Basic bodyweight exercises like push ups, pull ups, squats and sprints are mundane but effective. In fact they are probably all you need to stay in tip top shape! However, because these basic moves lack X-factor the temptation to spice up bodyweight training programs with novel exercises is high.
Over the years this temptation has consistently got me into trouble.
For example despite making great progress with weighted push-ups I decided my results would be even better if I introduced depth push ups into my workouts. Early on I was rewarded with extra muscle soreness after training which gave the illusion of effectiveness. In reality I was just loading my connective tissues in a heavily stretched position which over time turned into a niggling injury in my shoulder. Exactly the same thing happened with dips!
Despite building some lower body muscle and developing a tremendous engine with hill sprints I felt the need to add pistol squats into my training routine. This exercise probably works well for some people but with three rugby-induced surgeries, long femurs and a short torso it eventually put unacceptable strain on my knee-joints. The stupid thing… I didn’t need to practice this move in the first place. My lower body muscles and joints were doing just fine on a diet of sprinting.
Older and wiser I’ve become ever more content with a boring routine of mundane exercises. My strength is good, my body composition is good and all-importantly my joints feel good.
Troublesome moves might vary from person to person but beware the temptation of adding novel exercises into your bodyweight training routines. It is often unnecessary and false impressions of short term gain can easily lead to long term pain!