Q: About Body weight exercises…
I’ve read that you can’t make any strength or muscle gains with body weight exercises, so I want your perspective, what kind of gains can I make with body weight exercises? If I add a weighted vest or some other weight that will force me to put more effort will it get me to gain strength or muscle?
A: My Answer…
Firstly, as with all fitness and nutrition questions, it’s hard to answer generally as every one’s situation is slightly different. Your training status, body weight, current strength all come into play, but for the most part many people can add both muscle and strength using body weight exercises. And, you could even keep this effect going by increasing the difficulty of the movements or greatly increasing the volume of training that you do. But after a while you will eventually have to move to body movement exercises – Which are essentially body weight exercises with extra weight added to the movement.
Bottom line – I don’t see the average guy building 16 inch arms with just pushups and chins. However, if you add a weighted vest, or chains to your exercise then it really isn’t a body weight exercise anymore..it’s a body movement exercise and I don’t see any reason why you can’t build large muscles with body movement exercises.
(If you think about, a squat is a body weight exercise with added weight.)
So while the muscle building effects of body weight exercises are limited by your body weight and by the amount of time you have to train, switching to body movement exercises like weighted dips, chins, push-ups, and squats keeps the ‘essence’ of the exercise alive, while allowing you to still build muscle.