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Are bodyweight exercises enough to overcome bird legs?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Abu Reena View Post
    Not really. It's the equivalent of doing a barbell squat with about half your bodyweight on the bar. If you think about it, half your bodyweight is supported by each leg. Let's say you weigh 180. Each leg supports 90 lbs. Take away one leg, and you've "added" 90 lbs to your squat. Not to mention your weight is distributed differently than a barbell on your back. I've never seen someone do an EMG or anything like that, but I think a one legged squat is easier than doing a BB squat with your bodyweight on your back. In my experience, I can do one legged squats fairly easily (but for the balance) but a BB squat is much harder.
    You've added 90 to your squat, and you've reduced the number of legs used to lift it by half so really you've added 180.

    If you weigh 180, and you put 180 in the bar, each leg is approximately lifting half of the total weight i.e. 180. If you did a single leg squat with no weight on your back, a single leg is lifting about 180.

    It's sometimes true that single leg squats are easier, because though they require more stability, they don't require you to also support a heavy weight on your shoulders. There may also be truth to the idea that bodyweight exercises are more 'natural' for the body.
    "Thanks to the combination of meat, calcium-rich leaf foods, and a vigorous life, the early hunter-gatherers were robust, with strong skeletons, jaws, and teeth." - Harold McGee, On Food And Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen

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    • #17
      You gotta squat.

      The answer to most things is to squat. Start squatting.

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      • #18
        Do you own a backpack and some books? Problem solved. Do squats in your living room with a backpack full of heavy stuff. If you don't have any books, go outside and find some rocks instead.

        Update: You probably shouldn't start with a full backpack though... Take it gradually as you progress.
        Norak's Primal Journal:
        2010-07-23: ~255lbs, ~40.0"
        2011-11-03: ~230lbs, ~35.5"
        2011-12-07: ~220lbs, ~34.0"

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        • #19
          Originally posted by norak View Post
          Do you own a backpack and some books? Problem solved. Do squats in your living room with a backpack full of heavy stuff. If you don't have any books, go outside and find some rocks instead.

          Update: You probably shouldn't start with a full backpack though... Take it gradually as you progress.
          Put calculus textbook in there, because this is really heavy material for your brain and your body. You will get tired when you remind yourself big calculus textbook is in backpack, and your bird legs will grow strong.

          But your bird legs, this is weakness, you are weak and have weak legs. You must do the squats.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Doddibot View Post
            You've added 90 to your squat, and you've reduced the number of legs used to lift it by half so really you've added 180.
            Again, no. You haven't added anything. You've subtracted a leg. So it's 90. You are double counting by saying "you're adding 90 and reducing the number of legs." It's one or the other.

            By doing a single leg squat, you've, in effect, added half your weight to the other leg. That's it. Don't believe me? Go to the squat rack. Do a single leg squat. Now do your full BW on the bar and do a back squat. The second will be (wait for it) twice as hard as the single leg squat. Now, put half your body weight on the bar, and do it again. The exertion will be roughly the same as a single leg squat.

            Don't get me wrong, I'm all for BW exercises etc., but it's important to keep the math right.

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            • #21
              oh, and one of the universal truths in life is "Thou shalt squat." Bookbag, bodyweight, under the bar, doesn't matter much. Just squat. Every time you squat an angel gets its wings, and if you don't squat, Baby Jesus weeps. And puppies get slaughtered. I'm just saying.

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              • #22
                Yeah, I figured heavy weight(s) will help them get bulk, but I was curious about exercises without the added weight and how effective they may or may not be.

                Sprinting seems to be a good idea because after a year of this WOE, I'm still yet to sprint.
                Started my journey on May 22, 2010:

                Beginning weight ~180
                Current weight ~145

                Nov. 9, 2009........Nov. 9, 2010.....Jun. 17, 2011
                LDL 155...............LDL 176............LDL 139
                HDL 39................HDL 66..............HDL 95
                TGL 154..............TGL 77..............TGL 49

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Abu Reena View Post
                  Again, no. You haven't added anything. You've subtracted a leg. So it's 90. You are double counting by saying "you're adding 90 and reducing the number of legs." It's one or the other.

                  By doing a single leg squat, you've, in effect, added half your weight to the other leg. That's it. Don't believe me? Go to the squat rack. Do a single leg squat. Now do your full BW on the bar and do a back squat. The second will be (wait for it) twice as hard as the single leg squat. Now, put half your body weight on the bar, and do it again. The exertion will be roughly the same as a single leg squat.

                  Don't get me wrong, I'm all for BW exercises etc., but it's important to keep the math right.
                  Yes, sorry, I didn't clarify myself when saying you added 180. You do only add 90, but to a single leg. So that's like adding 180 if you were using both legs. I stand by my statement that a single leg squat is equal resistance for each leg as a barbell squat with your bodyweight on the bar.

