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Push ups, Pull ups, Squats. Work All Muscle Groups?


#1

hi guys i'm traveling a bit on business and over the last couple of years have become quite fond of calisthenics as a way to keep in shape and feel good...

I tend to do variations like close grip handstand pushups, one arm pushups & chin ups, pistol squats, hanging leg raises, and back bridges...

I want to know...would doing only push ups, pull ups, and squats work all muscle groups for a complete full body workout?


#2

Are you asking if you should no longer do variations of these movements? If that’s the question I’d say keep the variations as a way to add resistance, if the question is do push-ups, pull-ups, and squats hit most muscle groups I’d say yeah. The WOD Murph is a pretty tough way to incorporate these into one workout if you’ve never done it before.


#3

[quote]jaytaylor84 wrote:
hi guys i’m traveling a bit on business and over the last couple of years have become quite fond of calisthenics as a way to keep in shape and feel good…

I tend to do variations like close grip handstand pushups, one arm pushups & chin ups, pistol squats, hanging leg raises, and back bridges…

I want to know…would doing only push ups, pull ups, and squats work all muscle groups for a complete full body workout?
[/quote]

You’re missing a hip hinge movement (i.e. deadlift, clean etc).

This is a pretty difficult movement pattern to get with body weight alone.


#4

[quote]jaytaylor84 wrote:
hi guys i’m traveling a bit on business and over the last couple of years have become quite fond of calisthenics as a way to keep in shape and feel good…

I tend to do variations like close grip handstand pushups, one arm pushups & chin ups, pistol squats, hanging leg raises, and back bridges…

I want to know…would doing only push ups, pull ups, and squats work all muscle groups for a complete full body workout?
[/quote]

TLDR: no, your program is not comprehensive.

As batman730 said, you need a hip-hinge movement.

I’m convinced bodyweight movements are critical for anyone seriously interested in health and strength.

That said, I’m also convinced people should become proficient at barbell and dumbbell movements. These three things, IF MASTERED, will put you at the upper echelon.

Later on, logisitcs and desire permitting, you can add things like cable/machine/bands.

Your routine doesn’t really address hamstring complex and spinal erectors. If you can figure out a way to McGyver kettlebells swings into your travel workouts, you should consider it.

But I’m convinced kbs are vastly inferior to smart training with barbells and dumbbells in the LONG TERM (in fact, I’ve yet to see or meet a kb zealot impress me with anything other than some juggling act).

When you’re home, or can get to a decent gym on your travels, I seriously recommend working in conventional deads, sumos, single-limbed deads. You don’t have to do low-rep maxes - just keep the rep range moderate, focus on perfect technique, and walk away each time with something left in the tank. If I had taken this advice to heart early in 2014 as my former Coach wanted me to, I’d be even stronger and more muscular.


#5

Hip thrusts and glute bridges will give you a hip hinge movement. Although when it comes to any body weight routine including very challenging body weight movements like one handed push ups pull ups etc. You will eventually hit a progress wall on total weight being moved. Assuming you don’t travel with additional gear like weight vests. But just to have a hip hinge The thrusts and bridges will work ok.


#6

[quote]TheBarbarian wrote:
Hip thrusts and glute bridges will give you a hip hinge movement. Although when it comes to any body weight routine including very challenging body weight movements like one handed push ups pull ups etc. You will eventually hit a progress wall on total weight being moved. Assuming you don’t travel with additional gear like weight vests. But just to have a hip hinge The thrusts and bridges will work ok.[/quote]

Hip thrusts and bridges are fine. However, I would say that “poor man’s” variations of reverse hypers and GHD raises as well as stretch band pull throughs are probably better hip hinge movements with minimal equipment.

Either way, the inability to add significant resistance is going to make it difficult to challenge the musculature of the posterior chain from a strength standpoint. A one arm handstand push-up is a challenging upper body push movement for almost anyone. It can somewhat “substitute” for a fairly heavy OHP. I don’t see how any amount of unloaded bridges/hip thrusts/reverse hypers etc can meaningfully “substitute” for a heavy dead lift.


#7

[quote]jaytaylor84 wrote:
I want to know…would doing only push ups, pull ups, and squats work all muscle groups for a complete full body workout?
[/quote]

Short story: yes. There’s a lot of overlap between hip hinge movements and squats, so yes, the three mentioned exercises will be enough. Your dick won’t fall off.

That being said, there is no need to limits yourself to them. Back bridges, ab moves, gymnastic isometric holds… There is a lot of stuff to play around with.

Also, why the hell do people ask about calisthenics on the conditioning forum? Don’t take this personally, you’re not the only one.


#8

Interesting comments by everyone so far.

OP, if you’re still around to read the thread you started, will you clarify the squats will be body weight (ie pistols or variations)? That was my conclusion based on your post:

[quote]jaytaylor84 wrote:

I tend to do variations like close grip handstand pushups, one arm pushups & chin ups, pistol squats, hanging leg raises, and back bridges…

[/quote]

Pistols will work the quadriceps and glutes to a certain extent. And some can argue Lombard’s paradox will also activate the hamstrings during any good squatting pattern. Yet, I doubt the stimulation will be complete.

I have nothing against push ups, pull ups, and single legged squats as these are in my personal toolbox (the only difference is I don’t “sit” on my lower leg when doing the squats). But if there is no external load via dead lift variations or even kb swings, then your hamstring complex, erector spinae, multifidous, etc. won’t be challenged to work in concert. Essentially, you’re leaving money on the table in terms of overall health and strength.


#9

You can make a suspension trainer for less than $15. Nothing to hang it from? How about a tree limb? Rows, pullups, squats, rollouts, hanging leg raises, pushups, dips, etc.


#10

No, those movements (at least in their standard forms) do not address all major muscle groups. You would have to add at least a hip Flexion movement (sit-ups/V-Up variations) and a rotational strength movement (like “floor windshield wipers”).


#11

[quote]Sentoguy wrote:
No, those movements (at least in their standard forms) do not address all major muscle groups. You would have to add at least a hip Flexion movement (sit-ups/V-Up variations) and a rotational strength movement (like “floor windshield wipers”).[/quote]

I considered this as well. However, the OP did mention one arm push ups which would address anti-rotation (and thereby strengthen the rotational force he can produce) as well as leg raises which would address hip flexion.

The most obvious gap that I saw in his hypothetical program was a lack of hip extension under load, which is why I agreed with batman730.

I’ve no doubt the OP hasn’t visited this site since creating this thread but this is an interesting topic as many of us have to travel for work and are often have to make due with prisoner type workouts.