Bodyweight exercises

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chenda
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Bodyweight exercises

Post by chenda »

I'm looking for some advice on a bodyweight strength building routine I can do. I walk at least an hour every day so I get more than enough cardio but I struggle with doing any weight bearing exercise. Linked to this, I'd like to improve my posture, something which I've tried and failed to do for years.

A problem I have is my body coordination is extremely poor, so I find it impossible to do anything which is not ultra simple. For example, press ups are ok, but burpees are too complex a movement for me. I literally can not do it properly as it requires too much limb coordination.

I have a read a lot and it's all left me very confused. Should I do different muscle groups each day, or one all overall routine on alternate days ? I'm sure these are very general questions but any advice would be welcome : )

ertyu
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Re: Bodyweight exercises

Post by ertyu »

chenda wrote:
Wed Apr 28, 2021 5:44 am
Should I do different muscle groups each day, or one all overall routine on alternate days ?
I think as a beginner, this doesn't really matter. All the frills and details are for people who want to optimize for that last sliver of performance. Those aren't your goals right now, though. Your goals right now, as I hear them, are to tell head from tail with bodyweight exercise, to find exercises that work for you and your coordination issues, to integrate a bodyweight routine into your life, and to improve your posture.

My personal advice is to postpone the development of a coordinated routine. Instead, look up the names of some common bodyweight exercises. Then look up some bodyweight exercises that are recommended for posture in particular. Instead of trying to build an overall routine from the get-go, focus on one exercise at a time. Find a youtube video - or a couple of youtube videos. Try the exercise and focus on 1. learning to perform it correctly, and 2. seeing whether it's an exercise that fits with your particular set of mobility issues. Depending on who you are as a person, keep a log of these. In the beginning, aim to increase your "library" of exercises. Because you will not be forcing a great exertion while you build your library, it really won't quite matter what muscle groups you do and on what days - the exercise would be light enough. You will be taking your time working on performing it correctly, not on achieving a particular number of reps or particular exertion.

If you do this, your overall strength will develop gradually, little by little. This will prevent injury, because 1. you will perform the exercises correctly and 2. you will avoid a trap common to many beginners where one part of the body is strained but another is weak and it ends up giving (most common manifestation - guys who overwork shoulders and biceps only for the weights they do to end up damaging their wrists, knees, or waist bc they didn't train in a balanced fashion).

As you look up exercises, you will gradually find the main youtube content creators for strength training at your level. You will start picking up wisdom. You will then be able to unite the exercises you can do in a common, balanced, functional system. I rather think by that point the question of what exercises you should be doing and when will have answered itself.

It now strikes me that this advice is very similar to jacob's overall advice for practising ERE: cut unnecessary spending, aim to acquire diy skills as needed, then work on designing a system that brings out the synergies between those skills.

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Alphaville
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Re: Bodyweight exercises

Post by Alphaville »

since you already walk a lot, you could build on that, and develop the strength and balance that enables good walking (this will protect your joints, improve posture, etc).

https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice ... ining.html

this would be a good place to begin. do any of the exercises look difficult to you? if so, which ones?

chenda
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Re: Bodyweight exercises

Post by chenda »

@ertyu Thanks for the detailed reply that's very useful. I might start doing a few press ups and squats daily and see if I can build up a few with good form.
Alphaville wrote:
Wed Apr 28, 2021 6:59 am
. do any of the exercises look difficult to you? if so, which ones?
All of them :lol: Anything involving balancing on one leg or jumping I find very difficult. I don't know how much of its a congnitive problem or due to muscle weakness.

There is an Alexander Technique I am doing at the moment where you stand flat against a wall which is supposed to train good posture.

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Alphaville
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Re: Bodyweight exercises

Post by Alphaville »

chenda wrote:
Wed Apr 28, 2021 9:08 am
All of them :lol: Anything involving balancing on one leg or jumping I find very difficult. I don't know how much of its a congnitive problem or due to muscle weakness.

