Example exercise progressions

I mentioned in my recent current training post that I would progress exercises by either adding weight or move to a more difficult exercise..

How to add weight is obvious, but how to make bodyweight exercises more difficult is less so. Fortunately with some research and creativity it can be done fairly simply. Here are the progressions I’m currently using for my main exercises, both weighted and bodyweight only.

These are not the only ways to progress on these exercises, just what I’m currently doing. For each exercise I have highlighted the progression I am currently using.

Upper body pulls

Front lever
Tuck – advanced tuck – one leg/straddle (relative difficulty will depend on straddle flexibility) – full lay

Back lever
Tuck – advanced tuck – one leg/straddle (relative difficulty will depend on straddle flexibility) – full lay

Ring row
Feet on floor – feet raised – add weight or harder exercise (front lever row) or embed front lever

Chin up
Bodyweight – harder pull up variation or add weight (10kg)

Inverted pull up
Increase ROM

Upper body pushes

Handstand
Headstand – wall handstand – freestanding handstand

Planche
Tuck – advanced tuck – one leg/straddle (relative difficulty will depend on straddle flexibility) – full lay

Pseudo planche push up
On floor, hands & feet level – on floor, feet raised – hands on rings, feet level – hands on rings, feet raised

Handstand push up
Incline PU* – pike PU* – HeSPU – HSPU
*both full ROM, i.e. hands raised

Bulgarian dips
Bodyweight – add weight

Lower body

KB squats
Add quality (depth) – add weight

Running
Add distance – add speed – reduce distance/add more speed (sprint intervals)

KB snatches
Add reps – reduce rest time – add weight

Here are some great places to look for more information on bodyweight exercise progression:

 

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