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S&C UnderGround >> Muscle building without gym.


2/13/13 2:41 PM
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Theflesh22
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Possible? How far can you get with dumbbells, kettlebells, and body weight alone? Phone Post
2/13/13 4:08 PM
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Out To Lunch
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Depends on your goals

If you just want to be in shape, you've got enough equipment.
2/13/13 4:37 PM
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Chocolate Shatner
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If you are talking bodybuilder muscular, then no, you cannot achieve that level without some form of a gym. On the other hand, if you are talking athlete/fit/a bit bigger than the average dude muscle, of course you can build it.

The body responds to stimulus. It doesn't matter if that comes from a barbell, a dumbbell, a sack of grain, or a blonde stripper. If your muscles are exerting themselves against a resistance, you will break down the muscle. If you then rest and eat appropriate levels of nutrients to allow the body to rebuild and overcompensate, the muscles will get larger.
2/13/13 6:38 PM
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Taku
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Agree with C.S. (not sure about the blonde stripper part). Your only going to find out how far you can go by creating a plan and consistently executing it.

A little goes along way.

TAKU

2/13/13 7:40 PM
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Chocolate Shatner
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we may not know for sure about the blonde stripper, but we damn sure wanna find out, though.
2/14/13 8:58 AM
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HULC
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Take a look at a male gymnast if you want to see how muscular bodyweight exercises can get you.

Of course it's easier to do it with weights, but it can be done without as well.
2/14/13 11:04 AM
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Adventure Runner
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HULC - Take a look at a male gymnast if you want to see how muscular bodyweight exercises can get you.

Of course it's easier to do it with weights, but it can be done without as well.

I agree, and I also agree with CS. I mean your muscles don't know the difference between a kettlebell, a barbell, or an Asian stripper (blonde strippers appear to be up for debate). They just respond to stimuli. In this case, that is the amount of tension/force required and how long it is needed. It is certainly much easier to measure these parameters and in some cases target specific muscle with free weights, but it is still very possible to do without them as long as you are creative with movement and leverages like seen in gymnastics. My $.02 at least.
2/14/13 12:20 PM
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Taku
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Remember...Male gymnasts are (for the most part) tiny guys whose bodies were built for gymnastics. That is why they look pretty much the same. That being said, (as noted above) one can go a very long way with minimal tools.

TAKU

2/14/13 2:32 PM
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Taku
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Check out Ross Enamait for is books "Infinite Intensity" or "Never Gymless". Both good. Also Scrappers Mod 1 & Card PT are also good.

TAKU

2/14/13 4:27 PM
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Chocolate Shatner
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Yeah, I don't use gymnasts as examples too much. I mean, the guy who won the gold all-around (Kohei Uchimura) is 5'3 and weighs 110 pounds. Not saying his abilities and physique aren't impressive for his size, but telling someone like me, who is 6 feet and 230 to train like him is asking for my shoulders to be dislocated in about two minutes.
2/14/13 4:48 PM
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Adventure Runner
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Meh. If I ran fast enough for a 9.7 100m dash, my legs would probably blow off my body. That doesn't mean I won't sprint anymore. Nobody is saying to do Olympic/elite level moves out of the gate. I mean you do pullups and dips, right?

I hear you though, I hate the "train like x to look like x" argument especially the old "Do you want to look like a marathon runner of a 100m sprinter?". Like yeah... they look that way mainly due to their training. haha
2/14/13 6:51 PM
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Theflesh22
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Thanks for all your advice guys. Going to the strip club, be back later. Phone Post
2/15/13 8:50 AM
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Wiggy
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Wait a minute...can someone tell me where I can get a copy of this blonde stripper workout?  Because I'm gonna affiliate promote the hell outta that thing.  lol  :-P

Gotta say...I HATE the gymnastics argument.  I don't care if you're using gymnasts as potential 'evidence" as to what bodyweight exercise can do, what kind of muscle can be built, or trying to say that bodyweight exercise should eventually lead into gymnastics work.  It's all wrong on every level.

