Myomy Fitness

Healthy and Strong at Home with Kettlebells

Do your body weight exercises suck compared to loaded ones?

You can lift heavy KB or BB loads, but push-ups, planks, and other body weight exercises seem to BURN YOU OUT!

If this sounds like you, keep reading.

The other week I came across a post in the Girls Gone Strong Facebook Group, by a woman who described this very problem. She could lift heavy with relative ease, but when it came to push-ups and other body weight movements, she felt so weak, and she's stopped seeing progress. 

She's not alone. 

So what's going on here? How can you be so strong at lifting external loads, yet feel so weak at lifting your own body? 

Here's one possibility: you're too tense.

You've become so good at "bracing" and tensing up for those heavy loads, that you're bracing for bodyweight exercises like they're your 1 REP MAX. 

Any wonder you're tired!

You don't need to be tense or braced for all things or for the entire rep or set. Strength works best when it is paired with cycles of relaxation. You become more tense for exertion, but then you turn it down for the rest... and you must also turn it off when you're done. 

Imagine you have a dial to create and disperse tension as the task demands. Finding the appropriate tension, within the appropriate time will give your muscles a chance to rest. 

Let's consider the push-up:  Have you hit a plateau? Do you feel heavy and sluggish?

Next time you try a set, see how "on" you are during your sets? Do you perform them slowly and carefully or can you let up on the bracing as you lower to the floor/bench, then exert some tension for pushing back up? Speed them up so you can express more power. Slow and careful will only fatigue you quicker.

If you find yourself requiring a lot of tension at the start of your sets, you may need to regress the movement (by elevating your hands) so you can work on your motor pattern. This is a common issue with pull-up progressions: they're too much too soon, and require an over-load of tension before the motor pattern is established.

I've seen people remain tense during their entire set. Everything is done so carefully and controlled that there is no fluidity to their movement. It's just rigid.

Don't be rigid.

What else can contribute to this pattern of being too tense during exercise?

Think about what you're like when you're not training. Are you being overly stiff and tense doing every-day activities? Do you worry about your posture and sit/stand super straight all.the.time? Are you vigilant about not twisting or bending your back when you reach for something? Are you worried you'll get injured if you don't perform things with "perfect technique"? 

All of these habits may be making you better at being tense. But you may not even know you're doing it until you look for it. 

If you do find yourself habitually tensed up, try to relax. Let go and allow your body to move more freely. Take note of what true relaxation feels like. 

During exercises, take some reassurance that injury is unlikely to be due to imperfect form. Form (especially at low loads) isn't as important in preventing injury as we've been led to believe. Sure, there is a greater need for better biomechanics as the load gets heavy, but not when it's just your bodyweight. You're not an injury waiting to happen! (blog/rant to come on this) 

Your body is movement waiting to be freed.

Trust your body. Find your fluidity, smoothness, and gracefulness when you move. And breathe! Consciously look to feel what comes between "being on" and "being off". Most exercises are performed best somewhere in between.  

The more you can find the appropriate tension / relaxation cycle for the task you're doing, and turn the dial down in day-to-day activities (and especially at rest), the better recovered you'll be.

Your body will thank you and your strength should soar.

Below a video I extract from this week's coaching call for the Pull-Up Academy where I talk a little more about this.

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The Plan You Need to Master Push-Ups

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Supersets Explained

You’ll see that your workouts are often written out in supersets. These are also known as rounds (when it’s more than 2 exercises), or couplets (when there’s just a pair). When you do a superset, you perform 1 set of each exercise as listed according to the number and letter, then return to the beginning for set 2 of that super set. For example:

1a: Squat: 3×5

1b: Push-up: 3×5

2a. Swing: 3×10

2b. Single Arm Row: 3×10 each side

In this example, you perform 1a then 1b with as much or little rest as you need, then rest after 1b before returning for a second run-through of those 2 exercises. Once all 3 sets/rounds are done, you move on to 2a and 2b.

Sometimes there are more than 2 exercises in a superset, especially for conditioning or interval workouts.

