Most people relate body transformations with high-end training facilities, the latest machines, and jacked trainers. Although these things can add to your workout experience, they aren’t necessary for carving your dream physique.
Most people never start their fitness journey because they cannot make the time to hit the gym. Others fall off the bandwagon because they lack consistency. Gyms can be intimidating, especially for newbies. Training around ripped individuals that are moving big weights can also make new lifters feel overwhelmed.
Contrary to what most people think, you can build a chiseled physique without dumbbells, barbells, or machines. The only weight you need is your own. That said, your success will depend on the effectiveness of your training program. You must pick a program that fits your training experience and that you can stick to for the long term.
Since our goal here is to simultaneously lose fat and build muscle using a bodyweight training regimen, I recommend using a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) approach. It will help us achieve our objective while keeping the workouts short and intense.
A World Journal of Cardiology study recognized HIIT training “as an alternative and more efficient protocol than moderate-intensity continuous training.” 
This article contains an incredibly effective 12-week HIIT workout regimen to help you lose fat and build muscle simultaneously. We will also go over the 35 best bodyweight exercises you can do at home, factors to consider before starting your transformation journey, and its benefits, and circle up with the most frequently asked questions on the subject.
Best 12-Week Bodyweight HIIT Workout Program To Build Muscle and Lose Fat
This 12-week bodyweight HIIT workout plan consists of four phases. The workout volume and intensity will increase as you progress in the training program. Since all the workouts in this training regimen will be full-body, you’ll do three weekly sessions, which is excellent for beginners and folks with packed schedules. I recommend training on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. This will give your body enough time to recover between workouts.
This 12-week bodyweight training plan is divided into four phases; you’ll be doing different workouts each week. It will keep your training sessions exciting and motivate you to give them everything you’ve got.
Each phase comprises three different workouts. Here is the pattern you should follow:
- Monday — Workout 1
- Wednesday — Workout 2
- Friday — Workout 3
You can also switch the pattern depending on your schedule. However, ensure that you follow the same pattern for the entire phase. Avoid switching up the workout pattern during the three weeks.
Phase 1: Weeks 1-3
The first week will mainly consist of basic bodyweight exercises and will help you acclimatize to the training program.
I recommend reading our detailed training guides to familiarize yourself with these exercises. It will help you get the best bang for your buck while minimizing the risk of injury. Alternatively, you could seek the help of a personal trainer, which can speed up your transformation progress.
|Jumping Jacks||3||20||60 seconds|
|Air Squat||3||10||60 seconds|
|Mountain Climber||3||10||60 seconds|
You must do the recommended reps on each side in unilateral exercises like the walking lunge. For example, a step each with your left and right leg makes one rep. Also, hold the contractions for as long as possible.
|Spider-Man Push-Up||3||10||60 seconds|
|Walking Lunge||3||15||60 seconds|
|Superman Hold||3||30 seconds||60 seconds|
You could perform the dips on parallel bars or a bench. However, since this is the last week before we progress into the more advanced workouts, I recommend doing them on parallel bars. If you don’t have bodyweight dips yet, you could use a resistance band to make the exercise easier. Folks that train at a commercial gym with an assisted dip machine should make the most of this machine. Keep the rest durations between sets and exercises short, and aim to complete the workouts within 45 minutes.
|Standing Long Jump||3||10||60 seconds|
|Inverted Row||3||10||60 seconds|
|Plank||3||30 seconds||60 seconds|
Phase 2: Weeks 4-6
Although the sets and reps of the second phase will be similar to the first phase, you are expected to give an all-out effort here. Workouts in the second phase should be shorter than the first phase.
|Air Squat||3||12||60 seconds|
|Jump Squat||3||12||60 seconds|
|Glute Bridge||3||15||60 seconds|
|Hanging Leg Raise||3||10||60 seconds|
You’ll be doing pull-ups in this workout. Use a spotter, resistance band, or an assisted dip machine if you lack the upper body strength to complete a pull-up. Folks that don’t have access to any of these should just hang off the bar for as long as possible or do hanging shoulder shrugs. Over time, this will help you build the strength required to complete a bodyweight pull-up.
