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BARBANNA SparkPoints: (107,556)
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Posts: 3,412
3/27/13 7:58 P

calisthenics works great

SOOBIES SparkPoints: (993)
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Posts: 51
3/27/13 6:52 P

Sure bodyweight and resistance bands can be effective forms of exercise to provide stimulus to the muscle, you won't gain a ton of strength, nor will you hypertrophy the muscle enough to actually grow it for more shape in that area, but you'll maintain it. It's a well known fact that almost all elite athletes and olympians cross train with weights in rep ranges that are specific to their sport, sprinters, gymnasts, speed skaters, you name it, pretty much all of them lift more than their body weight. (So the answer depends on what your goal for physique and level of fitness you are seeking). Calisthenics are challenging and fun, but to progress you will need some equipment. i.e pull up bar, dip bars, rings, kettle bells...

My concern is that your joints are sore after lifting rather than your muscles, which means there is something wrong with your form, weight lifting done properly should not affect the joints in this way, lifting should be fun, and soreness in the muscle is normal, you get used to it. :)

Edited by: SOOBIES at: 3/27/2013 (19:25)
SERGEANTMAJOR Posts: 6,418
3/27/13 4:58 P

Without trying to get into a long meaningless circular discussion as someone who started training with weights at 19 (I am now 76) I have seen my share of weight room fads come and go. The pure strength athletes are the power lifters and few if any of them will win any muscle based beauty contests. I have watched the body builders using cheat moves and small muscle group isolation exercises to build pretty muscles. I have watched the competitive weight lifters train to build strength in the two competitive lifts( there were three when I competed). In each case the training was different and required different forms of strength training to reach the desired goals.

What most here are seeking is fat loss and functional fitness not simply strength gains so the lessons from the weight room are not always the ones which apply. I doubt that your brother loss muscle mass due to atrophy from not having access to a weight room there were other factors involved. I am not sure what form of dietary regulation he was subjected to since the daily caloric count for military rations far exceeds that for individuals in civilian life. Most when entering the service gain weight while they shrink replacing fat with muscle so your brother is obviously an anomaly

I stand by my recommendation that resistance bands and bodyweight training will build functional strength. I also maintain it is more difficult to cheat these forms of exercise than doing weight training using free weights or machines.


YOU_CALIBAN SparkPoints: (7,482)
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3/27/13 3:39 P

you're about as likely to find a four-leaf clover as a bodybuilder serving actively in the US infantry. the military does not value brute strength so much as it values cardio, endurance, and the ability to tough it out. though one has to wonder whether that's at least partially due to logistics issues (im sure you're well aware of the difficulty in maintaining substantial muscle mass in field conditions). my brother joined the military (infantry) and quickly lost ~35lbs and substantial strength through the strict diet regulation and lack of weightlifting, though he could admittedly field march and pushup better than ever before (mild sarcasm).

as you point out, it is primarily a matter of one's goals.

but I also think it's a matter of self-honesty: are you really using resistance bands and 5 lb dbs because your goal is military-style fitness, or because it's easier? granted, people can and do cheat mightily when lifting weights. I just see it more often with bodyweighters (whose cheating often crosses over when they decide to power out a few tricep kickbacks).

I will concede that a rigorous bodyweight lifting/calisthenics regimen, combined with careful diet, can get you in great shape. but it will never make you as strong as you could be in any objective sense.

Edited by: YOU_CALIBAN at: 3/27/2013 (15:45)
SERGEANTMAJOR Posts: 6,418
3/27/13 1:13 P

I think that there is some confusion here considering the contrasting posts. The confusion is that the posters are differing in what their goals are. I will assume unless corrected that the original poster has the goals of losing fat and getting fit and healthy. Using resistance bands and bodyweight training will more than accomplish those goals. I do admit a bias being the administrator of the Spark team Resistance band and bodyweight training however I am also both a certified personal trainer and a veteran of the military physical training for Special Operations. In the military the foundation of all of the physical training programmes is bodyweight training even for the most elite forces so we can assume it has been field tested.

At one time strand pulling (resistance bands) was a competitive sport with some rather spectacular feats of raw strength demonstrated in the competitions. The diversity of resistance band and bodyweight training makes them do any where, any time fitness programmes adaptable to any goals one sets. Books such as "You are your own gym" fitness programmes such as Shape Shifter, Tacfit and Progressive Calisthenics all are based on bodyweight training. The programmes of Mode Athletics and the entire catalog of resistance band based exercise equipment from Lifeline USA www.LifelineUSA.com all speak to the efficacy of resistance band training.

The key to any programme is not so much what you use as it is what you do to challenge your muscles and your consistency in doing it.

NAUSIKAA Posts: 4,848
3/27/13 9:51 A

YOU-CALIBAN -- I am a practitioner of the sport Street Workout which is a competitive bodyweight based sport (although I'm not good enough to be competitive). I started at over 200 lbs and unable to do most standard (unmodified) bodyweight exercises because of a combination of not being strong enough and being too heavy. Bodyweight exercises are progressive. A person who cannot do a 1 armed pullup can do an assisted 1 arm pullup. A person who cannot do that can do a regular pullup. A person who cannot do that can do an assisted pullup. Assistance can range from 1 lb up to 1 lb short of a person's bodyweight (I'm exaggerating to make a point). The same goes for ALL bodyweight exercises. If this were not the case, it would be impossible to learn to do them. No one is born being able to do a planche. But everyone can do a wall pushup if they stand close enough. Eventually they can do a kneeling pushup and then a standard pushup, then a one-arm pushup and so on.

