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Bodyweight Exercises

Im sure this has probably been answered but could one build muscle from doing body weight exercises like dips pullups etc… WITH the help of Weighted Barbell Squats? Is it possible? Or do you just need more resistance

a total beginner might make some gains but as soon as your body adapts to the stress the gains will stop. unless you further increase the demands, your body has no reason to progress.

[quote]1morerep wrote:
a total beginner might make some gains but as soon as your body adapts to the stress the gains will stop. unless you further increase the demands, your body has no reason to progress.[/quote]

Agreed. Bodyweight exercises used as your primary training focus would result in far LESS gains than someone who went ahead and truly stressed their muscles with heavier weight.

[quote]Rippemanewone wrote:
Im sure this has probably been answered but could one build muscle from doing body weight exercises like dips pullups etc… WITH the help of Weighted Barbell Squats? Is it possible? Or do you just need more resistance[/quote]

The answer is yes, but as noted above there is an ending point to the gains. And it all depends on your overall goal. If your goal is to just get into generally good shape, BW exercises can help you achieve that goal. If your goal is greatly increased mass, strength or a BB type physique then BW can be an assist but not your primary means of training.

Don’t misunderstand, BW exercises can be damn hard and exceptionally demanding. There are a multitude of ways to do a push up (regular, military, hindu, dive bomber, wide, team etc), hand stand push ups, pull ups and chins, dips, pyramids, circle of life drills etc. They can build strength, endurance and as I said, generally a good fitness level. But at some point, you can only do so many sets and reps with the same amount of weight to the point of diminishing returns. That’s why weight training was invented to add additional resistance/stress for the body to adapt to and grow. The BB squat is a good example.

Do you have a specific goal in mind?

bodyweight exercises are great at warming up with a few sets initially before moving onto the weights

eg. pushups before benching and flies

[quote]cyph31 wrote:
bodyweight exercises are great at warming up with a few sets initially before moving onto the weights

eg. pushups before benching and flies[/quote]

I would rather see someone warm up using a lighter weight on the exercise they plan on doing than doing push ups. warm ups aren’t just to get more blood into your muscles. They are to get your body ready for a particular movement, including tendons.

Unless your goal is to do more push ups (like in the military), they hold little use for those who plan on taking this much further than “general fitness”. Push ups and things of that nature are great when you don’t have access to weights…that’s about it.

If your talking pullups, pushups and the such then your going to adapt really fast. However there’s a different way to make body weight exercises harder which is leverage.

Simple example progression:

Pushup
Pseudo Planche pushup
Pseudo Planche pushup /w bent arm planch hold at bottom
-from a ab strech position-
Dive forward with upper body, press to handstand
Lower the momentum slowly or start using a spotter to get your legs up

Finally end up doing reps of straight body press

Straight body press:

One can also get a pair of rings and start working the cross, eventually (after years of training) even do cross pulls with added weight. I think if any exercise had the ability to add size to ones upper body, its the cross.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
cyph31 wrote:
bodyweight exercises are great at warming up with a few sets initially before moving onto the weights

eg. pushups before benching and flies

I would rather see someone warm up using a lighter weight on the exercise they plan on doing than doing push ups. warm ups aren’t just to get more blood into your muscles. They are to get your body ready for a particular movement, including tendons.

Unless your goal is to do more push ups (like in the military), they hold little use for those who plan on taking this much further than “general fitness”. Push ups and things of that nature are great when you don’t have access to weights…that’s about it.[/quote]

Doing some BW stuff would be fine for a general warm up and even somewhat of a specific warm up, but I’m more inclined to agree with Prof X in regards to using a lighter weight on specific movements prior to heavy lifts. He’s on the money regarding tendon health.

Using the squat as an example (using Ripptoe’s recommendations), after a general warm up I’ll do a couple of sets of BW squats, followed by a set with just the bar then I’ll progress upwards with 4 or 5 increments till I then begin my work sets. Each of the weighted sets will decrease in reps so that I’m preparing the body for the work sets, but not using up what I need energy wise for the work sets. By that time I’m thoroughly warmed up generally and specifically.

