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Redmajician
1/06/2017 1:05pm,
Good folks of Bullshido:

I'm looking into an all-bodyweight exercise routine. This isn't out of misguided belief that BW conditioning is superior to weightlifting, but pure convenience; I lack a car and live in southern California. Getting to the gym is a bitch, plus I can't realistically afford anything besides Planet Fitness (a whole other ball of wax). I presently have access to a neighborhood gym, but they have no barbells, and I will be moving for closer access to my college soon.

To my point: with pullups and pushups being my only upper-body conditioning, what would the effect of ONLY doing running, sprints, and bodyweight (+40lb vest) squats be on my lower body strength? Further, the ratios between upper and lower body strength and size?

If the effects would be detrimental, do you have any recommendations?

I'm also open to alternative exercises in general, any somewhat related advice is appreciated. Thanks, guys!


A few things to clarify:

- I have lower back/posterior chain exercises that I've previously had success with (bridging, back levers); my lower back will be fine. Also will be doing core exercises.

- I don't have room for a box for box jumps (very sad, it did cross my mind as a solution)

- As it stands, I'm more interested in developing different forms of endurance (LSD running, HIIT running once I'm back at 7 mph for 1 hr, and a calisthenic-based aerobic routine) than strength as maximum force output.

- my financial situation will change soon and I will take up boxing, thus my focus on endurance; I'd like to be able to keep up in class and not get gassed so that I can focus on developing skill, not conditioning. I can condition for free.

submessenger
1/06/2017 1:36pm,
Well, you seem to have a good head about you. I'm sure I sound like a broken record, but your goals are key to how you train.

Bodyweight + cardio is going to get you lean and mean; endurance and some strength.

Get a jump-rope.

Building strength requires loading, and there are ways to get that for essentially free (think 5-gallon buckets with water (40+ pounds per full bucket) or cured cement (100-ish pounds per full bucket)). Scrounge around, or drop $10 or so at your local home improvement store. Be careful, and safe, though, the little metal handles don't do well with repetition or excess weight. So, get some thick rope, too, cut some holes in the buckets and knot the rope so the buckets are secure. Bonus - if you're careful, you can upturn the buckets for box jumping.

You could also look into municipal facilities, nearby. I occasionally use a weight room that is county-owned. Costs me nothing other than the taxes I've already paid, and the time I put in. Bonus is that it's usually empty, I don't have to wait like I might at a Planet or other gym.

Be "explosive" when you weight train. For martial arts, especially. Doesn't matter that you can squat 600 pounds, it matters that you can make 200 pounds airborne on a hair trigger.

ChenPengFi
1/06/2017 3:13pm,
It depends on how fit you are currently.

Redmajician
1/07/2017 8:02pm,
Thanks for the responses, guys.

ChengPengFi, here's some benchmarks from my last workouts. Pretty poor, but I've come pretty high from further down before:

Height: 6 feet 2 inches
Weight: 220 lbs

RUN: Last run was 3.6 miles in 38 minutes, fairly flat terrain (neighborhood loop).
PUSHUPS: First set: 16 reps
PULLUPS: can do 5 pullups without kipping/ab crunching, chin over bar, shoulder girdle(? vocab check) locked.
SPRINT: Have been doing more of a short, variable-speed run than true sprints. 10 minutes, three cycles of increasing and decreasing speed, done after calisthenics (distance run is a separate day). Done on the treadmill to keep track of my top speed easier, may change that. Top speed last time was 9.2 mph set to 2% incline, held for 45 seconds.

submessenger, I may get a jumprope, I hear it referenced in the context of boxing conditioning a lot. Last time I tried to start that I suffered for being a cheap-ass and got one that was way too tiny for me. Will look for a nicer one.

Also, holy **** 100lbs per bucket of concrete? Right now I don't have room for much of anything, but I'll look into that when I move to my next place.

Your suggestion for explosiveness makes me think clap push-up... agh can't find the name but when you do a squat-jump and lift your knees to your chest in air, burpees woud be a good idea. Once I can do a few more pushups that is.

1point2
1/08/2017 4:32am,
At your current level of fitness I would focus on the basics: running, pull-ups, push-ups. I'm not saying "don't do clap push-ups and other fun stuff" but keep them a small dessert portion of your workout. I'd look at goals like 10 strict pull-ups, 7 or 8 minute mile, and fifty push-ups in a set.

