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Building Muscle Mass through BWEs


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#1 carnegie

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Posted 01 January 2009 - 03:10 PM

Hello to everyone!

First of all happy new year! :-)

I just registered myself this afternoon and I'm really excited to ask, discuss and solve problems in this forum with everybody! :)

I want to gain muscle mass, like a lot 20 year olds, but I want to achieve my goals only by using BWE (+ additional weight on the exercises). Now I've been reading a few articles on training, nutrition, rest and of course the impressive strength of gymnasts. Before I started with my training I tried to get as much good advice from the best people as possible. Jim from beastskills.com and Alexander Lechner (who wrote the OAC Guide on dragondoor) kindly helped me with my general questions. But now I'm not quite sure whether I'm right about a certain topic and that is: correct training to build effectively muscle mass through BWEs. Following questions occured:

1. Is it true that the most effective way to gain muscle mass with BWEs is through changing each workout and exercise type? For example HSPUs: day 1 - HSPU on rings 3x5, day 2 rest, day 3 - Hspu on the floor 4x3, day 4 rest, day 5 - bottom up HSPUs 5x3, etc. -> meaning not to follow a certain workout routine but always changing up and keep on shocking your body (and automatically force it to build muscle). That would mean constant periodization and not like most bodybuilders do, changing to routine every 4-6 months.

2. Static exercises are the best way to build muscle with BWEs -> the possibility to hold an iron cross must have a very strong (and big) biceps as a support.

If these two theories are true, how is it then possible to work for a certain exercise which is impossible to do at a certain point? For example I want to be able to do a front lever, but at this point that is not possible for me (physically). How can I work to get there? By working on other exercises or doing these exercises with assistance etc.?

And how is it possible to combine the work of static exercises with normal (that would be dynamic right?) exercises?

I must say that I'm totally aware of the fact, that the workout is only one part of the muscle gaining process. Nutrition and rest is of course a big thing, but let's assume that the other factors are "errorless" (balanced + healthy diet with enough protein; 8+ hours of rest, etc.)

I've been sticking to a certain workout routine (consisting of chins, dips, pistols, hspu, crunches+ hyperextensions) for 2-3 months and I could gain a little weight, but if there's a more effective way to workout why not do that instead? :D

I appreciate your answers!

Greetings from Switzerland

carnegie

#2 matthew.percussion

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Posted 01 January 2009 - 04:41 PM

As for working on front levers you should read Coach Sommer's article. Building an Olympic Body through Bodyweight Conditioning

For these things it is all about doing progressions.

#3 gekitsu

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Posted 02 January 2009 - 12:49 PM

hello, neighbour! :)

from what i have read, its not dependent of the exercises you do how much muscle mass in relation to strength gains but of your training session design.
training short and few sets at high intensity is said to increase strength mainly, whereas systematic fatiguing of motor units is said to stimulate mass growth (hypertrophy) mainly. so i guess you could as well make a training plan revolving around gymnastics exercises that is geared towards hypertrophy.

im not really fluent in bodybuilding training, but from what i remember to have read, they often make split training: chest/shoulder days, leg days, ab days, back days etcetera... and treat each target bundle of motor units with a variety of exercises at submaximal intensity so you can endure longer and more sets.

im not too sure about some of the exercises in coach sommers book - the more complex of them look as if they need a lot of stabilizers in a relatively fresh shape to maintain safety. i dont know how wise it is to use these for fatiguing muscle.

#4 carnegie

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Posted 03 January 2009 - 01:35 AM

@matthew.percussion thanks for the link, I read that article a couple of months ago but I forgot about the importance of it.

@gekitsu, from Germany? That's cool! :) You are absolutely right about the fact of fatiguing the muscles to force muscle building, but a split training isn't really my thing. I like to keep my workouts simple (4-5 exercises, covering more or less all body parts), so I workout with a full body routine. I ordered Coach Sommer's book to check on the muscle building part, but these two theories are still unclear to me. Because only that would explain the great physiques of the gymnasts!

off-topic: Alexander Lechner lives also in Bavaria i think, do you know him?

Thanks for the help

#5 gekitsu

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Posted 03 January 2009 - 03:43 PM

alexander lechner... i just googled and it must be the dragon door article about one-arm-chinups where i read his name. i dont know him any further than that, though.

which two theories do you mean exactly? split vs. full body or low rep/high intensity vs. high rep/medium intensity?
on thelatter, my take is that at the end of the day, when you train hard, you gain muscle. there may be training geared towards increasing mass minimally while reaping maximum strength per gained mass and training geared towards increasing mass as a priority - but in the end, strength and hypertrophy will always come hand in hand, even if one can be prioritized over the other in training design.

im a quite skinny guy - and i dont think that my physique will stay as it is when i become stronger and stronger to perform some of the feats outlined in coach sommers book, no matter how much i take care to keep reps and fatigue low.

#6 carnegie

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 05:36 AM

alexander lechner... i just googled and it must be the dragon door article about one-arm-chinups where i read his name. i dont know him any further than that, though.