[quote]TRAJJ wrote:
Using the squat as an example (using Ripptoe’s recommendations), after a general warm up I’ll do a couple of sets of BW squats, followed by a set with just the bar then I’ll progress upwards with 4 or 5 increments till I then begin my work sets. Each of the weighted sets will decrease in reps so that I’m preparing the body for the work sets, but not using up what I need energy wise for the work sets. By that time I’m thoroughly warmed up generally and specifically.[/quote]

That’s too much warmup. The human body adapts to a certain range of weights it works with. I don’t see a point warming up with anything less than at least a third or half of what you’ll be doing in your heaviest set.

Sure, resistance is resistance.
I started using BWE’s, wich added about 5 kg of muscle to my body.
Always increase reps until you reach a total of 50 (all sets together), then switch to a harder bodyweight exercise.

Only problem with BWEs is, you quickly start running out of ways to increase the hardness of leg exercises. Even 1-legged squats will only keep you occupied for so long.
But for upper body compounds, there are hard enough bodyweight exercises to keep you occupied for a lifetime.

I don’t know why anyone would want to train without weights though.

[quote]Majin wrote:
TRAJJ wrote:
Using the squat as an example (using Ripptoe’s recommendations), after a general warm up I’ll do a couple of sets of BW squats, followed by a set with just the bar then I’ll progress upwards with 4 or 5 increments till I then begin my work sets. Each of the weighted sets will decrease in reps so that I’m preparing the body for the work sets, but not using up what I need energy wise for the work sets. By that time I’m thoroughly warmed up generally and specifically.

That’s too much warmup. The human body adapts to a certain range of weights it works with. I don’t see a point warming up with anything less than at least a third or half of what you’ll be doing in your heaviest set.

[/quote]

Well, all I can tell you is that this is what Mark Ripptoe advocates and since I’ve switched to this method I’ve felt much better prepared for the work sets and more importantly the work sets have increased in weight.

Using 225 lbs as an example of a work set weight:

BW 1x10
45 lbs 2x5
95 lbs 1x5
135 1x4
185 1x2
225 5x5

This is just an arbitrary example, using work sets of 5x5. A person can vary it as they see fit. I feel after a general warm up that this gives me a very good specific warm up and the results I’ve had demonstrates it is a solid principle.

YMMV

To each their own, I guess.

[quote]JxG wrote:
Sure, resistance is resistance.
I started using BWE’s, wich added about 5 kg of muscle to my body.
Always increase reps until you reach a total of 50 (all sets together), then switch to a harder bodyweight exercise.

Only problem with BWEs is, you quickly start running out of ways to increase the hardness of leg exercises. Even 1-legged squats will only keep you occupied for so long.
But for upper body compounds, there are hard enough bodyweight exercises to keep you occupied for a lifetime.

I don’t know why anyone would want to train without weights though.[/quote]

I mean if u were to do Dips Pullups and Squats, and for the squats they would be weighted! So the squats would be the only weighted exercise

[quote]TRAJJ wrote:
Rippemanewone wrote:
Im sure this has probably been answered but could one build muscle from doing body weight exercises like dips pullups etc… WITH the help of Weighted Barbell Squats? Is it possible? Or do you just need more resistance

The answer is yes, but as noted above there is an ending point to the gains. And it all depends on your overall goal. If your goal is to just get into generally good shape, BW exercises can help you achieve that goal. If your goal is greatly increased mass, strength or a BB type physique then BW can be an assist but not your primary means of training.

Don’t misunderstand, BW exercises can be damn hard and exceptionally demanding. There are a multitude of ways to do a push up (regular, military, hindu, dive bomber, wide, team etc), hand stand push ups, pull ups and chins, dips, pyramids, circle of life drills etc. They can build strength, endurance and as I said, generally a good fitness level. But at some point, you can only do so many sets and reps with the same amount of weight to the point of diminishing returns. That’s why weight training was invented to add additional resistance/stress for the body to adapt to and grow. The BB squat is a good example.

Do you have a specific goal in mind?[/quote]

Basically… That having been said, you can still get a pretty good workout with no weights, e.g. if you’re travelling. Some good exercises you can do almost anywhere:

Door pull-ups
Sissy squats
One-legged squats
One-arm push-ups
Dips (preferably wide ones)

These should be enough to keep most people going for a week or two :slight_smile: Though, yes, eventually you will stall.

