This 3-Move Bodyweight Challenge Will Turbo-Charge Your Metabolism

·6-min read

Long considered the baby brother of 'proper' weight training, it seem like bodyweight-based sessions have come under further scrutiny as a slew of influencers have had us all dancing around our living rooms, performing carefully choreographed workouts chocked full of advanced movements. It had more in common with breakdancing than bodybuilding.

But bodyweight training really can be the Swiss Army Knife of exercise modalities. The phrase ‘a gym you can take anywhere’ has become ubiquitous marketing spiel. But a gym you can’t leave behind? That’s pretty useful.

The trick to making your body work for you lies in efficient sessions with basic, effective movements, that allow you to make incremental improvements and see measurable progress session after session. Just like this one.

We've got three time-tested movements, hitting your body from head-to-toe in one simple protocol that provides you with instant feedback on your progress each and every time you reattempt the workout. Nothing is required apart from the timers on your phone. No special kit, no high-tech facility, no flashy clothing. Just bring what you were born with.

You could do this naked in his own living room, if you were so inclined. Just make sure the curtains are closed. Find my advice for acing the session and the full workout below.


You’re going to get underway with the humble push-up. Probably the first movement most of us learn, and potentially the only one you’ll ever need. On a running clock, at the beginning of each ‘even’ minute (0.00, 2.00, 4.00, for example) perform two reps. Every new round add an additional two reps, working up in this fashion (2,4,6, 8, 10… etc.)

The ‘standard’ proper push-up will serve you just fine, from cradle to the grave, with many an advanced trainee still swearing by it. But if you want to up the ante (or cautiously lower it), then pick a press-up variation that’s suitable for you.

Looking to increase the difficulty? Pop your feet up on the sofa or coffee table, altering the angle and increasing the resistance on your chest, arms and shoulders. Want to scale the movement back slightly to hit those higher reps? Turn around and elevate your hands, instead, using physics in your favour to lower the resistance. Either way, the meat and bones of the movement remains the same— begin in a strong plank position, your elbows and shoulders stacked above your wrists, create tension from your ankles right through to your fingertips, slowly lower your chest to the ground under control before pressing back up explosively.


With your push-ups dispatched and chest suitably pumped, in the same minute (the ‘even’ minutes), you’re also going to perform a set of ‘prisoner squat, following the same ascending rep protocol, beginning at two reps and rising.

Stand tall and place both hands on the back of your head. With your feet shoulder width apart, slowly descend into a deep squat over a count of 2-3 seconds, pause for a second at the bottom of each rep for accountability before explosively standing back up.

The tempo here is vital. ’Time-under-tension’, AKA the amount of time during a rep or set a muscle actually spends working is pivotal in increasing strength and size. Stay accountable, control each rep and earn those gains.


You didn’t really think you were resting for two minutes between reps, did you? This is where we earn our keep, metabolically speaking.

Between push-ups and squats, as each odd minute (ie 1.00, 3.00, 5.00… etc) rolls around, hit the deck and perform a high-quality burpee. Ensure your chest touches the ground at the bottom of each rep, and hands raise above your head at the top. If you’re after an extra bit of accountability place your t-shirt (which you’ve definitely taken off by this point) on the ground, and jump laterally over it, ensuring an explosive leg drive, rep after rep.

As each new round of burpees is heralded by the beginning of every ‘odd minute’, add just a single extra rep to the total count. So on minute 1.00, you’ll perform a single rep, resting for the remainder, on minute 3.00 perform 2 reps, 3 reps on minute 5.00, so on.

There is some light arithmetic in this one but to paraphrase 2004’s Dodgeball:‘we like to work up a little mental sweat, too.’

The aim of these workouts is to climb as high up the rep ladder as possible before tapping out, so pacing and breath control are vital for you success. In the early sets, focus on slow, methodical reps and breathing through your nose to maintain composure. As fatigue sets in, do what you need to do to box off the growing rep count. But as soon as you're done, regain your composure, attempt to slow your breathing and lower your heart rate to avoid a total blowout.


Start a running clock, on each ‘even minute’ (0.00, 2.00, 4.00, 6.00… etc) perform two push-ups, followed by two squats, rest and recover for the remainder of the minute. On each ‘odd minute’ (1.00, 3.00, 5.00.. etc) perform a burpee. Recover for the remainder of this minute, before moving back into push-ups and squats. On every new round, add an additional two reps to both your push-ups and squats and a single additional rep to your burpee count.

  • 0.00: 2 push-ups, 2 squats

  • 1.00: 1 burpee

  • 2.00: 4 push-ups, 4 squats

  • 3.00: 2 burpees

  • 4.00: 6 push-ups, 6 squats

  • 5.00: 3 burpees

If you have to break up your push-ups to hit the total rep count, do so. The workout ends when you can no longer fit the prescribed reps into the 60-second window.

With a low rep count initially and plenty of rest, this one is a long burner, so focus on quality movement, pacing and emphasising your recovery between bouts. This isn’t your usual ‘HIIT’ fare, it’s more considered and more effective, so treat each rep with respect.

1) PUSH-UP x 2, 4, 6, 8, 10… etc.

Assume a strong plank position, with your core tight and hands on your dumbbells (A), bend your elbows to bring your chest to the floor (B). Keep your elbows close to your body as you push back up explosively.

2) PRISONER SQUATS x 2, 4, 6, 8, 10… etc.

Stand with your torso upright and your hands on your head (A), drop your hips back to sink into a deep squat (B). Hold for a second, before pressing through your heels to stand up, repeat.

3) BURPEE x 1, 2, 3, 4, 5… etc.

Squat down and place both hands on the floor between your feet. Jump your feet back into the top of a press-up and lower your chest to the ground (A). Straighten your arms and hop your feet forwards, before jumping into the air with hands on head (B)

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