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The Gravity Method: Dynamic Bodyweight Strength Performance

The Gravity Method: Dynamic Bodyweight Strength Performance

If I had nickel for every moment that I’ve heard people say that they can’t train because they are either short on equipment, or can’t afford a gym membership I would’ve been retired 10 years ago. The limitations that people place on themselves, particularly these days is way too prevalent. Whether you’re a competitive athlete, a fitness addict, or weekend warrior this post is going to be one you’ll want to read until the end.

What Is Overlooked…

It doesn’t matter whether or not you’re a competing athlete at the highest level, or a beginner, bodyweight training should be an integral part of your training ingredient’s list. Too many folks on both ends of the performance spectrum neglect bodyweight strength and performance and this is a huge limiting factor in terms of their gains.

I’ve been training athletes and serious fitness personnel now for 14 years and I will tell you that when I get a trainee started the first thing I do is start putting them on the path towards mastering their own body resistance. Without this foundation they are going to be limited in so many other ways…particularly in the movement spectrum.

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After years of training I would even go so far as to even challenge some of the best lifters as to how well they can perform bodyweight movement. The reason I say this is because I’ve seen many athletes from every kind of sport that can maybe squat and bench press some pretty damn good weight, but in terms of their athleticism (in many cases) their movement isn’t¬†much more impressive than Jabba the Hutt.

The missing link here generally boils down to the fact that many lifters are creating a gap between their ability to move free weights with certain major lifts and what they are doing to improve their body’s ability to control and initiate movement that is fluid and dynamic.¬†Without the latter there is less overall control… and masterful mobility is inhibited as a result.

What Is Needed…

Of course the bread and butter of a smart bodyweight strength program should consist of push ups, squats, lunges, and pull ups. However, once these are handled by the trainee to a high level of satisfaction then we can start introducing variations of these movements in order to challenge a trainee to control their body in much more advanced ways.

Onnit Zombie Bells
Once a trainee has developed a sound level of body control and core stability through mastering the standard push up and squat then we can introduce some other more complex movements to teach a trainee to harness their strength with a higher level of coordination and skill. This can be done once we start to insert movements that are performed in the transverse plane of motion. Case in point…

As you can see with this seated lumbar twisting drill the focus is more about controlling the body during more advanced rotational movement. This requires a higher level of coordination and stability in order for a trainee to pull it off, but the real value to me is that it maps out a type of movement that is neglected by many that just spend all their time lifting in the same restricted patterns.

The value of bodyweight strength is that much of it enables us to develop a solid feel and a baseline of control in a closed kinetic chain so that when we do go to an open kinetic chain movement with lifting a free weight we are better able to initiate a higher level of control and stability. The ability to truly feel resistance is a sign of true strength development.

In that previous video I was aiming to demonstrate a method to introduce more lumbar rotation in more advanced bodyweight strength. Likewise we can also implement more rotational movement in a different way while challenging the mobility and stability of the shoulders. This is a cool little shoulder pivot drill to help you do just that.

Once again there is a great level of coordination and skill required to pull this little monster off. Of course the drill is advanced enough, but if you just want to focus solely on the movement and integrity of the shoulders you can omit the push up portion of this drill. For that just pivot from right to left to focus more on bridging the hips to the sky and stretching the shoulder of the grounded hand.

In Conclusion…

The point of all of this is that gravity can provide everything you need in order to help you to inject a higher level of movement, stability, and control into the fabric of your training program. After all the goal is to be able to handle weight with both grace and confidence and to not develop to a point that we resemble moving like Jabba the Hutt!

I hope you enjoyed learning more about how you can leverage the free resource of gravity to help you to achieve your most desired gainzzz. Don’t be shy about posting up in the comments below. What kind of bodyweight strength movements are you including into your training?

Related Articles:

Shoulder Integrity: Packing For Stability And Mobility

Push Ups: The Power Of Variation

Inhibition In Movement: A Crime Against Strength

An Examination Of The Box Jump

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I'm a Certified Strength And Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and author. I have had over 17 years experience in MMA fitness, strength and conditoning, and athletic performance for most every sport. As an author and specialist I've written close to a million words on fitness and strength. I'm also a Muay Thai practictioner and enjoy helping others to reach their peak potential through fitness and performance.

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