Page 1 of 3

Beginner bodyweight enthusiast seeking guidance

Posted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:29 pm
by naskonasko
Hello all,

I've recently decided that it's high time to start working on my body strength and looks. I'm 25 y old, 62 kg, 173 cm and full of enthusiasm :) However, I prefer doing it at home environment with... little or none equipment. Well, at least for now. My long-term goal is to gain some weight, 5-7 kg, and to get in shape. After browsing the website I educated myself on a couple of points but all of the information was related to weight training. And I want to do bodyweight training. So, after carefully picking a template 2-day split and matching some exercises, I came up with this:

Workout A:
Chest (General) Chest Dip
Back (General) Inverted Row
Deltoid (Front) Pike push-ups
Deltoid (Side) lateral raise with whatever I find.
Biceps Underhand inverted row
Triceps push ups with close grip

Workout B:
Quadriceps Squat
Hamstrings hamstring raise
Calves (General) Standing Calf Raise
Hip Abductors Side Bridge Hip Abduction
Abdominal Lying Leg-Hip Raise
Obliques Side bridge

I missed a few optional exercises. Anyway, I started to question myself if this is a good workout since weight training and bodyweight training must differ. My plan is to do 3 sets of 8-12 reps or as much as I can do.

Any feedback will be very much appreciated! Thank you very much.

Re: Beginner bodyweight enthusiast seeking guidance

Posted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:47 pm
by Dub
1) Vary different methods to gain better results. Bodyweight training is always quite tricky. The problem is that you have to constantly seek new ways to add intensity. Bodyweight squats are a perfect example. Usually people can go so high rep on these that they are not so optimal for your goals. In this case, gaining weight. But, there are several ways to add the intensity.
1a) Time under tension. Do slower eccentrics for example. Or pause at the bottom position for x amount of seconds
1b) 1½ reps. Go down, get halfway up, go down, get up. Will get you burning quite fast
1c) Supersets or complexes. Take push-ups as an example. You can do so many different push-up variations (varying grip, plyometrics, angle etc.). Do different variations in a row to target everything you can around push-ups.
1d) Variations in general. Squats to pistol squats, Push-up angles etc.
1e) Rest time. Shorten or lengthen, mess with it.

2) I have my main lifts.
If I'd ever have to do bodyweight training, these would be my staples:
Hip thrust/Glute bridge
Core exercises.

I would most likely add some hamstring exercises or rows and shoulder work occasionally, but those are the money makers: They work the best muscles, and the most muscles. Push-ups are great, I would emphasize them instead of dips. It's weird the only hip exercise (other than squat) is an abductor exercise. How come? Why not glute?

3) I still think there are ways to get even better results. Like getting a DB or a simple band brings lots of new intensity and variations of a hundred new exercises to your manual. Going to the gym and lifting heavy things would be optimal, but I'm not saying you can't get results with bodyweight exercises.

Forgot the most important thing.

Re: Beginner bodyweight enthusiast seeking guidance

Posted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 5:02 pm
by robertscott
naskonasko wrote:My long-term goal is to gain some weight, 5-7 kg... And I want to do bodyweight training.
you'll struggle to gain that amount of weight just with bodyweight stuff mate. It could work, but it will take a very long time and basically mean getting so good at bodyweight stuff you could be a professional gymnast.

Most folk won't be able achieve that level of skill. If I were you, I'd join a gym and lift weights.

Don't get me wrong, bodyweight circuits are a great way to get in shape, but for actually adding appreciable amounts of muscle mass, they're not so good.

You need to get a big heavy barbell, lift it up loads of times

Re: Beginner bodyweight enthusiast seeking guidance

Posted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:28 pm
by stharrison
From what I've learnt from here I believe posterior delt work is important in any workout.

The shoulder is the most unstable joint in the body, then add the fact most people's shoulder workouts include anterior and lateral work but no posterior, then adding in chest day, recipe for injury....and that, you do not want.

Do you have an appearance goal as well?

Posterior delt work improves your posture, something every important I believe.

