Bodyweight Training For Fat Loss + The Best Damn Bodyweight Circuit The Internet Has Ever Seen
Bodyweight training is an interesting topic in the fitness world. A lot of hardcore fitness enthusiasts write it off completely, opting for a steady diet of iron instead. And at the same time, a lot of people who will never in their life build any muscle exclusively rely on bodyweight training.
I more or less fall somewhere in the middle.
I’m a big fan of using bodyweight training during fat loss phases for myself and for clients. It’s an easy way to make sure that you’re getting plenty of metabolic work in while keeping the load light enough to where it won’t impact recovery.
However, I don’t love depending on bodyweight training alone at any point in time, especially when you’re trying to get shredded. Lifting weights is necessary for maintaining muscle mass while your calories are reduced. Plus it’s just nice to throw heavy shit around.
But while throwing heavy weight around is fun, there are certain downsides to depending on that when it comes to fat loss.
The drawback of depending on big lifts for fat loss.
With traditional training programs you might have some lifts involved that are highly technical. Lifts like deadlifts, squats, cleans, clean and presses, thrusters, etc.
All of these are demanding. They require a ton of energy from both a metabolic and neuromuscular perspective. And while using up metabolic energy is a good thing from a fat loss perspective, using up a ton of neuromuscular energy isn’t.
Big lifts are exhausting in both energy departments. And the heavier you go, the more exhausting from a neuromuscular point of view they are. This is the same reason why you want to go take a nap after heavy deadlifts.
The big compound lifts cause you to fatigue, as you fatigue, your form is likely going to break down, increasing your chance of heading straight to snap city and hurting yourself.
When you’re in a fat loss phase the whole point of everything your doing is to get shredded and become the epitome of sexy. You can’t do that if you’re hurt because of a mistake you made while lifting too heavy.
Getting shredded also means you’re going to be eating fewer calories than normal. That much is obvious.
Where it’s not so obvious for a lot of folks out there is that with fewer calories in the tank you fatigue more quickly from both a metabolic and neuromuscular perspective. Which means while you’re trying to get ripped and show off your abs, you’re not going to recover from those big lifts as quickly as you would like.
Does that mean the big lifts don’t have any place when it comes to fat loss?
Don’t be ridiculous. I understand it’s proper etiquette on the Internet to take the pendulum as far to one side as possible, but let’s fight that urge.
Obviously these big lifts like squats, deadlifts, and presses are awesome. I love them almost as much as I love my dogs, and definitely more than I love U2, which isn’t saying much because I actually hate U2. But you get the point.
In the context of a hardcore fat loss program that’s getting you ready for the beach, you’ve got to be smart about programming the big lifts in. The big compound lifts should typically be done towards the beginning of a workout when you’re fresh, and you shouldn’t push yourself to the point of failure.
This is where bodyweight training shines.
Hopefully you’ve gotten the point that big compound lifts are exhausting. If you haven’t, go back read the section that preceded this one. We’ll wait on you.
The beauty of bodyweight training for fat loss is that it’s got a built in fail safe. Once you hit technical failure on a bodyweight move like a push-up, you’re done for. And while failing at something like a push-up may suck, it’s a hell of a lot safer than failing with a few hundred pounds on your back during a squat.
The important deets.
Training for fat loss is pretty clear-cut nowadays.
Compound movements + reduced rest periods = getting shredded.
This is part of the reason why HIIT and Tabata training, which take roughly 20 minutes and 4 minutes, respectively, are so popular.
But those methods typically involve some sort of resistance or load. Obviously the only load with bodyweight training is your body. When the only load you’re moving around is one you deal with every single day it’s naturally going to take more time to reach the same level of metabolic demand that lifting weights would.
The caveat to that point is that’s if you’re relying on bodyweight training alone. Which unless you’re a complete jabroni, you’re mixing bodyweight and traditional weight training.
So you can get by with using quick bodyweight circuits as off day training sessions or finishers for the days spent tossing around the iron.
The best damn bodyweight circuit the Internet has ever seen:
T spine flow x4 each side
Single leg hip thrust x12 each side
Perform 5 rounds, resting 45 seconds between each round.
Yogaplex x4 each side
Bodyweight lunge x15 each side
Inverted row x10
Perform 4 rounds, resting 30 seconds between each round.
Jumping lunges x10 each side
Side plank pulses x10 each side
Mountain climbers x20 each side
Perform 3 rounds, resting 20 seconds between each round.
Remember, bodyweight training is awesome, and it’s one of many tools that you can pull from in your fat loss toolbox. But like anything else, you can’t depend on it for everything.
This type of training works well as a quick and dirty off day metabolic workout and/or something you can use as a finisher a couple of times each week to get your heart rate up and take your fat burning efforts to the next level.
As always, if you’ve got any questions about incorporating bodyweight training for fat loss, or putting together your own fat loss program then don’t hesitate to reach out. We’ll put together the perfect program to get you shredded for the summer.