As to the original question about lower body strength, it's not clear what your benchmarks in that area are, so it's unclear how a bodyweight routine will change your body. It doesn't matter anyway, you should just do what you can. Bodyweight lunges, squats, high and broad jumps (no need for a box), sprints (not on a treadmill—that's a fast run, not a sprint), and single-leg squats (both pistol and "king deadlift" versions) are fine for your situation. Maybe set a goal of 50 or 100 squats in one set.

dan.peterson
1/14/2017 1:12pm,
Hey Redmajician,
planks! do planks, elbows on the floor, keep your body tight for sets of whatever you can handle. I made my goal 5 minutes still, I'm at 5 min 47 seconds now. This will take your physical shape to a whole new level.

As 1point2 said, adding to that, find the most basic conditioning exercises, you'll be doing them your whole life anyways, squats, deadlifts, planks, adductor lifts, abductors lifts/flies, pushups, pullups, leg raises, spine extensions (yeah don't forget your spine please...) etc pick one for each major move or muscle group and set a goal for it, 25 reps in a row with controlled form can be the first one, then 50, then 100, then adding a little resistance.
Add some stretching in between sets, and complement it with technique practice if you do any martial art or sport, and that's it. You can have fun with this for months till you get a pretty decent shape, and after this you'll probably be better off than most students at regular schools (sadly...).

Train smart :)

ChenPengFi
1/14/2017 1:19pm,
Thanks for the responses, guys.

ChengPengFi, here's some benchmarks from my last workouts. Pretty poor, but I've come pretty high from further down before:

Height: 6 feet 2 inches
Weight: 220 lbs

RUN: Last run was 3.6 miles in 38 minutes, fairly flat terrain (neighborhood loop).
PUSHUPS: First set: 16 reps
PULLUPS: can do 5 pullups without kipping/ab crunching, chin over bar, shoulder girdle(? vocab check) locked.
SPRINT: Have been doing more of a short, variable-speed run than true sprints. 10 minutes, three cycles of increasing and decreasing speed, done after calisthenics (distance run is a separate day). Done on the treadmill to keep track of my top speed easier, may change that. Top speed last time was 9.2 mph set to 2% incline, held for 45 seconds.

submessenger, I may get a jumprope, I hear it referenced in the context of boxing conditioning a lot. Last time I tried to start that I suffered for being a cheap-ass and got one that was way too tiny for me. Will look for a nicer one.

Also, holy **** 100lbs per bucket of concrete? Right now I don't have room for much of anything, but I'll look into that when I move to my next place.

Your suggestion for explosiveness makes me think clap push-up... agh can't find the name but when you do a squat-jump and lift your knees to your chest in air, burpees woud be a good idea. Once I can do a few more pushups that is.



I wasn't really asking for details.
My point is if your current workload is less than before, then you will likely see little benefit aside from some maintenance.
If your current workload is more than before, you can expect to make some progress.
That's all.

Redmajician
1/14/2017 6:39pm,
@ChengPengFi, apologies for the TMI. Still sound advice, thank you.

@1Point2 thanks for the tips. You're right, I realize that I don't actually have anything in the way of lower body benchmarks. I was doing barbell squats awhile back, but... That was awhile back. I've set up a system rooted in what you said, focusing on hitting certain goals before starting more advanced exercises. So, I'll get to 50 pushups and then start clap pushups and working towards handstand pushups. Can't do pistols, so I'm building up to that. Squat jumps and single-leg bridges right now.

Also figuring out how to work out between classes/bus stops. Bought rope and a length of pipe to do pullups on a sturdy tree. Have handlebars for slightly modified pushups. A towel for jackknives and bridges. Squat jumps are fun, don't care if I get funny looks. On school days I bring all this in a small bag and set goals, like 110 pushups 25 pullups today et cetera. Days off I just do 5 sets of each exercise. For running, just gonna focus on distance running until I can run 7 miles in an hour.

@Dan honestly I get bored with front planks, but I rediscovered side planks when I was looking for a replacement for my previous. They really are great, I never appreciated them enough when I was first shown them. Thought I was too cool with my medicine ball.