                  If you weigh 180, your legs lift about 90 each in a plain squat, and about 180 each if you alternate single squats.

                  If you do a barbell squat with both legs, the weight on the bar is distributed between both legs. With no bar, each leg lifts 90. So, to get each leg lifting 180 (the equivalent of a single leg squat), you have to add 2 x 90=180 to the bar.

                  If I did a single leg squat, and then added 90 to my bodyweight and did it again, I'd be exerting myself only 50% more. Because instead of lifting my entire 180 with a single leg, I'd be lifting 180+90.
                  Last edited by Doddibot; 06-15-2011, 04:32 AM.
                  "Thanks to the combination of meat, calcium-rich leaf foods, and a vigorous life, the early hunter-gatherers were robust, with strong skeletons, jaws, and teeth." - Harold McGee, On Food And Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Doddibot View Post
                    If you weigh 180, your legs lift about 90 each in a plain squat, and about 180 each if you alternate single squats.
                    This sounds a bit simplistic to me. How about the weight of your legs? You're not lifting your full body weight when you're squatting, since half your body (OK, maybe less than half by weight) is a part of the movement and not being lifted (i.e. not "dead weight"). Also, our legs are used to carrying the weight of our upper body by default, so it's hardly comparable to adding extra weight to a backpack or barbell or whatever on your back. I think the most accurate way of lifting your own body weight would be only using your toes...

                    Originally posted by Doddibot View Post
                    If you do a barbell squat with both legs, the weight on the bar is distributed between both legs.
                    Yes, but when doing it with a bar, your upper body (notably back and ab muscles) are also involved in the lift, this is not so much the case when squatting with your own body weight. Or rather, the muscles are involved bu mostly in their "default" behavior, which is pretty much the same as holding your upper body up during everyday life. The difference is very noticeable when doing heavy squats, as the back and ab muscles must then work harder to stabilize your upper body.

                    Bodyweight exercises are great and weighted exercises are great, but comparing them in terms of weight/force is not so meaningful in my opinion (unless you are a math/physics/anatomy geek and do some actual calculations on the forces involved--and I suspect even those calculation would vary from person to person, depending on body composition).
                    Last edited by norak; 06-15-2011, 04:48 AM.
                    Norak's Primal Journal:
                    2010-07-23: ~255lbs, ~40.0"
                    2011-11-03: ~230lbs, ~35.5"
                    2011-12-07: ~220lbs, ~34.0"

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                    • #25
                      I definitely don't have chicken legs but doing wall sits (thighs at parallel, 3 sets of 60 seconds a few times a week) helped me build up a large amount of muscle in my legs over a relatively short period of time.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Abu Reena View Post
                        Not really. It's the equivalent of doing a barbell squat with about half your bodyweight on the bar.
                        Strange. So how come I can easily squat my own body weight on a bar, but I can't even complete a single one-legged squat? I know balance is a major issue for me, but you're saying if it wasn't I would be able to do it (strength-wise)?
                        Norak's Primal Journal:
                        2010-07-23: ~255lbs, ~40.0"
                        2011-11-03: ~230lbs, ~35.5"
                        2011-12-07: ~220lbs, ~34.0"

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          doing two one legged squats is equivalent to doing one squat with bodyweight on the bar... either one, you've lifted your body weight twice

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by norak View Post
                            Strange. So how come I can easily squat my own body weight on a bar, but I can't even complete a single one-legged squat? I know balance is a major issue for me, but you're saying if it wasn't I would be able to do it (strength-wise)?
                            Yes. And the other posters are still double counting it. Removing the one leg for someone @ 180, is putting the full 180 on one leg. So it's 90 + 90. They're trying to say "but then it's only one leg so it's double." It's not.

                            If you can back-squat your own body weight, you should, in theory, be able to do a single leg squat fairly easily. That said, the balance component is a major factor so the perceived exertion may be more due to the lack of balance.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by wozz View Post
                              doing two one legged squats is equivalent to doing one squat with bodyweight on the bar... either one, you've lifted your body weight twice
                              doesn't really work like that.
                              and i can backsquat my bodyweight for reps, and front squat my bodyweight for a single. for me the difficulty in doing a single leg squat is holding up my other leg. i can do one per side but that is it.
                              OP- i don't know what bodyweight exercises will build your legs, but a big rock or a homemade sandbag will be fine to squat and lunge with.

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                              • #30
                                I once had chicken legs too. Not anymore. If you want to really build your legs up and make them bigger all you have to do is go to the gym and see which people have the biggest legs and take note of what machine they are using. Pro tip: It's the women on the Stair-master. The old school machine with like paddles, not the escalator type one that's revolving actual stairs. Personally, I don't like step machines because of the strain they put on my knees so I go to the second best way to put mass on your legs. The bike machine. Ever see a professional bicyclist's legs? Massive.

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