There is an Alexander Technique I am doing at the moment where you stand flat against a wall which is supposed to train good posture.
hmmmm i think you might want to seek the help of a professional, whether it's a coach or a physical therapist.

i've used physical therapists in the past, and expect that will do so in the future. access to experts worked much better for me than self-diagnosing and self-prescription. eg i've hurt myself in the past with the wrong exercises because i didn't know what i was doing.

my wife also used to have mysterious ailments that were finally diagnosed not by an mri machine but by a hands-on physical therapist with a bunch of rulers in her hand.

let's not glorify self-sufficiency too much... interdependence is the human way of life. if you have access to a good professional... they are a true blessing and well worth the price of consultation.

and yeah, you can medicalize your problem if you need access to health professionals. doesn't have to be a "fitness" thing if you have a real complaint about pain or functioning or personal safety. know your rights--yes?

plus your health provider would rather treat you today for a muscular imbalance than 20 years from now for a broken pelvis and multiple surgeries. right?

just word your complaint in a way that can be understood by the medical establishment, and seek diagnosis from a physical therapist imo. "i have a tendency to fall too much" or "my knees hurt when i walk" or "i have this constant painful spot in my hips/back/neck" or something. you don't have to live in pain or fear of injury.

and no a physical therapist will not prescribe you "a bunch of pills." they will give you a list of personally tailored exercises for your condition and teach you how to perform them.

just keep complaining. as a friend of mine used to say, "complaints are progress." :D

chenda
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Re: Bodyweight exercises

Post by chenda »

@alphaville - I have considered seeing a psychotherapist. Do you remember what ones you used ? I have also considered a chriopractor also but I hear it may be all quackery...

I'm not in any pain but I have never been able to do any sports (not that I ever wanted to) or similar. Some months ago I tried a Joe Wicks cardio routine and it was just impossible, although I can't stand that guy anyway his voice alone does my head in :x

My mum has appalling posture and mobility, stumbling about everywhere and grabbing things to steady herself. She once almost fell through a window after unbalancing herself getting up from a table, slapstick comedy style.

She can walk on the flat but is no good on stairs or hills, even when she was young. Although in her case I think it's partially psychosomatic and, frankly, attention seeking behaviour, but still decades of bad habits can't be good.

Complaints are progress...I like that :lol:

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Alphaville
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Re: Bodyweight exercises

Post by Alphaville »

chenda wrote:
Wed Apr 28, 2021 9:56 am
@alphaville - I have considered seeing a psychotherapist.

physical therapist = physio.

you know like the ones who treat football players when they have a broken acl.

i don't know what you mean about the ones i used? i mean i went to someone with a professional license...

ok i think this is the link you need:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/physiotherapy/accessing/

"self referral" sounds good to me...

you have civilization... take advantage of it :D

--

not sure if above quoted was typo, but if you're talking about psychotheraphy, look for dbt which is evidence-based effective for bpd
https://dbttherapylondon.co.uk/
idk if your nhs offers but worth looking into.
eta: i haven't actually used this, but i know it works for the condition you named elsewhere.

eta,3: i have used a chiropractor which helped me with stuck sacroiliac joint, but physical therapy fixed me long term and taught me to prevent self-inflicted damage from exercises learned from youtube.
Last edited by Alphaville on Wed Apr 28, 2021 11:28 am, edited 4 times in total.

Dave
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Re: Bodyweight exercises

Post by Dave »

Hey Chenda. You may get something out of reading the book Convict Conditioning. I talked about it a bit before - viewtopic.php?p=222212#p222212 – but the gist is this book takes the major body movements (in exercise form: push up, pull up, squat, leg lift, and bridge) and teaches how to progress them from extremely basic/accessible levels to extremely difficult levels.

For example, the first step of the pull up progression is finding somewhere like a door frame where you can just stand in, lean back, and pull yourself forward. The lower levels of these exercise don’t require much coordination so hopefully should work for you.

As I noted in my comment in that link, the book is marketed in a way that turns some people off, but its value is in teaching how to progress and regress common movement patterns, allowing for long-term improvement with minimal equipment.

Doing these exercises in proper form (shoulders back correctly on parts of push up and pull up, bridge work in general) should help with your posture, but posture is a big enough thing that will take more focus than just a few exercises. I’m working on the same thing myself, and it’s so hard to break years of conditioning and continued daily damage!

I agree with ertyu that programming concerns don’t matter so much at first, but rather just consistently doing exercises that hit most of your body with some frequency. Convict Conditioning lays out some potential routines that you could follow, but the value of the book isn’t really the routines but rather the progressive tools it presents, and the accessibility of the exercises. As time goes on no program will singularly handle all your needs, but as you go you'll pick up what seems to work for you and that + study will help you build an adequate program.

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Dream of Freedom
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Re: Bodyweight exercises

Post by Dream of Freedom »

If you are trying for a better posture try this: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_ ... or+posture

How often should you work out? Well, that depends on how long it takes you to recover. If you arent recovered after one day of rest then you need 2 days. Should you split up the muscle groups? If you are doing enough exercises and reps that systemic fatigue becomes an issue and you can't perform the later exercises well then you would want to split them up.