Re: Beginner bodyweight enthusiast seeking guidance

Posted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 5:23 pm
by naskonasko

thx for the feedback! It's good to see people are helping :) Well, if 5-7 is too much than as much as I can gain. I thought that it wasn't that much and through proper training with bodyweight it would've been achievable (without becoming a gymnast). My primary goal is to develop a "habbit" (like brushing my teeth) of training that would keep me in shape, strong, fit, and healthy whenever and wherever. Strong body strong spirit, nah? :) That's what motivates me. And I think that appearance will just go along with it. To be frank, I feel a little skinny atm, thus the gaining weight goal. But not much :)

Harrison, I don't have any particular appearance goals but overall balance. I agree that posture is very important, and I'm a little bent to be frank. My chest is also better developed than the back. About shoulders, I'd like nicely shaped shoulders since they are kinda more neglected than the rest of the arm. Wouldn't inverted rows do the trick for the rear part? If not, I'm open for suggestions. Also, by "recipe for injury" do you mean I should separate shoulders from chest on different days?

Thx for the tips, Dub :) For now intensity is not a big problem. Today I'm barely standing up from the chair. A guy told me dips were the best but I can't do many of those. Prefer push-ups also but since I put two other variations I thought I'd be really tired to train the triceps at the end. I'll try tomorrow with push-ups instead of dips see how it'll go - shoulder wide for general chest, pike for upper part and close grip for triceps. Can't do much for pull-ups besides doing them on the door or on the wardrobe :D I'll add also lunges for the glutes.

Thank you all! Can't wait for tomorrow's training :)

Re: Beginner bodyweight enthusiast seeking guidance

Posted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 7:02 am
by Dub
The most important part here is to get you that habit, and find the reasons why you want to exercise and move. Motivation is the key to everything you do.

I think it's possible to gain the couple of pounds and get more muscle with bodyweight exercises. Resistance training would work better, but there's no denying that BW wouldn't stress the muscles and create certain events to increase strength and muscle mass. Especially if you are a bit skinny.

But I must stress this, you won't achieve almost anything if your diet isn't in order. So make sure you eat right.

Dips are a good exercise, but I would still push for the sake of push-ups. They are a good full-body movement, when done correctly. Push-ups are great for your core, stabilizing for hips and best for the upper back, chest and triceps. Another thing about dips. How are you doing them? Because if it's from a chair or a different platform where your elbows and wrists go way behind your other body, I'd recommend to stop doing them entirely.

About the rear delts. I wouldn't stress them too much. It's important to do rear delt and rotatory cuff work, yes. But many people do alright without it too. Especially if your form is good on other exercises. Pulling exercises like rows keep your upper back and scapular muscles in good shape. Inverted rows do activate the rear delts to some extent, but the lats are the main muscle functioning.

Re: Beginner bodyweight enthusiast seeking guidance

Posted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 7:32 am
by robertscott
if you're very skinny and do loads of bodyweight stuff then you'll build a wiry, athletic looking physique which is loads better than being skinny. You just won't be able to add to much in the way of bodyweight. It'll look good though, providing you keep your bodyfat low.

Anyway, if bodyweight training is what you like, then go for it. The best routine is the one you'll stick to.

Re: Beginner bodyweight enthusiast seeking guidance

Posted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 11:28 am
by naskonasko

just did my first workout (first time I do this one, btw). Overall time 42 minutes, with a minute break between sets and two-more minutes between exercises (had to prepare equipment inbetween). Didn't perform that well. Here's overall what my current strength and will could achieve:

push ups wide grip - 8x10x9 (I thought I could increase reps... failed a bit)
inverted row - 8x10x9 (felt my forearms stressed here a bit)
pike push ups - 6x3x1 - those were really difficult
lateral rise with 4 liters (1 gallon) of water in each hand - 8x8x8
underhand inverted row - 8x7x6
push ups close grip (kinda tired here) - 5x2x0

Dips I tried previously with chairs on the test run. Wasn't comfortable anyway. Also, felt thirsty all the time. drunk a gulp or two between some exercises. Felt heavier a bit or it was just my imagination :)

About eating, currently reading the "dietary guidelines" in the website (really cool website btw).

