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Thread: Get big via body weight training? page

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    BamaAla's Avatar
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    Get big via body weight training?

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    As the title says, is it possible? I could lay out a long list of reasons that body weight training is the more realistic medium for me, but suffice it to say that I don't have easy access to a gym. That said, any way to put on a lot of muscle mass using body weight movements?

    I know what some of you are going to say, so let's get that out of the way. I know big muscles wouldn't have served Grok. I know big muscles don't necessarily make you fitter or more functional. I want to start looking at getting big muscles because I want to - simply for my own perception of cool. I don't have to hunt my food, I don't work a physical job, and I don't foresee either of those situations changing in the near (or distant) future. I have tremendous respect for those of you who hold those principles, but I think I may want to do something different for myself.

    Okay. Any suggestions? I'm thinking that a bodybuilder type gym workout would be the most efficient way to get that big build, but, as I alluded to, I live a long way from a gym and have to travel a lot; a gym membership would be difficult for me to swing simply from a logistics standpoint? I've read "Convict Conditioning," but the author suggests that th eprogram is for strength and really doesn't build it around size? Could that program be modified to meet those goals? Another bodyweight program?

    If this is impossible, I'm sort of already resigned to that, but I guess I need to hear it.

    Sorry if this post is scatter brained, but it's late and I'm tired. Thanks in advance for any help...and I did search but came up dry, sorry if already answered in another thread. Thanks again!

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    ssn679doc is offline Senior Member
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    It really all depends on what your goals are. Do you want strength or do you want bulk? If you want strength, follow what you read in CC. If you want bulk, lift heavy weights. There are othe bodyweight programs out there. Take a look at "The Naked Warrior". There are advantages and disadvantages to any physical training program. I use bodyweight training because I don't want to have to go to a gym to train. I don't have time for all the travel and the expense as well, so I started CC a few onths ago, and I have noticed a big change in my strength, and there have been some changes in my body shape but I am not laying on huge mass, no do I want to. CC and bodyweight training works for me because it fits my goals.

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    Calories and continuous progression will aid you in your goal to "get big". It's certainly easier to do this via lifting heavy weights, but it's definitely possible with body weight only workouts, as long as you continue to progress and stimulate your muscles. There is a good community on reddit here, and a great FAQ with some nice external links.

    As with weight training, you should look to keep reps pretty low, using more advanced body weight moves that really challenge you (i.e. planche progressions, levers, hand stand push ups, advanced pull ups etc). I would definitely get hold of a pull up bar (weighted pull ups are great for mass), and look into kettlebell, sandbag or sledgehammer training, which can all be done from home.

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    As someone who spent years liting weights for rugby and had way more than my share of injuries from the game I loved. I have now turned to solely bodyweight training to ease my joints and for convenience. I also found out through being in a situation when I could not get to the gym that bodyweight training works for whatever your goal is.

    If your diet is in order almost any program will work for any person to a lesser or greater extent (high intensity training works for some, chopping wood might work for others). So what im getting at is, get the diet sorted and that is 80% of the battle!! I worked through marks 'Primal Blue Print' programme which can be found at the top of this fitness forum, its free and has great progressions. After completing that I added a set to each movement and started from mid way through again.

    Because I train others I then dabbled with various bodyweight techniques (I am my own guinea pig), but at the moment I am running through 'Simple fit.' It is very easy to follow and show great progression right up to advanced level (which will take a while to achieve).

    I believe that because my diet is in order and I am applying proper intensity to these sessions (that goes for any bdyweight workouts) I am getting the results I want.

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    It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out....Its the grain of sand in your shoe.

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    trippplez's Avatar
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    I hear you, brother

    I'm more or less in the same boat. I'm pretty lean (around 6% BF), 2 years ago I was sort of skinny - 185 lbs on 6'5" frame. I too got stumbled upon Convict Conditioning because generally I sucked at movements involving the upper body, and I wanted to do something about it. I started with simple pullups (I couldn't even do one rep), and gradually I've become a fan of the bodyweight philosophy.

