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Other/Mixed Training Progression -- BW -> Weighted BW -> Free Weights

Other strength modalities (e.g., Clubs), mixed strength modalities (e.g., combined kettlebell and barbell), other goals (flexibility)
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Adam R Mundorf

Level 6 Valued Member
Hello Everybody,

It seems to make allot of sense to me that one should master their body weight before moving on to using weights. For example, if you can't do a basic body weight squat for reps, you have no business loading the movement with weight. It seems calisthenics teaches very special skills like hollow body, core stability and flexibility a bit better than free weights. In order to master the body weight exercises you need to learn how to use all skills effectively.

Would the ideal situation look something like this? :
  1. Get to a certain calisthenic proficiency
  2. Start weighing down the movements
    1. Weight Chinups and weighted dips.
    2. Maybe throw S&S in two days a week
  3. Begin with classic free weight training
Maybe a calisthenics routine with odd object lifting would be ideal? Calisthenics as a main meal and weight lifting as a spice.

The thing that got me thinking about this was how gymnasts seem to transfer extremely well to many other sports/activities. But other athletes can't really transfer to gymnastics very well. Is this due to body awareness or the fundamental skills they've learned through practicing calisthenics daily? I do know that many gymnasts are genetically gifted and kind of fit a specific mold for body type and limb length. So, maybe they already have the secret sauce built into them.

Thank you and I look forward to hearing your thoughts, Adam
 

NoahMarek

Level 6 Valued Member
I think working on gaining proficiency in basic movements such as hip hinging and squatting with a neutral spine is the critical piece. In my opinion, no need to read X level of strength before incorporating free weights, just focus on improving movement patterns before heavy loading occurs.
 

wespom9

Level 6 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
IMO it's very, very helpful to learn to control your own body before you add load. That being said, I agree with @NoahMarek that it's more about the pattern comprehension, rather than strength level as a barometer of when to switch. Once you have the ROM, co-ordination/motor control, pick whatever floats your boat to strengthen it.
 

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
Personally I think bodyweight to be more or perhaps even the most challenging. Basic movement patterns can be learned pretty quickly and used with weight, whatever the subject can manage. Many bodyweight movements require some imagination to down-load them for beginners and progressions are way tougher compared to plates or dumbbells.

IMHO gymnasts transfer well because the work they do is more technically demanding and requires more core stability as well as peripheral strength then many other forms of resistance training.
 

Adam R Mundorf

Level 6 Valued Member
Yeah, that's one of the reasons I asked. Everytime I start a calisthenics program I revert back to kettlebells because they're familiar and easier for me.

Maybe it's time I practice what I'm not good at.
 
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Ryan T

Level 6 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Maybe it's time I practice what I'm not good at.

That's a good approach.

Provided that your patterning and mobility is sufficient for movements you're trying to do, I like the idea of breaking it up into periodization. Take 6-12 weeks programming with a peaking period, deload for a week and switch over body weight, barbell or whatever.

Of course you can always mix and match too.

Cheers.
 

Ryan T

Level 6 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Also, aren't we building different skills sets loaded VS unloaded and it's not a linear trajectory?
 

jca17

Level 5 Valued Member
There's a video of a bodybuilder learning to muscle up from a gymnast on rings. He manages to get one (albeit rough looking) in the one session which impressed the gymnast. Absolute strength helps and is applicable to many modalities. In fact, since you can gain strength in such a straightforward and measurable way with barbells, I think I would rather milk those easy gains with barbells (after having clean movement) and then learn to apply that to bodyweight skills. Then I would take those skills back to my barbell practice to hopefully help break through intermediate plateaus. Make haste slowly. I like the haste of measurable novice barbell strength gains. I like the "slowly" of reasonable progressive programming. But make all the haste you can within the bounds of caution. No need to artificially slow down our journey.
 

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
All good points. My perspective is that unless one has some specific training goals, it may not matter much. If you don't know where you are going it doesn't really matter how you get there...

Extremely significant observation. If you have a functional goal, use the tools that will be most applicable, otherwise just enjoy the journey and don't hurt yourself.
 

Adam R Mundorf

Level 6 Valued Member

I just want to preface that I'm not a fan of this guys work but I ran across this video. It pretty much says my thoughts.
 
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