Re: Beginner bodyweight enthusiast seeking guidance

Posted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 11:39 am
by robertscott
you should get yourself a pull up bar

Re: Beginner bodyweight enthusiast seeking guidance

Posted: Mon Jul 23, 2012 5:18 am
by ephs
i'm also a big fan of bodyweight exercises, cause of their more natural form and less risk of injury. as far as the exercises are in the range of 8-12 reps maximum the bw exercises have the same effect as doing weight training in the range of that, or not? if naskonasko reaches 12 reps at his exercises he can just chose a more dificult bw exercise, there are many many bw exercises around.

i would also suggest googling the calisthenics routines of some boxers like muhammad ali. very interesting stuff.

Re: Beginner bodyweight enthusiast seeking guidance

Posted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 1:13 am
by Ironman
I don't see how anyone could consider doing body weight stuff without a chin bar. That seems pretty vital.

I also don't think doing those exercises with just body weight is going to be what you need in most cases. There may be an exercise or two where body weight is about right. However you need to make most of them into a weighted exercise. A dip belt and plates is important, as is a weight vest, or other means of adding weight to yourself.

Re: Beginner bodyweight enthusiast seeking guidance

Posted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 2:21 am
by Jungledoc
Get (or make) a bar. Chins are a body-weight exercise!

Re: Beginner bodyweight enthusiast seeking guidance

Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:58 pm
by naskonasko
Hello guys,

I had a little break due to ankle problems after doing a calf exercise. It cracks while doing it, doesn't hurt. I try to do it slowly now. Anyway, I've designed full body program and I'm thinking of trying the circuit training, with 30-60 min rest between exercises. I've read that for beginners it helps gain some weight and build strength.

So, here is the workout:
push ups wide
straight-leg deadlift - i can improvise some weights (up to 24 kg) ... just can't find a suitable bodyweight exercise, don't like hamstring raise, uncomfortable
chin ups (not a bar but a close substitute :b)
lunges (not to strain the lower back)
handstand press (can do just one-two but I'm getting the hang of it :b) heard it was good for both side shoulders and triceps
calf rises
dumbel curl (may skip that if it's too much)
lying leg hip raise

now most of these exercise are really hard for me, chin ups and handstand press for example. I'm wondering what my rep range should be on the others however. And how many circuits to do? I'm aiming for 3, don't know if I can do them, haven't tried yet. Just got struck by inspiration. My aim is to gain some weight with this workout, so any feedback on it is appreciated :)

edit: I'll be following it every other day WX

Re: Beginner bodyweight enthusiast seeking guidance

Posted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 1:15 pm
by stuward
naskonasko wrote:... with 30-60 min rest between exercises. ...
I think you mean seconds, not minutes.

At any rate, any type of resistance training can help beginners get bigger and stronger, however, circuit training is far from optimal. Circuit training is really a form of cardio that has some strength and muscle building benefits but is not designed for either. Treat it like a general conditioning workout. If you want to work on size and strength, do an appropriate program. Of course, circuit training is better than nothing but don't expect to get very far with it.

Re: Beginner bodyweight enthusiast seeking guidance

Posted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 4:12 pm
by Jungledoc
I agree about not doing the routine as a circuit. I'd say to pair the exercises, then do 3 sets of each, alternating. Shoot for 5-8 reps in each set for the exercises that you can do that many. On the hand-stand presses, etc., just do as many as you can without going to failure. In fact, the hand-stand presses and chins would make a good set to pair up.

So, you took a break because of an ankle problem? You stopped working your upper body because your ankle was clicking? You stopped working your quads, hams and glutes because of a problem with a calf exercise? I'd suggest you take hard look at your attitude now, and try to change. The most important thing about an exercise program is commitment! Of course it's true that you shouldn't be doing an exercise that hurts, but you shouldn't stop exercising because one exercise hurts!