Combine Freeweight and Bodyweight Exercises for Easy Supersets

Get the best of both worlds with this combo workout that uses free weights and bodyweight exercises.

Visualize a gym with one side comprising of bodyweight-only training enthusiasts doing variations of Pull-Ups, Inverted Rows, Push-Ups, Planks, Step-Ups or Jump Squats, for example—touting such exercises as most functional for sports and daily activities without using external resistance.

On the opposite side are the free weight exercise proponents hoisting dumbbells, barbells and kettlebells—for maximizing strength and size gains.

Sticking with either choice of training routine not only becomes boring but potentially leads to conditioning plateaus limiting progress.

Below are two challenging full-body workouts combining both types of training (compound sets for similar muscle groups such as Pull-Ups immediately followed with DB Rows; or supersetting opposing muscles such as Bar Dips with kettlebell Cross Rows)—simultaneously designed for making exercising more diversified and enhancing sports and everyday actions.

Dumbbell Rack

Equipment

  • Two moderately heavy (70-80% RM) dumbbells (dbs)
  • Two lighter (50-60% RM) kettlebells (kbs)
  • Moderately-heavy (70-80% RM) barbell (bb) with plates and collars
  • Portable bench
  • Parallel Dip bars
  • Pull-Up bar
  • Exercise mat
  • Water bottle
  • Timer (optional)

Guidelines

  • Hydrate before, during and after workouts.
  • Perform a lower- and upper-body dynamic warm-up (e.g., Lunges with forward Arm Raises).
  • Finish with lower- and upper-body cooldown static stretches for greater flexibility and range of motion.
  • Sets/Reps: 2x10 (Super or Compound Sets).
  • Rest: 45 seconds between sets; 60 seconds between each exercise combo.
  • Do workouts on non-consecutive days for adequate recovery.
  • Change the sequence of each exercise combination every other workout for variety.

Workout 1

Pull Ups

DB Bench Presses/Pull-Ups. Slide the portable bench near the Pull-Up bar for faster accessibility when supersetting both exercises targeting opposite muscles and promoting upper body size and strength. Lie on the bench and explosively press both dbs up and slowly lower. After 10 reps, take an overhand shoulder-width grip on the Pull-Up bar and pull yourself up quickly and slowly lower. Continue for nine more reps.

Jump Squats/KB Side Lunges. Immediately after performing Jump Squats, pick up the kbs with an underhand grip at shoulder level (instead of at your sides) and do 10 lateral Lunges left and 10 laterally right. Jumping as high as possible and landing in the Squat position builds explosive lower body power. Quickly following the 10 Jump Squats with the KB Side Lunges targets legs and hips from another angle and also promotes lower and upper body size/strength (when holding the kbs at shoulder level) and also core strength as the Lunges are more intensified compared with holding them at your sides.

Barbell Upright Rows/Feet-Elevated Push-Ups. Another upper-body mass and strength-building superset combo pairing the free weight movement (Rows) with body weight Push-Ups. Having the feet elevated on a bench not only makes Push-Ups harder, but puts added stress on core muscles.

Single-Leg Squats/DB Step-Ups. Extend arms at shoulder level while doing 10 Single-Leg Squats on each leg. Quickly grab the dbs and hold them at your sides while doing 10 Step-Ups atop the bench with the right foot elevated, and 10 with the left foot atop the bench. The compound sets not only improve balance (Single-Leg Squats) but also lower body power and size (Step-Ups).

Workout 2

Prone Planks/KB Jackknives. Hold the Prone Plank position for 30-60 seconds. Immediately turn over and hold one kb with both hands and your arms extended back behind your head and your legs extended. Simultaneously bring the kb up raising your upper back and legs to form a jackknife position, lower, and repeat nine more times – an excellent core-strengthening compound set combo.

Squat & Overhead BB Press/Single-Leg Hops. Hold the barbell on the front of your shoulders with your knees slightly bent. Squat and explosively press it overhead. Repeat nine more reps, put the bb down, and immediately do 10 single-leg Hops for each leg. The legs will burn from the Squats/Hops as will the shoulders and arms from Overhead Presses.

KB Cross Rows/Pull-Ups. Assume an athletic stance with the kb in your right hand and bend the knees while simultaneously bring the kb down across your body toward your left ankle. After 10 reps, switch hands and repeat. Immediately grasp the Pull-Up bar with an underhand shoulder-width grip and pull yourself up 10 times. Two fatiguing back and arm-building compound exercises.

Bar Dips/DB Forward Lunge & Twist. This bodyweight and free weight combination effectively hits several muscles (upper and lower body and core muscles). Following Bar Dips, hold one db horizontally at each end and close to your chest. Lunge forward with the right leg and simultaneously rotate to the right. Lunge forward with the left leg and twist left with the db. Continue alternating Lunges/Twists with each leg totaling 10 reps.

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Topics: SQUAT | PULL-UP | PUSH-UP | LUNGE | BENCH PRESS | EXERCISING | DUMBBELLS | BODY WEIGHT | BARBELL | KETTLEBELL | FREE WEIGHTS | ROW