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Gymnastics and bodyweight S&C - supperior to weight lifting

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Neal Winkler

Kelly Baggett on gymnastics vs. weightlifting:

A lot of gymnasts can go directly into the weight room without ever touching a weight and throw up a double bodyweight bench press easily. Upper body progressions like chins and dips clearly offer impressive strength benefits to the athlete as well. However, most common sports like football, basketball, track, and volleyball are lower body dominant. Many team sport athletes perform lower body resistance training, yet I do not see most of these lower body dominant athletes utilizing their legs as efficiently as gymnasts use their arms. So, I asked myself, "what would happen if I used a series of progressions for the lower body similar to what gymnasts use for their upper body progressions?"

.....

I'm just saying that your useable strength will progress much quicker if, when possible, you get strong by mastering your bodyweight either before, or at the same time, you get strong with common weight training movements.

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1. There are a multitude of smaller muscles that stabilize the hips, knees, and ankles. Think of the "rotator cuff muscles", but for the hips and legs instead of the shoulders. These muscle are hit hard by single leg resistance variations, yet so are the prime movers (the quads, glutes, and hams). Strengthening these muscles in conjunction with the prime movers seems to give the athlete an increased efficiency when it comes to gaining strength. When they do begin to focus more on loaded movements like squats, their strength quickly shoots up through the roof.

2. For the same reason that a chin-up not only builds strength quicker and builds more transferable strength than a lat pulldown, it enables them to develop useable strength that much faster.

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I believe the single leg "knee to the floor" deadlift is the most under-rated strength training movement there is. It requires a great degree of glute strength, which is where it's at if you wanna be powerful. The pistol squat is like doing a bodyweight front squat on one leg and requires a great degree of quadricep and glute strength.

So, for Kelly Baggett(a very successful speed development coach), developing lower leg strength and power is better/faster if you first build strength with bodyweight movements.

The "single leg deadlift" he gives an example of is easier than Ido's shrimp. Some people call this a "king deadlift" and it's like the intermediate shrimp.

Here the article: http://www.higher-faster-sports.com/singlelegpower.html

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JaKri

BUT Mr. Baggett does not recommend BWEs only for the lower body. For good reasons. Just look at professional gymnasts: Great upper body (except chest), but the lower body is not impressive concerning size and strength. I know it is all about form follows function. But, if one is interested in the most complete strength development possible, he would better train the powerlifts as well. According to my experience bench press, squats and deadlifts are superior to BWEs for the muscular development of the chest and the overall development of the lower body. There is no reason to be dogamtic.

I did a three month BWE+Deadlift experimental routine with no squats and no bench presses:

I lost a lot of chest and leg muscles and my squat went down.

I could maintain my bench press strength due to my increased shoulder strength.

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Neal Winkler
BUT Mr. Baggett does not recommend BWEs only for the lower body. For good reasons. Just look at professional gymnasts: Great upper body (except chest), but the lower body is not impressive concerning size and strength. I know it is all about form follows function. But, if one is interested in the most complete strength development possible, he would better train the powerlifts as well. According to my experience bench press, squats and deadlifts are superior to BWEs for the muscular development of the chest and the overall development of the lower body. There is no reason to be dogamtic.

I did a three month BWE+Deadlift experimental routine with no squats and no bench presses:

I lost a lot of chest and leg muscles and my squat went down.

I could maintain my bench press strength due to my increased shoulder strength.

I agree. I've even recently told a forum member that gymnastics does not build a thick chest. Also, I never said BWE only for lowerbody, I just said Baggetts opinion was BWE first, and then progress using weighted movements (squats, ect) will proceed faster than if you started with weights alone.

I don't know if his opinion is accurate or not, I just thought it was interesting.

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JaKri

I just wanted to clarify this.

Kelly Baggett is one of the best free internet resource. So I have appreciated your post.

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JL
BUT Mr. Baggett does not recommend BWEs only for the lower body. For good reasons. Just look at professional gymnasts: Great upper body (except chest), but the lower body is not impressive concerning size and strength. I know it is all about form follows function. But, if one is interested in the most complete strength development possible, he would better train the powerlifts as well. According to my experience bench press, squats and deadlifts are superior to BWEs for the muscular development of the chest and the overall development of the lower body. There is no reason to be dogamtic.

I did a three month BWE+Deadlift experimental routine with no squats and no bench presses:

I lost a lot of chest and leg muscles and my squat went down.

I could maintain my bench press strength due to my increased shoulder strength.

You didn't do pistol squat , or jumping pistols?

I think this has been talked about much by Ido and Coach Sommers. Namely about throwing in Olympic lifts to get more completeness. This completeness is, however, only good in the context of general preparedness, obviously. Gymnastic conditioning would likely be very stupid for a weightlifter to take part in, or even a distance runner. Tie breaks in O-lifting are broken by giving the nod to the lighter lifter. It would be an interesting experiment to have a pure vault competition, and neglect ring strength and other stuff. I'm not certain of the correlation between rebound ability and pure explosive jumping (like an O-lifter is capable of). I'm also ignorant of all the technical aspects of the vault, and what exactly it would take to maximize it. I'm sure depth jumps would be valuable, though.

