High Volume Bodyweight Training?

In Bodyweight Mastery, Health-Mastery, Strongman Mastery by Logan ChristopherLeave a Comment

Hamid asks:

I want to know what are your thoughts on High Volume, High Frequency Basic Bodyweight training like Push-ups, Squats and Situps.

Can these really make trainee strong just like Great Gama, Herschel Walker and Mike Tyson?

Prisoners also do mostly Basic Bodyweight training and they get very impressive physically. They do thousands of push-ups and sit-ups. Charles Bronson is an example.

Does it work for an average person?

There is a time and a place for high volume. Everything has its use…but also drawbacks.

And let’s bust the underlying assumption “Prisoners also do mostly Basic Bodyweight training.” Some do. No doubt about that.

But many places have weights in the yard too.

Years back a guy I knew spent a few months inside for a drug related offence.

We got on the subject of working out while he was there and the stories he told me were ridiculous. This is close to an actual overheard conversation he heard:

“Let’s see, we did chest and arms yesterday so today let’s work our pecs and biceps. And then tomorrow we’ll go big and do some benching and curls.”

Zero leg work. Zero back work. In my opinion, the bench press and curls can be part of an effective program. PART. Not the whole thing!

And the worse part was he said three people in the whole place could bench 225 lbs or more. You’d think if you only did a couple exercises, you’d at least get good at them.

And most would do heavy cheat curls with…80 lbs. I wish I could show you his imitations of their atrocious form. And moving from barbell curls to preacher curls to isolation curls and so on. The advanced guys might…MIGHT do a few one arm rows.

When my friend was doing pullups (yeah I know, a real ‘out there’ exercise) one inmate asked him if that worked the shoulders. He was the only guy doing pullups in the whole place!

So not all prisoners do high volume bodyweight work.

Then there’s the popular book, Convict Conditioning. It’s about bodyweight training, but moving more towards difficult exercises. One arm pullups, one arm pushups, etc. 

I personally prefer this route if strength is the end goal. Not necessarily to the exclusive of higher rep stuff, as just going for singles has its drawbacks too.

Back in the day I worked up to doing a ten minute wrestler’s bridge, 250 Hindu pushups and 1000 Hindu squats, back to back in single sets.

One, while I was stronger than I’d ever been on those exercises, and had great endurance, I was particularly stronger on things such as handstand pushups or pullups.

I achieved my goal of hitting those numbers, but after that I’ve done much lower rep ranges, typically somewhere between one and twenty reps of things.

Secondly, this takes a lot of time. That was a 36 minute workout there. For three sets!

The Great Gama was do daily perform 5000 Hindu squats and 3000 Hindu pushups. This would take about over six hours. Therefore, I doubt that is actually true.

Not to mention the overuse injuries that would very like cause at some point. There is such a thing as too much!

To sum this up, can you get fit with high rep bodyweight exercises? Absolutely. In fact, since it takes no gym membership, equipment or anything, it’s a great place to start out.

The vast majority of people could become fitter and healthier just doing that alone.

But is it the end-all, be-all? Absolutely not.

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