|Side Lunge||3||10-15||60 seconds|
|Sissy Squat||3||10||60 seconds|
|Bodyweight Calf Raise||3||20||60 seconds|
|Side Plank||3||30 seconds||60 seconds|
Perform as many reps as possible on the jump rope. Newbie exercises can perform single-unders, whereas advanced lifters should do double-unders. Do not take a break if you fail a rep. Reset the rope and begin the exercise right away.
|Jump Rope||3||1-minute||60 seconds|
|Banded Deadlift||3||10-15||60 seconds|
|Reverse Lunge||3||10||60 seconds|
|Plyo Push-Up||3||10||60 seconds|
|Hip Thrust||3||10||60 seconds|
|Russian Twist||3||20||60 seconds|
Phase 3: Weeks 7-9
Welcome to phase three. We will kick things up a notch in week seven and do bodyweight CrossFit workouts. These workouts are programmed to improve your metabolic conditioning.
Workout 1 (AMRAP)
This week, you will do an as many reps as possible (AMRAP) workout. AMRAP workouts are usually short. However, don’t let the duration of the training session fool you. These workouts will push you to the limit since you’ll be racing against the clock. Without further ado, here is week seven of the bodyweight training plan AMRAP workout:
AMRAP in 20 minutes:
- 20 Air Squats
- 20 Sit-Ups
- 10/7 Handstand Push-Ups
This workout will train your entire body. The squats will train your legs, sit-ups will work your midline, and the handstand push-ups will hit your upper body, especially the shoulders. If you cannot do handstand push-ups, replace this exercise with shoulder presses with dumbbells, kettlebells, or a barbell. Folks that don’t have access to weight can do bodyweight pull-ups instead.
Remember, your goal with this AMRAP workout is to do as many reps of these three exercises as possible. Think of these exercises as a circuit. Do 20 squats, then 20 sit-ups, and then complete the handstand push-ups and repeat it all over again. Rest for as little time between exercises as possible. You are allowed to stop between reps to catch your breath.
Workout 2 (EMOM)
Week eight involves an every-minute-on-the-minute (EMOM) workout. EMOM workouts include completing a certain number of reps of a particular exercise within 60 seconds and using the remaining time to rest.
EMOM for 15 minutes:
- 3 Push-Ups
- 3 Burpees
In this workout, you’ll do three push-ups and three burpees in a minute. Let’s say you complete the six reps in 20 seconds; you can use the remaining 40 seconds to rest before repeating this process for 15 minutes. Complete the exercises as quickly as possible for more extended rest between circuits. It is normal to take longer to complete the six reps as your muscles get more fatigued later in the workout. However, make sure you are not sacrificing your form.
Workout 3 (Tabata)
Tabata workouts require you to maintain a very high training intensity. In a Tabata workout, you do eight rounds of 20 seconds of strenuous exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest. Each Tabata circuit is four minutes long.
Three Tabatas in 14 minutes:
- Tabata Single-Under
- Rest 1 minute
- Tabata Toes-to-Bars
- Rest 1 minute
- Tabata Push-Ups
This Tabata workout involves three exercises. You begin with the first exercise — single-unders — and do them for four minutes, alternating between working for 20 seconds and resting for 10 seconds. You then rest for a minute before doing a Tabata set of toes-to-bar. A one-minute rest and the final Tabata push-ups set will follow it.
Phase 4: Weeks 10-12
Welcome to the final phase of the 12-week bodyweight training plan. You’re probably already seeing some significant changes in your physique. You now only have three more weeks left. It is time to go full throttle, all-out, pedal to the metal, balls to the wall — you get the point.
The following three CrossFit WODs will test your mettle. Your goal in this workout is to complete the workout as quickly as possible. Remember, you can use your results in these workouts as a benchmark for future workouts. Maintaining a training journal is always a good idea.
- 100 Pull-ups
- 100 Push-ups
- 100 Sit-ups
- 100 Air Squats
- 100-meter sprint
Pro Tip: Besides doing your workouts, you should always devote 30-45 minutes each week (10 minutes per training session) to learning new skills. It could be kips, handstand walks, or muscle-ups. Learning new skills will help you get fitter and keep you excited about your workouts.
Most exercisers hate burpees, and this is why I love them. Doing what makes you uncomfortable is one of the best ways to grow. This workout will be an all-out effort. Make sure you follow a full range of motion while performing both these exercises.
