View Full Version : Mass/Strength gain with limited exercises...

Jesse Woody
02-23-2007, 11:30 AM
So, here's the scoop; about a month ago, suffering from jumper's knee, shin splints and general malaise, I decided to give an honest go at the PM Mass program. I crunched the numbers, used the awesome spread-sheet, and made it through 2 workouts before I found out that we'd be auditioning for a commercial in LA for which I'd have to be at my peak Parkour-wise...so, the mass-gain workout got put back on the shelf and I again checked out a copy of "The Numerous Aches and Pains You Get from Jumping Off of Things...Vol.1"

I made a good program, very similar to the 5 day split in "Infinite Intensity" with a two-a-day shift for skill work. It worked great, and I felt awesome (with enough fish oil/ibuprofen!) I traveled to LA, went to the audition...and snapped my 5th metatarsal on a bad landing (from 3 feet...ugh) during the first 5 minutes of the warm-up. Needless to say, the UCLA emergency room, while uhhhh....nice...isn't exactly where I wanted to spend my time in LA.

So, now I have one foot, the other is getting ready to be cut open and augmented with titanium. I've decided that I want to work up to some pretty beastly levels of strength and skill in the movements I can still do, namely pull-ups, handstand push-ups and ring-work. I can obviously still do pistols, though my one good leg is getting worn out enough as it is, and I really don't want to overbuild one side of my hips to the detriment of my back...so I'm laying off of any specific work there.

That being said, I do still want to put on a bit of weight, though for no real practical reason (outside of my latent psychological imbalance from growing up a skinny kid!) Hell, I'm talking about learning free-standing handstand push-ups and one-arm pull-ups in one sentence, then mentioning being heavier in another...you're right, I have no focus, but that's another issue. My question is this: what kind of progress can I expect along the mass-gain lines with almost purely upper-body movements? As much as I ask from the training aspect (as this is the training section of the forum) I'm also interested from the nutrition side, as I would like to put on muscle in balance with the stimulus (i.e. more muscle for pull-ups/dips/handstands) rather than gaining excess fat because the stimulus isn't broad enough to elicit any appreciable neuroendrocrine or physical response.

If anybody has any experience along these lines, info would be appreciated, as I have a good number of people who've asked me how to gain weight, and my answer always involved squats and deadlifts!

Greg Everett
02-23-2007, 11:44 AM
chris forbis I think has been messing around with some gaining whilst unable to do much lower body work due to a back problem. Hopefully he can add some wisdom here.

definitely a lack of squatting and deadlifting will limit somewhat the growth stimulous, although it certainly won't prevent it entirely. I would suggest adding lower body weight bearing as soon as possible (e.g. farmers walks or even just standing supports) just to keep downstairs tough.

as far as keeping lean while gaining, i see 3 basic components: genetics, food quality/timing, and rate of gain. we all know at least one person who eats like shit, doesn't do shit, and looks like the incredible hulk (sans green tint)--genetics will definitely play a role in how lean you stay. judging from what little i've seen of you, i imagine you'll fair pretty well in this regard. food quality you understand of course--really getting control over insulin, etc. finally, how quickly you attempt to gain a given amount of weight will play a role. a lot of times the attempt to gain will outpace the physical ability to gain, consequently resulting in some fat gain. in other words, if your body can only stick X calories into muscle building per week and you're eating 2X calories, you're going to get soft. the trick of course is finding what X is, which is next to impossible, particularly with day to day disparity in activity, sleep, stress, etc.

no idea if that answered any of your questions.

also, titanium body parts are sweet.

Daniel Miller
02-23-2007, 12:35 PM
Sorry to hear about the break. That sucks.

When I was a freshman in college I played LaCrosse and tried to climb whenever I had free time. A few weeks into school, I went up to Eldorado canyon and tried to teach myself to lead...while raining. I fell and broke my ankle. The next 4 months I walked on crutches and still went to the team lifting sessions. All I did were dips, pull-ups, pull-overs, and rows being quite exploratory and varied with sets/reps. I began the injury weighing around 135 and ended up 150lbs. My energy expenditure was low and in combination with watching the Big Lebowski and mimicking the illicit behavior demonstrated by the Dude I ate a TON.

This is all to say that you can grow some serious tricep and back/chest size/strength whilst being a gimp.

Good luck healing.

