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Body Weight Exercises

A Comprehensive List of Body Weight Exercises and Explanations Used in The Evolve Program

The following is a list of body weight exercises used by Unleashed Training as part of the Evolve fitness program. This page includes just simple text descriptions of each exercise. The collection of exercises used in the Evolve fitness program are designed to target every part of the body in a variety of ways. These body weight exercises cover strength, power, speed, anaerobic capacity and all other components of fitness. It is often difficult to target muscle of the posterior chain without the use of weights, however we have found exercises that accomplish this task.

 

Utilising different levels of difficulty, varying leverage positions and sheer volume, we are able to target everything from max-effort strength and power all the way to ultra-endurance.

 

Keep in mind that the Evolve fitness program is just one aspect of Unleashed Training. We also focus on other forms of training such as sprinting, power lifting, strongman and sport-specific training.

 

Please note, we are currently working on a video series that outlines and visually demonstrates all of the exercises included here.

 

Body Weight Exercises for Lower Body

 

Pistol Squat - There are many youtube tutorials on this exercise. Simply place one leg out in front and squat down on the other leg. The front leg should be suspended off the ground at all times, the heel of the squatting leg should remain on the ground. If you struggle with stability here you may progress by learning the exercise with the support of something to hold onto for balance and assistance.

 

Phantom Chair – Picture yourself sitting on a chair, one foot flat on the ground, the other leg crossed over your thigh with your ankle resting just above the knee. That is the bottom position of this exercise. Start from a standing position, standing on one leg, the other leg crossed just above the knee. Lower yourself down into a single leg squat while keeping the other leg crossed over. The bottom position should be with you sitting as though there were a chair under you, except you are holding yourself up. This exercise is most often performed isometrically, holding the bottom position for a specified time.

 

Knee Drive Jump – Assume a lunge position, with your fingertips touching the ground for stability. From the bottom of the lunge use the front leg to propel your body into a jump. The rear knee comes through and is thrust upwards as you jump, like you are kneeing someone in the stomach with that rear leg, and then land back in the deep lunge and repeat as fast as possible.

 

Squat Jump – Squat down just below parallel then jump as high as possible. As you land, immediately absorb the impact and jump again without pausing until all specified reps are complete.

 

Scissor Jump - Begin in a lunge stance. From there jump in the air, while mid air switching stance. So if your right leg is forward at the beginning you will switch mid air so that the left leg is now forward and so on. React immediately into the next rep once you land.

 

Single Leg Bounding - This one should only be applied by those that have built a solid foundation of conditioning and you have been sprinting for at least a few months. Take a short run-up and hop/bound as far and high as possible on one leg for the prescribed number of repetitions.

 

Side Lunge – Stand with feet wide apart. Lunge down to one side, bending the knee until you are low to the ground. The other leg should be in contact with the ground, in a straight position. Push back up and immediately lower to the other side.

 

Single Leg Calf Raise – Use a pole or door frame for support. This is to be performed on a step or somewhere that allows you to lower your heel lower than your forefoot. Place the ball of your foot on the step with your heel and forefoot hanging off the back. Lower all the way down while keeping the knee straight, until your calf is fully stretched. From there raise your heel until you are standing on tip-toes on one leg then repeat.

 

Hamstring Hook – Start by lying on your back. Bend one knee your heel hooked into the ground. That knee should be bent at about 30-45 degrees. Now, push your heel into the ground and bridge your hips off the floor using just one leg (the other leg is suspended in the air). At the top of each rep squeeze the hamstring by trying to pull your heel towards you (the heel doesn’t actually move, you’re just applying pressure towards your body). Hold the top position with maximum tension on the hamstring for 2-3 seconds, lower and repeat.

 

Squat Hops – Lower your body down into a deep squat position, just below parallel. Maintaining this low position, hop to the left then immediately to the right and so on for the specified number of reps.

 

Body Weight Exercises for Upper Body

 

Pull-ups - These can be performed on a bar, tree branch, gymnastics rings etc. When we refer to pull-ups we are referring to the non-kipping style, as in strict pull-ups applied with no momentum from the lower body. The grip or type of pull-up is not important, what is important is that each repetition begins from a dead hang and is completed with the neck well above the height of the hands. Also included are single arm pull-ups, which are highly advanced. if you can’t yet do pull-ups, do a jumping pull-up. At the bottom position, use your legs to jump while also pulling with your arms. The jump will help get you over the bar. Then lower your body to the bottom under control and repeat.

