There are several sources for Bodyweight training
Lets start with:
The Indian Wrestling Cults.
You may not be aware that Indian wrestling as a sport (and near religion) goes back thousands of years?
To the point that it approaches modern MMA in its mix of grappling and striking, its a fact that Indian wrestlers developed extensive libraries of Bodyweight Training exercises, some revived in the last decade or so outside of India like the Hindu pushup and Hindu squat which we will touch on later in our guide and in the training programs. The physical prowess of Indian wrestlers is legendary with well documented programs that included over 500 push ups and 1000 squats a day, six days a week!
The Spartan Warriors.
If you’ve ever seen a statue or painting of a Spartan warrior and observed the gifts that they have , you will probably have seen then that the movie “300” was right on the mark with their depiction of the Spartan physique.
The Spartans lifted no weights, but trained using advanced Bodyweight Training techniques which left them with a still lasting reputation of being some of the finest physical specimen to ever walk the earth.
The Roman Gladiator.
A distant cousin of the Spartan warriors, Roman Gladiators employed similar bodyweight training programs brought to them from the Greeks. Their results were equally impressive.
Charles Atlas and the American Physical Culturalists.
Probably the most popular and well known of these fitness enthusiasts was the legendary Charles Atlas.
Charles, along with most of his contemporaries, were dedicated bodyweight training advocates and built insanely well developed and athletically capable bodies. Google Charles Atlas, Earle Liederman, Jack Lalanne or other fitness gurus of their era and marvel at what they were able to achieve minus weights, anabolic steroids, supplements or even advanced diet ideas!
Modern Military Spec Ops.
Lets fast forward to the current era’s where groups like the Australian S.A.S Regiment, the American Navy Seals to the British S.A.S and every special forces group in between has been built on a foundation of push ups, pull ups, squats, crunches and so on. Very few indulge in much weight training. Can anyone really deny their high level of conditioning and life and death level of true functional fitness?
Given each of the groups and individuals listed above you should by now understand the starting points for bodyweight training systems that are used by each of the individuals and groups mentioned.