Jesse Woody
02-23-2007, 01:03 PM
My energy expenditure was low

This was one reason why I felt it might be auspicious timing for a mass-gain cycle, as I have a hard time shying away from being physical all day when I am healthy. Owning a gym has only made this worse, as I walk in the next room and am surrounded by toys to beat myself up on! Now that it sucks to even walk (or hobble around on crutches, freestyle) I don't have to worry about being tempted to do Fran on a rest day or beat my PR on a 1000m row. That's one thing I have going for me.

Greg, you're right, I don't gain much fat, and that's not even much of a concern, as I've come to grips with a temporary loss of my uber-ripped physique (insert jokes here) to gain strength and functional size...more along the lines of gaining fat instead of muscle because I'm lacking the stimulus to make the extra eating go towards positive gains. I guess the answer is the same as it always is...try it and see. I'd definitely love to hear from Chris to see his experience on this matter, and will definitely keep you guys updated as to my progress over the coming weeks!

...oh, and titanium is pretty cool, but I was reallying hoping for the switch to full adamantium (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adamantium)...I guess my doctor wasn't a Wolverine fan :P

Elliot Royce
02-23-2007, 02:10 PM
I have some experience with this having exercised through hip arthritis for several years and then through hip replacement recovery for 12 months. Of course, everyone responds differently. It is possible to gain mass but I would still try for the compound movements like the bench press and the press. You can also do rows. Pullups are fine but I don't think you'll get the growth stimulus that the BP and press will give you. With those, you've got the larger upper body muscles firing and all the stabilizers.

I think to be realistic that you should think in terms of gaining 5-10lbs rather than some huge number.

Yael Grauer
02-27-2007, 09:48 PM
I don't have any stellar tips or anything, but I just wanted to say I hope you heal up quick! Oh, and meet or exceed all your training goals while you're waiting. Also, Wolverine's got nothing on you!!

Jesse Woody
02-28-2007, 03:40 AM
Three words: Mutant Healing Power ;)

Steve Shafley
02-28-2007, 04:25 AM
I'm sorry to hear that, Jesse. Those kinds of big injuries put a damper on things.

There's an interesting document about cable pulling that demonstrates how Jack Reid built himself up after polio using strands...if you haven't seen it, it's an interesting read.


Rick Deckart
02-28-2007, 05:03 AM
Sorry to hear of your injury, hope you will recover soon. Not that I am in the position to offer you any advice---although perhaps two things:

First you accident my not be the cause of your injury perhaps you already had some sort of hairline crack in the affected bone. Not at all too unusual among jumpers.

Second a friend of mine, a triathlete, got some severe Achilles tendon inflammation which forced him to stop all running for over half a year.
So he stopped all running and bicycle running and did start bench pressing to do at least something. He put on some good numbers and slowly started running again when he was ready. As far as I recall he then stopped serious triathlon training (when he tried to get back to old peak form his Achilles tendon would raise it's head) instead he started boxing. And he had some talent for it.

So use your now jumping free time to address those 'neglected corners' of yours (if there are any) and if you give the injury time to fully recover chances are you will come back.



Allen Yeh
02-28-2007, 05:19 AM
Don't know how I missed this post but I wanted to say heal quickly.

Now for my selfish suggestion....Everytime you guys have an open house at Primal it's a Army drill weekend for me...so how about a weekend that isn't the 1st weekend of the month? :-D

Jesse Woody
02-28-2007, 06:55 AM
Allen, you're welcome by any time...you don't have to wait for the open house to come check us out!

Steve, thanks for the link, reading now!

Peter, that's the stance I've found works best for these things. It seems there are two ways to go about dealing with an injury; 1. get pissed off at lost training time and stress yourself out chomping at the bit to get back to training or, 2. look at it as a change of pace and an opportunity to try new things and just relax and let it take its course. #2 is the method I like the best, and I'm working towards a bunch of new goals right now to reflect the change in training that I forced upon myself!

