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  1. #1
    Registered User vadimroschin's Avatar
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    Possible to get BIG without weights?

    Need input/ advice please...

    I really want my body to look a certain shape/form but it looks like it may require me going to the gym and using weights... and would help me a lot knowing if it's possible to just get there by primarily doing different types of hard core push ups, pull ups, and sit ups (talking only about the upper body)...

    The look I'm trying to achieve is looking like actors Scott Adkins, or Jean Claude Van Damme (in his peak years eventually.

    The reason why I ask is because I am extremely limited on time (work, kids, gas/time/$ for gym, etc.), and my "free" time to work out would only be at home for up to a couple of hours at night time...

    For the past year I've been primarily focusing on losing fat by cutting calories and mixing in pushups and pullups (taking it slow and avoiding losing muscle). Was 210, now 176...haven't lost muscle.

    Please tell me if it's do-able. Thanks a lot!
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  2. #2
    Registered User SwiftyX's Avatar
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    Depends on what you mean by big. You can progress for a while but at some point you need to load the exercises. BW push ups and chins will never get you "big"
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  3. #3
    Registered User vadimroschin's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SwiftyX View Post
    Depends on what you mean by big. You can progress for a while but at some point you need to load the exercises. BW push ups and chins will never get you "big"
    I just meant as big as those 2 people i mentioned...they're not huge but bigger than normal.
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  4. #4
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    post pictures of them so we can see what you mean
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  5. #5
    Registered User BTOC's Avatar
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    I doubt

    you could ever pull the look of VanDamme without some weight training, but genetics has alot to do with it too. And why ignore your legs? Dont be one of those guys that just works upper body.
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  6. #6
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    without weights you will get to a point where you will not get any bigger..if that is enough for you then great. each person has different genetics..so f you are lucky you might get a good physique with just push ups pull ups etc... but again you will reach a point where no more improvement
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  7. #7
    Unconquerable WarWithWeakness's Avatar
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    Provided you keep making the exercises harder as you progress, you can get big using any form of training. Just remember not to add reps as your means of progression, but modify the exercises to be more difficult instead.

    Weights would be the best option, but if you don't have the time or money, you'll just have to be a little creative.
    A man can only be beaten in two ways: if he gives up, or dies.
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  8. #8
    Registered User bushwickboris's Avatar
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    google the great gamma of india, world champion wrestler over 100 years ago no weights
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  9. #9
    Getting these legs back Simpy's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by WarWithWeakness View Post
    Provided you keep making the exercises harder as you progress, you can get big using any form of training. Just remember not to add reps as your means of progression, but modify the exercises to be more difficult instead.

    Weights would be the best option, but if you don't have the time or money, you'll just have to be a little creative.
    But how much can a bodyweight exercise be modified without adding weights?
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  10. #10
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    Originally Posted by vadimroschin View Post
    Need input/ advice please...

    I really want my body to look a certain shape/form but it looks like it may require me going to the gym and using weights... and would help me a lot knowing if it's possible to just get there by primarily doing different types of hard core push ups, pull ups, and sit ups (talking only about the upper body)...

    The look I'm trying to achieve is looking like actors Scott Adkins, or Jean Claude Van Damme (in his peak years eventually.

    The reason why I ask is because I am extremely limited on time (work, kids, gas/time/$ for gym, etc.), and my "free" time to work out would only be at home for up to a couple of hours at night time...

    For the past year I've been primarily focusing on losing fat by cutting calories and mixing in pushups and pullups (taking it slow and avoiding losing muscle). Was 210, now 176...haven't lost muscle.

    Please tell me if it's do-able. Thanks a lot!
    Van Damme was actually a bodybuilder for many years. And he uses weights and bodyweight to train up for movies.
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  11. #11
    Registered User vadimroschin's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the responses, guys!
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  12. #12
    Unconquerable WarWithWeakness's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Simpy View Post
    But how much can a bodyweight exercise be modified without adding weights?
    Only thing you'll have trouble with are legs.