10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 Rep Rounds for Time:
Start the workout by doing 10 reps of burpees and sit-ups, followed by nine reps of both, then eight, and so on. Your goal is to complete this workout as quickly as possible with minimum rest. Stop only to catch a quick breather between reps.
The final workout on this list is one you will remember, probably for the wrong reasons. It is a reverse pyramid workout. This workout comprises five circuits. The first circuit consists of five exercises, the second circuit has four, the third has three, the fourth has two, and the final has one exercise. The number of reps you perform for these exercises will decrease with every succeeding circuit.
- 50 Sit-ups
- 40 Push-ups
- 30 Box Jumps (24” / 20”)
- 20 Pull-ups
- 10 Bench Dips
- 40 Sit-ups
- 30 Push-ups
- 20 Box Jumps (24” / 20”)
- 10 Pull-ups
- 30 Sit-ups
- 20 Push-ups
- 10 Box Jumps (24” / 20”)
- 20 Sit-ups
- 10 Push-Ups
- 10 Sit-ups
Girls must use a 20-inch box for the box jumps, whereas men will use a 24-inch box. Your goal is to complete this workout as quickly as possible.
35 Best Bodyweight Exercises
Here are the 35 exercises you must master to breeze through the 12-week bodyweight training plan:
Stand upright with a hip-width stance. Keeping an upright torso, squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Reach forward and plant your hands in front of your feet. Jump your feet back to get in a high-plank position. Complete a push-up. Frog jump your feet close to your hands. Stand up, jump your feet off the floor, and raise your hands over your head. Land back on your feet and repeat for recommended reps.
Stand upright with a shoulder-wide stance and your arms extended at your sides. Jump and spread your legs wider than hip-width apart while stretching your arms out and over your head in a sweeping motion. Return to the starting position. Cycle the reps in a consistent rhythm.
Get on all fours. Place your hands under your shoulders and extend your legs behind you. Your body should be in a straight line at the starting position. Slowly lower your chest toward the floor by bending your elbows. Your chest should be a few inches off the floor at the bottom. Explode back to the starting position. Pause and contract your pecs at the top of the range of motion.
This is a more explosive variation of the push-up. Begin in a high plank position. Lower your chest to the floor by bending your elbows. Press up with enough force for your hands to leave the ground. Claps your hands once while your hands are off the floor. Return your hands to the floor chest-width apart. Repeat for recommended reps.
This is a happy medium between the conventional push-up and the plyo variation. Start in the high plank position. Lower your chest toward the floor until it is a few inches off. Lift your right foot off the floor and bring your knee toward your elbow. Return to the starting position. Alternate between sides for the recommended reps.
Stand upright with a shoulder-wide stance. Extend your arms in front of you so they are parallel to the floor; this will help maintain your balance. Lower yourself to the floor by pushing your hips back and down. Maintain an upright torso throughout the range of motion and focus on sitting between your legs. Breathe out and extend your knees and hips to return to the start position.
Get into a high plank position with your legs extended behind you; your body should be in a straight line at the starting position. Lift your right foot off the floor and bring your knee as close to your chest as possible. Return the right leg to the floor and repeat with your left leg. Maintain a quick rep cadence so both your feet are off the floor during the transitions.
Lie supine on the floor with your knees bent and feet grounded. Hold your hands close to your ears. Contract your abs, breathe out, and lift your shoulders and upper back off the floor. Hold the isometric contraction at the top. Slowly return to the starting position. Avoid interlacing your fingers behind your head, as it can strain your neck.
Many exercisers use sit-ups and crunches interchangeably as they involve the same setup. However, these two are different exercises, and their range of motion varies significantly. In a sit-up, your torso will be 90 degrees with the floor, whereas your lower back never leaves the floor while performing crunches.
Stand facing a sturdy 18 to 24-inch elevated object like a table or chair. Place your hands on your hips for stability. Lift your right foot off the floor and place it on the table. Drive your right foot into the bench to lift your other foot off the floor. Place your feet together on the bench at the top. Return to the starting position. You could perform the recommended reps on one side at a time or alternate between sides.
Stand straight with a hip-width stance. Place your hands on your hips for support. Step forward with your right foot. Lower toward the floor by bending your knees and hips until your front thigh is parallel to the floor. Extend your knees and hips and bring your left foot next to your right. Alternate between sides for the recommended reps.