All-in-all I think I might be looking at a longish layoff to deal with some nagging injuries that I've been ignoring over the past few years. No problem there, I have my entire life, so I'm planning on pursuing some other activities to keep me busy; bodyweight strength skills, get back to hiking more, and maybe even give bodybuilding for its own sake a try again (gasp!) Note, when I say this I mean bodybuilding along the lines of Tommy Kono and Steve Reeves....and if I add any hammer curls to my program I promise not to tell you guys.. ;)

Yael Grauer
02-28-2007, 08:21 AM
Three words: Mutant Healing Power ;)

Yeah, but remember that the adamantium makes him completely vulnerable to Magneto...esp. in the comics. In addition, he is overconfident in his mutant healing power, which isn't always going to work--as evidenced by Mystique taking out his replica with the cut to the throat before it kicked in. Wolverine is also physically weak, does not have unlimited stamina and he is weak-minded and therefore also vulnerable to telepathy and such. All you have to do is get in his mind until his powers run out and then cut his head off...

Allen Yeh
02-28-2007, 08:57 AM
Yeah, but remember that the adamantium makes him completely vulnerable to Magneto...esp. in the comics. In addition, he is overconfident in his mutant healing power, which isn't always going to work--as evidenced by Mystique taking out his replica with the cut to the throat before it kicked in. Wolverine is also physically weak, does not have unlimited stamina and he is weak-minded and therefore also vulnerable to telepathy and such. All you have to do is get in his mind until his powers run out and then cut his head off...

That's it she called Wolverine weak minded!! :mad:

Physically weak???? Compared to people with augmented strength like Rogue, Colossus, Hulk...etc Yeah Wolvie is pretty weak compared to them, however! Compared to the average human being Wolverine is very much above the average. He's 200 pounds (w/out admantium) at the height of 5'3"!!! With admantium he's 300 pounds and stronger.

I do recall a few issues where Wolverine by sheer force of will was able to circumvent telepaths trying to root around in his head.

True his healing factor is not inexhaustible BUT in Ultimate Hulk/Wolverine, the hulk tore Wolverine in half...but that didn't stop him!

Ok this geekiness must stop......

Yael Grauer
02-28-2007, 09:46 AM
LOL! I guess you're right about the stamina--he did fight Omega Red for 18 hours...and break those steel chains. I still think Jesse could take him on though-- he would likely outsmart him and wouldn't be as susceptible to telepathy! Plus he has far less baggage. In addition, Wolverine has some serious anger issues he needs to work on.

Mike ODonnell
02-28-2007, 10:01 AM
Bench 10x10 with 30sec rest, same weight and eat a ton PWO (no fat)....do that once a week and I am sure you will get plenty big on the chest side. Repeat for shoulders and back...pick your exercise.

Yael Grauer
02-28-2007, 11:28 AM

Allen Yeh
02-28-2007, 01:14 PM

http://googlefight.com/index.php?lang=en_GB&word1=Wolverine&word2=Jesse+woody :p

Yael Grauer
02-28-2007, 01:37 PM
Oh yeah? Well, take this!


Actually, it's just an analysis. This is bringing back high school memories...all the lost hours of my misspent youth.

I'm a Gambit fan myself.

Robb Wolf
02-28-2007, 05:01 PM
Late to the party, super sorry to hear about the bum wheel! Hammer some progressive overload...free standing HSPU's on paralettes...wearing a 30lb vest?! I arm chins? I think we will see some growth with that. If the fat gain is an issue just keep a tight reign in the nutrition. Track EXACTLY what you are eating to keep most gains flowing into Los Musculos.

Keep us posted you big stud!

Jesse Woody
02-28-2007, 05:02 PM
Damn you allen...that fight was totally rigged!

Mike, sounds like a semi-german volume type scheme. Have you used this yourself with good results? Sounds like the perfect prescription for massive DOMS...which is always fun!

Mike ODonnell
02-28-2007, 05:24 PM
sounds like a semi-german volume

Bin-frigin-go.....yep DOMS will be a motherf'r...but I throw it in every now and then and get good results at once 1x a week with 30-60 sec rests....end up crying with like no weight by the end....but a quick shock to the system for hypertrophy is good...then go back to more strength work....I like periods of strength...then hypertrophy...living in the 5-10 range for the most part of my workouts...every now and then doing the sets of 1s....will probably try DJ's 21cycle next strength go round.

Motion MacIvor
04-01-2007, 11:58 AM
I did'nt read all the posts so this might not be a new suggestion but you might want to go to global gym and use the nautilus machines. The leg extention, and hamstinrg curl machines shouldnt put any weight on your foot and if you can figure it out the but blaster should help you maintain your ower body strength. If You're really brave you might even try out the thigh abductor. Of course the most important piece of equipment you should invest in is a paper bag to hide your shame.