Hold on I'll send you a pm.

which two theories do you mean exactly? split vs. full body or low rep/high intensity vs. high rep/medium intensity?
on thelatter, my take is that at the end of the day, when you train hard, you gain muscle. there may be training geared towards increasing mass minimally while reaping maximum strength per gained mass and training geared towards increasing mass as a priority - but in the end, strength and hypertrophy will always come hand in hand, even if one can be prioritized over the other in training design.


No I meant the two points I mentioned in my first post ;)


im a quite skinny guy - and i dont think that my physique will stay as it is when i become stronger and stronger to perform some of the feats outlined in coach sommers book, no matter how much i take care to keep reps and fatigue low.



Yeah no doubt. But I want to find the most effective way to gain muscle through BWE. Strength and hypertropy will like you said come hand in hand of course. I'm not averse to strength (on the contrary I want at the same time gain strength) but the primary focus is on the mass.

#7 LukeLeaman

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 01:51 PM

Gaining muscle mass is going to be dependent on a couple of factors. Factor one is your nutrition. Surplus calories and surplus protein, plus the vitamins and minerals necessary to carry functions that will enable you to process macronutrients. IMO carbohydrates come secondary to protein and healthy fats. You need relatively little carbs (if any) to put on muscle, mainly carbs around you workout. As workout volume increases, your need for carbs will increase. That leads into the second factor, volume. The quickest way to put on muscle mass is an increase in volume of workouts and an increase in recovery methods (foam rolling, massage, etc). You will gain muscle with traditional gymnastics training, as shown by competitors, however, the process is very slow. On the flip side, putting muscle on in the wrong places is also detrimental to gymnastics training.

I have a couple of ideas regarding hypertrophy using bodyweight movements and combined with traditional weightlifting. My favorite method is two a day training. One session being the gymnastic training and relative strength training. The second session being functional hypertophy. For example, the WOD could be used in the first session, and then higher rep isolation and compound work could be added in the second session, to be done that day or the following. A few days ago I did the following:

Session I WOD
SLS 3*3
GHR 3*3
Straddle L's 60 seconds total

Session II (the following day)
A1) Leg Press for 6 reps
A2) Leg Extension for 12 reps
A3) Bodyweight Squats for 25 reps

B1) Leg Curl for 6 reps
B2) DB SLDL for 12 reps
B3) SHELCs for 25 reps

C1) V to L 6 reps
C2) HLL L raise 12 reps
C3) Vup tucks 25 reps

D1) Leg Press Calf Raise 6 reps
D2) Standing Calf Raise 12 reps
D3) Seated Calf Raise 25 reps

All of the above were done for 1 tri set each. I had a small amount of tenderness in the quads, hams, and abs. I still have EXTREME soreness in the calves, so I am going to taper the weight down a little tomorrow. None of this effected my WOD work that I performed today and I will do the same session II either tonight or tomorrow morning.

As the WODs gain volume, you may or may not be able to sequence this way.

You could also alternate accumulation with intensification. Run 3-4 weeks on low rep strength training or gymnastics training, then 2-3 weeks on hypertrophy.

There are a million and one ways you could go about this.

Also, the second session that I am doing right now has to do with leaning out. I'm leaning back down to 4-5% so I'm hitting some lactate training...this will cause some hypertrophy in certain muscles but that's not the main idea.

#8 carnegie

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 12:12 AM

@LukeLeaman thanks for your long answer!

As I mentioned in my first post, I'm absolutely aware of the fact that gaining muscle doesn't only depend on your training, but also on your nutrition and rest.
Why do gymnasts gain muscles very slow? Because they don't train for hypertrophy right? That means their gaining process takes a lot longer?

What I didn't understand is the switching with the WOD weeks and hypertrophy weeks! Why do that?

Thanks for your help

#9 gekitsu

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 02:44 PM

Why do gymnasts gain muscles very slow? Because they don't train for hypertrophy right? That means their gaining process takes a lot longer?


that would be my guess, at least.
for effective performance, you need as much strength output as possible per pound of muscle - hence, maximal strength at minimum necessary mass should be priority. (we had a bit of that in the weightlifting thread - someone there said that gymnasts arent very leg-heavy because overly strong or enduring legs arent needed for performance. thus, useless leg bulk for a 600lbs deadlift is essentially ballast weight)

#10 Gregor

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Posted 09 January 2009 - 04:09 AM

And you have diffrent type of gymnastics bodies:
1.all-arounder
2.floor and vault specialist
3.pommel horse specialist
4.still rings specialist
5.p.bars specialist/high bar specialists

3. and 5. are quite simmiliar bodys - they are lean but strong and not so much of hypertrofy
Floor and vault specialist strong and bigger legs (most simetrical)
Rings - no legs strong and big upper body

#11 carnegie

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 01:21 PM

Thanks for the recent answers. Ok that brings me to the question: How can I combine static with dynamic training? Static being the progressions I'm doing and dynamic my BWE workout. Any suggestions? Is something about that mentioned in the book?

#12 Noxxs

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 03:15 AM

Btw: Alexander Lechner often posts in a german forum found at www.fighterfitnessforum.com as onearmchinner.