How to add weight while maintaining bodyweight exercise performance?

From the BluePrint Power Hour

Question

Having experienced the dramatic loss of the reps you can perform with bodyweight exercise (or at least one-armed chins) after packing more muscle, and Coach Wade Johnson’s comments about it taking a year for an athlete to “grow into” their added weight, what are you planning to do? Also, have you discovered anything about how to add weight while maintaining bodyweight exercise performance?

– Richard P.

Answer:

I’ve already made my decision: I dropped my bodyweight back to previous levels and taken the long and patient road. This wasn’t as much by choice as it was necessity: Although I looked alot bigger/fuller with those additional 10lbs on me, the price I paid was tendonitis flaring up again in my elbow, difficulty in balance during unilateral movements and loss of motivation, due to struggling suddenly with the movements.

It was an interesting yet failed experiment, and I’m sharing it here such that others can learn from it. While “bulking up” quickly may help your bench or other traditional weight training movements, it works against you in bodyweight work and hardcore calesthetics. When practicing this craft, you learn real fast that there has never been a more perfect form of strength training in harmony with the principles of both independence and economy.

What I plan to do then is this: Upon reaching the master step in the Big Six movements, I’ll strive to meet the elite standard for each. Once satisfied, I’ll add a small amount of weight to drop the rep range again in an effort to add weight while maintaining performance. I don’t expect it to be a quick 10lbs though, as it’s been in the past. In fact, it can’t be. While some may see this as a detriment, I see it as quite the opposite:

Building smaller amounts of drug free muscle consistently and over time IMO, is the kind of muscle that sticks around.

From The BluePrint Power Hour (Oct. 2, 2012)

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