Use the Repetition Method for Bodyweight Exercises

How to Build Strength and Training Volume

Build Strength On Any Bodyweight Exercise

Increase your ability to knock out more reps using the repetition method. If you've ever wanted to do more muscle-ups, push-ups, pull-ups, or any other bodyweight exercise, this strategy will get you there quickly.

It's all about accumulating a total number of reps over the course of a workout.

Take whichever exercise you want to improve and do one unbroken set for max reps. Then take that number and multiply it by 2.5 to get your total rep target.

Let's say your max unbroken set of pull-ups is 10. So you take 10 reps x 2.5 = 25. This means 25 is your total rep target. Now your goal is to accumulate 25 strict pull-ups at least 3-4 times a week for the next 4-6 weeks.

Try to accumulate your target reps in your OTHER workouts throughout the week. For example, after each set of squats, bang out 5 strict pull-ups during your rest breaks. Or simply sneak in 25 strict pull-ups anytime throughout your workouts.

The point is, you want to be doing those pull-ups on more than just your upper-body pulling day. So "sprinkle" the reps in throughout your workouts. Whether you get 5 sets of 5, or 25 sets of 1 rep, it doesn't matter. All that matters is that you accumulate your target reps of your chosen movement before you leave the gym that day.

After 4-6 weeks of using the rep method, re-test your max unbroken set and be amazed as you set a new personal record.

The repetition method may seem simple. It is, but it works! Remember, it's best reserved for bodyweight exercises like pull-ups, push-ups, dips, handstand push-ups, muscle-ups, or other exercises that don't cause a lot of systemic fatigue.

I don't generally recommend using the repetition method for most barbell lifts since it's easy to overtrain and accumulate too much central nervous system (CNS) fatigue.

But if you're careful, you actually CAN use it to bring up certain lifts. You'll be surprised how well it works for the bench press and overhead press.

For example, say your max set on the bench press is 6 reps with 225 pounds. Take 6 reps x 2.5 and you get 15 reps. That makes 15 your total rep target.

Now aim to accumulate 15 reps with 225 on the bench press in all your other workouts throughout the training week for 4-6 weeks. Again, it doesn't matter when you perform the reps or how many sets it takes. All that matters is that you complete them.

While the rep method can work for the squat and deadlift, you must be careful with the load and intensity.

The more exposure you get with any particular exercise, the more neurologically efficient you become with that exercise. Most neurological strength adaptations take place over 4-6 weeks.

Once you improve, switch up your training stimulus or switch up the lift. As the old adage goes, "practice makes perfect." This certainly applies to the rep method.

Tanner Shuck is a former Division 1A football player and accomplished CrossFit athlete. He specializes in competitive fitness, with emphasis on training absolute and relative strength. Tanner is an online coach and personal trainer based out of Dubai, UAE. Follow on Instagram