Ever wonder why gymnasts look so ripped doing little to no weight lifting and using primarily body weight exercises as their main form of resistance training?
A lot of people tend to scoff at bodyweight exercises, figuring that they are an inferior method of developing a better physique. But bodyweight training can enhance your look and performance, and there are ways to make it more challenging and productive.
Take my strength regimen for instance. I recently altered my training to include higher volumes of exercises two days a week. As a result I’m seeing huge increases in my muscular endurance. I find that lowering the weight or doing an increased amount of body weight exercises such as push ups or pull ups, allows me to better work my muscles to a state of complete exhaustion without fear of injury. For example, completing 500 push ups (broken up in sets of 10) in one training session.
Other days I focus more so on building strength and lifting heavier weights, but those days are now limited.
A high volume program allows you to both increase muscle and lose fat, as well as adapt to a high lactic acid threshold. What does this mean? Lactate threshold is defined as the intensity of exercise at which lactate begins to accumulate in the blood at a faster rate than it can be removed. Why’s this important? Well… Lactate threshold is a performance marker that determines your output (i.e. speed or power) at the point when lactate clearance is optimal. Training past this point not only depletes your limited glycogen stores aggressively, it also significantly reduces your muscle functionality. A classic example is too hard intensity at the start and fatiguing in the latter half of a race.
The bottom line…Muscle growth can be accomplished in a multitude of ways. Sure, a general everyday gym goer will see progress by increasing either intensity of the lift or increasing the volume of the lift. But you can also make gains by simply programming new exercises or modalities: Varying your movement and tempo can make higher-rep, lighter-weight sets feel very difficult.
Whatever training your routine the idea is to continuously switch up your workout regimen so as to keep challenging the body.