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Bodyweight Calisthenics vs Deadlift

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pet'

Level 8 Valued Member
Hello,

I am not a gymnast, but I think what makes them strong - among other things - is their ability to develop close to max strength in the entire ROM, with perfect body alignment (meaning straight body and core engagement). The variety of their moves secures the fact that they push, and pull in approriate amounts to avoid imbalances. When they work on rings, they have to deal with a lot of instability, which barbell does not really replicate.

Nonethless, learning curve is way different. Gymnastics may require years and years to perform a decent front lever (for example). It could be shorter to get a 2x or 2.5x bdw DL. Do not misunderstand, I do not mean weightlifting is easier, I just mean that for the "average" guy, it may be a faster way to get stronger.

If we consider weightlifting, only a few moves are required to really get a full body strengthening: DL, Sq, OVH Press (or possibly BP). Pull ups may be a great add-on. There are plenty of technical details with these moves, and devil is the details. However, there are only 3 of them.

Gymnastics could be 'roughly' the same: planche push up (for core and upper push and spine erectors), HSPU with deficit (push), front lever (core, upper pull), pistol (quads). Progressions for these moves are harder because this is all about body leverage, which is harder to scale comparing to add or remove a few kg. As always, there are also techniques which have to be learned.

Gymnasts are usually shorter and very lean, which is an advantage for their sport (less leverage, less "useless weight" (fat)). Of course, we can find exception with taller and bigger guys, such as Daniel Vadnal from YouTube channel FitnessFAQ.

Weightlifter are not necessarily fat if we consider this article: “Dry Fighting Weight”: Fat Loss Through Strength | StrongFirst
Then, depending on their training, if they are that lean, but also train for power, it may explain why they may have good sprinting abilities.

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

ali

Level 6 Valued Member
Already been mentioned but bodyweight and strength to weight ratio....how important is that for you and/or sport v total load.
 

Tirofijo

Level 6 Valued Member
Two people:
Person A can perform a quality straddle planche push-up.
Person B can bench double bodyweight.

Person A would likely be able to bench 1.5-1.75xBW his first time.
Person B would likely not be able to even hold a basic tuck planche let alone do any form of a planche push-up.

Although BW training is not quite the same as pure gymnastics, it's why they say gymnasts can do your sport almost as good as you if not better on some occasions, but you cannot do gymnastics at all.
I wasn't going to get involved in this thread until the (inevitable) mention of how strong gymnasts are.

By all means, if you spend thousands of hours in the gymnastic training center from age 6 to age 20, you will be strong and athletic. How many hundreds of hours of time under tension and tens of thousands of reps do elite gymnasts have by the time they reach the peak of their sport? I would expect them to be strong. (Not to mention the survivor bias - do the non-elite gymnasts rarely stick with it? We probably don't hear about any weak gymnasts since, if there were any, they would have been weeded out. Just my hunch.)

I just don't know what that has to do with some 30 and 40 year olds deciding whether bodyweight training only is ideal or not.

After all, step 1, "develop a quality straddle planche push up" is easier said than done.
 

JJD

First Post
There's a bit of chicken and egg there; the skills in modern competition require that many hours, so only those that can develop the work capacity to not only tolerate but thrive on the volume are competing at the top. Cf. Selective military training where you are *going* to do the hours and the miles; those who are inclined by nature and/or preparation to tolerate it are able to benefit from the skill training and perform better under pressure.

Conditioning is both the least part of gymnastics and the most common limiter to getting in the quality reps on high level skills to compete them IME; like any sport it's very possible to make your athlete too strong (I think the term is weight room hero?) and end up with a competition result short of their potential.

Similarly the typical gymnast phenotype-- swimmer physique when younger with muscle coming on when growth is largely finished and they spend more time on the rings-- is the tendency of the elites. Great athletes at level 10-ish often become specialists because their growth has gone in directions that don't facilitate them going elite as all-rounders, so they play to their strengths.
For those of us interested in strength skills and not on competition schedules, best just to embrace the variance we're born with and our best than bemoan not being the perfect proportions for technically beautiful swings :)
For deadlift specifically, I haven't noticed issues in my own tumbling training it more that aren't just down to putting on some more mass, or aren't balanced out easily with weighted pancake work, but caveat that with I'm not sure I'd want to push deads volume more than my once a week and still pursue harder tumbling skills, at least not at 30+ :)
 

xagunos

Level 6 Valued Member
Hello,

I am not a gymnast, but I think what makes them strong - among other things - is their ability to develop close to max strength in the entire ROM, with perfect body alignment (meaning straight body and core engagement). The variety of their moves secures the fact that they push, and pull in approriate amounts to avoid imbalances. When they work on rings, they have to deal with a lot of instability, which barbell does not really replicate.

Nonethless, learning curve is way different. Gymnastics may require years and years to perform a decent front lever (for example). It could be shorter to get a 2x or 2.5x bdw DL. Do not misunderstand, I do not mean weightlifting is easier, I just mean that for the "average" guy, it may be a faster way to get stronger.

If we consider weightlifting, only a few moves are required to really get a full body strengthening: DL, Sq, OVH Press (or possibly BP). Pull ups may be a great add-on. There are plenty of technical details with these moves, and devil is the details. However, there are only 3 of them.

Gymnastics could be 'roughly' the same: planche push up (for core and upper push and spine erectors), HSPU with deficit (push), front lever (core, upper pull), pistol (quads). Progressions for these moves are harder because this is all about body leverage, which is harder to scale comparing to add or remove a few kg. As always, there are also techniques which have to be learned.

Gymnasts are usually shorter and very lean, which is an advantage for their sport (less leverage, less "useless weight" (fat)). Of course, we can find exception with taller and bigger guys, such as Daniel Vadnal from YouTube channel FitnessFAQ.

