T Nation

Bodyweight Training for Maintaining


#1

Can you maintain lean, muscle mass while doing solely bodyweight training 3X a week? Or dumbbell and barbell lifts necessary?

Also what is the minimum # of days of week, you can train, while maintaining muscle mass?


#2

Maintenance = Trian hard with weights (what put the muscle there), and eat maintenance calories ( dont lose weight nor do you gain weight)

train 3 to 4 to 5 days. Pretty much what put the muscle there. However the fact that you ask would make me question the degree of muscle you may have. Anyway thats not the point here.


#3

Clearly the OP doesn’t want an easy way out.

Clearly.


#4

Look I’m 5’9" 195 lbs @ 14 $ bf. I’m not that lean and not that strong. In the past and currently I squat and deadlift heavy. But as I get older, my strength levels are beginning to decline. More less, after I finish my summer cut, I will not have access to a gym or a weight set. In the meantime, I ask what the effectiveness of bodyweight training is for retaining muscle mass.

That is my sole question.


#5

Possibly. You may lose a little.


#6

Thanks for the answer. Appreciate it.


#7

The thing with BW training, you have to do a shitload of volume since you can’t really adjust the load (your weight). I mean you aren’t going to be able to add or drop weight at a moment’s notice, so you will have to increase the volume.


#8

Maintain what, lol.


#9

[quote]loh208 wrote:
Look I’m 5’9" 195 lbs @ 14 $ bf. I’m not that lean and not that strong. In the past and currently I squat and deadlift heavy. But as I get older, my strength levels are beginning to decline. More less, after I finish my summer cut, I will not have access to a gym or a weight set. In the meantime, I ask what the effectiveness of bodyweight training is for retaining muscle mass.

That is my sole question. [/quote]

My sole answer is, not much.

But, if you’re not that strong maybe you can only do 6 or 7 push-ups or body weight squats. In that case your bodyweight exercises might get you bigger :slight_smile:


#10

Man, WTF? I bet half of the people posting here can’t do more than a couple of single leg body-weight squats.

Any exercise that challenges the body with a relatively low volume (obviously doing sets of more than 15 reps would lead to more endurance but loss in muscle mass) will at the very least allow you to keep what you have, provided that you do enough total volume to give sufficient stimulus. There a lot of really brutal BW movements that fit this bill… single leg BW squats and hand walkouts from your tows come to mind.


#11

For the record, all I was asking is if muscle mass can be retained while doing BW training 3-4X a week.

There is no need for f*cking sacrastic remarks or anything. Just stick to answering the question.


#12

[quote]loh208 wrote:
Look I’m 5’9" 195 lbs @ 14 $ bf. I’m not that lean and not that strong. In the past and currently I squat and deadlift heavy.[/quote]

What’s “heavy”? What kind of numbers are you putting up on these lifts, the flat bench, overhead press, and barbell row?

How much experience do you have with bodyweight exercise?

If you allow that to happen, that’s your decision. But it doesn’t have to.

A basic barbell set, or even a set of Powerblocks (adjustable dumbbells) would be a minimal financial investment for a permanent solution to this problem.

Bodyweight training can definitely help to you “stay in shape,” if that’s all you’re looking for. With a complete program (the “Royal Court”, “Navy Seal”-type training, etc.), you can challenge yourself with exercises that maintain muscle and some strength. You could also look training routines from Ross Enamait or gymnastic-based plans, to learn how to adjust leverage and use more-difficult exercises.

But even with that, you should expect to lose some size from a lack of direct, isolation exercises that you’re probably already doing.


#13

“Heavy” for me is 405 for both deadlift & squat. It is weak for my size, I know.

It is only that I would like to start training less with weights (barbell exercises e.g. deads, squats, pressing… I’ve been doing for 4 straight years now and made “decent” gains) and start training with bodyweight exercises and/or ketteballs/dumbbells.

Now the reason other this, I asked, if you notice swimmers, gymnasts, and wrestlers are considerably muscular. All these sports induce large amounts of lactic acid in the athletes’ muscles through the anaerboic endurace factor.

Now let me re-pharse this question and please ONLY the athletes, and not the crowd that is so adamant into getting big… do you think bodyweight training along with anaerboic endurace exercises as swimming, rowing, etc. can help retain muscle mass while performing these sports?

Thanks.


#14

It’s relatively “easy” to maintain upper body mass with gymnastics rings. The reason is because you can literally change the “load” of an exercise by changing the exercise itself. A new angle, a new grip, etc. can change the leverage and how “heavy” the exercise is loaded.

With lower body, it’s a hell of a lot harder. But it’s still possible. It requires a massive load, and I find the best thing for legs as far as bodyweight goes is a lot of dynamic work. Big problem with this is that you need to have strong joints beforehand.

The principle is always the same: more volume+more load=more mass. I believe wholeheartedly in gymnastic concepts, as well as lifting concepts. You just need to work with it and think a little.


#15

[quote]loh208 wrote:
It is only that I would like to start training less with weights (barbell exercises e.g. deads, squats, pressing… I’ve been doing for 4 straight years now and made “decent” gains) and start training with bodyweight exercises and/or ketteballs/dumbbells.[/quote]

If you’re “allowing” yourself to use kettlebells and/or dumbbells, your whole life (and training program) just got much easier.

All these sports also, quite often, include heavy training with free weights as part of their preparation. Just because a sport requires anaerobic endurance is no excuse to avoid training with weights.

Some more reading, specifically as weight training applies to gymnastics:
http://www.sportsci.org/jour/0003/was.html

Resistance exercise can increase strength and build (or maintain, depending on the intensity and volume) muscle size.

Whether that resistance comes from a barbell, your own bodyweight, or a sack of potatoes doesn’t really matter. What matters are the particular exercises, sets, reps, and “load” (a.k.a. the level of resistance relative to the reps you can perform).

If you’re going to be doing an “anaerobic endurance exercise,” whether it’s swimming, rowing, sprinting, or wrestling alligators, you’ll have to account for the increased calorie expenditure. Basically, if you’re doing that kind of cardio, it’s going to be even easier to lose size, so eat more if that’s not your goal.