First of all, you've got what has already been said about gymnasts and their natural build.  So take that out.  

Then you have to realize that gymnasts (at least the ones people point to as example - elite gymnasts) have likely been doing that shit since they were a little kid.  Get started on any exercise program and do it consistently for the next 15 years and tell me it won't work for you.

Next, you have to consider that gymnasts create unbelievable tension with many of their skills.  This tension can lead to hard, dense muscle.  However, notice what I said - they create unbelievable tension with many of their SKILLS.  Not exercises.  Skills.  The overwhelming vast majority of gymnastics work can't be done by most people, even if they have decent strength.  I can do HSPUs.  I can't do Frog Stands (or at least not well).  Why not?  Because I don't practice them, so I've never adapted any strength I have to being able to create enough tension with appropriate balance in order to do one.  And Frog Stands are *basic*.  

Which leads right into my next point - don't use gymnasts/gymnastics as "proof" of what bodyweight exercise can do when you're never going to be able to do what gymnasts do.  That's like saying because you learned how to squat with a barbell, you'll one day be able to suit up and squat 1100+ in elite PLing.  No.  You won't.

I love gymnastics and think it's cool as shit.  But it being the defacto "proof" so many like to use to espouse bodyweight exercise is completely faulty reasoning.  You can do great things w/BWE, but you have to take a totally different approach.

Wiggy - http://www.workingclassfitness.com

2/15/13 10:05 AM
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Adventure Runner
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Wiggy - 

Wait a minute...can someone tell me where I can get a copy of this blonde stripper workout?  Because I'm gonna affiliate promote the hell outta that thing.  lol  :-P

Gotta say...I HATE the gymnastics argument.  I don't care if you're using gymnasts as potential 'evidence" as to what bodyweight exercise can do, what kind of muscle can be built, or trying to say that bodyweight exercise should eventually lead into gymnastics work.  It's all wrong on every level.

First of all, you've got what has already been said about gymnasts and their natural build.  So take that out.  

Then you have to realize that gymnasts (at least the ones people point to as example - elite gymnasts) have likely been doing that shit since they were a little kid.  Get started on any exercise program and do it consistently for the next 15 years and tell me it won't work for you.

Next, you have to consider that gymnasts create unbelievable tension with many of their skills.  This tension can lead to hard, dense muscle.  However, notice what I said - they create unbelievable tension with many of their SKILLS.  Not exercises.  Skills.  The overwhelming vast majority of gymnastics work can't be done by most people, even if they have decent strength.  I can do HSPUs.  I can't do Frog Stands (or at least not well).  Why not?  Because I don't practice them, so I've never adapted any strength I have to being able to create enough tension with appropriate balance in order to do one.  And Frog Stands are *basic*.  

Which leads right into my next point - don't use gymnasts/gymnastics as "proof" of what bodyweight exercise can do when you're never going to be able to do what gymnasts do.  That's like saying because you learned how to squat with a barbell, you'll one day be able to suit up and squat 1100+ in elite PLing.  No.  You won't.

I love gymnastics and think it's cool as shit.  But it being the defacto "proof" so many like to use to espouse bodyweight exercise is completely faulty reasoning.  You can do great things w/BWE, but you have to take a totally different approach.

Wiggy - http://www.workingclassfitness.com


I agree, but in general, I think all strength at upper levels is largely skill based. You have to be consistent. Just like the vast majority of us will NEVER be able to do an inverted iron cross, the vast majority of us will NEVER be able to snatch 450 lbs, squat 1100 lbs, or bench 1000 lbs as you point out. That doesn't mean there isn't value training those movements at lighter weights or, in the case of gymnastics, train the skills that lead up to elite movement movements.

