Bodyweight Workout Finishers for Weightlifters

Bodyweight exercises are beneficial for establishing foundational fitness, building muscle, and improving bodily control. While Olympic weightlifters must be well-versed with a barbell and the competition lifts (snatch, clean, and jerk), the below bodyweight exercises can be programmed to enhance overall fitness and aid in performance.

In this article we will discuss some of the most beneficial and foundational bodyweight exercises for weightlifters,  and offer up some bodyweight workout finishers that can be done after the main technique and strength lifts.

4 Bodyweight Workout Finishers

The below bodyweight workout finishers can be done to increase lean muscle mass, build strength, and increase fitness. Coaches can have athletes perform these after main technique and strength work. Most of these finishers should take 10-15 minutes, maximum, and can be done in a variety of formats (as fast as possible, every minute on the minute, etc)

Upper Body Finisher 1 (Shoulders, Arms, and Back)

Perform the below exercises in circuit fashion. The below circuit can be done as fast as possible, or in an EMOM format (with each exercise being completed in 1- minute frames). Complete 4 total rounds as fast as possible, or make this a 12-minute EMOM.

  • Wide Grip Pull Up x 10
  • Close Grip Push Up x 20
  • Handstand Hold x 30 seconds

Upper Body Finisher 2 (Chest, Arms, and Back)

Perform the below exercises in circuit fashion. The below circuit can be done as fast as possible, or in an EMOM format (with each exercise being completed in 1- minute frames). Complete 2-3 total rounds as fast as possible, or make this an 8 or 12-minute EMOM.

  • Dips x 20
  • Chin Up x 10
  • Push Up x 20
  • Inverted Row x 10

Lower Body Finisher (Quadriceps, Glutes, and Hamstrings)

The below exercise can be done in circuit format, with the athlete completing 2-3 rounds of the lineup below. Rest periods should be kept to a minimum, however not at the expense of proper technique.

  • Tempo Pistol Squat x 10 (5 per leg)
  • Jump (any variety; broad, tuck, split squat) x 5

Core Finisher

Perform the below core finisher for 3 complete rounds, resting as little as possible as you can between exercises and between rounds.

  • Side Plank x 1 minute (30 seconds per side)
  • Back Extension x 15
  • V-Up / Hanging Leg Raise x 20

Bodyweight Exercises for Weightlifters

Below are twelve (12) bodyweight exercise weightlifters can do to build muscle, improve overhead stability, and increase performance without weights. Note, that the below exercises will not specifically address technique issues with the snatch, clean, and jerk but rather asssit in fundamental fitness and movement. Coaches and athletes can use the below exercises and sample bodyweight workout finishers to increase general physical preparedness (GPP) and fitness.

Push Up

The push up is a foundational bodyweight movement than can increase upper body pushing strength specifically targeting the chest, triceps, and anterior shoulder.

Handstand Push Up / Hold

Handstand push ups and holds are great ways to build overhead stability and strength, targeting the upper traps, deltoids, and triceps.

Dip

The dip can be done on parallel bars, rings, and even stable surfaces. This movement can be used to  increase pressing strength and build upper body muscle in the chest, triceps, and anterior shoulder.

Pull Up

The pull up can be done in most training facilities and is used to increase back, bicep, and grip strength.

Chin Up

Similar to the pull up, the chin up can be used to increase back hypertrophy and strength, with an added emphasis on biceps and grip (due to the supination of the grip).

Inverted Row

The inverted row can be done with rings, suspension straps, or a barbell within a power rack. This will target the back and arms, slightly at different angles than the standard pull/chin up.

Pistol Squat

The pistol squat is a challenging unilateral leg exercise that can be used to develop unilateral strength, muscle mass, and control. In addition, this exercise can help to improve movement integrity (when done correctly and under control) specific to the deep squat.  

Bulgarian Split Squat Jump

Bulgarian split squats are an important unilateral exercise for weightlifters. The plyometric variation can be a great option for developing greater unilateral leg power output.

Tuck Jump

The tuck jump is a plyometric exercise that can be used to increase leg power and eccentric control and strength in the squat, both of which are key receiving cleans and snatches.

Broad  Jump

The broad jump is a horizontal jumping movement that can increase the power output of the posterior chain and develop the neurological pathways needed or maximal power output.

Plank Variations

Plank variations (side, elbow, etc) can be done to increase core stability and isomeric core control.

Hanging Leg Raise

Hanging leg raises can help to increase strength of the rector abdominals and hip flexors, both highly active in weightlifting movements, overhead positions, and squatting.

Back Extensions

Back extensions can increase lower back, glute, and hamstring endurance, muscle hypertrophy, and isometric control (when done with tempos and pauses), all of which are key for holding positions and back angles under load.

Featured Image: @jininel on Instagram

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Mike holds a Master's in Exercise Physiology and a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. Currently, Mike has been with BarBend since 2016, where he covers Olympic weightlifting, sports performance training, and functional fitness. He's a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and is the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at New York University, in which he works primarily with baseball, softball, track and field, cross country. Mike is also the Founder of J2FIT, a strength and conditioning brand in New York City that offers personal training, online programs for sports performance, and has an established USAW Olympic Weightlifting club.In his first two years writing with BarBend, Mike has published over 500+ articles related to strength and conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, strength development, and fitness. Mike’s passion for fitness, strength training, and athletics was inspired by his athletic career in both football and baseball, in which he developed a deep respect for the barbell, speed training, and the acquisition on muscle.Mike has extensive education and real-world experience in the realms of strength development, advanced sports conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, and human movement. He has a deep passion for Olympic weightlifting as well as functional fitness, old-school bodybuilding, and strength sports.Outside of the gym, Mike is an avid outdoorsman and traveller, who takes annual hunting and fishing trips to Canada and other parts of the Midwest, and has made it a personal goal of his to travel to one new country, every year (he has made it to 10 in the past 3 years). Lastly, Mike runs Rugged Self, which is dedicated to enjoying the finer things in life; like a nice glass of whiskey (and a medium to full-bodied cigar) after a hard day of squatting with great conversations with his close friends and family.