Article last updated: January 2020 by Oskar Faarkrog, ISSA Certified Trainer
When designing training programs, one of the most essential factors I look at is exercise sequencing and exercise combinations.
To get the best result out of your training program, you have to combine the correct exercises together and do them in the right order (and in the right rep ranges).
In this article, I’ll share 2 advanced bodyweight combinations that I used to blow up my chest and back.
Both require that you perform 2 exercises for the same muscle group, to failure.
Lats, upper back and traps:
Wide grip pull ups to failure immediately followed by inverted bodyweight rows to failure.
Chest dips to failure immediately followed by diamond push ups to failure.
The idea here is that each exercise hits different muscle fibers in the same muscle.
The wide grip pull ups hit the upper lats while the bodyweight rows hit the upper back, traps, medial back and the lower traps.
By combining these movements, you get a dual benefit: 1) More complete muscle development and 2) Higher intensity for all muscle fibers which leads to more overall gains.
The other way to do this would be to do the reverse and start with the easier movement (in this case the inverted bodyweight rows or diamond push ups followed by wide grip pull ups or dips).
By starting with the easier movement you pre-exhaust the main muscles used in the harder movement, thereby reducing the amount of reps you do on the harder movement. This is great when you have an injury building up on the bigger movement (e.g. elbow aches on pull up variations) or if you simply want to prevent injuries.
A third way to combine exercises is to do long circuits where you let the muscles rest in between exercises.
One of the circuits I use right now is: Wide grip pull ups > Dips > Inverted Bodyweight Rows > Diamond Push Ups > Lunges > Hanging Leg Raises > Single Leg Calf Raises > Bodyweight Squats > Handstand Push Ups > Front Lever Raises.
This gives you the benefit of combining PUSH / PULL / LEGS / ABS / CALVES and keep going for a long time, thereby doing your conditioning while building more muscle.
I use these techniques in my training throughout the year, among many other techniques that I use when I train at the gym as well.
This gives my training variety while enabling me to progress at the advanced level.
I usually don’t recommend most of these things until you can do weighted pull ups and dips with around 40-50 KG for reps. Until you reach the advanced level, doing more simple training focused on progression on key exercises is the best way to go. But once you reach the advanced level where it’s very difficult to add any strength, these techniques are great for adding more muscle mass and shedding body-fat.
Be proud but stay hungry!
Oskar Faarkrog, ISSA Certified Personal Trainer