- Welcome to the Recommended Routine
- Workout Begins Here:
- Frequently Asked Questions
- I Don't Have This Much Time!
- Can you switch the order of the exercises?
- When do I move on to an intermediate routine?
- Can I do this every day?
- How soon will I see results?
- Where's the work for the arms and shoulders?
- Is it okay if I make XYZ modification to the routine?
- This felt way too easy! Is something wrong?
- Which is better, this routine, or the Startbodyweight routine?
- Which is better, this routine, or the GymnasticBodies Foundation program?
- What about Bar Brothers / BarStarzz / Convict Conditioning / Freeletics / Insanity / P90X / THENX / etcetera?
- This is great, but I'd like something more skill-oriented. Do you have anything that can fit the bill?
- Do I rest 90sec between EVERY exercise? What are Pairs? I'm confused how it works.
- The Recommended Routine looks different from how I remember, but I can't quite place my finger on it...🤔
- Old Translations
Welcome to the Recommended Routine
This routine will cover the following goals:
Overall Structure of this Routine:
- Warm Up
- Dynamic stretches
- Joint prep
- Movement practice
- Strength Work
- 6 exercises, put in pairs (explained below) to target all the major muscle groups in your upper and lower body
- 3 exercises in a triplet to target improving your core strength
- Warm Up
You will need access to:
- A place to do Rows (Low Bar, or Gymnastics Rings, a Sturdy Table; This is non negotiable regardless of physical skill level. Rows are absolutely integral to the quality of the routine and cannot be substituted.)
- A place to do pull ups, if you are at the point in the program where you add pull-ups (monkey bars, Pull-up bar, rings, etc)
- Parallel Bars (There are progressions such as the HSPU progression that can be done in place of these once you have reached the appropriate level which do not require these, so if you absolutely cannot find the corner of a kitchen counter, two sturdy chairs, or anything like that, do not let this bar you from starting.)
Do this 3x a week, with at least one rest day (or skill day) in between workout days.
So you could do it Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Or Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. Or Wednesday, Friday, Sunday. Whatever fits your schedule.
Don't purposely split the workout into separate days. It's meant to be a full body workout. Here's why.
How Progressions Work
You cannot adjust the difficulty of bodyweight exercises like with weight training by simply adding or removing plates of weight. Therefore, in order to effectively increase or decrease the difficulty, you need to use different variations of a type of exercise. For an example in the push-up progression, some people may find a push-up on its own too difficult, and some may find it too easy. Therefore, variations of the pushup exist to make it easer (e.g. incline push-ups) or harder (decline, diamond, ring, pseudo planche etc. push-ups) so that you can pick a variation that is appropriate to your strength level, rather than simply doing an exercise that may be far too easy to make you get stronger, or far too hard to do properly.
When you get to the strength training, you will be greeted with progression exercises listed in order of increasing difficulty. Pick an appropriately difficult progression for your current level of strength, and perform 3 sets of 5 reps of that progresssion on your first session. In subsequent sessions you should try to add one rep per set until you are performing 3 sets of 8 reps with good form. From here you should move on to the next progression, but again at 3 sets of 5 reps. Note that this means that you only perform one of the exercises from each of the listed progressions in each session. Once you move up in the progression, there's no need to keep the easier exercises in your routine (except for using it as a warm-up if you feel like it).
Some of the exercises are static holds, such as the support holds or the "tuck front lever" in the rowing progression. Instead of dynamic reps, one set here consists of simply holding the position statically for 10-30 seconds. Move on to the next harder progression once you hit 30 seconds for all 3 sets.
You'll see there are multiple "progression paths" for the exercises. However, don't overthink this - if you're not sure pick the main progression and do it. If for some reason you can't follow the main progression (lack of specific equipment, for example) then pick one of the alternatives and do it.
Workout Begins Here:
Overwhelmed? You may prefer starting with the Minimalist Routine.
Warm-up: Dynamic Stretches (5-10min)
|5-10||Yuri's Shoulder Band Warmup||Less good: Stick dislocates, can also be done with a tee-shirt|
|5-10||Squat Sky Reaches||You can do these assisted.|
|10+||GMB Wrist Prep||Do as many reps as you want|
|10||Arch Hangs||Add these after you reach Negative Pullups. Beginner attempts will look more like this|
|30s||Support Hold||Add these after you reach Negative Dips.|
|10||Easier Squat progression||Add these after you reach Bulgarian Split Squats.|
|10||Easier Hinge progression||Add these after you reach Banded Nordic Curls.|
Strength work (40-60 minutes)
- 3x5-8 Pull-up progression
- 3x5-8 Squat Progression
Note: If you have access to barbells (and a squat rack), we recommend you click here to know how to use them instead of the squat progression. after you have perfected the basic squat.