As such, I'd disagree with having to take a totally different approach. Gymnastics currently forms the core of my training, and I'm not seeing any diminishes in my strength or performance in my current activities. I'd like to think I'm not a newb either as I've been training seriously, voraciously reading/researching, and experimenting for close to 2 decades now (outside of the typical school sports-related training). I'm certainly not built to be a gymnast either. I'm long and lanky (pic in my profile), so the leverage disadvantages can be rather immense. Whatever works for you though.
2/15/13 10:14 AM
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Adventure Runner
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^ Wow. I actually stuttered while typing. Time to switch to decaf! ^
2/16/13 3:01 AM
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grapplingwithzen
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Yes I believe you can go very far with minimal equipment. Especially if you access to bars for pullups , dips and so forth.

An example is the BarStarzz videos on youtube.
2/16/13 8:12 AM
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banco
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You'll find the legs are the hardest to work using dumbbells, kettlebells and bodyweight. Bulgarian split squats and unilateral romanian deadlifts are probably your best bet.
2/16/13 4:18 PM
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HULC
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Wiggy - 

Wait a minute...can someone tell me where I can get a copy of this blonde stripper workout?  Because I'm gonna affiliate promote the hell outta that thing.  lol  :-P

Gotta say...I HATE the gymnastics argument.  I don't care if you're using gymnasts as potential 'evidence" as to what bodyweight exercise can do, what kind of muscle can be built, or trying to say that bodyweight exercise should eventually lead into gymnastics work.  It's all wrong on every level.

First of all, you've got what has already been said about gymnasts and their natural build.  So take that out.  

Then you have to realize that gymnasts (at least the ones people point to as example - elite gymnasts) have likely been doing that shit since they were a little kid.  Get started on any exercise program and do it consistently for the next 15 years and tell me it won't work for you.

Next, you have to consider that gymnasts create unbelievable tension with many of their skills.  This tension can lead to hard, dense muscle.  However, notice what I said - they create unbelievable tension with many of their SKILLS.  Not exercises.  Skills.  The overwhelming vast majority of gymnastics work can't be done by most people, even if they have decent strength.  I can do HSPUs.  I can't do Frog Stands (or at least not well).  Why not?  Because I don't practice them, so I've never adapted any strength I have to being able to create enough tension with appropriate balance in order to do one.  And Frog Stands are *basic*.  

Which leads right into my next point - don't use gymnasts/gymnastics as "proof" of what bodyweight exercise can do when you're never going to be able to do what gymnasts do.  That's like saying because you learned how to squat with a barbell, you'll one day be able to suit up and squat 1100+ in elite PLing.  No.  You won't.

I love gymnastics and think it's cool as shit.  But it being the defacto "proof" so many like to use to espouse bodyweight exercise is completely faulty reasoning.  You can do great things w/BWE, but you have to take a totally different approach.

Wiggy - http://www.workingclassfitness.com


I disagree. Most of us will never be elite power lifters or high level body builders, but people still point to them as examples of the bodies you can get with weight training.

Gymnasts are a perfect example of the build you can achieve with bodyweight exercises.

As has already been stated multiple times, it's much easier to build muscle using weights or some other form of scalable resistance training because then you can target exactly what results you want. But if all you are left with is bodyweight training, then it's still possible to build very impressive physiques as well.
2/16/13 5:44 PM
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turducken
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its kind of ridiculous to use olympic gymnasts as an example of the kind of body you can build with bodyweight training. sorry, but you are not going to build a body like an olympic gymnast doing only bodyweight exercises unless you are doing extremely high level and difficult gymnastics moves, and the only people who will ever have enough skill to do those moves are the guys who start training when they are 5yrs old and do it every day for 15+ years.

doing ring dips and front levers = not going to build the body of an olympic gymnast.
2/17/13 10:41 AM
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Adventure Runner
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Edited: 02/17/13 10:41 AM
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^^ Just like doing skull crushers and bent over rows won't build the body of a bodybuilder. ^^

No kidding. Two exercises guy? I have a better body than most, and I train primarily gymnastics moves. Either way, it's just like convention weight training. You have dip variations galore for that plane of movement (bar dips, ring dips, and parallel bar dips), pushup variations for that plane of movement (bar, floor, and rings), rowing movements for that plane of motion (front lever pulls, yewki's, ice cream makers, etc), pullup variations, handstand push up variations, inverted pulling variations, multi-plane movements (bowers, skin the cats, rosilindos, 360 pulls, etc). The list goes on and on with both static and dynamic exercises that train your body at a multitude of joint angles and progressions for each movement so that you never hit a ceiling and can't go any further.

