Master List for Bodyweight Substitutions

There’s an app for that.

Well, not really, but there is a sub for that.

“Mikey, what’s a bodyweight exercise for ____?”

I get this question all the time including yesterday’s finisher on my facebook page, which was this…

Do the following superset WITHOUT rest 4 times:

KB or DB Swings (10)
Squat Thrusts (10)

That’s 80 reps in about 3 minutes (I tested this myself and with my superstar client). That’s serious #FinisherPower.

If you want to do this in Uncle Larry’s garage, you can sub the Swings for Total Body Extensions.

Here’s a video tutorial on the Total Body Extension <= I’m sweaty (sorry)

But what about other exercises?

Leg Exercises

DB Romanian Deadlift => Single Leg BW Romanian Deadlifts (this makes the RDL tougher using just bodyweight)

DB Squat => Bodyweight Squats, Split Squats, Bulgarian Split Squats

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Note – You can make any variety of bodyweight squats harder by doing them “1-1/2 rep” style, where you go all the way down, halfway up, all the way back down and finally, all the way up – that’s ONE rep.

Knee Problems? Try these switches... (talk with your doc first!)

DB Lunge => Step-ups, 1-Leg Lying Hip Extensions

DB Squats or BW Squats => Hip Extensions, Hip Extensions with your feet on a Stability Ball (makes them harder)

DB or BW Jump Squats => Total Body Extensions

Lunge Jumps => Split Shuffle (double the reps)

So, if your program calls for 8 reps per side on the Lunge Jumps, you’ll do 16 per side on the Split Shuffle.

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Chest Exercises

DB Chest Presses (all varieties) => Use any variety of pushup that you can do for the reps prescribed.

For example, if a program calls for 12 DB Chest Presses, you can do Decline Spiderman Pushups (6 reps per side).

Dips => Close-Grip Pushups

Lying DB Tricep Extensions => Close-Grip Pushups (3/4th rep style – this hits the triceps harder – only come up about 75%)

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Back Exercises

Without straps, DBs or bands, it’s tough to hit the back, but what you can do is your lower body exercises Prisoner Style.

This means you’ll interlace your fingers behind your head and keep your elbows back, squeezing your shoulder blades together the whole time.

Bonus  – this can improve upper back mobility

How to Make Advanced Bodyweight Exercises Easier

Hey, not everyone needs to be doing burpees. Check your ego at the door, OK? You should challenge yourself, but never destroy yourself.

Burpees => Bodyweight Squats or Total Body Extensions (see pics above)

Advanced Pushups => Go with an easier version like regular Pushups. A good example – Spiderman Pushups (advanced) – switch those for Elevated Pushups.

Squat Thrusts => Mountain Climbers

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Whew, good times.

So, let’s take a look at this wicked density circuit inspired by “Density Afterburn“…

Perform the following circuit as many times as possible in 15  minutes, resting only when needed.

1A) DB Squat (8)
1B) DB Incline Chest Press (8)
1C) KB or DB Swings (20)

Bodyweight Version:

1A) Bodyweight Split Squat (1-1/2 rep style) (8/side)
1B) Decline Spiderman Pushups (4/side)
1C) Total Body Extension (20)

Good news: You now know how to replace DB moves with Bodyweight moves

Bad news: You just eliminated your excuses to get ready for spring

Use this list to never skip a beat.

And if you ever need other substitutions, ask us in the Finisher Freak Inner Circle.

Eliminating all excuses, one rep at a time,
Mikey, Master CTT