Even though I have always been fascinated by bodyweight feats of strength, I have never committed to practicing bodyweight exercises as my sole means of strength training. Every four years I am glued to the screen watching the Olympic Games. I practically call in sick from work just to marvel at so many people who are able to do such incredible things with their bodies. Other than the weightlifting events, I enjoy the gymnastic performances the most. Such athleticism. Such incredible strength, and such incredible strength training without weights.
I have read that some gymnasts use weights, but some do not. They obviously can do what they do without them. Anyways, every four years I watch the gymnasts and think “I should really get into some bodyweight training.” Then I don’t. The main reason? I just enjoy lifting weights too much. There is something I get from heavy kettlebells and barbells and moving weights through the air at high speeds that I just can’t give it up entirely.
But if you’ve been following my progress with the one arm pullup, you know that I have been incorporating bodyweight drills into my routines, whenever they test well according to the Gym Movement protocol. My framework is Paul Wade’s Convict Conditioning book.
I have made the shift towards more bodyweight exercise for a couple of reasons:
1. I am tall and a lot of people have said “You’re too heavy/tall/old to do a one-arm (insert bodyweight feat here)–I want to prove them wrong
2. As long as I know I get to use weights whenever I want, I am really enjoying bw drills. Before, when I would follow try to follow strict bodyweight programs, I would never make as much progress as possible, because I would start to miss weight training and I’d let myself get distracted.
3. Now that I’m structuring my workouts with biofeedback testing (check out my Grip and Rip 2.1 review for more on that), I know that I can make faster progress than I used to. This makes me anxious to try as many strength training styles as possible, simply because there will be days when loaded movement do not test well. And now I can progress steadily in my bodyweight workouts even though they are pretty infrequent.
Some of the strongest people I know do all of their workouts without weights, and many of them workout at home without weights of any kind. And they can do handstand pushups and back flips and…well, I’ll stop there.
For those of you who have been tracking my progress: I am getting closer to the one arm chinup every single day, even though I’m not doing vertical pulling each day. And all my other lifts are increasing as well. There really are ways to progress in many directions at once.
Stay curious. Test everything. Experiment. Have fun. Ask questions. Get strong.