
      I think this will help you
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7l-4VJVNTMI&feature=related

    • forgedstrength

      Chris, these are tough for me as well!

      I’ve been stretching a ton and trying to increase my ankle mobility which is where I feel is my weak link with these.

      Other than that, just do the regressions of them and hammer them out 2-3 times a week.

  • Mark

    I really appreciate the standards you have laid out. More people need to do this.

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  • Miko Dee

    This may seem like a foolish question. The 30 second Handstand– unsupported, or is against the wall ok?