Can bodyweight strength training rival the results produced through lifting weights?
In this article and video I talk about my experience attempting to deadlift after years of bodyweight strength training.
Deadlifting Power Vs Bodyweight Strength Training
Most of my training revolves around partner acrobatics, which technically involves lifting an external weight. But the people I work with are generally under 150 pounds, so we’re not talking about a lot of weight here.
When I need to get stronger, I mostly rely on bodyweight exercises like squat, pushups, bridge, and pull up progressions.
Now everyone will acknowledge that you can get a bit stronger doing these kind of movements, but many serious weight lifters balk at the idea that anyone could build the type of power hardcore weight lifters do when they lift barbells loaded with heavy weights.
But is this true?
Andrew Joins A Gym
For the last few months I’ve been living in Mexico, so I can’t practice with my normal acrobatic partners. And there’s not so much as a pull up bar in the apartment I’m renting, so I decided to join a gym.
They have something called a hex bar, which is a special weight lifting bar built to allow those with mobility limitations to safely deadlift with good form.
My ankle dorsiflexion isn’t great, so I’ve never been willing to do any serious deadlifting before. If you don’t have the mobility to get into good deadlifting position, you risk serious injury when you add more than minimal amounts of weight.
But access to the hex bar bypassed my mobility issue, so I could try this fun experiment.
I thought it would be cool to test just how much weight I could lift, having never done any serious deadlift training.
So how did I do? Turns out I can lift 380 pounds off the floor, which is well over double my bodyweight.
Not too shabby for someone who relies on gravity and their own body. Check out the video above to see what deadlifting looks like.
Bodyweight Exercise Progressions
Most people who think you can’t gain any appreciable strength with bodyweight training don’t progress past the basics or simply add volume. Doing 300 regular push ups isn’t going to make you any stronger – it will only build muscular endurance.
But progressing through decline pushups, diamond push ups, or one armed pushups will continuously up the ante.
If you’re not getting stronger with your exercise program, ask yourself if you’re continuously making what you do more challenging. If you’re not, that’s the reason why you’re stuck.