Bodyweight Muscle Burners

BJ Gaddour
Year Released: 2014

Categories: Total Body Workouts

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There are 3 30-minute workouts. They are all 4 base moves done for 60 seconds of work and 15 seconds of rest. It starts with the easiest variation of the exercises as a built-in warmup, and the exercise variations get progressively harder, until by the end he's doing crazy things like handstand pushups and pistol squats.

The best way to use these workouts is to keep progressing until you reach a level that you don't think you're ready to go past, and stay there for the rest of the workout. I am planning doing these workouts for 3-4 weeks and hoping to see some progress in that time.

The Punisher's 4 base exercises are hip thrusts, push ups, squats and rows. For equipment, you need a step, or piece of furniture like a chair or ottoman, the wall. Optional equipment: an equalizer or other bar for inverted rows (he even mentioned using a table), sofa cushions, med ball.

The Total Body Terror's 4 moves are hip hinges, vertical push-up, 1-leg squats, vertical pulls. Equipment: the wall, a towel, step or box, chair, cushions. Optional equipment: pull-up bar.

The Core Crusher's 4 moves are crunch (working your way to hanging leg raises), split squats, bridges and hamstring curls, and push ups. Equipment: step, box or chair, cushions. Optional equip: pull up bar, suspension trainer.

The workouts are structured in a way that seems very balanced to get a total body workout. There is a nice emphasis on the posterior chain, in particular. I find that is actually a bit rare in home workout dvds, and specifically in bodyweight dvds.

The one drawback is that while he gives you exercises you can do if you don't have a pull-up bar for pull-ups and inverted rows, they do not look like they are nearly as challenging. It seemed to me I wouldn't get the full effectiveness of these workouts unless I found a way to set up a pull-up bar, which gave me the final push to actually do it. Having done the workouts, I can say that they use the Equalizer or other bar for inverted rows and the pull up bar very effectively and I recommend them to anyone who wants to get more use out of that equipment.

One other drawback is that if you have a strong lower body, some of the lower body exercises may not be challenging enough. In particular, the deep squats and hip thrusts were not quite hard enough for me. I have no problem adding some dumbbells to those exercises, but it might bother some.

The bonus workout is called The Burpee Blitz. I have done it once and it was awesome. You start with easier variations of the burpee and backwards burpee as a built-in warm up. The backwards burpee is squatting down, rolling onto your back, then rolling forward and standing up with a jump. I used some puzzle mats for the backwards burpees.

It's a 40 seconds work/20 seconds of rest format. You alternate burpee and backwards burpee, and each round the variation of burpee or backwards burpee gets progressively more difficult. One-arm burpees, one-leg burpees, then one-arm, one-leg (opposites) burpees. He adds in the push-up and jump to make the variations harder as well.

I was having a lot of trouble standing back up from the backwards burpee without crossing my legs. So I used an arm to help push myself back up. I hope to improve there. The backwards burpee gets more difficult with a one-leg (pistol squat) variation. I have been working on strap-assisted pistol squats for the past couple of months, and can now go down into a pistol squat and hold it, but can't get back up yet. So it was a lot of fun to discover I could lower in a pistol squat, roll onto my back, then roll forward again. When I can raise back up in pistol position, I will rejoice.

There is a lot of room to grow in this workout! I couldn't do the 1-arm 1-leg burpees either. I can do 1-arm 1-leg planks, so I am sure I will get there with more practice.

At the end, you combine the burpee + backwards burpee for the ultimate burpee variation. It is pretty crazy!

There is a bonus disc. It is called the Bodyweight Eight, and provides a good 5-10 minutes demonstration and breakdown of what BJ considers each of the 8 bodyweight exercise categories. I haven't watched them all yet, but found the first couple very informative. He discusses proper form and even how to increase your mobility in order to do the exercises.

I am really pleased with this set! I have had chest, back, glute and ab soreness after doing these workouts. I feel like I am packing a LOT of work into 30 minutes and it does not feel gruelling or rushed.

Instructor Comments:
BJ Gaddour is his still himself! Great form, great instruction. His sense of humor might be a little "out there" to some people, but he makes me chuckle. I think he ends the Burpee Blitz with: "I love you. I hope you love me too."