Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Some (Very Random) Thoughts on Bodyweight Strength Training

I haven't lifted weights in almost a week. My sons and I took a trip to the mountains of Tennessee for a few days. We arrived back this afternoon.

After taking it easy at my house for a spell, we decided it was time they return to their mother—she was missing them, after all.

And I was DYING to hit the weights again.

Once my children were safely returned, and their mother and I said our cordial goodbyes, I headed over to the "wrecking gym" where I train. Only to find, much to my chagrin, that the garage was more than just a little bit infested with... fleas. Must be this sweltering Alabama heat—I know summer has just arrived, but it seems like every day for the last month the heat index has been over 110 degrees. Could be all the dogs that hang out around the gym. Well, whatever it is, tomorrow it will be time to spray the pesky critters. (Yes, yes, I'm aware that the fleas are—technically speaking—a "sentient being", but I'm afraid they're still getting sprayed.) But, until the spraying can commence, I decided it was time to head back to the house.

And do some bodyweight-only strength training.

I'm pretty keen on bodyweight strength training (read some of my early posts on the blog), and tonight I really had a hell of a workout by doing nothing more than squats (about 500 of them), some push-ups (150), and some sit-ups (don't know how many—a lot).

All of which got me to thinking. And so here are some (quite) random thoughts on bodyweight-only strength training:

  • This kind of training should be done frequently. There's no reason that—if bodyweight training is going to be your only form of resistance training—you shouldn't train six-days-per-week for 1 (beginners) to 2 hours (intermediate to advanced) per session.
  • You recover fast from this sort of training. This is good—and bad, I suppose. Not only should you train more frequently, you really need to train more frequently.
  • This stuff is great for conditioning—and getting you in shape fast. As Paul Chek has said, the key to being in great shape is to perform anaerobic exercise until it becomes aerobic. Bodyweight training can easily fit the bill here.
  • Bodyweight-only training is excellent for the athlete who wants to be ageless. You want to live to a ripe old age, and be able to look half your age, have sex like you were half your age, and out train guys half your age? Then these kind of workouts should be the staple of your training.
  • This kind of training is great for mixed martial artists. If you are into MMA, I would advise that you lift weights 2 days per week (HEAVY) and the other 4 days a week should be comprised of bodyweight-only strength training.
  • When performing bodyweight squats, don't count reps during a set, count the time of your sets. You should work up to 5 to 10 minute sets of squats. Then you will be in very good shape.
  • This kind of training teaches you to eat well. You can't do these workouts and eat like a super-heavyweight powerlifting competitor—you'd be winded within 5 minutes of starting your workout. You need lots of lean protein, and plenty of complex and fibrous carbohydrates.
  • Everyone should do this kind of training at least once per week. (Yes, that even goes for your super-heavy powerlifters I was talking about.)
  • These workouts are great as "extra workouts" in your powerlifting arsenal, especially if your workouts in the gym are mainly comprised of "maximal effort" training and "dynamic effort" training.
  • You will not lose your muscle mass if you switch over from typical bodybuilding training to bodyweight-only training. Don't believe me? Try doing 100 push-ups, 50 chins, and 500 bodyweight squats six days per week for the next month. You'll be absolutely friggin' sold.

2 comments:

  1. read your post from a recomendation from a buddy of mine.

    Just wanted to chime in that I've been doing a hell of a lot more body weight training over the past few months and I'm certain that there is just nothing like it. Lifting heavy stuff has it's place, but it can't take the place of body weight training.

    One of the cool things I discovered was that my punches got a hell of a lot stronger once I started doing more push ups and less bench press. I drew up a quick video with a few ideas as to why.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TL-qxYNylQ

    Over all though I have to say I'm finding the same points you mentioned. I went from working out 3-4 times a week to 6-7 times a week once I started doing more body weight stuff.

    Thanks for the post and I'll be checking back for sure.

    Rock on,

    Matt in VT

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  2. Matt,

    Thanks for your comments. I think it's a shame that more "lifters" don't do more bodyweight strength training—but I also think that it's beginning to catch on (probably due to the internet and some great videos like yours.)

    I think you have some good stuff on your videos. Good info for fighters, especially.

    Keep up the good work.

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