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Old 02-23-2007, 11:30 AM   #1
Jesse Woody
Join Date: Oct 2006
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Default Mass/Strength gain with limited exercises...

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!
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Old 02-23-2007, 11:44 AM   #2
Greg Everett
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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.
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Old 02-23-2007, 12:35 PM   #3
Daniel Miller
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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.
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Old 02-23-2007, 01:03 PM   #4
Jesse Woody
Join Date: Oct 2006
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Default a couple of points...

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...I guess my doctor wasn't a Wolverine fan :P
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Old 02-23-2007, 02:10 PM   #5
Elliot Royce
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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.
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Old 02-27-2007, 09:48 PM   #6
Yael Grauer
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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!!
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