How is that different from weight training? You can mix it up with different lifts to help weak points, but you relatively stick a handful of core lifts. You just keep putting more weight on the bar. Just like you'll never be breaking squat records or competing in weightlifting in the olympics, you also won't be so strong that you'll be competing in gymnastics in the olympics. It doesn't mean you can't build a strong body with the power lifts and olympic lifts done at a non-world class level.
2/17/13 11:00 AM
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turducken
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Adventure Runner - ^^ Just like doing skull crushers and bent over rows won't build the body of a bodybuilder. ^^

No kidding. Two exercises guy? I have a better body than most, and I train primarily gymnastics moves. Either way, it's just like convention weight training. You have dip variations galore for that plane of movement (bar dips, ring dips, and parallel bar dips), pushup variations for that plane of movement (bar, floor, and rings), rowing movements for that plane of motion (front lever pulls, yewki's, ice cream makers, etc), pullup variations, handstand push up variations, inverted pulling variations, multi-plane movements (bowers, skin the cats, rosilindos, 360 pulls, etc). The list goes on and on with both static and dynamic exercises that train your body at a multitude of joint angles and progressions for each movement so that you never hit a ceiling and can't go any further.

How is that different from weight training? You can mix it up with different lifts to help weak points, but you relatively stick a handful of core lifts. You just keep putting more weight on the bar. Just like you'll never be breaking squat records or competing in weightlifting in the olympics, you also won't be so strong that you'll be competing in gymnastics in the olympics. It doesn't mean you can't build a strong body with the power lifts and olympic lifts done at a non-world class level.

the difference is that anyone can do skull crushers and bent over rows. not everyone can do this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Fuao_2XeZ4 in fact, practically no one can do that.

anyways, i think you are getting off track. you can definitely get strong and be in shape by doing bodyweight exercises only, but to think you are going to be as insanely jacked as an olympic gymnast is dishonest. the skill required and difficulty of the training beyond a certain point is just not attainable for normal people. the point is that the average person can get a lot more jacked lifting weights than he can doing bodyweight exercises. obviously you arent going to end up looking like a 270lb bodybuilder, but you can still do every exercise that the bodybuilder can do.
2/17/13 11:30 AM
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Adventure Runner
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turducken - 
Adventure Runner - ^^ Just like doing skull crushers and bent over rows won't build the body of a bodybuilder. ^^

No kidding. Two exercises guy? I have a better body than most, and I train primarily gymnastics moves. Either way, it's just like convention weight training. You have dip variations galore for that plane of movement (bar dips, ring dips, and parallel bar dips), pushup variations for that plane of movement (bar, floor, and rings), rowing movements for that plane of motion (front lever pulls, yewki's, ice cream makers, etc), pullup variations, handstand push up variations, inverted pulling variations, multi-plane movements (bowers, skin the cats, rosilindos, 360 pulls, etc). The list goes on and on with both static and dynamic exercises that train your body at a multitude of joint angles and progressions for each movement so that you never hit a ceiling and can't go any further.

How is that different from weight training? You can mix it up with different lifts to help weak points, but you relatively stick a handful of core lifts. You just keep putting more weight on the bar. Just like you'll never be breaking squat records or competing in weightlifting in the olympics, you also won't be so strong that you'll be competing in gymnastics in the olympics. It doesn't mean you can't build a strong body with the power lifts and olympic lifts done at a non-world class level.

the difference is that anyone can do skull crushers and bent over rows. not everyone can do this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Fuao_2XeZ4 in fact, practically no one can do that.

anyways, i think you are getting off track. you can definitely get strong and be in shape by doing bodyweight exercises only, but to think you are going to be as insanely jacked as an olympic gymnast is dishonest. the skill required and difficulty of the training beyond a certain point is just not attainable for normal people. the point is that the average person can get a lot more jacked lifting weights than he can doing bodyweight exercises. obviously you arent going to end up looking like a 270lb bodybuilder, but you can still do every exercise that the bodybuilder can do.

