Bodyweight versus weights

JohnDoeman

Double-Digit Post Count
@Steve Freides - That is an interesting way to place your non-working hand (or lesser working since we all know that law of irradiation!). I may have to try this once or twice to see if it works. I personally place my hand flush with my body but I can clearly see the benefit of being able to really tighten up the other arm for more strength. Great stuff!!! Have you considered trying resistance bands to assist your full OAPU for a short time? I found that doing this for chin-ups...etc really helps with allowing more volume for practice and when I finally take it off they come far easier.

@Kozushi - Your perception of a military press vs a handstand press are very misguided. Indeed the standard barbell military press involves the leg mucles, but so does the handstand press! A few other implications that are not considered is the range of motion. On a standard wall-headstand press your ROM is from the top of your head and up. Try changing this to a full ROM and then decide if the barbell is easier or harder. Second, you state that a wall headstand is not using the legs because you are leaning against a wall. Consider if you equate the standing military press to the handstand press they both must go through the same range of motion AND have the same amount of support. So you would be equating a full ROM, unsupported handstand press to a basic barbell military press?

I am personally a former Strongman competitor turned calisthenics practitioner. Currently I am 5'6" and 240lbs and I have frequently put more than my own bodyweight above my head with logs, axles, barbells...etc and I can say for certain the handstand press if by far more difficult (even with just standard ROM). I believe the main difference here is because you're able to brace your own body against an external load versus having to balance your body while moving it over a distance. Visually the mechanics are similar but the true specifics vary greatly.

Lastly, I have read from the book "Building the Gymnastic Body" of how gymnasts were able to pull 2-3 times their bodyweight in a deadlift without ever touching a weight previously. I have also watched those YouTube videos where they pit different fitness styles against each other. The one I mention has calisthenics only vs a power builder. While the test was a little one-sided, the calisthenics guy only lost by 1-2 reps on the last exercise. I personally find that while barbells may provide the quickest route to muscle building and strength, it may not be the best. Calisthenics takes more time to develop strength but you have the added benefit of allowing your connective tissue to keep pace. If I could turn back time (NOT a Cher reference), I would 100% devote all of my time developing calisthenics strength before even dreaming of barbells.
 

Kozushi

More than 2500 posts
@Steve Freides - That is an interesting way to place your non-working hand (or lesser working since we all know that law of irradiation!). I may have to try this once or twice to see if it works. I personally place my hand flush with my body but I can clearly see the benefit of being able to really tighten up the other arm for more strength. Great stuff!!! Have you considered trying resistance bands to assist your full OAPU for a short time? I found that doing this for chin-ups...etc really helps with allowing more volume for practice and when I finally take it off they come far easier.

@Kozushi - Your perception of a military press vs a handstand press are very misguided. Indeed the standard barbell military press involves the leg mucles, but so does the handstand press! A few other implications that are not considered is the range of motion. On a standard wall-headstand press your ROM is from the top of your head and up. Try changing this to a full ROM and then decide if the barbell is easier or harder. Second, you state that a wall headstand is not using the legs because you are leaning against a wall. Consider if you equate the standing military press to the handstand press they both must go through the same range of motion AND have the same amount of support. So you would be equating a full ROM, unsupported handstand press to a basic barbell military press?

I am personally a former Strongman competitor turned calisthenics practitioner. Currently I am 5'6" and 240lbs and I have frequently put more than my own bodyweight above my head with logs, axles, barbells...etc and I can say for certain the handstand press if by far more difficult (even with just standard ROM). I believe the main difference here is because you're able to brace your own body against an external load versus having to balance your body while moving it over a distance. Visually the mechanics are similar but the true specifics vary greatly.

Lastly, I have read from the book "Building the Gymnastic Body" of how gymnasts were able to pull 2-3 times their bodyweight in a deadlift without ever touching a weight previously. I have also watched those YouTube videos where they pit different fitness styles against each other. The one I mention has calisthenics only vs a power builder. While the test was a little one-sided, the calisthenics guy only lost by 1-2 reps on the last exercise. I personally find that while barbells may provide the quickest route to muscle building and strength, it may not be the best. Calisthenics takes more time to develop strength but you have the added benefit of allowing your connective tissue to keep pace. If I could turn back time (NOT a Cher reference), I would 100% devote all of my time developing calisthenics strength before even dreaming of barbells.
I don't and didn't disagree with anything here.
A handstand press for me involves all of my 220lbs, which is too heavy for me to press. Anyone who can do that is terrifically strong!