Stand upright and place your hands on your hips. Step back with your right foot; your heel should be off the floor. Lower toward the floor until your front upper leg is parallel to the floor. Drive your back leg to the starting position. Choose between performing the recommended reps on one side at a time or alternating between sides.
Lie on the floor on your stomach. Extend your arms overhead. Your body should be in a straight line. Brace your core and lift your arms and legs off the floor. Ensure that your knees or upper arms don’t touch the floor during your set. Hold this position for as long as possible.
Standing Long Jump
Stand erect with a shoulder-wide stance. Lower into a squat so your thighs are parallel to the floor, and swing your arms behind your body — the higher, the better. Lean forward, extend your knees and hips explosively, swing your arms in front of your body in a sweeping motion, and use the momentum to jump as far as possible. Land on the balls of your feet. Repeat for the recommended reps. Folks that train in a congested space can turn around after every jump.
Position two chairs four feet apart. Place a sturdy bar (or a broomstick) across the chairs. Lie on your back between the chairs so your chest is under the bar. Hold the bar with a shoulder-wide overhand grip. Lift your chest toward the bar by driving your elbows down and into your sides. Slowly return to the starting position.
Lie prone on the floor. Position your elbows under your shoulders and place your forearms parallel to each other. Lift your knees and hips off the floor. Your body should be in a straight line. Hold this position for as long as possible. Avoid lifting your hips toward the ceiling or letting them sag. Keep your core braced throughout the exercise.
Stand upright with a shoulder-wide stance. Hold your hands in front of your chest for stability. Take a big step to your right. Both your toes should be pointing forward, and your feet should be grounded. Bend your right knee to lower toward the floor while your left leg stays extended. Push off your right foot to return to the starting position. Repeat for recommended reps on the right leg before switching sides.
Stand upright with a shoulder-wide stance while holding onto a sturdy object like a sofa. Lift your heels off the floor. Lean back and push your knees forward and down toward the floor. Go as low as you comfortably can. Your body, from head to knees, should be in a straight line throughout the exercise. Reverse the movement to return to the starting position.
Bodyweight Calf Raise
You can use a staircase for this exercise. Place the balls of your feet on the edge of a stair. Your midfoot and heel should be hanging off. Slowly lower your heels toward the floor while maintaining a slight bend in your knees. Lift your heels as high as possible and contract your calves at the top of the range of motion.
Lie on the floor on your side. Your hips and legs should be stacked. Place your elbow on the floor under your shoulder and plant your forearm on the floor so it is perpendicular to your body. Lift your hips off the floor so your body is in a straight line. Hold this position for as long as possible. Switch between sides for the recommended sets.
Hanging Leg Raise
You’d need a pull-up bar for this exercise. Grab the bar with a shoulder-wide overhand grip. Your feet should be off the floor, and your body should be in a straight line at the starting position. While keeping your upper body steady, lift your legs toward the ceiling by bending at your hips. Your legs should be parallel to the floor at the top. Return to the starting position and repeat for reps.
Lying Leg Raise
Lie on your back on the floor. Your body should be in a straight line. Place your hands under your hips for leverage. Lift your feet a few inches off the floor. This will be your starting position. While maintaining a slight bend in your knees, lift your legs toward the ceiling until they are perpendicular to your torso. Slowly return to the starting position. Rinse and repeat.
You could use a D-handle or a loop resistance band for this exercise. Place the resistance band on the floor. Stand on top of the resistance band with a shoulder-wide stance. Bend over so your torso is at 45 degrees. Grab the ends of the band with a neutral grip. Brace your core and pull your hands to your sides while driving through your elbows and keeping them close to your sides.
Sit on the floor, bend your knees, and plant your feet flat on the floor. In the starting position, your torso should be at 45 degrees, your heels should be off the floor, and your arms should be extended in front of you. Brace your core and turn to your right side as far as possible. Return to the starting position and repeat on your left side. Alternate between sides for the recommended reps.
Place your hands about 6-12 inches away from the wall and slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Turn out your palms 5-10 degrees. Kick up into a handstand with your heels touching the wall. Brace your core and drive the base of your hands into the floor. Slowly lower your head to the floor by bending your elbows until the top of your head touches the mat. Explode back to the starting position.
