Bodyweight.. Or weighted bodyweight ?

Discussion in 'Bodyweight' started by Opiaswing, Apr 15, 2019.

  1. Opiaswing

    Opiaswing Double-Digit Post Count

    I am currently using kettlebells for lots of posterior chain movements but am looking to add some BW stuff for the added mobility, natural movement patterns and fun.

    Is it always necessary to add weight to things such as pullups and dips? Can higher rep bodyweight stuff be equally as beneficial particularly if I'm already getting heavy strength work through heavy bells?

    I have rarely seen relatively heavy athletes (180lb+) do 20+ reps of full ROM solid pullups... Surely that'd build some solid strength and strength endurance
  2. mikhael

    mikhael Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    If you already have developed strength to be able to perform 20 Pull-ups, instead of adding weight try to develop strength to complete at least one One-Arm Pull-up.
  3. Marc

    Marc Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    The great thing about bodyweight for upper body is that you can basically spend your lifetime on progressing and will develope outstanding strength (and the appropriate look), especially if you add rings. (Sadly, bodyweight falls a bit short on that for legs.)
    Now let's be real there are some moves that look cool but will take a lot of time to master (like maltese, iron cross etc.) and might simply be out of reach if you are tall and/or don't practise gymnastics from your childhood on.

    But you can still adjust and advance the basics:
    Examples: For pulling try working on front lever/back levers, ice cream makers and 360 pulls.
    For pushing work on handstands/freestanding handstands, 90 degree pushups. You can even make ring dips ridicously hard by doing them with the legs constantly extended in front of the body or in l-sit.
    Ring muscle ups are also great (~equal amount of pushing/pulling. Bar muscle ups are more pullind dominant).
    For abs you could do l-sits to v-sits, dragon flags and kip ups.
    For legs do pistols and/or airbourne lunges progressing to shrimp squats (personally I find airbourne lunges more useful than pistols). Sissy squats (done properly!) can make you really miserably! For hams/glutes: nordic ham curls.
    All these moves are very hard but within reach for the dedicated.
    That being said there is absolutely nothing wrong (beside boredom) with doing reps in the 10-30 range on easier variations.
    Also, adding weight to easier variations to bring the reps down is great, too. Choose your tool ;)
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
  4. offwidth

    offwidth More than 5000 posts

    20+ pull-ups can also build some serious risk of elbow injuries...
    I would opt for adding weight rather than reps.
    But it comes back to (as it always does) goals...
    J Petersen, damogari, Glen and 3 others like this.
  5. pet'

    pet' More than 5000 posts


    In addition to @offwidth 's wise post, I would add to avoid a full "lock off" when you are at the bottom position. That way, it is safer for the joints but also obliges to produce more tension.

    Kind regards,

  6. Kozushi

    Kozushi More than 2500 posts

    If you can do 20+ pullups then you've more than mastered your own bodyweight. Time for something else.
  7. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Dir. of Community Engagement Senior Instructor

    A strong disagree from me - nothing wrong with locking out your joints. Since gravity helps with this in the pullup, one needn't forcefully lock them out, but at the bottom of the pullup, the elbows should be straight.

    J Petersen and Shahaf Levin like this.
  8. pet'

    pet' More than 5000 posts


    I think I need to be more accurate ;)

    In my opinion, there is a slight difference between a straigth elbow position and a real lock off. A straigth elbow may be done with the gravity only (basically, dead hang position, regardless tension in the rest of the body), as you mentioned. However, a real "lock off" is done with an additional triceps contraction.

    With that being said, if you do heavy weighted pull ups, a lock off may be hard for the elbow because we add some tension (lock off + gravity).

    Plus, I guess volume, regardless the weight also plays a role.

    Kind regards,

  9. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Dir. of Community Engagement Senior Instructor

    Thank you, @pet'

  10. Philippe Geoffrion

    Philippe Geoffrion More than 500 posts

    You can also manipulate bodyweight to decrease leverage advantages. If you're after endurance then GTG seems a great way to practice often without burn out. But for maximal strength, weight isn't the only option. Pullups are harder when done tactical style, and even harder done from a lever position or L-Sit position. Dips? Try planche tucks to holds to pushups. There is no need to add weight. a planche pushup is a lifetime achievement. Pushups, naturally you have the one arm pushup going to lower and lower bases, to the ground, to one leg and handstand pushups against the wall to without the wall. The advantage to these type of lifts that don't require extra weight is that you don't have to be hauling around a dip belt and 20 kilo plate on your vacation or to the office, beach, etc. They can be done nearly anywhere.
    pet' likes this.
  11. pet'

    pet' More than 5000 posts


    As @Philippe Geoffrion said, I think that certain moves have a greater carryover than other. For instance, the OA push up, or OAOL push up. Doing them, I can do dips for rep, in full ROM without never training them. Same goes for planche training, planche push ups, etc...