What I think you're not understanding is that I'm not saying that everybody will be able to do world-class gymnastic skills. However the prerequisite skills and progressions that lead up to the feats performed in that video are well within the reach of many and are essentially the same thing as doing a power/olympic lifts at non-world class weight.

Just like squatting 1000lbs isn't in the realm of possibility for most, but squatting 315lbs is. Doing an inverted iron cross on the rings isn't within the realm of possibility for most, but doing a bulgarian handstand pushup on rings is.

Nobody is going is to say "squats are great, so to get started, throw 1000 lbs on the bar and squat" just like nobody is saying "gymnastics is great, so hit this iron cross into maltese combination". You start small and try working your way up. Chances are you'll never get to a world class level in either case, but you'll build a strong body through your practice.

Also nobody is saying if you do gymnastics exercises you'll look exactly like an olympic gymnast either like nobody would be saying if you do bodybuilding type exercises, you'll end up looking like a professional 270 lbs bodybuilder. They are simply pointing to gymnasts as an example of the potential benefits of a bwe program like they'd point to a bodybuilder an an example of the benefits of bodybuilding style training.

2/17/13 9:29 PM
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HULC
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I was going to respond but AR is saying pretty much everything i wanted to say already.

In weight training the exercises stay the same but the weight goes up to increase the resistance. In BW training the weight stays the same but the exercises change to increase the difficulty.

The difference between a beginner doing a bench press with an empty bar and a elite powerlifter putting up 700lbs is a direct analogue to a beginner doing knee press ups and an eliter gymnast doing planche press ups.
2/17/13 11:12 PM
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Chocolate Shatner
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Dude, do you guys really think that a "bulgarian handstand pushup" is anywhere within the realm of ability for an average Joe?

Jesus, I could take 60-75 percent of average men and get them to a 315 squat, but I know very few (including active athletes) who aren't gymnasts who could do a ring handstand pushup.

In fact, in terms of learning curve and reward, I'd still give the edge to weighted stuff over gymnastic stuff. Sure, planche pushups look totally fucking cool, just like human flagpoles and dragon flags look totally cool. But, the amount of time needed to learn the moves can be better spent on other pursuits and gains in other ways.
2/18/13 7:32 AM
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Adventure Runner
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Chocolate Shatner - Dude, do you guys really think that a "bulgarian handstand pushup" is anywhere within the realm of ability for an average Joe?

Jesus, I could take 60-75 percent of average men and get them to a 315 squat, but I know very few (including active athletes) who aren't gymnasts who could do a ring handstand pushup.

In fact, in terms of learning curve and reward, I'd still give the edge to weighted stuff over gymnastic stuff. Sure, planche pushups look totally fucking cool, just like human flagpoles and dragon flags look totally cool. But, the amount of time needed to learn the moves can be better spent on other pursuits and gains in other ways.

Yes. I think you're exaggerating. I was able to do a dragon flag on my first attempt before I ever trained in anything remotely approaching gymnastics, and I definitely do not have a gymnastics body nor am I naturally particularly strong. I've never been able to do anything with 3 plates without some concentrated practice on upping that lift.

Ring handstand pushups are hard (more so if you don't have your legs hooked on the straps obviously). It may take years of practice to get. People spend years developing their overhead press. I fail to see the difference in deciding to develop one shoulder dominant strength skill over another.

After you reach intermediate levels in anything, it's hard to progress. I suppose if you're saying training for months to eek out another 5-10 lbs on your overhead press is "time better spent" than training for months to eek out a few more reps in a handstand pressing variation, then we'll just have to agree to disagree.

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