    Fastforward to now - 2 years later, I'm equally lean, not that much heavier 192-195 lbs. I can do around 10 pullups. Now, similarly to you, I want to get bigger, especially in the upper body. Of course, the body fat fat level **must** be preserved. The 'problems': I just don't want to go to the gym. I know the Conventional Wisdom that bodyweight exercises are pretty good to the joins and generally excellent for strength, but in order to get big, one have to start heavy lifting in the gym. I just **don't** want to do that, for various reasons.

    Recently, I've read this article: Big Back, Big Chest, Real Fast. It looks promising, I'm on the second day now. I'm not sure whether I'll stick to it for longer that week or two, but I'll try my best in order to see improvements in 'width' and the shape of my torso/v-shape back/shoulders. Even if it doesn't 'work', what is there to lose - I will become better at pullups and pushups!

    And finally, to be even more concrete, my goals: I look like this, but I want to look like that. The guy from the photo (Joe Manganiello) is exactly the same height as me and according to the various sources, weights between 220-230 lbs. And I'm wondering, will it be ever possible to come close to his muscle mass...

  6. #6
    sbhikes's Avatar
    sbhikes is online now Senior Member
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    Just because you don't have a gym doesn't mean you couldn't do stuff with a sledgehammer, a big rock, a duffel bag full of sand, a big tire. One of these recent threads posted a link to Ross training and there were good ideas for stuff you could do. RossTraining.com - Article Directory
    Female, 5'3", 49, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135 (more or less).
    Starting squat: 45lbs. Current squat: 180 x 2. Current Deadlift: 230 x 2

  7. #7
    Gorbag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BamaAla View Post
    As the title says, is it possible?
    Depends on your starting point, but YES, especially if you are relative untrained. Do plenty of variations of pull-ups, chins, dips, push-ups, squats, star-jumps, pistols, hill-sprints and your muscles will grow. You can also regain lost muscle mass after a lay-off by doing body weight exercises only…

  8. #8
    Leida's Avatar
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    The yoga guru Rodney Yee looks pretty muscular to me and the poses he shows in the strength specific DVDs are impossible without high body strength. I am sure not everyone responds to yoga strength training the way his body does and that the level of complexity might not be achievable by everyone.

    The thing is, if you are genetically predisposed to have high muscular mass, most methods will get you there. If you are not, you will have to look for most efficient ways.

    If the access to the gym is impossible, looking in combining some compact/mobile ways of loading like kettlbells and dumbells with the opportunity equipment (playgrounds, boulders, trees) might be a good idea.
    My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread57916.html
    When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

  9. #9
    sandstone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbhikes View Post
    Just because you don't have a gym doesn't mean you couldn't do stuff with a sledgehammer, a big rock, a duffel bag full of sand, a big tire. One of these recent threads posted a link to Ross training and there were good ideas for stuff you could do. RossTraining.com - Article Directory
    Ross Enamaits stuff is good but really is a metcon program for fighters, you won't build much mass with it.

    In CC the emphasis is on both strength and size, in prison I would imagine that size matters a lot. What the author says is that he is interested in functional full body strength and size opposed to just developing beach muscle for show.

    I got pretty good results with CC and i still go back to it regularly. it's quick, it works and it is good value. Weights will almost certainly allow you to progress faster but if you don't have them or don't want to get them then CC will work. You will still have to eat properly to build size.

  10. #10
    BamaAla's Avatar
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    Thanks for the responses!

    I should have added where I'm at currently in the original post. As Gorbag touched on, I am relatively untrained. I started Primal in September 2011 and only started resistance training in late April/ early May this year, so I've only got approx. 7 months under my belt. Most of that time has been on the CC program, but I haven't made it to the HSPU or bridge progressions yet. Still low on squat, in the middle of hanging knee raise, and about to finish up close push ups. I "feel stronger" obviously and with the halving of my body fat percentage, I look a lot better, but I want to throw on some muscle and get rid of my skinny fat look.

    I guess going forward, I will stick to CC. Is there any rep ranges I could use to manipulate the program for an emphasis on size rather than strength? How about number of sets? Coach Wade is on 2 sets; would a manipulation on that effect the end goal? Thanks y'all!

    Left off current pull-up: doing full pull-up, still low in reps usually coming close to failure in the 5-7 range.
    Last edited by BamaAla; 12-17-2012 at 11:46 AM. Reason: add current CC for pull-up

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