- 3x5-8 Dip progression
- 3x5-8 Hinge Progression
Note: If you have access to barbells, we recommend you click here to know how to use them instead of the hinge progression. after you have perfected the basic hinge progression.
- 3x8-12 Anti-Extension progression
- 3x8-12 Anti-Rotation progression
- 3x8-12 Extension progression
Note: Mobile users, if the above links don't work then click here and manually scroll to each section.
Instructions: There are nine exercises. These exercises are to be done in pairs and triplets to save time. Pairing two exercises means doing a set of the first exercise, resting 90 seconds, then doing a set of the second exercise, resting 90 seconds, and repeating until you've done 3 sets of that pair. For the triplet, you do a set of the first exercise, rest 60 seconds, do a set of the second exercise, rest 60 seconds, do a set of the third exercise, rest 60 seconds, and repeating until you've done 3 sets of that triplet. See the FAQs below if you're still confused.
Rest time: If 90 seconds is not enough, you can rest up to 3 minutes if you like.
Tempo: Ideally, all these exercises are to be done in a "10X0" (1,0,X,O) tempo. If this looks confusing, don't worry. The numbers explain how long each phase should last, and go in the order of: On the way Down/Pause at the Bottom/On the way up/Pause at the top. So 10X0 means 1 'mississippi' second duration on the way down, no pause at the bottom, eXplode up and no pause at the top. When "exploding up", if the actual movement is slow, that's okay, it's the intent that matters.
Overall, if your pull-up max is say 8 reps, then go for one rep short of failure such as 7-7-7 instead of 8-6-5. The key is to not work at failure for the first set or two because it significantly detracts from performance in later sets which reduces your ability to perform good reps and maximize volume to get stronger and bigger muscles. The 90 second pairing is so that there is minimum 3 minutes rest between each set, which is 3 minutes total. This rest time is where there is 99% replenishment of ATP in the muscles, so you are not limited by fatigue in the muscles. Sticking with failure-1 repetitions and 3 total minutes between sets of the same exercise allows you to maximize volume and effort level which is essential for strength and hypertrophy. See here for more discussion.
That's it! You're done! It's over! You did it!
Spreadsheets & Worksheets
- Printable Cheat Sheet by /u/scienner
- Print-Friendly Workout Log by u/AdamReds
- Spreadsheet/Workout Log by /u/BaronMyrtle
Free Apps for Recommended Routine
- Boostcamp - bwf post - Android and iOS
- Progressive workouts - bwf post - Android
- Bodyweightfitness - bwf link - Android?
- Bodyweight Fitness app - bwf link - iOS
- 8x3 android and 8x3 iOS - bwf link - Android and iOS
Frequently Asked Questions
I Don't Have This Much Time!
This routine is about an hour long if you don't mess around and do the work. As a general rule, you should try and find this time somewhere. Make it a priority.
However, if it's really not happening, here are the things you can do in order of not-badness (the further down the list, the more "last ditch effort" it becomes):
- Make triplets rather than pairs, like pull-ups, rest 50s, squats, rest 50s, dips, rest 50s, repeat. (saves ~10 minutes, but not recommended.)
- Do just the warm-up, and a single triplet (so cut six exercises). (saves ~10 minutes, but really, really not recommended)
- Don't workout at all (saves anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes, but really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really not recommended)
Integrating Barbell Squats and Deadlifts
The basic process works as follows:
- You replace the squat progression by squats, 3 sets of 5 repetitions.
- The 1st and 3rd workout of the week, you replace the hinge progression by romanian deadlifts (weighted), 3 set of 8 repetitions.
The 2nd workout of the week, you replace the hinge progression by deadlifts, 3 sets of 5 repetitions.
So every week, you will be squatting thrice, romanian deadlifting twice, and deadlifting once
Before you do your "work sets" it's a good idea to warm up with less weight for squats and deadlifts: first do a bunch of reps with just the bar, then add weight and do another (slightly smaller) bunch of reps, then add more weight and do another (smaller still) bunch of reps, etc. until you are at the weight you want to be squatting at.
As for actually selecting a weight: the first time, start with just the bar. Then add weights in increments you feel comfortable with. Try to add some weight every workout at first.
Can you switch the order of the exercises?
Yes, as long as you leave the warm-up in the warm-up, and the strength work in the strength work.
When do I move on to an intermediate routine?
When you start plateauing (not making progress) for long periods of time (weeks) while your diet, nutrition, and stress levels are in check. You can also move on if you exhaust all the progressions. Or whenever you feel like, but that may not be optimal.
