Last month, you hammered body parts with weight. This month, you’ll give your joints a chance to recover while still building strength. Your weapon: Your bodyweight. And no, this won’t be easy, because owning your bodyweight is far harder than it may seem. You’ll discover that this month – and see yourself improve as the month goes on, too.
DAY 1: PULL
Superman Hold: Lie on your belly, arms and legs outstretched. Squeeze your glutes, lifting your legs off the ground. Squeeze your mid-back muscles, lifting your arms off the ground. Hold for 4 seconds, then relax and lower. That’s 1 rep. Do 3 sets of 10.
Pause underhand grip inverted row: Set up a bar about four feet off the ground and lie on your back beneath it. The bottom of your chest should be directly below the bar. Grasp the bar with outstretched arms, using an underhand grip. Squeeze your glutes and abs to maintain a straight line from feet through shoulders and pull your lower chest to the bar. Try to touch your chest to the bar. When you’re as high as you can get, pause for one second, then lower back to the ground. That’s 1 rep. Do 4 sets of 8-10.
Chinup: Hang from a straight bar with an underhand, shoulder-width grip, abs tight and legs straight. Pull your chest to the bar, then lower. That’s 1 rep. Do 4 sets of 8-10.
Uneven Grip Pull-up Hang: Hang from a straight bar with a shoulder-width grip, one hand overhand, the other underhand, abs tight and legs straight. Pull your chest to the bar; hold for 30 seconds. If you can’t hold for that long, hold for as long as you can and remember how long you stayed up. Come off the bar, then pull yourself up again and hold for as long as you can again. Do this until you’ve accumulated 30 total seconds hanging. That’s 1 rep. Do 4 reps, alternating your uneven grip every set.
DAY 2: PUSH
Paused Archer Pushup: Get in pushup position, with your arms wider than normal, and your hands facing outwards. Shift your torso towards your left side and bend your left elbow, lowering your torso as you straighten your right arm. Pause when your chest is an inch from the ground. Then drive up. That’s 1 rep. Do 10 to 12. Do 3 sets per side.
Paused Close-Grip Pushup Countdown Game: Get in pushup position, arms slightly narrower than shoulder-width. Keeping your elbows close to your torso, lower your chest to within an inch of the ground. Pause for 5 seconds on the first rep, then drive back up. Do another rep, this time pausing for 4 seconds, then drive back up. On the next rep, get a 3-second pause; repeat this pattern until you complete a rep with a one-second pause. Then do reps until you can no longer do any reps with good form. Do 3 sets.
Position-Switch Pushup Count Up Game: Set up in pushup position, arms just wider than shoulder-width. Do 1 pushup. As you press back up, jump your hands off the floor and inwards, so they are slightly narrower than shoulder-width. Do 1 pushup, jumping your arms wider than shoulder-width. Do 2 pushups from this position, then jump your hands narrower than shoulder-width for 2 reps. Keep repeating this pattern until you can no longer do reps. Do 3 sets.
DAY 3: Rest
Go for a 20-minute run.
DAY 4: LEGS
Reverse Lunge to Pause Squat Series: Start standing, feet shoulder-width apart. Step back into a right-leg reverse lunge. Step out of that lunge back to a stand, then immediately lower into a squat with your thighs parallel to the ground. Pause for 1 second, then stand up. Do a left-leg lunge, then do another squat, this time holding for 2 seconds at the bottom. Repeat this pattern until you’ve done a 10-second squat hold. Do 3 sets.
Broad Jump: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Throw your arms back, then jump forward as far as you can, landing with knees bent. Backpedal back to your starting position and repeat. Do 8 jumps. Do 3 sets.
Alternating Lateral Lunge: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, chest up. Step about two feet to the right with your right foot. Keeping your left leg straight, bend your right knee and push your butt back, lowering your torso until your right thigh is nearly parallel to the ground. Push back from there to a standing position; repeat the move on the other side. That’s 1 rep. Do 3 sets of 10.
Wall Sit March: Set up in a wall sit, thighs parallel to the ground, feet closer than usual, core tight. Tighten your abs even more and lift your left foot off the ground; hold for 3 seconds. Return your left foot to the ground and repeat with your right foot; hold for 3 seconds. Do 5 reps on each side. Do 3 sets.
Day 5: Rest
Go for a 20-minute run.
Day 6: Total Body/Conditioning
This workout is a circuit. Do 5 rounds. In the first round, do each move for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds. The next round, work for 35 seconds, then rest 25. The next round, work for 40 seconds, then rest 20. In the final round, work for 45 seconds and rest for 15.
1: Jumping Jack
2: Superman Hold
3: Hollow Rock: Lie on your back, press your lower back into the ground, and lift your legs an inch off the ground. Lift your shoulder blades off the ground; keep your lower back pressed into the ground. Elevate your legs slightly, creating momentum to rock your torso upwards. Rock back and forth.
4: Jump Lunge