Weightlifter are not necessarily fat if we consider this article: “Dry Fighting Weight”: Fat Loss Through Strength | StrongFirst
Then, depending on their training, if they are that lean, but also train for power, it may explain why they may have good sprinting abilities.

Kind regards,

Pet'
I would argue that the most bang for buck basic (basic in movement pattern but not in difficulty) upper body exercises gymnastics offers the rest of the world are planche push-up and front lever pull-up progressions. For whatever reason the carryover these two exercises offer is the largest I've seen of any upper body push and pull.

Classic article many of you are familiar with:

EDIT:
I think for the general population, basic ring push-ups and ring rows can go a long way. When they get easy, you can simply bring the rings closer towards your hips mimicking PLPUs and FLPUs.
 
Last edited:

xagunos

Level 6 Valued Member
I wasn't going to get involved in this thread until the (inevitable) mention of how strong gymnasts are.

By all means, if you spend thousands of hours in the gymnastic training center from age 6 to age 20, you will be strong and athletic. How many hundreds of hours of time under tension and tens of thousands of reps do elite gymnasts have by the time they reach the peak of their sport? I would expect them to be strong. (Not to mention the survivor bias - do the non-elite gymnasts rarely stick with it? We probably don't hear about any weak gymnasts since, if there were any, they would have been weeded out. Just my hunch.)

I just don't know what that has to do with some 30 and 40 year olds deciding whether bodyweight training only is ideal or not.

After all, step 1, "develop a quality straddle planche push up" is easier said than done.
I think we can look at the pursuit and development of a straddle planche push-up more significant than attaining the actual skill.

To mention Pavel again, intermediate/advanced bodyweight training DEFINITELY requires the most coaching of all training modalities which for some may not be worth the investment.

With that said, with intelligent coaching one can definitely make gains towards such goals regardless of age. It doesn't mean, you're getting a straddle planche push-up at age 50 but maybe you are able to hold a 5 second tuck planche in addition to reps of pseudo-planche push-ups building resilient wrists and elbows as well as good upper body pressing strength.
 

North

Level 6 Valued Member
Hello,

In this video, Aleks Salkins, who seems to mainly train with bdw, offers a great legs and hip routine, with only calisthenics:
In other videos we see him performing dragon flags, crawling, OAP, etc...

The link with the DL motion is that we can see him swing the Beast quite easily.

Kind regards,

Pet'
No offense to Aleks Salkin, I see myself face planting if I tried assisted Nordic curls with a broomstick and the elevated pigeon squat position seems…precarious. If I were 20 years younger then, maybe.
 

bluejeff

Level 6 Valued Member
I would argue that the most bang for buck basic (basic in movement pattern but not in difficulty) upper body exercises gymnastics offers the rest of the world are planche push-up and front lever pull-up progressions. For whatever reason the carryover these two exercises offer is the largest I've seen of any upper body push and pull.

Classic article many of you are familiar with:
I would mostly agree. I have spent stints of time doing no pullups or rows, but training front lever variations, and then been able to rep out pullups/chins no problem afterwards. Make it a FL row, and its even better. It is still harder to quantify than adding weight to weighted pull ups. Individual goals and preferences matter though. I have seen atheletes who used weighted pullups to increase FL strength too.

Short side note: as someone that was invoved with a GB affiliate gym in the past, and spent a LOT of time around the stuff, it always bothered me that Sommer chose to use his youth athletes as models to sell his system to adults. As @Tirofijo said:
I just don't know what that has to do with some 30 and 40 year olds deciding whether bodyweight training only is ideal or not.
For example, legit manna training, starting at 30+ years old.....? I'm not saying its impossible, but the amount of specific work required is a lot, to make an understatement. I can think of less than 10 people I worked with at that gym who could do anything harder than a tuck planche or straddle front lever. That stuff is HARD for adults to achieve. Not impossible, but hard. It requires VERY specific programming, and since weights aren't there to quantify progress, many people are working too close to their maximum level, thus make little to no gains.

All that being said, I think this style of training has its benefits and just because one can't reach full planche pushups doesn't mean it's not worthwhile to train the movement pattern. That would be like saying, "I'm never going to squat 1000 lbs so I guess squatting isn't worth my time." Once again, I'm not arguing that one modality is "better." They are just different.\

Enjoyable topic!
 

xagunos

Level 6 Valued Member
I would mostly agree. I have spent stints of time doing no pullups or rows, but training front lever variations, and then been able to rep out pullups/chins no problem afterwards. Make it a FL row, and its even better. It is still harder to quantify than adding weight to weighted pull ups. Individual goals and preferences matter though. I have seen atheletes who used weighted pullups to increase FL strength too.

Short side note: as someone that was invoved with a GB affiliate gym in the past, and spent a LOT of time around the stuff, it always bothered me that Sommer chose to use his youth athletes as models to sell his system to adults. As @Tirofijo said:

For example, legit manna training, starting at 30+ years old.....? I'm not saying its impossible, but the amount of specific work required is a lot, to make an understatement. I can think of less than 10 people I worked with at that gym who could do anything harder than a tuck planche or straddle front lever. That stuff is HARD for adults to achieve. Not impossible, but hard. It requires VERY specific programming, and since weights aren't there to quantify progress, many people are working too close to their maximum level, thus make little to no gains.

All that being said, I think this style of training has its benefits and just because one can't reach full planche pushups doesn't mean it's not worthwhile to train the movement pattern. That would be like saying, "I'm never going to squat 1000 lbs so I guess squatting isn't worth my time." Once again, I'm not arguing that one modality is "better." They are just different.\

Enjoyable topic!
Couldn't agree more.
 
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