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Bodyweight exercises

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

This is simple and covers a lot: https://www.reddit.com/r/bodyweightfitn ... minroutine. You do it three times per week. Lunges, push ups, rows, plank shoulder taps. You do need some sort of equipment to do the rows but they give examples of how to do it hanging from a table, etc. It's someplace to get started that has exercises that sound like something you could do given the limitations you described. Not sure if it would help posture or not.

I did this more complicated version for a couple of months https://www.reddit.com/r/bodyweightfitn ... ed_routine. It seemed good but then I got an injury (unrelated to the exercises) and I was never able to return to this kind of exercising.

How long did you work on burpees before you concluded that you couldn't do it? With things like that I need to get it into muscle memory to the point I don't have to think about it. I can never do it comfortably right away and often it takes a lot of practice over a long period of time. For me this can take many sessions with breaks of a day or two in between. Movements like dancing can be really frustrating. It does seem to pay dividends in the long run, for example, if you learn how to ski then those balance skills help you to learn how to do something like surf a little more quickly.

white belt
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Re: Bodyweight exercises

Post by white belt »

I think the advice thus far is pretty good. I agree with Ertyu that as a total novice, the specific exercises/program you do isn’t really as important as just doing something. You are such a novice that you will improve your strength doing just about anything because your body will be forced to adapt to the new stimulus. Find something that appeals to you and do it for a few weeks then iterate on that.

I do agree with Alphaville also that at a certain point you might want to see a physical therapist if you have particular injuries or movement issues. However, it might be the case that you will need to build a little experience doing some movements in order to identify some of these issues before enlisting the help of a specialist.

Have you ever done any physical activities other than just walking?

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Alphaville
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Re: Bodyweight exercises

Post by Alphaville »

white belt wrote:
Wed Apr 28, 2021 11:03 am
I do agree with Alphaville also that at a certain point you might want to see a physical therapist if you have particular injuries or movement issues. However, it might be the case that you will need to build a little experience doing some movements in order to identify some of these issues before enlisting the help of a specialist.
eh, practically any exercise program suggests to consult a physician bla bla etc before starting.

sure, it's maybe just for liability purposes-- but why wait till she gets injured? eg: jump squat = torn meniscus?

you're used to exercising, but the military gave you a checkup before bootcamp im sure. and you need to pass physical every year. your checkups are so embedded in your system you don't even realize you're getting them.

civilians don't have that. they first break something, then get surgery, then a bunch of opiates... then pt for mending the damage lol. rinse, repeat (in america anyway).

but her nhs lets her see a pt directly, with no referral. why not go get a checkup before engaging in any potentially damaging activity? an ounce of prevention etc etc. i'm sure they'll be glad to have a willing patient looking to improve their health and provide guidance/checkups/order tests if required.

her medical care is free at the point of service anyway. would be irresponsible not to use such a valuable resource given her situation. pt can show proper form and limits for her condition. she might have knee, hip, spine, muscular, connective, structural issues not covered by youtubes. none of us can diagnose.

plus establishing a relationship with provider in case of future need is a great thing. eg my pt told me what exercises to do and *what not to do*. if i'm taking up any new activity, i'm calling first to see if it's kosher.

and yeah i had to go against the grain to see a pt before requiring rehabilitation lol. original people i called wanted me there 4x/ week like some accident victim... it's a money churn (in america anyway).

going instead "for pain" and doing exercises at home was the right move. and yeah i had pain. pain is referrable. how much pain you got... well... doesn't need to be near death. squeaky wheel gets the grease.

chenda
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Re: Bodyweight exercises

Post by chenda »

Alphaville wrote:
Wed Apr 28, 2021 10:06 am
physical therapist = physio.
Ah I see, I thought physical therapist was a sort of generic category for various different professionals. I will definitely consider a physiotherapist.

@white belt - The only other exercise I've done regularly is swimming, breast stroke.

@dave @dreamoffreedom - Many thanks for the resources they look very useful

@gilberto - thanks, to be honest not very long, I just got frustrated and gave up. But kinesthetic skills and dexterity is constant problem I have in many areas of life.

