7 Most Common Mistakes with Bodyweight Training

Right now, everyone is doing bodyweight training. This is excellent, as bodyweight movements are the best exercises you can do for your athleticism.

But there is a caveat to this: Bodyweight movements are the EASIEST exercises to overtrain. These are the common bodyweight training mistakes that happen when people commit to bodyweight training.

1. Doing TOO MUCH volume, too many reps, too many sets, under the misguided belief that this is what needs to be done for BW movements for them to be effective.

Reality-you dont need to do hundreds of reps for bodyweight movements to work. Reps will be higher for working sets, but there is no need to feel like you must do 100 or 200 of something for it be effective

2. Doing exercises with an excessive range of motion they cant control (going too low in dips, or bodyweight squats, letting their arms dead hang on pullups and come out out the socket)

Reality-BW exercises have a proper ROM like any other exercise. Hyperextending your shoulders, rounding your lower back, these are NOT things you want to happen during these movements.

3. Pushups with the backs sagging and head dropped and elbows splayed

Reality-People get elbow pain and shoulder pain ALL THE TIME from pushups and dips. Without fail, these two exercises are almost always performed wrong. It sounds remedial, but very few people ever do them correctly, yet they think they are doing them correctly. If you do these exercises wrong, except them to HURT eventually

4. Lunges with their knees turning in

Reality-if you cannot do lunges because of poor balance and lack of strength…DONT. Do split squats instead, or do assisted lunges. Lunges are also notorious as being ACL and meniscus killers because people go right into doing them but dont have the soft tissue strength or integrity or coordination to perform them correctly. Regress as much as necessary

5. Pullups using your biceps more than your back muscles

Reality-Another common exercise that gets butchered. If you feel pullups or chinups in your arms, you’re not doing them correctly. This exercise must be initiated with the LATS, not the hands. If thats a headscratcher as to what that means, watch video tutorials, and again, regress the exerise as necessary.

6. Momentum driven half reps they dont fully engage any muscle group

Reality-Doing this for any exercise is alway stupid, bodyweight movement most of all because you’re training your body to be LESS athletic by not fully performing any kind of fundamental movement.

7. Thinking they can train a muscle group EVERY DAY so long as they stick to just bodyweight (reality is you’ll overwork that muscle very very quickly)

Reality-Yes, I encourage people daily on twitter to train, but thats flippant motivation. The more nuanced approach is that you need to train INTELLIGENTLY. If you train total body daily, your volume of reps and sets is going. 2 sets per exercise. You also cannot repeat the same movements over and over (barring something like incline rows). If you’re going to do an exercise daily, its best to ease into doing it with gradually daily volume, not trying to destroy yourself with it (Hindu squats can be done every day for example, but start with 20-50 reps, not 100+)

All of these mistakes add up.

Bodyweight training is not immune to being done poorly, and if you’re sloppy with your execution, and train to excess…you can create muscle and joint aggravations and potential injury.

How to Avoid this then? 3 key strategies

  1. Always use Pristine Technique I make this point in the home workout guide…the goal with bodyweight training is not sheer quantity of reps, but QUALITY of those individual reps.

  2. If you cannot do an exercise, then regress it to an easier version. If you struggle to perform lunges, then do split squats, where your feet stay in the same place and you can prioritize developing proper balance. Pushuops arent happening yet? Do incline pushups on a bench. Training with bodyweight is no different than training with free weights, in that you dont perform movements you’re not prepared for

  3. Start with the Minimum Effective Dose-Train 2 days in a row, then rest. See how you feel. Keep working sets to 2 per exercise. Increase only if you can recover. Dont start with the maximum

Keep these principles and strategies in mind, and you’ll get great results from the home workout guide

Any Questions on the above, let me know.

And per usual, get Bodyweight Bedrock or the 100 Guide if you want consistency in your training.

Stay Disciplined, Stay Focused, Train Hard

Alexander