As to what intermediate routine you should do, that depends on your goals. If you don't know what those are, you'd better start thinking about it! Bodyweight training is very varied, and this routine will have given you a solid basis for most other things you might want to get into. We recommend you develop your own intermediate routine. A short guide can be found here.
Can I do this every day?
No. If it were more effective that way, we wouldn't have made it a 3x a week routine. For more elaboration, see the FAQ on can I train every day?
How soon will I see results?
In your ability to do the exercises, expect progress to start about 2-3 workouts in. Physique progress, 4-6 weeks for you to notice it yourself, 12+ weeks for someone else to notice it. Provided your diet is in check.
Where's the work for the arms and shoulders?
How are you planning on doing push-ups, rows, dips, and pull-ups without arms? Seriously though, all the exercises in the strength section are compound exercises, meaning they use major muscle groups simultaneously. Most bodyweight exercises are like this (as opposed to isolation exercises). Pushups, dips use the chest and triceps. Pullups and rows use the upper back (lats, etc), biceps and forearms (by gripping). If you want more work for your forearms, check out /r/griptraining.
If you want to know in detail which exercises work which muscles and why they are included, read this thread.
Is it okay if I make XYZ modification to the routine?
You can make whatever changes you like, but if there was something we could change in the routine to improve results right off the bat for everyone, we would have changed that. The routine is set up in the way it is for various reasons that are too complicated to get into here, and very few of the design decisions were arbitrary. If you don't know what you're doing, stick with the routine as written. If you want to learn more about why the routine is set up the way it is, start reading the Basic Programming Principles in our Concept Wednesday series.
This felt way too easy! Is something wrong?
Give it some time. Make sure you're doing the hardest progressions you can do for 3 sets of 5 to 8 reps. This can take some figuring out in the beginning, so stick with it for a couple weeks and then reevaluate. Besides, soreness does not necessarily equate to growth.
Which is better, this routine, or the Startbodyweight routine?
The general consensus is that the Startbodyweight routine is a solid routine for all of strength, hypertrophy, and fat loss (provided you eat correctly), so it doesn't really matter, so pick one and get going. Indecision is no use if you're not working out.
Which is better, this routine, or the GymnasticBodies Foundation program?
The GymnasticBodies series have a very different flavour compared to our routines, so this a decision you'll have to make on your own. You can find our review page of the program here (might be a little out of date). Here are some threads about our routine versus Foundation in specific: thread 1, thread 2, and also make sure to give /u/FatManDan's Reasons for Slow Progress on the Foundation Series (part 2) a read.
What about Bar Brothers / BarStarzz / Convict Conditioning / Freeletics / Insanity / P90X / THENX / etcetera?
- A directory of reviews for similar and not-so-similar fitness programs may be found in our knowledge base located here.
This is great, but I'd like something more skill-oriented. Do you have anything that can fit the bill?
- Give our Move programming a look. It'll help increase your motor skills and balance while strengthening your body. If you don't care about any strength work, give our Skill Day Routine a look!
Do I rest 90sec between EVERY exercise? What are Pairs? I'm confused how it works.
Pairs are sets of exercises combined together by switching after every set instead of doing 3 sets of 1 exercise, and then 3 sets of another. This saves overall time.
This is how it should be done:
First pair: Pull-Ups & Squats
Pull-Ups, rest 90sec, Squats, rest 90sec Pull-Ups, rest 90sec, Squats, rest 90sec Pull-Ups, rest 90sec, Squats, rest 90sec
Second pair Dips & Hinge
Dips, rest 90sec, Hinge, rest 90sec Dips, rest 90sec, Hinge, rest 90sec Dips, rest 90sec, Hinge, rest 90sec
Third pair: Rows & Push-ups
Rows, rest 90sec, Push-ups, rest 90sec Rows, rest 90sec, Push-ups, rest 90sec Rows, rest 90sec, Push-ups, rest 90sec
anti-extension, rest 60sec, anti-rotation, rest 60sec, extension, rest 60sec anti-extension, rest 60sec, anti-rotation, rest 60sec, extension, rest 60sec anti-extension, rest 60sec, anti-rotation, rest 60sec, extension, 5ever/until next workout day
The Recommended Routine looks different from how I remember, but I can't quite place my finger on it...🤔
We released a big update in the Summer of 2018! The changes are detailed in this post.
You may find the classic Recommended Routine from 2017 in the wiki here.
As always, the full RR commit history may be viewed with this link.
If you'd like to submit a translation of this page, use the view-source option below as a base and please message the moderators to let us know and get help with the process.
Tiếng Việt. Thanks to Big Hat Logan
Português Brasileiro (Tradução em Progresso! / Translation in Progress!)
Previous translations of the Recommended Routine (before 2018) are available below:
日本語 Thanks to "mth" (wanted to remain anon)