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Alphaville
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Re: Bodyweight exercises

Post by Alphaville »

chenda wrote:
Wed Apr 28, 2021 12:56 pm
But kinesthetic skills and dexterity is constant problem I have in many areas of life.
don't ignore this. we don't want you falling out of a window some day :lol: 🙈

but seriously though... worth looking into. why suffer?

chenda
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Re: Bodyweight exercises

Post by chenda »

Alphaville wrote:
Wed Apr 28, 2021 1:01 pm
don't ignore this. we don't want you falling out of a window some day :lol: 🙈

but seriously though... worth looking into. why suffer?
An educational psychologist once diagnosed me with mild dyspraxia, which I've always been skeptical of as he did it as a sort of favour as I was about to get fired. However my IQ testing results were quite variable, I score well above average for verbal reasoning but we'll under average for spatial awareness...so maybe something to it...

PS yes sorry psychotherapist was a typo : )

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Alphaville
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Re: Bodyweight exercises

Post by Alphaville »

just do it. get all the tests. me, i'd want all the tests! (and all the best treatments)

the right diagnosis is more valuable than anything. because nothing is worse than always fighting the wrong problem :lol:

chenda
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Re: Bodyweight exercises

Post by chenda »

I established today I can not do one full press up. Literally not one, I just don't have the strength. Appalling. But I'm going to work up to it, maybe doing half press ups daily and try and build up to one or two full press ups.

I'm quite motivated now, if I can do 10 full press ups in the next month or so that would feel like a real achievement.

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Ego
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Re: Bodyweight exercises

Post by Ego »

Start on your knees and do as many as you can from the bottom to halfway and back down with your knees on the floor the entire time. Then try the same but from the top with your arms fully extended and go down halfway then back up to the top.

If those are too hard, try doing them at an angle against a counter top, table or wall.

Good work for getting started!

Also consider the Feldenkrais Method https://feldenkrais.com/ or a beginner yoga class

Dave
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Re: Bodyweight exercises

Post by Dave »

No worries Chenda, you'll get there!

Ego put you on the right path.

In the CC progression, you start with wall push-ups (stand with your feet a few feet back from the base of the wall, place hands on wall out in front of you, lower chest to wall so that it's touching your chest, push up back up, repeat) and progress up to 3 sets of 50. Then you do incline push-ups using some object at an intermediate height like Ego said (a counter top, table, etc.) to place your hands on, working up to 3 sets of 40. Then you can try the knee pushups on the ground, then go to "regular" push-ups but only halfway down (go by feel or put a basketball or something below belly/chest), and then "regular" push-ups, and then close grip push-ups, and so on.

The exact starting sets and reps don't matter for each stage so much, but rather regressing the movement to the point where you can do a decent amount (5-8), work on increasing your reps, then once you feel like you have a good grasp of the movement progress it to a harder version. Rinse and repeat and that's all there is to training for years and years to come.

You'll get to a regular press up pretty quickly if you consistently practice the above progressively. I recommend starting with an exercise version and rep range below what you think you can do right now, so for example maybe starting with the wall pushups and working on that for a month or so before moving to incline pushups. In some ways, it is good to start at a resistance level decently below where you are capable so that can slowly increase the resistance over time and build up strength in both muscles and tendons/ligaments/etc. If you jump into something that's 90% of your ability, you're going to plateau pretty quickly (unless perhaps everything else in your life is optimized for fitness).

If you're planning to stick with strength training for the long-term, there is no reason to rush these things, IMO.

Keep us posted!

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Alphaville
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Re: Bodyweight exercises

Post by Alphaville »

chenda wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 5:10 pm
I'm quite motivated now, if I can do 10 full press ups in the next month or so that would feel like a real achievement.
you might want to alternate with planks, as planks are essential to a full pushup and they're great for your core.

Image

or maybe even just start with planks while your rotator cuffs get used to all that commotion. you don't wanna hurt them doing pushups.

https://www.verywellfit.com/the-plank-exercise-3120068

also, men have more upper body strength than women, so look for suitable role models as you learn and set goals.

-

also, i should add, at this point you need to give time for your tendons and ligaments to catch up with muscle strength. muscles have blood circulation and grow fast; tendons don't, and so they lag behind in development. so go slow.

the most delicate ligaments for the pushup are in your shoulders, so it would make sense to me to develop the shoulder gradually with an isometric exercise like the plank, which you can start resting on the elbows. for more info see: rotator cuff tendinitis.

besides, developing your core is more important than limb strength. often people get strong arms and legs and weak cores, and... those are the people who get spinal injuries :D

---

eta : you could even start with the half plank, which is as fundamental as it gets

Image

then, for the other side, do bridges

Image

https://www.verywellfit.com/how-to-do-t ... se-3120738

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