3 ways to make body weight exercises harder

Who wants to make exercising harder, right? Well, there are a few of us.

Weight lifters often assume that body weight exercises are only good for aerobic workouts, that after a certain point, you can’t build any serious muscle. They know that if you’re doing more than, say, 10-15 reps, then you’re building endurance, not power.

Thing is, if you know how, you can make body weight exercises hard too. Just like adding weights to a barbell, you can overload with body weight. I know at least three ways, and I’ll use the pushup as an example because most people are familiar with how it’s done.

  1. Changing body position: For example, try elevating your feet or even pressing them flat against a wall to do your pushups. Gets super hard in a hurry.
  2. Subtracting a limb: For example, try to work into doing pushups with one hand. Gets super hard in a hurry.
  3. Moving slower: For example, try counting out five seconds for each rep instead of the usual quick bursts. Gets super hard in a hurry.

This works in reverse as well, if an exercise is too difficult for you. You might try pushups with your hands on a raised surface or do them super fast. You might try pullups on a low bar with your feet extended in front of you on the ground to help you up slightly.

People like barbells and machines because of the environment they create. People feel good about themselves when they go to a gym, use their own expensive workout equipment, or just get to move really heavy weights around. I get that – it’s legit. If you’re into that, definitely go for it.

Just know that you can rock the planet without any exercise equipment too. You just have to make exercising harder.