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  1. #1
    Rich in Nor Cal is offline Senior Member
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    Default Bodyweight limits

    One thing that just about everyone knows about bodyweight training, but is not often discussed and even less often appreciated, is that bw imposes a natural limit on how much resistance one may use in an exercise. For many strength trainers, this limit is a negative, so they see bw training as being a light weight warm up or portable on the road workout when they can't get to heavier resistances.

    I, however, like the limits. For example, in the OAPU, once I achieve it (I'm almost there) I will be doing the approximate equivalent of pressing 330 lbs. Once I'm there, I will begin to increase the volume. When I reach 10 reps, according to several bench press calculators (true, the OAPU is not a bp, but it should convert pretty much the same) I will have the equivalent strength to press 440 lbs on a single rep!

    Now, that might not seem like much to the powerlifting crowd, but it is plenty for me. I could take the 10 reps further, and apply gtg to them, or negatives, or just build more strength endurance, but even if I don't, 10 reps at 330 lbs are enough for me, and it would be enough just to start a maintenance routine. This is besides the fact that the OAPU is much less likely to cause injury, such as a torn pec, than a bp (although bp's can be very safe if done correctly).

    And these limits apply to all bw exercises, whether CC or NW or other. It gives me a goal that is sufficient for my needs, portable, and free. Just one more reason I love bw exercises.

  2. #2
    xen
    xen is offline Member
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    Default

    Can you military press 330lbs?

  3. #3
    Rich in Nor Cal is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by xen View Post
    Can you military press 330lbs?
    No. I have done 185 on the clean and push press, and although I think I can do more, I usually do less, a max of 165. I have cleaned over 200 though. Right now I'm focusing on the OAPU and OAPullup, though, so I'm not doing any heavy OL work. Maybe once I'm on the ground with my OAPU I'll start back with the HSPU or C&PP.

    Given the limits of bw, I will probably never achieve a 330 mp. That's okay, doing 10 HSPU will be enough for me. I'm close to giving up OL altogether, although I find it challenging in a fun way, and going completely over to kb's for snatches and maybe c&pp.

  4. #4
    xen
    xen is offline Member
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    I've always believed you can get really strong with calisthenics. I read somewhere that a gymnast friend of the author deadlifted 400+ pounds without ever having done it before. Also some oldtime strongmen did BW routines exclusively, i.e. body controlling, handbalancing, etc.

    In my experience however barbells will get you stronger at a faster rate. Your muscles are placed under more tension and your body generates more testosterone, rather than growth hormone, which is great for health, but not as anabolic. Ultimately, I think everyone would benefit from using both tools.

    But for what it's worth I think anyone who can OAPU/OAPullU is awesome strong

  5. #5
    KrzyhSiP is offline Member
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    If we are talking about BW exercises similar to powerlifting exercises, I have thought about pistols. I counted that doing 1 rep is similar to make a squat with barbell as heavy as you. Suppose that you weigh 80 kg. You press on the ground with force 800 N. Now bring your leg up. Force is the same but surface is twice less, so the pressure is twice bigger. What is the other way to make the pressure twice bigger? Putting on the shoulders the barbell as heavy as you.
    Did I make any fault in my considerations? I hope that some person more experienced than me will response.
    Last edited by KrzyhSiP; 05-28-2011 at 05:32 AM. Reason: essential fault

  6. #6
    Rich in Nor Cal is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by KrzyhSiP View Post
    If we are talking about BW exercises similar to powerlifting exercises, I have thought about pistols. I counted that doing 1 rep is similar to make a squat with barbell as heavy as you. Suppose that you weigh 80 kg. You press on the ground with force 800 N. Now bring your leg up. Force is the same but surface is twice less, so the pressure is twice bigger. What is the other way to make the pressure twice bigger? Putting on the shoulders the barbell as heavy as you.
    Did I make any fault in my considerations? I hope that some person more experienced than me will response.
    In some ways you are close to right. I weigh about 220, so on a two-legged squat I am lifting 220 minus some weight of legs, say 20 lbs per leg for purposes of discussion. Then on a two-legged bodyweight squat I am lifting 180 lbs total, or about 90 lbs per leg.

    A pistol, or one-legged bodyweight butt-to-heel squat, then will be 220-20 lbs on one leg, or about 200 lbs. total. This would be the equivalent to a 400 lb total weight two-legged squat. To get this on two legs, though, I'll have to add a bar totaling 220 lbs since on two legs I'm only squatting, butt-to-heel, 180 lbs of bodyweight.