Hang onto a pull-up bar with a shoulder-wide overhand grip. Start a kip swing by alternating between the hollow and arc positions. When in the arc position, bring your thighs to your chest and flick the bar with your toes. Drop into a hollow position and perform another toes-to-bar rep as you get into an arc position. Look at the bar during concentrics.
Stand facing an 18 or 20-inch table or chair. Swing your arms behind your body as you lower into a partial squat. Lean forward, swing your arms in front of your body, and jump onto the box by extending your knees and hips and using the momentum. Land on the box with flat feet. Step off the box and repeat for reps.
Lie on the floor on your back and extend your arms overhead. Your body should be in a straight line. Lift your legs and arms off the floor. Brace your core and simultaneously lift your legs and torso toward the ceiling. Bring your arms toward your feet during the concentric phase. Return to the starting position. Repeat for recommended reps.
Get in a tabletop position. Lift your right knee off the floor and drive your heel toward the ceiling as high as possible. Pause and contract your glute at the top. Slowly return to the starting position. Repeat for recommended reps before switching sides.
Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet grounded. Place your hands behind your body so your fingers face the wall behind you. Lift your hips toward the ceiling as high as possible. Start walking forward with your hands and feet.
Grab a pull-up bar with a shoulder-wide overhand grip. Push your shoulder blades back and down and drive your elbows toward the floor and into your sides to lift your chest toward the ceiling. Your chin should be over the bar at the top of the range of motion. Pause and contract your lats at the top. Slowly return to the starting position. Repeat for recommended reps.
Grab the parallel bars with a neutral (palms facing inward) grip. Your elbows should be extended and locked out at the starting position. Bend at your knees so your lower legs are parallel to the floor. Keeping your chest upright, slowly lower yourself by bending your elbows until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Explode back to the starting position. Hold your torso at a slight angle to bias your chest. Staying upright targets your triceps.
Lie on your back on the floor with your arms on your sides. Bend at your knees and plant your feet flat on the ground shoulder-width apart. Lift your hips toward the ceiling as high as possible by driving your feet into the floor while keeping your upper back and shoulders grounded. Pause and contract your glutes and hamstring at the top. Slowly return to the starting position.
Sit with your back against an elevated surface like a bed or a sofa. Place your upper back and shoulders on the edge of the sofa and your feet shoulder-width apart. Brace your core and drive your hips as high toward the ceiling as possible. Pause at the isometric contraction point at the top. Return to the starting position and repeat for reps.
Pistols are arguably the most challenging exercise on this list. Stand upright with your feet placed together. Lift one foot off the floor. Keep your core braced for optimal balance. Push your hips back and down and bend your standing knee to lower yourself toward the floor while raising your elevated leg in front of your body. Drive through your grounded foot to return to the starting position. Repeat for reps before switching sides.
Warming-Up Before a Bodybuilding Training Session
Many exercisers assume that since bodyweight workouts are less exertive than resistance workouts, they can skip warming up before their training session. This is a mistake, as warming up before a workout gets the blood flowing throughout your body. It loosens up your joints and muscles, improves your range of motion, and significantly reduces the risk of injury.
Here is a quick and easy 10-minute warm-up routine that consists of dynamic and static stretches:
|Downward facing dog||1-minute|
|Bodyweight calf raises||1-minute|
|Knight to hamstring stretch||1-minute|
|Squat to stand||1-minute|
Remember, the idea here is not to break a sweat or get your heart racing. Focus on stretching your muscles to loosen up for your workout. Wrap up this warm-up routine within 10 minutes. Transition between exercises as quickly as possible to save time.
Things To Consider Before Starting a Workout Program
Here are the things you must consider before starting a bodyweight exercise regimen:
Start with the End in Mind
Most people give up on their transformation journey before achieving their objective. Usually, the reason for their lack of progress is not an ineffective training program. It is the lack of a specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goal.
Ask a newbie what he wants to achieve from his fitness journey, and he’ll probably tell you that he wants to build muscle or lose fat. This is not a goal; you could call it a direction. Your goals need to be more specific. A more structured goal would look like this — “Lose 16 pounds of body weight in 12 weeks by training three days a week and cutting 1,000 calories from my daily diet.”
Giving yourself a deadline will add urgency to your goal and push you to stick to your transformation program.