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JaKri

I did pistol squats and natural leg curl negatives at the powerrack in two sessions and deadlifts in the other two training sessions. Obviously this was not enough for my lower body.

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Joshua Naterman

No spinal loading! Shouldn't be surprising. I imagine that you would find that squatting once every 10 days in conjunction with weighted pistols and the NLC would result in great squat increases. It works for me! :P But then, when you work really hard, sometimes even once a week is too much. I know a lot of really strong natural guys who only work out each of the big lifts once every 10 days, and they consistently get stronger without supplements.

I too have noticed that balanced gymnastics doesn't build chest thickness as quickly or to the same degree as free weights, but I'm willing to bet that part of the reason(at least) is that weighted dips are not a big part of gymnastics training. You start doing weighted ring dips regularly and your chest WILL grow. Mine is! It's starting to poke out through my shirts! A lot of traditional gymnastics training is based on shoulder strength, because if you think about a lot of what they do, it's not as dependent on the chest. Doesn't mean they are weak, far from it. Doesn't mean gymnasts don't have well developed chests, far from it. This just means that if you want to have a big chest, like everything else you're going to have to work it regularly and specifically.

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Blairbob

For men's gymnastics, excess lower body mass is not preferable considering the apparatus events require a fair to extreme amount of upper body strength. While longer limbs and torso can generate more force for some swinging elements.

Seriously, I think elite men's gymnasts are getting a bad rap when it comes to lower body power. I need to find an elite MAG gymnast who'd be willing to test. Maybe we can get some of Coach Sommer's kids to test?

From what I know/remember, that study and test of gymnasts was back in the 60's or 70's. I do not know if it incorporate both men and women. I'm just thinking Charlie Tamayo or Steve Elliot would change people's opinions.

While gymnasts speed during vault is slower than sprinter's in m/s, this is also because I think they curb their max speed to vault efficiently/safely.

JaKri, awhile back my program was MTh plyometric lower body (sprints, plyo jumps, jumping SLS, 1 leg sprint/jumps)& weighted SLS. Floor Glute Ham with weighted SLS. I felt this pretty much mainted my ability to DL (400+) and BS(350+)@soft 165.

Before I started barbells and squatting in HS, I did predominately BW stuff in karate. I could do SLS though I never tried to see if I could do a dozen or jump in them besides that cossack dance thing. I was a meager sprinter for one season and I'm sure besides SLS we used to do partner squats with them on us like a piggyback. I weighed 125 then.

My first day of BS I was hitting around 200. Within 2 months I was BS 300+ @ under 150. Mostly, it was just getting used to the weight on my shoulders and confidence. I progressed with putting on weight on the bar very quickly like SS.

And lately, I've been doing the SLS in a FS rack style. These are pretty difficult. Actually I think doing them with DB, one in each hand may have been harder but I wasn't able to balance the SLS in a BS rack. Doing them with DB there was a lot of pressure throughout the body.

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Silthanas

I haven't been able to find a GM move that replaces the huge and multiarticulated work of a deadlift. The glute and ham exercises are good, and the lower back exercises are OK, but nothing that substitutes for the whole body effort of heavy pulling.

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Richard Duelley
I haven't been able to find a GM move that replaces the huge and multiarticulated work of a deadlift. The glute and ham exercises are good, and the lower back exercises are OK, but nothing that substitutes for the whole body effort of heavy pulling.

I dont deadlift all that often and when I do its not that intense, usually fatbar work. But every time I max out just to see, my max has gone up. Latest jump was from a 2 rep max of 315lbs on Oct 2, 2009 (I weighed 155 at the time) to a 2 rep max of 345 on Feb 12, 2010 (I weighed in at 162 right after I did the pulls). So I do get a decent amount of carryover from my BW work to the King of all lifts, the deadlift :mrgreen: My goal is 405 by the end of the summer (sooner would be cool :twisted: ), and I am confident that I can do it! 8)

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mike.m

Why would anyone want to build chest thickness ? The old time strong men didn't have big chests and I think they looked just right. I think big chests just get in the way and when or if you stop working out they turn to man boobies.

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Amebix138
I haven't been able to find a GM move that replaces the huge and multiarticulated work of a deadlift. The glute and ham exercises are good, and the lower back exercises are OK, but nothing that substitutes for the whole body effort of heavy pulling.

I dont deadlift all that often and when I do its not that intense, usually fatbar work. But every time I max out just to see, my max has gone up. Latest jump was from a 2 rep max of 315lbs on Oct 2, 2009 (I weighed 155 at the time) to a 2 rep max of 345 on Feb 12, 2010 (I weighed in at 162 right after I did the pulls). So I do get a decent amount of carryover from my BW work to the King of all lifts, the deadlift :mrgreen: My goal is 405 by the end of the summer (sooner would be cool :twisted: ), and I am confident that I can do it! 8)

405 would be pretty impressive, especially at your current bodyweight. What exercises do you attribute to your deadlift gains?

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Richard Duelley
I haven't been able to find a GM move that replaces the huge and multiarticulated work of a deadlift. The glute and ham exercises are good, and the lower back exercises are OK, but nothing that substitutes for the whole body effort of heavy pulling.