I have nothing against using weights. I use weights. Today I did deadlifts, squats, good mornings, and a few other free weight exercises. But the OP has said that she cannot. She asked if bodyweight exercise is good enough. I assure you, bodyweight exercise is better than good enough. I used to be a powerlifter before I switched sports. I still love free weights. But let's be clear --- bodyweight exercises are scalable from extremely easy to extremely difficult, almost impossible. It remains up to the individual to push themselves as much as possible.

YOU_CALIBAN SparkPoints: (7,482)
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3/27/13 9:22 A

yeah, nausikaa, I doubt OP is doing 1-armed pullups.

bodyweight exercises can be effective up to a certain point, and are a solid supplement to a lifting program, but many of the bodyweight exercises you listed are extreme varieties that many people cannot do. because theyre extreme. even some of the more modest ones, like pullups (which are great), can be deflating to someone who has no back or arm strength. (I've personally watched women try this and just cut it out of their program when they realized they couldn't do a single pullup.) 9/10 times its better for such people to start lifting using weights, develop some base strength, and then SUPPLEMENT lifting with some of the better bodyweight movements, such as pullups and dips.

using weights allows you to adjust the weights according to your muscle strength. there is far less ability to recalibrate using bodyweight, and it severely limits progressive overload.

so what happens is people doing bodyweight exercises do one of the following: 1. butcher the form to adjust the weight and ease of exercise; 2. end up doing some sort of cardio "lifting session," e.g., crossfit, insanity; or 3. do the easier bodyweight exercises that, while providing SOME benefit, eventually do not challenge the muscles enough. but I guess this is coming from someone who actually wants to build significant muscle, rather than train muscles for cardio functionality (which calisthenics is good for, though lifting is still better). and frankly, im not too impressed by a 150 lber popping off 20 pullups when a 250 lifter can only manage 5. I think its very telling that the best bodyweight "lifters" ive seen in the gym are very thin and light. not a coincidence. who's actually stronger? throw any compound lift, e.g., squat, overhead press, deadlift, at the same 150-lber and 250-lber and the answer quickly becomes clear.

my general skepticism of bodyweight sessions has to do with my observation that many people will rationalize their way into an easier workout. integrity programs resist this temptation (and 1 lb dbs).

sorry that you were apparently offended by this common observation

Edited by: YOU_CALIBAN at: 3/27/2013 (09:36)
KKKAREN SparkPoints: (216,050)
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3/27/13 8:39 A

I love my resistance bands. I have 3 of varying difficulty which you can use alone or combined with the others, the more you but together the harder it is.

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 14,227
3/27/13 6:46 A

The issue raised by the original poster is whether strength training is challenging enough, and someone suggests 1-5 lb weights??? [gags]

Seriously, we can probably assume the original poster weights 120-150 lbs so bodyweight exercises are going to really work the muscles. 1-5 lbs is going to be pretty ineffective in this context.

If your joints (rather than your muscles) are feeling sore, you may want to consider:
- checking that you are following the correct form
- doing the movements in a slow and controlled way (typically 3 seconds for the 'up' movement and another 3 secodns for the 'down'). Not only is this more effective ST (as it is your muscles doing all the work rather than 'bounce' or momentum, but also it is easier on your joints because you are accelerating and decelerating a fast moving weight with every rep)

Bodyweight training can be extremely effective. If you feel some bodyweight exercises are easy, take a look at some of the more challenging variants on the RH side of www.sparkpeople.com/resource/exercise_demo
s.asp?exercise_type=core

For example, if you find squats are easy, try single leg squats.

M@L

TWININGS12 SparkPoints: (17,330)
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3/27/13 6:23 A

Variety is the spice of life! You can use soup cans, exercise bands - just remember to keep moving forward one step at a time.

NAUSIKAA Posts: 4,848
3/27/13 6:10 A

To anyone who claims that proper bodyweight exercise is not effective or challenging, you are misinformed. Bodyweight exercises can be and often are much more challenging than weight lifting exercises. Can you do a planche? A front lever? A muscle up? A one-armed pullup? A human flag? Didn't think so.

Please take 1.5 minutes to educate yourself before belittling others' sports and exercise routines: www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYUZ6KMY-so

YOU_CALIBAN SparkPoints: (7,482)
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3/26/13 10:58 P

"worried that I am not doing enough"

eventually that will be justified, if it already isnt.

1 lb DBs and bodyweight only gets you so far. you need to lift real weights

DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (57,056)
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3/26/13 4:39 P

1-5 lbs will not challenge you for long, and your muscles will quickly adapt to that within a few weeks, making them ineffective for real strength training.

BARBANNA SparkPoints: (107,556)
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3/26/13 3:30 P

You can go with 1-5 lbs and not be sore!

NANLEYKW SparkPoints: (58,061)
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Posts: 847
3/26/13 2:55 P

I agree--definitely! There are many ways to increase the difficulty of bodyweight strength training. If you're looking for ideas, I highly recommend the book You Are Your Own Gym. He includes basic moves, as well as suggestions for how to decrease or increase the resistance of each, so you can keep improving.

DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (57,056)
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3/26/13 2:46 P

Certainly. As long as you continue to challenge yourself, you don't need weights!

BOOKWORM87 SparkPoints: (168)
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Posts: 56
3/26/13 2:45 P

I find that using dumbbells and other weights makes my joints sore. I have been using resistance bands and bodyweight for strength training, and feel much better, but I am worried that I am not doing enough. Can resistance bands and bodyweight exercises be just as effective as weights?

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