Today's paradigm seems to be the Reg Park workouts in different flavours, like Starting Strength and StrongLifts 5x5. A few compound exercises with free weights, using barbells, as opposed to the 80's fever of specialised machines and crazy complex workouts combining lots of isolating exercises that confused the beginner.
I would like to see a bodyweight-only routine that follows analogous principles, thus using only a few compound exercises. I can imagine something like:
- Squats (with no weight)
- Dips between two chairs (?)
- Chin-Ups if you have somewhere to hang from. If not, what?
What more? Specially for shoulders, I can imagine there is some work with the Indian Push-Ups, but ?
Ok, strength training is done with barbells or dumbbells, but if you can barely perform one or two push-ups at the beginning, and add a few each week, nobody would doubt that you are gaining strength. Eventually a point will be achieved in which you are able to perform, say, thirty of them. After that, I agree that going for more means you are training for endurance and not strength.
This might be useful too for advanced trainees, merely as a program to help maintaining form during a holidays travel or similar.
(yes, starting with the barbell alone in a 5x5 program will lead you to strength gains too, and yes, long live Mark Rippetoe! Ok, but that is not the question)