When was the last time you taught a class based solely on using the body as a "machine"? Body-weight exercises are often undervalued and underused. Many people want to advance rapidly, and they end up neglecting important functional (and foundational) movement patterns. Body-Weight Barrage blends popular strength training moves with cutting-edge training methods in a way that challenges clients at any fitness level without using barbells, dumbbells or any other equipment. Participants train like elite athletes without risking injury or feeling out of place. Not everyone is an athlete, but that doesn't mean you can't train like one.
Body-Weight Barrage Details
GOAL/EMPHASIS: total-body strength and conditioning
TOTAL TIME: 60 minutes
EQUIPMENT NEEDED: none
MUSIC: 90–110 beats per minute to warm up, then above 110 bpm in the work phase
COACHING NOTES: Review the class philosophy, expectations and methods during the warm-up. This class is very hands-on and requires that you demonstrate and continually check form to ensure safety and results.
Warmup (5 minutes)
Elevate heart rates to prepare participants for physical activity, and make a concerted effort to activate and mobilize specific regions of the body based on the upcoming workload. Here are some basic moves to get people started:
- Option 1: Raise alternating knees as you push and pull arms up and down, 30 seconds.
- Option 2: Do regular high knees, 30 seconds.
- Option 1: While standing, alternate dynamic quadriceps stretches, bringing heel to hamstring (keep it moving), 30 seconds.
- Option 2: Do butt kickers, 30 seconds.
- Option 1: Combine basic inchworm (from standing, bend forward and "walk" down with arms, then back up) with 5-second plank hold, 6 reps.
- Option 2: Combine inchworm with push-up, 6 reps.
Hip Flexor Stretch
- Option 1: Do kneeling lunge pulses with overhead reach, 30 seconds per leg.
- Option 2: Do deep lunge with right leg, place left hand down, and twist R. Alternate sides, 60 seconds.
- Option 1: Do scapular pushup (protraction and retraction) from hands and knees, 8 reps.
- Option 2: Do regular scapular pushup to downward-facing dog, 8 reps.
- Option 1: Hold regular plank, or plank from knees, 30 seconds.
- Option 2: Alternate between elbow plank and hand plank, 30 seconds.
- Option 1: Do jumping jacks, 30 seconds.
- Option 2: Do vertical jump, 6 reps.
Work Phase (45 minutes)
The main body of the workout is broken into lower-body and upper-body sections, with a total-body finisher.
Lower Body (30 Minutes)
- Do 3 sets of good mornings, 15 reps.
- Progression: Perform single-leg Romanian dead lift, 3 sets of 10 reps per leg.
Coaching notes: Both movements are hip hinges, so make sure participants are engaging the entire posterior chain. This is a hip-dominant pattern, so don't let knees take over as the prime moving joint. Cue neutral spine, flat back, soft bend in knees and flexion/extension at hip, finishing with a glute squeeze.
- Do regular glute-bridge hold, 3 sets at 60 seconds each (with minimal breaks).
- Progression: Perform single-leg glute-bridge hold, 3 sets, 30 seconds per leg.
Coaching notes: Each movement activates the core while simultaneously engaging the hamstring and glute complex. Make sure participants have solid ground contact with their feet and come to full hip extension. Superset this with the hip hinge.
Cycle through as many rounds as possible (AMRAP) for 10 minutes total, 12 reps per movement.
- sumo squat
- plank jack
- calf raise
- jump squat
- power calf raise
Coaching notes: The moves just listed are classic and well-known. While great form is always a priority, this circuit style may allow you to focus on motivating participants' intensity more than coaching form.
Do either static split squats or dynamic split squats every minute on the minute (EMOM) for 6 minutes total, 10 reps per leg.
Coaching notes: Set a timer for 6 minutes. Cue class to do their preferred variation at the top of each minute. Since this is a unilateral movement, alternate between L and R each minute.
UPPER BODY (15 MINUTES)
- From prone position, have participants do "Ys," "Ws" and "Ts" with arms, holding 3 seconds at each position, 3 sets of 10. Keep core engaged.
- Progression: Do prone floor dragging pull-ups, 3 sets of 10. Cue class to pull themselves forward on ground, or use some kind of anchored object (if available).
- Do regular pushups, 3 sets of 12. Monitor form.
- Progression: Do wall-assisted handstand pushups, 3 sets of 12.
Do as many rounds as possible of the following moves for 6 minutes, 6 reps per movement (per side, if unilateral).
- Pilates roll-up
- hand plank lateral walk
- wide-grip pushup
- dynamic roll-up to feet
- elbow-plank lateral walk
- wide-grip pushup on one leg
Coaching notes: As with the lowerbody AMRAP options, most skill levels can manage these exercises, which means you can focus on motivating participants to perform their reps with maximum speed and quality.
Seated Sprint Intervals
Cue students to begin in seated position and perform upper-extremity sprint mechanics like punch variations while keeping lower body anchored. Core activation is vital to making this movement beneficial. Do 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off; 4 rounds.
Total-Body Finisher (5 minutes)
Finish strong by doing a bear crawl in one direction, then a broad jump back to start. Five sets of 10 for 20 yards. Progression: 5 sets of 10, 30 yards. Bear crawls are slow, precise and steady, while broad jumps are explosive and crisp.
Cooldown (5 minutes)
Lead class through the following flexibility and mobility moves:
- hip flexor stretch with reach, 30 seconds per side
- cat-cow, 10 breaths total
- pulsing chest stretch at wall, 30 seconds per arm
- lat-stretch wall reach, 30 seconds
- deep squat with deep breathing, 60 seconds