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View Full Version : Kinda weird/random thought...


Brandon Enos
05-27-2008, 11:32 PM
I need to get this out there so I can go to sleep. Scenario. Two guys want to train, neither have access to weights or anything, both going to be doing bodyweight only training. They are not training for any specific contest or sport or anything, just wishing to improve their overall physique.

This can apply to any exercise, but to make things simple, lets go with pushups. They each want to do 100 pushups per workout. Who will benefit more. The guy who does the traditional bw exercise route, few sets, high reps (1 set of 100, 2 of 50, etc) or the guy who does multiple sets of low reps (20 sets of 5 for example)? Or somewhere in the middle?

Does this change if you have a skinny guy trying to add a little muscle mass and defenition versus the heavy guy trying to lose some fat and create leaness versus the average guy who just want to make those muscles pop a little more.

I guess what Im saying is, do general weight training rules apply to body weight exercise as well? Random I know, but that popped in my head and cant get it out. Now I can sleep...

Steven Low
05-28-2008, 12:59 AM
Neither because "pure" endurance work doesn't do that much for you in terms of physique. Would you expect someone to get big legs from 100 airsquats? Or how about 100 45 lbs (bar only) bench presses? Well, the answer is no because if you wanted to "get big" you should lift heavy and eat to get big. So yeah. Pushups won't do it...but progressive bodyweight exercises like iron cross progressions, planche and such will make your muscles stronger and bigger I'm pretty sure if gymnasts are any indication.

Fat guy will have an easier time getting skinny without a progressive resistance/bodyweight exercise program. Well, not that most bodyweight programs will get you big anyway.

In general, what I have see is that the body works approximately the same underneath bodyweight rules as it does for weightlifting. There are a few discrepancies though such as being able to add more mass via weightlifting (see deadlifts and squats) although bodyweight tends to give better proprioception and ability to manipulate the body in space. Minor things like that. But muscles working are muscle working.

Darryl Shaw
05-28-2008, 05:36 AM
Well like Steven says neither of them is going to get huge doing push-ups but there would be a difference in the end results if guy "A" did 10 x 10 performed explosively eg. clapping push-ups and guy "B" did 2 x 50 regular push-ups at a steady pace.

Brandon Enos
05-28-2008, 06:52 AM
Yeah, either way, 100 reps probably wouldnt be good, just the first number that popped into my head. And I didnt mean mass gain so much as just overall defenition and physical development.

Obviously, if you have access to weights, use them, but not everyone does and everyone, at one point or another, will have to go without for a week or weekend. Or maybe your starting to feel bored with barbells and need to change it up. I can relate to that one actually. I have trouble sticking to barbell programs very long because I get bored of them. I do them because I know they are good for me, but I find things like bodyweight or sandbags or kettlebells to be much more fun, IMO. Just kind of curious as to best method in those situations.

I completely forgot about gymnastic related exercises (planches and levers etc). Getting big off those wont happen, but strength and Id imagine defenition, oh yeah.

Steven Low
05-28-2008, 05:45 PM
Well, not THAT big. You can get fairly "big" off them where big is "big" to most of the population. But rival a BBer probably not.

Mike ODonnell
05-28-2008, 07:10 PM
The guy who has someone sit on his back and does sets of 10 with 30sec rests until he can't anymore....assuming that is within 3-5 sets.

Doing 100 pushups in a row just makes someone.....good at doing 100 pushups in a row....

Darryl Shaw
05-29-2008, 05:45 AM
Well, not THAT big. You can get fairly "big" off them where big is "big" to most of the population. But rival a BBer probably not.

A few years ago Pavel Tsatsouline came up a routine to promote upper body sarcoplasmic hypertrophy that, if I remember it right, involved doing half your max push-ups at regular intervals, say every 30 - 60 minutes, throughout the day six days a week for a month.
I didn't try it so I can't say how effective it was but Pavel usually knows what he's talking about.

Steven Low
05-29-2008, 10:45 AM
A few years ago Pavel Tsatsouline came up a routine to promote upper body sarcoplasmic hypertrophy that, if I remember it right, involved doing half your max push-ups at regular intervals, say every 30 - 60 minutes, throughout the day six days a week for a month.
I didn't try it so I can't say how effective it was but Pavel usually knows what he's talking about.
I'm curious to see how that is structured.. although it would probably provide some it doesn't seem optimal if you wanted plain old sarco.

And if you wanted bodyweight hypertrophy just grab some rings and work with the rep range of ~8-12 with tough exercises. You'll blow up pretty much as good as any bodybuilder would want (if you're not a bodybuilder already) maybe even moreso because of the stabilization factor of stimulating more muscles that usual.

Darryl Shaw
05-30-2008, 05:41 AM
I'm curious to see how that is structured.. although it would probably provide some it doesn't seem optimal if you wanted plain old sarco.

And if you wanted bodyweight hypertrophy just grab some rings and work with the rep range of ~8-12 with tough exercises. You'll blow up pretty much as good as any bodybuilder would want (if you're not a bodybuilder already) maybe even moreso because of the stabilization factor of stimulating more muscles that usual.

I found the back issue of Muscle Media that featured Pavels push-up program. It was titled "Drop and Gimme 100!" and it suggested alternating two weeks of heavy low rep bench press with two weeks of high volume training with push-ups to increase capillary density. Like I said I didn't try it so I've no idea whether or not it worked but I think it might be worth trying for a couple of weeks after a longer period of heavy low rep training than the two weeks Pavel suggests.

The first program is for beginners and the second is for more advanced athletes.

The Evil Russians "Hit The Deck" Program.
Week 1 - Relative intensity - Set Frequency (minutes)
Mon: 100% (Test); 30% - 60
Tues: - 50% - 60
Weds: - 60% - 45
Thurs: - 25% - 60
Fri: - 40% - 30
Sat: - 40% - 60
Sun: - 20% - 90
Week 2
Mon: 100% (Test); 35% - 45
Tues: - 55% - 20
Weds: - 30% - 15
Thurs: - 65% - 60
Fri: - 35% - 45
Sat: - 25% - 120
Sun: - 15 - 90
Mon: 100% test.

The Evil Russians "Drop and Gimme 100" Program.
Week 1 - Relative intensity - Set Frequency (minutes)
Mon: 100% (Test); 40% - 60
Tues: - 50% - 30
Weds: - 70% - 45
Thurs: - 40% - 60
Fri: - 80% - 60
Sat: - 55% - 90
Sun: - 20% - 90
Week 2
Mon: 100% (Test); 90% - 120
Tues: - 45% - 60
Weds: - 20% - 10
Thurs: - 65% - 90
Fri: - 75% - 60
Sat: - 30% - 90
Sun: - 15% - 90
Mon: 100% test.