Doing the same workouts is one of the fastest ways to hit a strength, muscle gain, or weight loss plateau. I designed this 12-week bodyweight training plan to ensure you do something different in every workout. Feel free to swap the exercises in the training regimen after each week in a phase to add variety to your training regimen.
Although you must vary your workouts, you don’t have to do it in every workout. Stick to a workout regime for a few weeks to allow it time to work its magic. Also, your workouts should have a pattern. We want variance, not random exercises.
Instead of changing the exercises in each phase every week, you should focus on upping your training intensity or volume. If you did three sets of 10 reps of an exercise, shoot for three sets of 15 reps or four sets of 12 reps. This is known as progressive overload.
The principle of progressive overload involves gradually increasing the weight, frequency, or number of repetitions in your strength training routine. Progressive overload involves shocking your muscles into growing. However, the added volume and intensity shouldn’t come at the cost of your exercise form, as it can increase your odds of injury.
A 2011 European Journal of Applied Physiology study found that gradually increasing the weight and number of repetitions of exercises (progressive overload) effectively increased bicep strength and muscle growth in both men and women. 
Keep Your Training Intensity High
Folks that aim to build muscle and lose weight through bodyweight training must keep their training intensity high. Limit your rest duration to less than 60 seconds. Avoid wandering away after completing your set, as getting back into the exercise position can take time. Keep your water bottle and towel close to you. If you’re using your phone and a wireless speaker to blast your favorite tunes, keep them close too. But remember, use your phone only to skip tracks or adjust the volume. Save the mindless Instagram feed strolling for after the workout.
If the recommended number of repetitions in the workout feel too easy, add to the workload by doing more. Trainers who want to stick to the rep range but want to increase the training intensity can reduce the rest time between sets to 45 seconds. There is more than one way to skin the cat. You must find out what works best for you.
It Takes Time
A body transformation is easier said than done. The time required to undergo a body transformation might vary depending on your training experience. Newbies might see quick results initially. However, their progress usually stalls after they have maxed out their newbie gains.
On the other hand, experienced lifters usually require 4-5 weeks before they start responding to a training program. Experienced exercisers must employ progressive overload techniques in their exercise program for consistent growth.
Tracking your progress can keep you accountable and motivated. Progress pictures, workouts logs, anthropometric measurements, and timing benchmark workouts are some of the best ways to track your progress. Share your progress with your coach, friends, or family to keep yourself accountable.
The progress updates will also ensure you are headed in the right direction. If you feel your progress is sluggish, tracking your progress allows you to make the necessary adjustments in time without sticking to an ineffective training program for too long.
In contrast to the popular opinion, bodyweight workouts are not reserved for beginners. Ever heard of calisthenics? Calisthenics is a form of strength training that mainly involves bodyweight exercises. Experienced exercisers can also use the 12-week bodyweight training plan detailed in this article to achieve a ripped physique.
Experience lifters can increase the training volume of the first phase by 10 to 20 percent and take it from there. Remember, resistance training and bodyweight training are two different things. Just because you can shoulder press 45-pound dumbbells for 10 reps doesn’t mean you can do 10 handstand push-ups.
Following an effective training program is only one-third of the battle. As they say, you cannot out-train a bad diet. You must follow a balanced nutrition-rich diet to achieve your transformation objective.
Begin by determining your average daily calorie intake. Folks looking to lose weight should reduce their daily calorie intake by 500 calories, whereas individuals trying to build muscle should increase their calorie intake by the same number.
Focus on Recovery
Recovery is the final piece of the puzzle, that is body transformation. You break muscle tissue while exercising. Your muscles grow back bigger and stronger while you are sleeping. Sleep for seven to eight hours each night to allow your body optimal time to recuperate.
Furthermore, many people hit a plateau trying to do too much too soon. Beginners shouldn’t opt for a six days a week resistance training program. Instead, use a bodyweight training program that involves exercising thrice weekly. Increase your training frequency as you gain more experience.
Benefits of a Bodyweight Training Plan
Following a bodyweight training plan has the following advantages:
Helps Build a Solid Foundation
Bodyweight exercises will help you build a strong base. For example, air squats and push-ups can translate to a stronger barbell back squat and bench press. Many lifters try to rush through bodyweight exercises. However, you should use them as an opportunity to drill the movement. It will pay dividends in the long run.