    Regarding the pull up, again, this is not always necessary to add weight. For instance, one hand on the bar, the other is hanging a towel (so it is lower). This will engage more the arm holding the bar. By the way, this is a progression toward the OA pull up / chin up.

    Kind regards,

    mikhael and Philippe Geoffrion like this.
  12. Kozushi

    Kozushi More than 2500 posts

    I have doorway chinup bars which are a bit short I think for pullups, so I'm kind of limited to chinups, which I don't think have anything wrong with them.

    In one chinup doorway I"ve got gymnastic rings and I do dips with them.

    I can do about 7 full dips and about the same number of full ROM chinups.

    I think these are great moves to do. They're fun, but especially they are "time under tension" moves that are relatively safe. The slower I do them the better they are for me. They're kind of relaxing in fact.

    In term of judo, I've always felt a bit deficient when not also doing a "big pull" movement like deadlifts or swings. I've learned a great deal from Strong First, but more than anything I've learned how important the big pull is to develop real world strength.

    Having said all that, dips and chinups do take me a very far distance along the road to athletic strength and mobility. They are great moves and as good as any others out there in the fitness world.

    For legs, I walk and run. I've never felt deficient in the legs category and I don't really squat or lunge much.
    pet' likes this.
  13. pet'

    pet' More than 5000 posts


    Ring muscle up can be interesting because they are a great push / pull move. Plus, it also trains shoulders (for both strength and mobility). MU are also a wonderful move regarding core training. The L-Sit version will focus even more on core.

    If real world strength is required, this and deadlift / squat (for instance pistol as far as bodyweight goes) can be interesting.

    The drawback of such a move is that it requires a lot of skill to be perform correctly so this is a long process.

    Kind regards,

    Kozushi likes this.
  14. Kozushi

    Kozushi More than 2500 posts

    Do you mean the pistols are hard or the deadlifts? I don't find deadlifts hard if they aren't too heavy. Pistols are indeed hard. I don't find myself with any judo deficiency in the legs at all, and I don't squat or do pistols. I do however walk a lot and run a bit. I'm not sure that squatting is as natural or a real-world strength like as are running/rucking/walking/jumping. I'd think even if you squat you should still do one or more of these to get your body moving like a human being.

    The Kavadlos made the point that muscle ups are not better than doing pullups and dips separately. I think the reason is that when you do a muscle up, you are getting a break from the pullups when doing the dips and a break from the dips when doing the pullups. It's better to focus on each movement separately.

    I'm starting to develop a theory that at least for judo, if you do dips and deadlifts, you've got everything covered.
    pet' likes this.
  15. pet'

    pet' More than 5000 posts


    Pistols seem harder than DL, IMO. Of course, a relatively light DL is not really hard. I enjoy lifting about 1.5x bdw. For my need, this is enough.

    I agree with you with your DL and dip theory. Basically, a big pull and a press are a good way to go for most of us. Nonetheless, I tend to prefer OA push up or OA OL push up over the dip because I feel I engage better my core that way.

    As far as the MU goes, I do them on rings. I find this version interesting because it works some shoulder rotation as well. Despite the relative "break", I find this transition "tough" when you go from the pull up to the dip because you are lifting your weight only with the shoulders, but with a strong leverage (stronger than the dip).

    But you are right, MU is a specific skill per se. If I really want to focus on strength, I go for weighted dip and weighted pull up, but do not do MU, due to the transition phase.

    Kind regards,

    Kozushi likes this.
  16. Kozushi

    Kozushi More than 2500 posts

    I take what you say seriously because you are someone who can do things and you don't just think things.

    I suppose the one arm pushups are just too difficult for me compared with their benefits to make me choose them over the dips. Dips load all my 100kg onto my arms, and I can safely and conveniently hold myself up for as long as I want while doing reps or various speeds. It just seems perfect. It's also a good judo skill as I need the gymnastic strength to lift my whole body up with just my arms. There is also the aspect of gripping onto something. I grip in judo and I grip in dips. Hmmm... I see your point about core engagement though. This is quite interesting...

    My deadlift weight is right now set at 340lbs, which is a bit over 1.5 bodyweight. It's easy to lift that for several reps, and it's an important judo skill also.

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