Unique way to do pushups, pullups & other bodyweight exercises

I just got back a few days ago from a week's vacation on the Baja peninsula of Mexico racing Baja-1000 dune buggies through the mountains, deserts, and coastlines... what an amazing trip!

I even got to ride in a car with Jesse James of Monster Garage fame while he really pushed the car to the limits sliding through turns and launching off of jumps... that was a blast!

We had some great scenery too while driving through mountains, cactus fields in the desert, dried up lake beds hitting offroad speeds of 95 MPH, pine forests in the highlands, and along the beaches of the coastline... beautiful scenery!

So since I was on vacation for the week, this was my planned "off-week" from working out. I took a full 8 days off of training to let my body have a break from the resistance training. I do this about 3 times a year, and it's something I feel is important to keep your gains in the gym coming year round...otherwise you can burn out if your workouts aren't cycled properly.

You actually usually feel stronger when you come back to training after a week off.

Now for today's tip on the unique style of repetitions for bodyweight exercises (this can be applied to any other exercises too):

I've used this style of repetitions for pushups and pullups mostly, but can also be used for squats, etc. It's TOTALLY DIFFERENT from your typical style of repetitions.

Think of how most people would do a set of pushups or pullups...they would crank out the reps almost as fast as they can until they burn out...most people would actually use a rep speed of faster than 1 second up and 1 second down.

Now here's how you do my alternative style of repetitions:

Let's take the pushup for example...
  • You take a full 10 seconds to lower yourself to the bottom position, moving slowly throughout the range of motion over that full 10 seconds.
  • Then, you hold the bottom contracted position for another full 10 seconds (an inch or two off of the ground, so that the muscles are still in an isometric contraction).
  • Then, you do the concentric portion of the pushup (pressing up) as fast as possible.
So, all in all, 1 pushup repetition will take you 21 seconds approximately. For most people, 2 to 3 pushups in one set is all they'll be able to do in this unique style of reps. If you do 3 reps in one set, that's basically about 1 minute time-under-tension for your muscles.

This exact method can be used to get some variety into your pullup training... instead of just cranking out your reps as fast as you can like most people do... try pulling up powerfully for the 1st rep, holding the top position of the pullup for 10 seconds, and then slowly lowering for 10 full seconds. Try to do 2 reps per set like this if you are strong enough.

Most people can not even do 1 repetition like this for pullups, so if you can't do the full 10 seconds of hold and 10 seconds down, just do whatever time you can, and build up to longer times for subsequent workouts.

You can also alternate these "super-slow" sets of pushups with super-slow sets of pullups... 3-5 sets of each, and you have one of the best upper body workouts you've ever done!

There you have it... a cool new repetition scheme to help break you out of your workout rut. Give it a try for a couple weeks, and I think you'll see some new results.

You should also check out my friend Jon Benson's unique style of training that he has put together at:

The workouts he has there use some really cool rep/set timing schemes and great progressions. I like to use these workouts for a few cycles per year to mix up my routines and break out of a rut.

I'll be back in a few days with more Lean-Body Secrets for you to use.
Talk to you soon,

Mike Geary
Certified Nutrition Specialist
Certified Personal Trainer
Founder - &