8 Count Body Builder

Published by Jason Narog on

Burpees in the park

The 8 count body builder is one of those fun strength / cardio exercises that can be done anywhere, without equipment. At the start of the Covid Quarantine I was on a body builder rant and had the Do 8 Give 8 Instagram challenge. Partly because I was annoyed with all of the push up challenges going around and partly because I wanted to show off an exercise that could be done without needing gear.

How To Do A Traditional 8 Count Body Builder

I say “traditional” because there’s a variation that my academy does to mess with people. A video demo is available in that Do 8 Give 8 link above.

  1. Down to squat / frog position (with hands on the floor)
  2. Kick feet back behind you so you’re in straight arm plank position
  3. Down for push up
  4. Up from push up
  5. Kick feet out wide
  6. Bring Feet back together
  7. back to starting one position (squat / frog)
  8. Stand up

8 Count Body Builder Variations

A variation I immediately saw when assigning 8 to others was a burpee jump on 8 instead of just standing up. Traditionally you stand then go back down, but if you really want to jump at the end, go right ahead.

The academy I attend on occasion switches the legs and the push ups. They have the legs in the 3 & 4 position so they can mess with you on the push up portion. So down for the push up can turn into halfway down, back up, halfway down, back up, down, halfway up, or down, up, down, up, down, up (so the push up turns into multiple push ups.)

10 Count Bodybuilder

If you want to take your routine up 1 notch and have some weights available then you can turn the bodyweight 8 count into a dumbbell, sandbag, Bulgarian bag, or kettlebell 10 count.

There’s 2 extra steps here – after you stand up do a bicep curl. The up portion of the curl is step 9 and returning to starting position in 10.

This variation can become very creative for those of us who want to work on forearm strength. If you have kettlebells then performing the push up on the handles of the bell is going to give you an additional boost in both grip, wrist, and forearm strength as you try to prevent yourself from falling over (I shot a video I never published where I do the 32 count body builder and failed to control my wrists so I fell down on the push up.)

You could, in theory, attempt this with soup cans clenched between your hands for the push up but I”ve never attempted it and don’t know for certain if the soup cans would explode / hurt you so if you try that please be very, very safe. Dumbbells shouldn’t explode on you so you’re more likely safer doing this with dumbbells.

12 Count Bodybuilder

After returning to starting on the bicep curl perform a shoulder press for your 11th count and return to starting for your 12th count. That’s the “standard” variation. The presentation seems weird to me as the shoulder press from your side is going to invoke (potentially) weird swinging movements or a bizarre starting point for what is essentially turning into a snatch.

As a student of strength I would present a variation here.

9. Bicep curl up to your collar bone then rotate your wrist to proper military press position  (thumb would point behind you if you extended your thumb)

10. Military press up

11. Military press down

12. Return to start

With my variation you would get the benefit of the bicep curl and have a safer starting and ending position for a strict military press.

The Ridiculous 32 Count Body Builder

Isolation gives a trainer a lot of time to think. Per TRX every good exercise program should include planking, pushing, pulling, squatting, hinging, and lunging. Then you toss in some rotation (or anti rotation) with some twisting and stepping. [learn more here: Doug, the person who taught me TRX, is featured in the photo on the page]

So let’s hit as many of those points as humanly possible in 1 exercise. You will need dumbbells or kettlebells for this (preferably kettlebells), space, and a pull up bar. I’m using the standard 4 count kettlebell swing for my counts.

  1. Down to squat / frog position (with hands on the floor)
  2. Kick feet back behind you so you’re in straight arm plank position
  3. Down for push up
  4. Up from push up
  5. Kick feet out wide
  6. Up portion of renegade row on one side [anti rotational exercise as you control the body from twisting on the row]
  7. Return weight to ground (down portion of renegade row)
  8. Up portion of renegade row on other side
  9. Return weight to ground
  10. Bring Feet back together
  11. back to starting one position (squat / frog)
  12. Stand up
  13. Hip Hinge starting position of a kettlebell swing
  14. Swing kettlebells back
  15. Pop hips forward to power kettlebells
  16. Clean kettlebells
  17. Down kettlebell front squat
  18. Up kettlebell front squat
  19. Shoulder press up one side
  20. Backwards lunge with opposite leg (your forward knee would be the same leg as the arm currently pressing the bell)
  21. Return to standing
  22. Shoulder press down
  23. Shoulder press up other side
  24. Lunge [this is the same position you would be in on a Turkish Get Up on the way up or down]
  25. Return to standing
  26. Shoulder press down
  27. Return clean kettlebells down to ground
  28. Run away from pull up bar and touch a wall or some sort of point of reference (could be a cone on the ground)
  29. Run towards pull up bar
  30. Perform up on pull up bar
  31. Return down on pull up bar
  32. Return to starting position

The 32 count bodybuilder has a lunge, 2 pushes (the push up and the press), 2 pulls (the pull up and the row), anti rotation (the lunge, the row, and the press), a squat (the squat), a hinge (the clean), planking (your hold positions before and after push ups as well as the military press) and stepping (the running before and after the pull up).

The only piece missing from the TRX model would be some sort of twist, and we hit almost every piece of the standard SFG1 (swing, get up, squat, press.) Yes, it’s not the full get up, but we’ve got portions of the get up motion tossed in here.

Get rid of the pull up portion for a 28 count, or start mixing and matching different pieces of this routine to make your own X count body builder routines.

How many 8 count body builders can you do? How many 12 count? How many 32 count?

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