 

Muscle-ups - A demonstration of these can be found on youtube.com. Grab a pull-up bar or gymnastics rings and perform a pull-up. At the top of the pull-up roll your elbow to the side and over the top and press your body over the bar until the bar or rings are at about waist level with arms almost locked out. Reverse the process and repeat. This is a highly advanced exercise. In order to even get close to doing these you must be able to do pull-ups through a high range of motion, with the lower chest touching the bar on each rep.

 

Push-ups – Place hands on the ground, feet out behind, body straight, no arch in your back. Bend your elbows while maintaining a straight body and lower your chest to the floor then press back up. If these are difficult do them from the knees until you can do the full version.

 

Single-arm Push-ups – Spread your feet wide with only one hand on the ground. Tilt your body slightly for stability and lower yourself down like with a regular push-up.

 

Prayer Push-ups – Place hands close together with your body in a push-up position. Hands should be slightly further forward than with a normal push-up. When you lower your body to the ground your face should come close to touching your hands. The further forward the hands the harder it is. The most advanced version is performed with one hand in the forward-most position.

 

Clap Push-ups – Perform a push-up, but instead of just coming up normally, spring your upper body off the ground and clap your hands together before landing. The more advanced version involved springing both lower and upper body off the ground and clapping. More advanced still is the latter version, but clapping behind the back before landing.

 

Supine Elbow Push - Lie on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Place the back of your elbows on the floor and push with your elbows and feet to raise your body off the ground by a very small amount. Hold for 3-5 seconds per rep. If you can't get off the ground then just attempt to do it and hold that contraction. A more advanced version combines this exercise with the hamstring hook performed as one whole movement.

 

Back Bridge Shuffle – Place hands and feet flat on the ground while facing upwards. Bridge your body up into a tabletop position. Maintain that tabletop position and shuffle a metre to the left and then a metre to the right. Keep repeat for specified time period or number of reps.

 

Floor Cleaners - Place palms on the floor extra extra wide with fingers facing out to the sides. Bridge your body up until you are in an extra wide grip push-up position. Lower your body until you are only an inch or two from the floor. Move your upper body from side to side while maintaining that low position. Each time you move to the side one arm should be straight.

 

Body Weight Exercises for Core Strength

 

Tabletop Leg Raise - Sit on the floor, knees bent, place feet flat on the floor and hands on the floor and bridge your body up into a tabletop position facing up. Keep the hips as high as you can throughout the exercise. Now lift one leg off the floor and straighten it out. With the raised leg, touch your heel to the floor and slowly raise up and repeat.

 

Leg Lowers - Start in a lying position on your back. Raise your legs straight up until they are at 90 degrees to your body. Use the abdominal muscles to pull your back flat to the floor and hold it there throughout the entire exercise. Keep the legs straight and drop them toward the floor to a point where the back just starts to slightly arch. From there raise them back to the starting point and so on. Ensure the back remains as flat as possible throughout.

 

Hollow Walk-out – Hollow position is achieved by tilting the pelvis up and rounding the shoulders slightly forward and tensing the abdominal muscles as tight as possible. Maintaining that hollow position throughout, start in a standing position and walk your hands out until you are in an outstretched position. The further you walk your hands out and the lower your body is to the ground, the more difficult it is. Only go as far as you can maintain the hollow position. Hold that position for a specified time. More advanced version is performed with one hand being taken off the ground once your body is stretched out.

 

Other Body Weight Exercises

 

Burpees – From a standing position, drop down into a push-up by bending down, putting palms on the ground, kick the feet back, perform a push-up and immediately and rapidly sprint back to your feet, jump and repeat.

 

Single Leg Burpees – Perform burpees as instructed, but keep one leg off the ground throughout the entire movement.

 

Tuck Jump Burpees – Perform burpees as instructed, but instead of a standard jump at the top you will jump up and tuck knees to chest at the top of each jump.

 

Backwards Burpee – From a standing position, squat down and roll onto your back. Roll backwards then use momentum to roll forwards rapidly, back onto your feet and jump. A more advanced version of this is the single leg version.

 

High Knee Running – Run on the spot as fast as possible with knees lifted as high as you can.

 

Also included in the Evolve program, and throughout much of what we do, is sprinting, agility drills and athletic conditioning drills.


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YOUR COACH – Chris Lyons

Chris Lyons is an experienced strength and conditioning coach, having trained athletes of all ages and levels since 2002. Chris specialises in coaching athletes for speed and power specific to fast-moving sports such as rugby league, rugby union, soccer, Aussie rules football etc. Since 2002 Chris has conducted close to 15,000 hours of training and coaching directly with athletes and members of the general population. From this experience comes Sprint Ninja, based on tried and tested training methods combined with up to date research. Chris continues to challenge himself not only as a coach, but also as an athlete, competing in sprinting events, strongman and Olympic-style weightlifting.

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