I'm thinking about how the movements differ in terms of leg engagement. If I'm military pressing I have the idea that all the weight above my legs, including my torso and the barbell, is loaded onto my legs also, which have to brace all that weight. I'd estimate for myself that (doing a press of 120lbs) I've got around 300lbs settled down onto my legs. My legs aren't really doing very much, but they're bracing all that weight up above them.

However, if I ever were to do a handstand or a handstand press, the weight loaded onto my legs is just the weight of my legs themselves, so, like maybe 30-40lbs only?

Am I missing something here?

But I agree with everything you wrote. Callisthenists are some of the strongest people around. Frankly speaking, most of my exercise is callisthenics, which is what happens in judo training. I'm moving myself more than anything else in training, although my partner a lot too, which makes judo a form of partner-callisthenics. Gymnasts go even beyond callisthenics.

Real weights though more resemble the movement patterns of moving around a judo partner than callisthenics movements, so the weights are important for me.
 

Glen

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
@Kozushi yes to a degree with loading through the legs - however the position on the legs and the mechanical loading onto that musculature is pretty small and will unlikely be much of a training effect IMO

The secondary consideration is open vs closed chain movements. Typically closed chain movements are considered superior - Handstand push up is closed chain versus open chain of military press.

However IMO its all minutiae - any tool with progressive overload will likely lead to a similar end result
 

Kozushi

More than 2500 posts
@Kozushi yes to a degree with loading through the legs - however the position on the legs and the mechanical loading onto that musculature is pretty small and will unlikely be much of a training effect IMO

The secondary consideration is open vs closed chain movements. Typically closed chain movements are considered superior - Handstand push up is closed chain versus open chain of military press.

However IMO its all minutiae - any tool with progressive overload will likely lead to a similar end result
What do you do about the strength of picking up a heavy thing, or of yanking it back - i.e. stuff that can wreck the lower back if it isn't trained properly for this kind of stuff? In judo I have to do these things all the time. I'm well known at my club for strength in these movements - the one from the deadlift and the other from the kettlebell swing.

No doubt the headstand press would be ideal as a base for any kind of pressing strength, although a problem here is just the inconvenience of the movement itself - anyone who can do that deserves every respect in the world, and it's just not on my radar as something practically feasible.

But I'd say again that about 95% of my exercise is bodyweight-callisthenic. I train 4 hours a week doing intense judo (cartwheels, breakfalls, getting up off the ground a lot, wrestling), another hour-ish a week doing the barbell Reload program, another few hours on S&S and then a few more hours also walking outside (which is also bodyweight-callisthenic, of course).

One reason for my overparticipation in these forums is because I still do not feel like I've devised the "perfect-complete" program for myself in terms of solo training. Judo is in the hands of my coach, who is as good as they come (look up Ron Angus if you like) but off the mats it's all my problem, and time & energy are problems. Maybe I need to restart my deliberate solo callisthenics training (ring dips, chinups).
 

fractal

More than 500 posts
@Steve Freides - That is an interesting way to place your non-working hand (or lesser working since we all know that law of irradiation!). I may have to try this once or twice to see if it works. I personally place my hand flush with my body but I can clearly see the benefit of being able to really tighten up the other arm for more strength. Great stuff!!! Have you considered trying resistance bands to assist your full OAPU for a short time? I found that doing this for chin-ups...etc really helps with allowing more volume for practice and when I finally take it off they come far easier.
I've rigged up an assistance band for OAPU eccentrics which works really well. I use that when at home, and work from elevation here and there when I'm at work

Picture attached. I rigged some tie down straps so that I can help the OAPU along with the other hand as well.
E98B8ABB-151B-4276-819C-8563761DCA07.jpeg
 

Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Staff member
Senior Certified Instructor
I've rigged up an assistance band for OAPU eccentrics which works really well. I use that when at home, and work from elevation here and there when I'm at work

Picture attached.
I can't quite picture how one would use this - a human in the photo or a video might make a better explanation.

-S-
 

fractal

More than 500 posts
I can't quite picture how one would use this - a human in the photo or a video might make a better explanation.

-S-
I just sling the low end of the band under my chest and armpits facing into the rig, so that it partially takes my weight as I lower into an OAPU. It works a treat as the support from the band increases proportionally with the difficulty throughout the descent.

The free hand can perform a tricep extension type movement on one of the straps to assist the working arm on the concentric.
 

