T Nation

Impressive Physique by Bodyweight Only?

how impressive of a physique could you build using only bodyweight exercises? is there anything you couldn’t work using BW exercises?

Yes, your PC muscles. I prefer kettle bells.

[quote]PonceDeLeon wrote:
Yes, your PC muscles. I prefer kettle bells.[/quote]

i lol’d, but it doesn’t help me any, lol

Bodyweight with added weight? Are weighted chins and pushups fair game?



Not a good physique?

Your lower back wouldn’t be as good as it could. You can’t lift yourself off the ground holding onto your toes.

[quote]forevernade wrote:


Not a good physique?[/quote]

From a bodybuilding perspective, it looks like development you would see at an amateur bodybuilding contest…

[quote]forevernade wrote:


Not a good physique?[/quote]

I reuse to believe that guy got that physique from just body weight exercises. I’m sure everyone who competes at the Olympic level lifts weights am I right?

This Olympian debate is so goddamn outplayed.

-He’s like 5’.
-He has crazy genetics.
-He has crazy low body fat.
-He weighs like 120lbs. He would not look big next to normal sized people, but when the camera is zoomed in on him, then that’s different.

There is progression in gymnastics/bodyweight work, just as in weight lifting. Example: do a regular pullup, then do a pullup with your legs straight out. Reducing leverage makes it a lot harder.

Another example: the planche. Do a regular pushup, now try even attempting a planche pushup: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYLm5Pp0HJU


Just as the example of “if you’re on an island with 135 pounds, you can do all the crazy stuff you want to do with that weight and get a little bigger, but there’s a limit to how big you can get without using more weight”… the same thing applies to bodyweight exercises. Unless you are consistently making progress by making the exercises harder by external weight or reducing leverage, there will be a cap to how much muscle you can build.

Since gymnasts don’t continue to add external weights (and there’s only so much leverage your body can provide), they won’t become huge according to bodybuilding standards. Their low body fat and (usually) short height makes them look more impressive.

I used to be real into the breakdancing scene (not so much anymore) and I’ve seen some gymnast-like physiques, but most of these people won’t be getting any bigger.

So yes, they are impressive with their low body fat and decent musculature. Are they impressive in comparison to bodybuilding standards? No.

[quote]-Tiberius- wrote:


Yeah, same guy. Junior. He’s an example of strength, and an “impressive physique” my some standards, but not necessarily in bodybuilding standards. He’s not getting much bigger.