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Bodyweight/Dumbbell Progressions Carryover to Barbell Lifts?

i have a basic question which i cannot figure out as i am not that well versed on transitioning from beginner to intermediate in lifting, it is as follows

so i am currently in lockdown and was wondering if building my body with pull ups push ups and medium/light dumbbells and unilateral leg work will make me pass the beginner level and therefore require me to adopt an intermediate progression method i.e. stop progressing in a linear fashion when i go back to the gym.

basically my question is after months of such training will i be able to progress on barbell lifts with a linear model as beginners do?? or i need to adopt a more advanced progression like DUP??

These designations of beginner, intermediate, etc. have nothing to do with peroiodization, and are virtually meaningless outside of competition.


Depends how much resistance you are working against. A lot depends depends on how heavy you are and what kind of bodyweight exercises you are doing.

If you weigh 200lbs+ and get strong enough to do 20 pull-ups and 20 dips you probably have more strength than most lifters (at least in terms of upper body strength)…

Need more info really.

i know that but i couldn’t find any other way to put it, i meant by transitioning from beginner to intermediate the phase where linear progression will not work anymore and therefore need to adopt a different progression model.

my dumbbells are between 2-26.5kg/4.4-58lbs but for some exercises like rowing or jump squats are too light and of course they are just fine for lateral raises etc. i currently weigh 75kg/165lbs and can do 15 pull ups and 10 push ups with 10kg/22lbs extra weight, every workout i add 1-2 reps per set that’s how i progress and mostly have an RPE of 6-8 and some times 7 or 9 it depends how aggressively i increased the reps of my sessions throughout the weeks.

I suggest you buy Convict Conditioning and go through the progressions and regressions for various exercises. Also check out the books , YT channels and apps by the Kavadlo brothers, Simonster, Red Delta Project, Mins the Gym, etc. If you get up to some of the advanced variations, you’re physically advanced. It’s as Simple as that.


Oh, yeah.

There are tons of ways to continue like that. More reps, more weight, less weight faster, less weight slower, unilateral movements.

It’s endless. But I’ll bet that advice Brick recommend is good. He’s a pretty sharp guy with the results to show for it.


i never heard any of those i will take a look at them thanks!!

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Just to add, this is going to be movement-specific for life. Like some of the guys on here that can squat 700 lbs could still pick something like pistol squats and progress week to week


this was my question!! i just didn’t knew how this works as i don’t have this experience yet, thanks!

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If you are really doing 15 proper pull ups with 10kg added (i.e. full ROM from dead hang to chin over the bar; smooth tempo but zero kip/momentum at play) then you are not a beginner by any stretch. If you go straight from calisthenics back to barbell exercises then you won’t be as strong whilst your body (re-)adapts i.e. the principle of specificity applies. Case in point, I’m strong on gymnastic rings by any measure because I train on them all the time, but I have no doubt if I was to try a bench press then I’d suck completely. Also, terms like beginner/intermediate/advanced are meaningless; just focus on making progress & don’t worry about a label. How you look/feel/perform is what counts & has nothing to do with this.


no no i am doing 10 push ups with 10kg added but i can do 15 full range pull ups(just bodyweight).

i didn’t know something like this existed.


Press ups with 10kg on your back is nothing to be sniffed at. That is a fair amount of weight. If you can add more weight keep doing that. No one ever said - that guys who can put 25kg on his back and knock out 50 press ups sure is weak/small. Same with pull ups. If you can do 25 pull ups with added weight. The would lead to a might impressive body.

How well would that translate into barbell strength? It would not straight away. BUT it will. What I find is when I get stronger with a lift that complements another (lets say you weighted press ups and bench). The strength take 1-2 weeks to start coming over. And depending on the amount to come over its taken me 6 weeks to squeeze out the last.

Personally if you’re worried - follow a simple double progression plan once you return. Pick a weight you can do 8 times on an exercise. Every time you do it try for more reps. When you can do that weight 12 times - up the weight. It really is that simple.

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What you have asked is not a basic question. Rather, it is an advanced question asked by someone who should be asking basic questions instead.

This sort of post gets made by guys who spend more time reading about lifting than actually doing it. Don’t be that guy, OP. Just continue working out hard with whatever is at hand, and progress will take care of itself. Less thinking, more sweating.


What is your goal? Is it to build an impressive body? To get strong at barbell lifts? If so, then what lifts in particular?

Saying this because asking whether bodyweight exercises help “barbell lifts” could be an irrelevant question.

As for the question itself… If you go from, let’s say, 25 push ups to 100 in a set, and then to 100 while wearing a 20kg vest, what do you think will happen to your chest, shoulders and triceps? Will they somehow get weaker and thus weaken your bench press once you get back into the groove of benching?

i workout to channel my aggression because i have a lot of energy and i explode when it goes to waste but i like to train in a very structured way.

that was not my question the mods changed the title 2 times my question is if i would exhaust my linear gains i.e. adding reps/weight every session, with calisthenics and light/medium dumbbells i hope this makes it clear.

and no doubt you can get very strong with calisthenics i don’t belittle that but see above about what was my problem.

and how i am gonna get advanced if don’t try to grasp advanced concepts at some point?? how i am gonna pass plateaus without advanced knowledge about a given subject??

that holds some truth but when i put consistent effort i see a lot of progress because of the homework i did about lifting :slight_smile:


Time and effort

Or, you know, the effort.

Lots of really dumb people get big and strong. Lots of smart people stay small and weak.

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why reinvent the wheel??

yes but if i hit a plateau hard work is not gonna solve anything given i don’t change anything in my training if i do the same thing again and again then i am not gonna go anywhere i will be stuck at a plateau for long time and maybe forever while i could just learn about my current situation and get over it in a few sessions instead of constantly banging my head on the wall

yes because of consistency, there are many right ways to do something and even more ways to
something wrong those “dumb” people did it right by accident and the “smart” people just need to be consistent because if they are really smart they will get there even steadily and slow, and usually these “dumb” people have good genetics in regards of fitness. For Example imagine a guy who is truly “dumb” in weightlifting he will do the same weight again and again and when his ego fires he will actually increase the weight or reps out of ego and actually progress, one day he will eat enough protein other days he will not one day he will be on caloric surplus and some others days will not but he has good genetics. Now what if that guy did proper eating and and proper progression slept well and did the right volume etc. he will be way ahead that following the way of the “dumb”.


EDIT: It’s uncanny that @dagill2 and I had the same response when I didn’t even get a chance to read what he wrote before replying. Damndest thing.

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