There are several frequently asked questions regarding this old school method of training, the most common being if bodyweight training can be as effective as heavy compound lifting for lean muscle gains?
Well, it’s important to remember what actually triggers your body to grow bigger and stronger. Bodyweight workouts have specific muscle building limitations due to a process known as the “strength-endurance continuum.” This is why a proper weight lifting routine that emphasizes heavy compound exercises and progressive overload will provide more significant results.
The “strength-endurance continuum” states that lifting heavy weight for a few repetitions forces muscle fibers to adapt to these maximum contractions, which means growing bigger and stronger. That’s why the most effective method of building muscle is performing heavy compound exercises and tracking weight + repetitions to ensure improvement each week. Doing this helps build the foundation for progressive overload training and will yield gains significantly faster than bodyweight training, regardless of how intense a bodyweight workout may be.
Another aspect of bodyweight training is that there are simply no bodyweight equivalent exercises for some of the best compound muscle building movements that work several large muscle groups at once. Exercises like the squat, deadlift, barbell row, and military press simply don’t have comparable bodyweight equivalents, which makes it difficult to train multiple larger muscle groups at once.
With that said, some advanced bodyweight exercises can produce pretty decent results when performed properly, since it is a new and unfamiliar stimulus for many people when they first start.
There are several great benefits of bodyweight training:
Bodyweight training serves a purpose and may be the ideal fitness solution for many. Just keep in mind that it has its limitations, and if your goal is to look super jacked then you will need to create an overload on your body’s largest muscle groups with heavier compound exercises.
Looking for a convenient and highly effective bodyweight workout routine? Try out this insane training session that will challenge your muscles in a way you’ve never experienced.
Slow motion pushups are the ultimate upper body workout for bodyweight training. Many people don’t realize that more muscle fibers are broken down on the eccentric portion of the exercise (lowering back to the ground) than the concentric. This is why slow motion pushups are so effective.
Performing the repetitions very slowly places emphasis on the negative portion of the lift, breaking down more muscle fibers and providing the stimulus to heal bigger and stronger.
Wall sits are an old school quadriceps and hip flexor exercise, and a popular form of isometric training. Don’t expect to come out of a wall sit with a jacked set of wheels, but it’s definitely a tough and fun workout!
This is the ultimate back and bicep exercise to build mass. Of all of the bodyweight exercises that can be performed to build bigger biceps, this may be the most effective. Begin this exercise by pulling yourself up on a pull-up bar or ledge so that your chest is as close to the bar as possible.
Once at the apex of the concentric movement, hold it tight for 1-2 seconds. Do this for each rep, and continue until failure. Your biceps and back will be pushed to the brink of complete exhaustion. Perform a wide grip for the first set (because it’s the hardest), then a medium grip, and finally close grip. Using all three grips allows you to emphasize different muscles with each one. Wide grip pull-ups hit your lats and back hard, while close grip will target more of your biceps.
To perform diamond pushups, place your pointer finger and thumbs together so that your hands form a diamond shape. Next, lower your upper body directly over your hands so that your chest is almost touching when at the bottom of the movement.
After reaching near failure with diamond pushups, transition into an isometric tricep hold. To do this, simply lock your elbows and extend your arms back as if performing a tricep kickback exercise with dumbbells. Since your tri’s are already fatigued from the diamond pushups, you’ll get a serious pump from holding this for even thirty seconds. An experienced lifter should be able to maintain the isometric hold for up to one minute.
Bicycle crunches are one of the most effective abdominal exercises because they emphasize your entire core.
If you’re strapped for time and looking to work your abs and obliques in one exercise, bicycle crunches are just what you’re looking for to hit those core muscles hard.
Now it’s time to finish strong and end the workout with the ultimate form of fat burning and muscle building cardio. High-intensity interval training has been shown to boost testosterone levels and burn fat faster than any other form of cardio.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to implement this strategy is to simply run sprint intervals. This means sprinting for 12 seconds, then resting for 30 seconds. This may sound easy but it’s actually a killer workout, especially if you’re not used to running. Perform 6 sets of this to supercharge your body’s weight training results.
The bottom line is that heavy resistance training blows bodyweight training out of the water when it comes to building muscle and maximizing strength, but depending on your goals or situation, bodyweight training can still be an exceptional way to get a hard workout in and get in great shape.
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Building muscle after 50 years of age (and older) is entirely possible with the right training program and proper nutrition. It’s never too late to transform your body and increase your strength. Follow these tips to make it happen!