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I am man who loves to train with barbells. I love the feeling of lifting heavy weights ,while setting and breaking personal records. I love the feeling of the bar crushing me and overcoming it by pure will. I love to get stronger and its corresponding feeling of making everything else easier. However when you over load you body so much, it needs rest at times. But with the goal of getting stronger, how does one give their central nervous system it’s needed rest but build strength at the same time? Is that even a possibility? Or are we doomed to lose strength as a result of  resting from loaded training?

I am happy to say that the answer is no to both of these questions for the most part. (there is sometime exceptions) In fact we can use the times of unloading to actually continue to work on generating force with just body weight training.

get stronger with body weight
First and foremost we must be aware where strength comes from:
A.The size of your muscles
B. Learning to develop tension

The first way is ruled out up to a point with body weight training. It is hard to get a continual muscle-building effect when you weigh a certain weight (unless you gain weight). However with the right focus and progressions it can be very simple to learn how to and need to generate tension in your moves, helping you build strength and some muscle.

How to get stronger with body weight

Before we take another step forward in this post we need to first make clear what tension is and learn how to generate it for training. Tension can be both voluntary and something that the brain can do on an unconscious level when the right loading or progression is introduced. When it is voluntary, it is basically tightening up every muscle in the body to produce more force than you could do passively.

A very simple way to learn this is to practice the high tension plank. Get into a push up position, with your hands under your shoulders and you shoulders down and back. ( If they are you will feel your lat load) Take a big breath into your belly.  Now tighten your abs, squeeze your glutes, press your hands and feet into the floor and squeeze your quads. Hold this for about 15 seconds and then relax and shake out your body. Below is a demonstration and progression on how to do this.

Now that you have learned how to generate tension in your movements, put it to work in your body weight strength training. Just be sure to only use as much as needed as you train. The goal with your new move should to make what is hard easy. Then you can move on into the next step and re-do the whole process.

A sample program could be as follows:

1.Work the push-up plank 2 sets of 15 seconds each ( any more will be hard to hold total tension)

2.Put the tension in a regular push-up for 3 to 5 reps, squeezing every muscle throughout

3.Move on to diamond push-ups to develop further strength and so on.

You can choose to use this template for any movement that you are working on and wish to get stronger in. Have a goal in mind every session in order to ensure your progress in strength. Also you will you want to already have you next step in mind.  Even if it is to return back to barbell training or kettlebells in a month or so, recovered and ready to hit the iron-hard again and to make more killer progress!

If you are wondering about what your next step should be or if you feel like you have hit a stop, I can help you get to the next level!
My guaranteed online coaching program is here for you click here to find out more and to set up a chat about how I will help you!
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