    However, a pistol is more than just a one-legged squat. A two-legged squat involves a more stable base and activates groin muscles. The bar on the back also changes the angle of the pull of gravity. So a pistol basically uses no groin muscle to lift the weight, and with a leg stuck out front, it will activate many more muscles in balancing and stabilizing the trunk, as well as hip flexors and abs to hold the up leg isometrically. This makes it more than just a twice-bodyweight squat. Coming up out of the bottom position is much more difficult in a pistol, since the groin muscles do much of that work in a two-legged squat, while in the pistol the groin muscles are taken out of the lift, so the load is shifted to the hips and hams.

    Do a pistol and let us know what you think.
    Last edited by Rich in Nor Cal; 05-28-2011 at 07:07 AM. Reason: clarification

  7. #7
    KrzyhSiP is offline Member
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    @Rich
    I agree that in two-legged squat you have more stable base so it's a little bit easier (It's only my mind, I don't practise with barbell). It's good that pistol is so demanding exercise - it can be a great substitute of BB squat.

  8. #8
    fatman is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich in Nor Cal View Post
    I, however, like the limits. For example, in the OAPU, once I achieve it (I'm almost there) I will be doing the approximate equivalent of pressing 330 lbs. Once I'm there, I will begin to increase the volume. When I reach 10 reps, according to several bench press calculators (true, the OAPU is not a bp, but it should convert pretty much the same) I will have the equivalent strength to press 440 lbs on a single rep!
    I'm sorry to say this, but doing 10 reps in the OAPU will not give you the strength to BP 440 lbs. Not even remotely close. Neither will doing one rep of the OAPU enable you to bench press even in the vicinity of 330 lbs. Unless, of course, you can already bench press close to that weight.

    It will make you incredibly strong, just not capable of bench pressing big weights. Just like benching big weights will not improve your one-arm pushup power at all. Zero carryover between the two.

    A pistol is likewise not a good substitute for barbell squats. Even if we ignore the balance issue and say that you're squatting your full weight on one leg (it does not translate nearly as well, but for argument's sake say it does). Let us assume a 200-lb. lifter doing pistols vs. doing a bodyweight barbell back squat:

    Pistol: 200 lbs. per leg times 2 = 400 lbs. total weight lifted.

    Barbell squat: (200 lbs. own weight + 200 lbs. barbell) times one = 400 lbs. total weight lifted.

    So in effect you can say that doing a pistol with each leg equals doing a BB back squat with bodyweight. Back squatting bodyweight will not produce a lot of strength or muscular development; in fact, it will not do much for the lifter at all.

    If you want to get strong at lifting weights, you have to lift weights.
    Last edited by fatman; 05-28-2011 at 05:02 PM.
    [URL="http://heavyasareallyheavything.blogspot.com"]Fatman's Training Log[/URL]

  9. #9
    Rich in Nor Cal is offline Senior Member
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    Okay, I'm not sure of the truth on this, you might be right, so let me correct what I said and say that doing 10 OAPU will make me as strong as I feel a need to be in that way, and feel it is adequate for forward pushing strength for myself. I could work toward doing more than 10, but then I wouldn't be getting much more strength, but rather endurance.

    The point about limits is that for example with a bench press, where do you stop? Do you wait until you reach a plateau that you can't pass? Do you wait until you're injured? Do you wait until you're too old to get stronger? When are you satisfied?

    And working hard to increase strength is time consuming and takes away energy from other things one might like to do. I work full (and sometimes more) time, have a yard and house to take care of, a family, I like to grow some vegetables, hike, take pictures, explore, throw things like shots and discs, work out with a heavy bag, I'd like to get back into martial arts at some point, have time and energy for my relationships, run, sprint, do kettlebells, walk my dog, and target shoot to name but a few of the things I do or want to do, so I'd like to do a minimal maintenance strength routine. Two sets of 10 OAPU, OAPlUp, double bodyweight deads, HSPUs (two-armed), pistols, and one each of HLRs and rollouts would be enough to keep my strength up, I feel. 6 sets twice a week done at home, probably take less than an hour a week to do.

    Anyway, that's my goal for strength training, to get a big bang for my buck and have lots left for other things. I'm not a cop, a competitive lifter, or a professional athlete. Bodyweight seems like an adequate and easy reference for a limit. That was the point I was trying to make.
    Last edited by Rich in Nor Cal; 05-28-2011 at 07:59 PM.

  10. #10
    Chris Hansen is offline Senior Member
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    Default

    I agree with you completely!

    What most people need is to be healthy, have good mobility, and be able to do stuff. Huge amounts of strength, while good for the ego, aren't necessary for most folks. Of course, there will always be people who have a need or desire to be as strong as possible.

    I suppose you could argue that, with a minimalist program like ptp, you can always work on increasing your strength and it won't even take that much time.

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