When people think of bodyweight training, they often think of pull-ups, push ups, levers and handstands. No doubt these movements are great, but they are both missing two key elements; they do not work on power and they do not work the lower body. So let’s look at two forms of movement that address both elements at the same time, sprinting and jumping.
The 100m sprint is always one of the most popular events at the Olympics and the reason is simple: sprinting is the ultimate expression of dynamic lower body movement. It is fast, it is powerful, and in a mere ten seconds, you can use almost every muscle fiber your body has to offer.
Of course, you don’t have to be a world-beater to benefit from sprints. No matter your level, sprints will build leg muscle, torch fat, improve cardiovascular fitness and add a dynamic lower body movement to your bodyweight training. What’s more, the time investment is minimal.
Start with short, forty yard sprints. You can sprint out, then walk back to recover. Reset then go again. Ten sprints should be more than enough to get benefits. Over time you can increase the length of the sprints, decrease the rests, or start performing tempo runs where you alternate jogging and sprinting.
Either do your sprint training on a day with no other lower body work to focus on the sprints or use them to finish off a day with plenty of other work for a major pump, which will increase your muscular growth significantly.
Many bodyweight training programs already include box jumps. However, these actually rely almost as much on hip flexibility as on actual power. To focus on this power component, try incorporating standing broad jumps.
For these, simply stand in place, bend the knees to load, then jump forwards as far as possible. Reset and repeat. Five sets of three jumps make a great addition to your warm-up or as a way to keep your body working during upper body rests. If you’re working lower body squatting or lunging movements, these also make a great superset movement, though this will make you seriously sore!
As well as broad jumps, you can incorporate lateral jumps, hops, bounds and all manner of plyometric exercises. Just pick one or a few and stick with them consistently and you will see results. Just make sure with all jump training that you focus on form and power, resetting between each repetition, rather than rushing and committing with less than one hundred percent effort.
Bodyweight training should make you feel powerful, and these movements certainly do that. What’s more, they will make you powerful, and with a minimal time investment to start using both jumps and sprints, there’s no reason not to incorporate them from your very next session!