Most bodyweight workouts are fast-paced and will get your heart pumping. Aerobic workouts can help improve cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure, and increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels.
The 12-week bodyweight training plan combines aerobic and anaerobic training, which will speed up your fat loss progress. You must keep your training intensity high to get the best bang for your buck.
“Can I build muscle with bodyweight training” is probably the most common question I get from people in the preparation stage of their transformation journey. You can’t blame these folks for wanting to be sure that their efforts will yield the desired results.
A 2017 Journal of Exercise Science & Fitness study found that “Low-load bench presses and push-ups induce similar muscle hypertrophy and strength gain” over an eight-week training period. 
Bodyweight workouts can be done anywhere and at any time. Whether you go to a commercial gym or train in the confines of your bedroom, bodyweight exercises can help you achieve your dream physique. Plus, they are excellent for when you are traveling.
Improves Mobility and Stability
You’ll be doing sit-ups, push-ups, squats, Russian twists, and handstand push-ups in this bodyweight training program, training your body in all three movement planes (sagittal, frontal, and transverse), which will improve your mobility and core stability. Getting inverted will help you build a solid base gymnastics base.
Adding mobility drills to your warm-up can improve your flexibility and help you achieve a better range of motion during your training session. Conversely, doing mobility exercises in your cool-down routine will boost your recovery by flushing out the lactic acid from your muscles.
Bodyweight workouts are quick, intense, and effective, making them an excellent training choice for beginners and folks with packed schedules. Workouts in phase three of this 12-week bodyweight training plan are especially great for people that want to get in a solid workout while keeping the intensity high.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many days a week should I do bodyweight workouts?
It will depend on your training experience and objectives. Beginners should begin with three weekly full-body bodyweight workouts. As you gain more experience, you should increase your training volume and intensity by doing more exercises, reps, and sets.
Intermediate exercisers can then increase the training frequency and do four weekly workouts. A four days a week training program could consist of two upper-body and two lower-body workouts.
Can I build muscle with bodyweight workouts?
Yes. Studies have shown that bodyweight exercises like push-up are just as effective as bench press over an eight-week period to build muscle. Notably, the participants in this study used 40% of their 1RM on the bench press. 
While the subjects that were in the resistance training group could have potentially built more muscle mass than the pull-up group had they been allowed to use weights that were above 50% of their 1RM, it doesn’t take away from the fact that body weight exercises are effective for building muscle tissue.
How long should my bodyweight workouts last?
To keep the bodyweight workout training intensity high, you should limit your rest duration between sets to 60 seconds. A bodyweight workout shouldn’t last more than 60 minutes. That said, most bodyweight training sessions take less than 45 minutes to complete.
You could do bodyweight workouts that are longer than 60 minutes, but your training intensity would take a hit. Folks trying to lose weight should stick to high-intensity bodyweight workouts that can be done within 45 minutes.
What is the optimal rest duration between sets and workouts for bodyweight workouts?
In a bodyweight workout, you should limit your rest duration between sets and exercises to 60 seconds to keep your training intensity high. Resting for longer will lower your heart rate, which can limit the calories you burn during the workout.
Your training frequency will depend on your experience level. Beginners should take one day off after a bodyweight workout to allow their muscles time to recover. On the other hand, advanced exercisers can do up to six weekly bodyweight workouts.
What if I can’t perform an exercise in the 12-week bodyweight training plan provided in this article?
Beginners might find it difficult to perform exercises like bodyweight pull-ups and parallel bar dips. You could use a resistance band or a spotter for assistance. Furthermore, people that train at a commercial gym can use the assisted pull-up machine for these exercises.
This 12-week bodyweight training plan also has handstand push-ups, which might be difficult for people who’ve never tried them. You can substitute them with incline push-ups or dumbbell presses. However, people that can’t perform certain exercises should devote 15-20 minutes thrice a week to practicing these skills.
You don’t need a fully-equipped gym to build the physique of your dreams. A 30-45 minute bodyweight workout thrice a week combined with a balanced diet and recovery program will set you on the right path.
Use the 12-week bodyweight training plan detailed in this article to build muscle while losing fat. Use the phases as prescribed for the best results. Also, mastering the 35 bodyweight exercises listed in this article will set you up for life. So, what are you waiting for? Get that coffee table in your living room out of the way, and get pumping. Best of luck!
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