Advanced Bodyweight Training

Marcus Bondi

Combine every element of fitness into one with this advanced bodyweight workout by Marcus Bondi. 

The theory behind bodyweight training is simple: it combines  every aspect of fitness into one discipline of strength, mobility, endurance and neuromuscular activation.

These exercises by bodyweight training guru Marcus Bondi are a great way to try the classic elements of a bodyweight workout. By themselves they’ll definitely turbocharge your fitness, but they are also perfectly complementary to many other kinds of training.

Doing this type of workout activates secondary movers (the key muscles for stabilisation) as opposed to just primary movers (the muscles that do most of the heavy lifting).  This type of training is great on its own, but also great when you add it to achieve whatever goal you have.

1. Rope climb

Sit on the floor with the rope between your legs. Grasp the rope at face height. Keep your elbows close to your body and bent at all times. Beginners: take a few small grabs until your butt lifts off the floor, then lower/climb down slowly, hand-under-hand. Intermediate: same as beginners, but climb up until you are in a standing position, then climb down slowly, lowering yourself back to seated. Advanced: climb up until feet are off the ground, then climb back down slowly — do not slide! Go for 3 sets.

2. Ring dip

First do 10 good bar dips (ex. 4). Beginners can set the rings at knee-height and practise leg assisted ring dips with feet grounded for support — begin with straight arms and lower your body down into bent-arm dip position. Keep your elbows tucked in close to your body as you rise up. For intermediate and advanced trainers, set the rings at navel-height. “Jump” up into straight-arm dip position. Raise your ears “high” above your shoulders and find your centre of gravity. Lower down to 90 degree bent elbows and back up high again. Focus on constant controlled stability. Try for 3 sets of 5 dips.

3. Front lever

Beginners can start by holding onto a pull up bar and “hanging” for as long as possible. For intermediate, hang on a pull up bar and tuck your knees up to your  chest and hold for a count of 10 or 20 seconds. Advanced can hold an L-sit on the pull up bar and then gradually extend one leg at a time in a “bicycle” motion while pushing hips up high and “straightening” the core. As you become stronger, hold your leg out for longer and then bring your other leg out to meet it on the horizontal plane; success!

4. Bar dip

An excellent beginners exercise, bar dips on paralletts allow total support from your legs to control your dipping motion. As you become stronger, lift one knee in front of you until you can then lift both feet off the ground, while still performing dip reps. Advanced levels can straighten one or two legs, going into an L-sit position and performing bar dips.