“Traditional” Sets look like a number without a letter, like this:

    1. Squat: 3×5
    2. Push-Up: 3×5

In this example, you perform all 3 sets of the squat (with rest as needed) before doing any Push-ups.

You will see that I utilise Supersets more often as I find they’re more time-efficient.

That being said, if you find that the equipment you need for the superset can’t be worked out the way it’s written, then just do these exercises in a traditional set design.

How Long to Rest?

Rest periods are important to allow replenishing the ATP-CP system.

The duration of the rest period is normally guided by how heavy the resistance is, or how explosive the work effort is. But also, paying attention to your force production (how your tempo changes), and how you feel (breathing, heart rate, fatigue) will help you become more in tune with your individual recovery rate.

As a general rule of thumb, according to the ACSM’s recommendation is as follows for the type of programming you will generally see here:

Muscular strength for moderate to heavy (not maximal) loading:

Rest between exercises 1-2 minutes; rest between sets or supersets 2-3 minutes.

Muscular Power for light- moderate loading:

Rest between exercises 1-2 minutes; rest between sets or supersets 2-3 minutes.

For metabolic conditioning:

Rest 1 minute or less between exercises; rest as needed between rounds (can be less than 1 minute, but sometimes may need to be longer). I will normally say 20 seconds rest to 40 seconds effort, but for some people it will need to be much longer rest than that. For example: 30-60 seconds rest for a 30 second interval.

Always opt for more rest until you get accustomed to training this way.


Any questions?

Leave a comment or send me a message.

~ Your Coach,


Choosing the best weight

All of your selected weights should allow you to perform the prescribed repetitions while maintaining good form. Once your form is broken, either through a change in the execution quality of the lift or by a significant change in the speed of the lift, you should not continue the set. This is often referred to as leaving one rep in the tank, where you should feel that you could have performed at most one more “good” rep. You should not train to muscular failure, as this has been identified as increasing your risk of injury; however, make sure that you are still using challenging weights!

Keeping a log of your weights is very important in this program, as the weights may fluctuate frequently. In fact, your workout templates are designed so that you can easily print out the forms and fill in your weights, creating your own workout journal. For each change in the reps, you should assume a 5-10 pound change, depending on the exercise. Be sure to monitor your fatigue. If you need to keep the weight or even drop the weight on subsequent sets in order to maintain your form, do so.

When your routine calls for bodyweight exercises, the resistance can be fluctuated in accordance to the required repetitions in your program by using external weight, such as by using a dip belt during pull-ups (eventually :D), or by changing the tempo to make the exercise more explosive. In addition, you can also regress bodyweight exercises if you need to make them easier for higher-rep sets, such as performing pushups with your hands elevated.

For unilateral or one-sided exercises, such as lunges or step-ups, the required repetitions should be performed for each side without alternating (unless instructed otherwise). For instance, if you are performing Step-ups for 8reps, perform 8reps with your left leg and then switch and perform 8 more reps with your right leg in order to complete the set.

You may alternatively see the word “max” written in the rep section of your workout. This indicates that you should perform as many repetitions as possible before a form breakdown.

NOTE: Form breakdown can be observed with a break in your speed of movement, where your form is still good but it takes you longer to perform the repetition. This is not the same as an actual break in your form and subsequent cheating motion, however, which increases risk to injury. Always pay attention to how you feel throughout your sets and reps, and adjust your weights as necessary to ensure an effective and safe workout.

Got questions? Leave a comment or send me a message.

~ Your Coach,


Client Cool Down

The goal of a cool down is to settle your "state" (breathing, heart rate, nervous system) and possibly aid in the recovery process.

Some light stretches, and deep breathing exercises can really help you feel energised and ready for what's next in your day.

My approach to cooling down is fairly simple and free. There aren't many rules for cooling down so I normally suggest finding what feels good to you. My one recommendation is to pay attention to your level of tension and breathing. Think: "make my muscles melt and let go of tension". The breathing can help with that. 

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