Glen

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
@Kozushi Will there every be a perfect program?

Each day/week/month we change - stronger in some ways, weaker in others through training and general life. Your program will mould and adapt and what was perfect previously will be inappropriate another time. Just focus on getting stronger session by session and you'll be 90% the way there what ever exercise you choose IMO
 

Kozushi

More than 2500 posts
@Kozushi Will there every be a perfect program?

Each day/week/month we change - stronger in some ways, weaker in others through training and general life. Your program will mould and adapt and what was perfect previously will be inappropriate another time. Just focus on getting stronger session by session and you'll be 90% the way there what ever exercise you choose IMO
What shocked me was when I hit a wall:
1. S&S swings with the 32 and TGUs with the 40.
2. Single deadlift of 370lbs.
3. Kettlebell press of 40kg for 1 rep.

I'm past "Simple" in S&S, so I suppose I'm fine there, but my deadlift is terrible for someone my size and I should be able to press 48kg. Just lifting "heavier and heavier weights" as some recommend, only got me to this point and no farther. I'm hoping the Reload program will break me past all these limits.
 

Glen

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
What shocked me was when I hit a wall:
1. S&S swings with the 32 and TGUs with the 40.
2. Single deadlift of 370lbs.
3. Kettlebell press of 40kg for 1 rep.

I'm past "Simple" in S&S, so I suppose I'm fine there, but my deadlift is terrible for someone my size and I should be able to press 48kg. Just lifting "heavier and heavier weights" as some recommend, only got me to this point and no farther. I'm hoping the Reload program will break me past all these limits.
What makes you say you should be able to press the 48kg bell if you can only do get ups with the 40kg? Typically get up bell would be bell size up or more than your press

Programming is typically more key than movement choice IMO for continued progress. That's what I meant by get stronger - work the intensity, volume and density of a program over time to get stronger - the choice of movement is a much smaller variable
 

Kozushi

More than 2500 posts
What makes you say you should be able to press the 48kg bell if you can only do get ups with the 40kg? Typically get up bell would be bell size up or more than your press

Programming is typically more key than movement choice IMO for continued progress. That's what I meant by get stronger - work the intensity, volume and density of a program over time to get stronger - the choice of movement is a much smaller variable
Yes, I've started to find this out the long way. Any kind of pressing movement is pretty transferable to other presses. The deadlift makes doing chinups and levers easier without practicing any chinups nor levers.

If we're talking judo though, lifting actual foreign objects off the ground has made me feel a lot more confident throwing people or pinning them as opposed to body weight practice alone as an exercise supplement.

I purposely quit doing off mat bodyweight training a few months ago in order to focus on weights, but I'm not sure that was smart.
 

Kozushi

More than 2500 posts
Consistency Trumps Intensity—The Continuity of the Training Process | StrongFirst

"Adapting to load is what makes us stronger. But because training loads can be manipulated in so many ways—intensity, magnitude, repetition, duration, frequency, direction, speed, acceleration, exercise, equipment, sequence, rest, etc.—some people get paralyzed by the seemingly overwhelming options; frozen by the insecurity of making a wrong choice. Too many do nothing. Others bounce around, always looking for the next best thing. Neither approach is productive, but there is an elegant and deceptively simple solution. Find what works…and do it. Consistently. For the long game. That’s how we honor the continuity of the training process."
 

Kozushi

More than 2500 posts
Military press loads 120lbs on me, ring dips - 220lbs. Ring dips win.
Curls load 90lbs on me - chinups 220lbs. Chinups win.
 

Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Staff member
Senior Certified Instructor
Try some straddle deadlifts - I predict you'll like them. Start plenty light.

-S-

If we're talking judo though, lifting actual foreign objects off the ground has made me feel a lot more confident throwing people or pinning them as opposed to body weight practice alone as an exercise supplement.
 

pet'

More than 5000 posts
Hello,

The single leg deadlift is also quite interesting in terms of picking up things from the ground. Even if the load is lighter, it really works on balance.

A bodyweight version of this could be the back bridge, either with two legs and one arm, or two arms and one leg.

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

LukeV

More than 300 posts
30 years ago, in my late teens and early twenties, before weight training was fashionable except for bodybuilders, I used to hang around a lot of martial arts dudes. All of their strength training was bodyweight, push ups and chin ups primarily. And they were not only strong but looked great too. They had those awesome lean muscular physiques, no bulk. I barbell train exclusively and those guys never did at all and appeared to lack nothing
 
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