[quote]Rippemanewone wrote:
I mean if u were to do Dips Pullups and Squats, and for the squats they would be weighted! So the squats would be the only weighted exercise[/quote]

The question is why you would want to do this, if you have the equipment to do weighted BB Squats then you have the equipment needed to do many other weighted exercises.

So, do you have a reason to use Squats as your only weighted exercise? If not your question is arbitrary any ultimately pointless.

[quote]Rippemanewone wrote:
JxG wrote:
Sure, resistance is resistance.
I started using BWE’s, wich added about 5 kg of muscle to my body.
Always increase reps until you reach a total of 50 (all sets together), then switch to a harder bodyweight exercise.

Only problem with BWEs is, you quickly start running out of ways to increase the hardness of leg exercises. Even 1-legged squats will only keep you occupied for so long.
But for upper body compounds, there are hard enough bodyweight exercises to keep you occupied for a lifetime.

I don’t know why anyone would want to train without weights though.

I mean if u were to do Dips Pullups and Squats, and for the squats they would be weighted! So the squats would be the only weighted exercise[/quote]

I’d like to ask again about your reasoning behind your question and your goals.

The answer is yes, you can train the way you’ve described. The question remains, why are you thinking along these lines?

Looking at it from another angle; using the P90X program as a reference, you can get an above average physique from lots of different BW exercises. Look at their before/after on their forum. And they generally only use BW and maybe DB or bands without BB squats. A gymnast can also serve as an example, though they are extreme examples with dedication and consistency. So yes, you can train as you describe. But whether it achieves the goals you have in mind…only you can answer that.

Take a look at the photo. No, he’s not Ronnie or Arnold. But he does look much better than the majority of folks walking around these days. That is BW, DB, clean diet and consistency. Pretty much what you need regardless of the program or methodology.

[quote]Rippemanewone wrote:
Im sure this has probably been answered but could one build muscle from doing body weight exercises like dips pullups etc… WITH the help of Weighted Barbell Squats? Is it possible? Or do you just need more resistance[/quote]

Sure - go look at a gymnast! ( http://www.gymnasticbodies.com/articles2.html )

Using weights is probably quicker and will probably add more mass (with correct application / diet W.H.Y.) but that certainly doesn’t mean that you can’t build a pretty impressive physique using only body weight exercises. And as personal oppinion I prefer the looks of the gymnastic physique to the bloated body-builder one - but that’s just my sense of aesthetics. Oh and it doesn’t stop me using weights!

[quote]edn wrote:
Rippemanewone wrote:
Im sure this has probably been answered but could one build muscle from doing body weight exercises like dips pullups etc… WITH the help of Weighted Barbell Squats? Is it possible? Or do you just need more resistance

Sure - go look at a gymnast! ( http://www.gymnasticbodies.com/articles2.html )

Using weights is probably quicker and will probably add more mass (with correct application / diet W.H.Y.) but that certainly doesn’t mean that you can’t build a pretty impressive physique using only body weight exercises. And as personal oppinion I prefer the looks of the gymnastic physique to the bloated body-builder one - but that’s just my sense of aesthetics. Oh and it doesn’t stop me using weights![/quote]

A gymnast is doing movements that the ordinary person could never even pull off so comparing “body weight exercises” to professional gymnastics makes no sense. Yes, they are more muscular which has more to do with their genetic base and the fact that they can literally hold their arms out at their sides and support their entire body weight before they launch into a double flip and land on their toes (something not being done in any ‘body weight routine’ I’ve seen) than the fact that BW exercises are so great for building muscle mass.

Gymnasts are doing far more than push ups and pull ups.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
A gymnast is doing movements that the ordinary person could never even pull off so comparing “body weight exercises” to professional gymnastics makes no sense. Yes, they are more muscular which has more to do with their genetic base and the fact that they can literally hold their arms out at their sides and support their entire body weight before they launch into a double flip and land on their toes (something not being done in any ‘body weight routine’ I’ve seen) than the fact that BW exercises are so great for building muscle mass.

Gymnasts are doing far more than push ups and pull ups.[/quote]

I never said they were only doing push ups and pull ups - yes they are going far more challenging exercises. But even a gymnast starts with push ups and pull ups before progressing to the more extreme stuff. I wouldn’t suggest anyone should leap straight into trying an iron cross anymore than they should leap straight into a double body weight deadlift but progress to either stage and you have built a substantial amount of strength.

As with anything, the bottom line is what you put into it.