Hello, I’m Renan and I’m here to talk about bodyweight training, its advantages and its disadvantages, different ways to do bodyweight training, and how to progress in a bodyweight training program. This is quite the topic in my opinion since a lot of people have a very bad misconception about it and that is: “you can’t build muscle with calisthenics(bodyweight training)” or “You can’t get strong with calisthenics”. I am here to show you why calisthenics can build muscle and strength, and how you can achieve that. So let’s get started!
The reason many people believe that you can’t build muscle with calisthenics is that you can’t add weight to keep progressing. Since you can’t add weight, the only way to make the exercise harder without getting into weighted calisthenics or increasing to ridiculous amounts of repetitions is getting a harder progression of the exercises you’re currently doing. A few examples would be 1. Knee push-ups 2. Push-ups 3. Pseudo planche push ups 4. Planche push-ups 5. Handstand push-ups. And you get the idea. Try to progress by using harder progressions. Using progressions, you will be able to build an amazing and aesthetic physique but you’re just not focusing on isolating a single muscle. You will have an amazing and functional physique but if you had lagging bodyparts then you can’t target them as much as with weights. This also brings me to a drawback which is my next point.
2. Lack of isolations
This is both a good and bad thing. Depending on how you see it and genetics. The thing about calisthenic progressions is that the muscles involved tend to change a little every progression. Like going from a push up to a handstand push up, the muscles used change. So, therefore, some muscles aren’t really progressing. It’s just your body as a whole that’s progressing. You can alleviate this by getting gymnastic rings. They are probably the best tool for building upper body strength. (At least in my opinion and many others) Also, this can be a good thing because you are still developing a very aesthetic physique.
If you want to get big and you don’t want to add weight and you don’t want to get into those advanced progressions then my answer to you is: increase the volume. This is what you have to do when all other options fail. You can progressively do more sets and more reps over time so that you keep building muscle. Volume is one of the most important parameters for building muscle then who says you can’t build muscle with calisthenics? The only problem I see is that at one point, you’re going to be doing some insane amounts of reps and sets just to try to build more muscle. This tells you that you can definitely build muscle even with just your basic calisthenic exercises.
The still rings are one of the best tools to build upper body strength. You have so many more options to train than just a bar or parallel bars. You should probably add exercises with rings if you want to have some fun and if you want to build insane amounts of strength. Be sure to follow the progressions, check your progress, have enough volume for you to get benefits from them. They are my favorite tool and if you want to know more about them just let me know.
Here are some tips for your bodyweight training.
First of all, keep progressing, don’t stick with the same routine with the same sets and reps for too long. The key to you improving is one of the 7 grandaddy laws of training programs, which is “progressive overload”. Also, keep track of what you do and not just go do some pull-ups and some dips, actually track what you do.
Secondly, use the progressions. If you’re a beginner please use the proper progressions, don’t advance too quickly. You could get injured if you try to get ahead of your own skills and strength. If you’re too weak to do pull-ups then focus on strengthening your back and arm muscles by using bodyweight rows or Australian pull-ups like some others call them. This can help you get the strength needed to get some reps on pull-ups. Also, try negatives or eccentrics to gain the necessary strength to get better at certain exercises and also building muscle. Always try to control your reps especially during your beginning days.
Third, just enjoy what you do. You don’t need to hate working out. You’re supposed to enjoy it. This means that if you don’t like calisthenics, then don’t do it. Or if you don’t like weight training don’t do it. Do the exercises that you will be able to stick to and/or that will give you the results you want.
Thank you guys for reading, and I hope this helped you in any way. If you have any questions, please leave them down below or message me privately on my social media sites or e-mail me. Enjoy your day!