I dont deadlift all that often and when I do its not that intense, usually fatbar work. But every time I max out just to see, my max has gone up. Latest jump was from a 2 rep max of 315lbs on Oct 2, 2009 (I weighed 155 at the time) to a 2 rep max of 345 on Feb 12, 2010 (I weighed in at 162 right after I did the pulls). So I do get a decent amount of carryover from my BW work to the King of all lifts, the deadlift :mrgreen: My goal is 405 by the end of the summer (sooner would be cool :twisted: ), and I am confident that I can do it! 8)

405 would be pretty impressive, especially at your current bodyweight. What exercises do you attribute to your deadlift gains?

Everything! lol :mrgreen: If I had to pick something it would be all ring work 8) , backlever work, natural leg curls, and single leg squats. So pretty much getting my entire body stronger not one specific movement.

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Joshua Naterman
I haven't been able to find a GM move that replaces the huge and multiarticulated work of a deadlift. The glute and ham exercises are good, and the lower back exercises are OK, but nothing that substitutes for the whole body effort of heavy pulling.

Of course you haven't! There isn't any single exercise that can replace the work of a deadlift, because a deadlift is extremely taxing, even more so than squats. None of us are suggesting that you can replace a deadlift, if high levels(competitively speaking) of deadlift strength are your goal, nor are we suggesting that the stress on the bones will be equal, particularly on the legs and hips.

What we ARE saying is that you will be relatively strong in all the barbell lifts if you develop a high degree of calisthenic (moving the body through space) strength in all the body's muscle groups. If you can do full NLC,GHR, planche, and BL, you're going to be very strong no matter what lift you try. We aren't saying you'll be in the same strength range as a powerlifter your size, because that's probably not going to happen. You'll still be quite strong by any standards. 2x bodyweight deadlift is nothing to sneeze at, and neither is 1.8x-2x bench press. That won't get anyone a world record, but it will make you one of the strongest guys anyone knows.

If you read this thread, you'll see that there is a very specific point regarding weighted squats and deadlifts. Specifically, this thread's OP and several others in here have stated in no uncertain terms that if you want to develop the lower body's athleticism and strength to the absolute peak, then weighted squats and deadlifts are going to help and can't be completely replaced by bodyweight work.

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Ortprod

Silliest thing I heard was 'gymnastics and weight training don't help your heart develop'

Anyway, judging by Rippetoe's chart for deadlifting per gender/weight class, you are approaching the advanced category Nifty. 411lb is the advanced at 165lb bw. Good job man, keep it up!

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Neal Winkler

There was a big controversy about the strength charts from Rippetoe. I believe he took them out of the second edition of Practical Programming because they were too low.

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Ortprod

That is interesting, nice. O_O

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michael

i dont get why people are saying heavy squats and deadlift will make you grow even if you do low reps or low volume etc, as if gaining any size in your legs is bad but its not like SLS,GHR or any body weight leg stuff wont eather.

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Ortprod
i dont get why people are saying heavy squats and deadlift will make you grow even if you do low reps or low volume etc, as if gaining any size in your legs is bad but its not like SLS,GHR or any body weight leg stuff wont eather.

it's much more limited. Body weight training really is the most inconvenient way to gaining hypertophy because there is only a single load (your body weight) and you only vary leverage which changes which muscles are firing along the chain. Once you get to a certain point with your body weight training it becomes much harder, dare I say impossible, to gain more size without adding weight/pressure/load.

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michael

i understand what your trying to say,but most people do add weight when its needed

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Ortprod

The nature of body weight training is compound movement, there is not much in the way of isolation. The proportions of someone trying to train in body weight training only would be very different than those of a (even natural/no steroid) body builder. Especially in the legs.

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Joshua Naterman

True. They'd look an awful lot like... a gymnast.

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michael

yes,but what i was asking was theres alot of people saying heavy squats/deadlifts are the best thing for your legs but they dont do them because they dont want to gain any weight in there legs.obviously i dont know exactly what they do for legs,but if your doing for example the leg excersises in "building the gymnastic body" i cant see your legs not growing.so if they are better wouldnt it be worth doing them instead because i dont think your legs would get that much bigger than they would doing even "building the gymnastic body" leg excersises let alone watever else they may do for legs.

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irongymnast
The nature of body weight training is compound movement, there is not much in the way of isolation. The proportions of someone trying to train in body weight training only would be very different than those of a (even natural/no steroid) body builder. Especially in the legs.

I don't understand this statement.

How would someone look with bodyweight training and how would someone look with natural bodybuilding? Or their legs?

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braindx
yes,but what i was asking was theres alot of people saying heavy squats/deadlifts are the best thing for your legs but they dont do them because they dont want to gain any weight in there legs.obviously i dont know exactly what they do for legs,but if your doing for example the leg excersises in "building the gymnastic body" i cant see your legs not growing.so if they are better wouldnt it be worth doing them instead because i dont think your legs would get that much bigger than they would doing even "building the gymnastic body" leg excersises let alone watever else they may do for legs.

If you don't eat for the weight you won't gain the weight.

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