    Push ups, keep elevating feet until you're doing handstand push ups, 100% bodyweight + a lot of required stabilisation which will force a harder contraction.
    Or, do one arm push ups, and either elevate feet or progress to doing them on fingertips, then use fewer fingers.

    Pull ups, do them on a thick bar, or from a hanging rope, or with an otherwise modified grip.
    Progress to doing muscle ups.
    Progress to a one arm chin up (if you eat like you're trying to bulk, this will actually make you big, as opposed to the guys who do these at ridiculously light weight).

    If that's not enough, get into gymnastics and do planches and iron crosses and other freaky displays of strength.

    Bottom line is if you eat enough and your muscles contract hard enough, you will grow.
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  13. #13
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    I'm not trying to be an ass here, but I feel it must be said.

    I think a lot of us feel the same way about the gym. We don't have time to go to the gym due to our schedules with work, kids and family. With the ecconomy the way it is who has the money to join the gym?

    I was in the same boat, but it was important enough to me to find a way. I cut out a couple of meals out a month to save enough money for the gym membership and joined a gym with my kids and got them involved as well. It became a family outing. There are gyms that have free child care in them as well. Where there is a will there is a way.

    One of my favorite quotes on working out is

    "I don't have time to go to the gym........I make time."

    I wish I knew who said it.

    I fully understand your plight and wish you the best. All I can say is that the gains you want to make will not come without sacrafice. Bodyweight excersizes will only get you so far. Buckle down and find the time. It will get you to your goals much faster and you will not be disapointed in your results.
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  14. #14
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    ...

    You can have decent looking body without weights. Keep a low bf, do push ups like mad etc but like most people have said you will reach a point where you're not progressing your look. One person suggested to keep elevating your legs until do handstand pushups. That is more similar to a shoulder press. Your chest won't be under tension. I would suggest a gym. However, if you can achive the look you want without weights than do your thing. The look I want can't be done outside of a weight room. Question, how would you work your traps without weights?
    It's you verses the weights and the weights never give up or give in. All out WAR!
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    "If you have a door.....YOU HAVE A GYM!" - Randy Couture.

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    Looking like those 2 is a bit crazy. It also depends on your genetics too. ****ty genetics, tough luck.

    BE exercise.
    Push up you can range from regular push up to 1 hand push up to unorthodox instability push up.
    Pull up can range from regular pull up to dead hang pull up to 1 hand pull up.
    1 leg squat.
    Head stand push up. Maybe even 1 hand push up.
    Instability workout works well here.
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  17. #17
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    In order to gain strength/size you must increase the amount of weight you lift with each muscle group. If you limit the amount of weight you can lift to your bodyweight then you are limiting the amount of strength/size that you can gain. Whether or not that maximum that you can acheive is "big" enough for you is subjective.
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  18. #18
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    Originally Posted by SwiftyX View Post
    Depends on what you mean by big. You can progress for a while but at some point you need to load the exercises. BW push ups and chins will never get you "big"
    They can if you make them harder (handstands, 1-arms, etc)

    Originally Posted by BTOC View Post
    you could ever pull the look of VanDamme without some weight training, but genetics has alot to do with it too.
    You mean genes? I don't think weight implements are a necessity for VD's look, he wasn't incredibly huge.

    why ignore your legs?
    Chafing! duh.

    Originally Posted by GillesB View Post
    without weights you will get to a point where you will not get any bigger you will reach a point where no more improvement
    Unproven stereotype. People who set the world records for bodyweight moves may not be big, but they tend to specialize in one movement and atrophy muscles not used in it. The world record for pull ups and hand stand push ups likely does not build his legs with pistol squats or 1-legged good mornings.

    Show me someone who has reached a point where they're doing hundreds of repetitions with the most difficult movements for every bodypart. Then we'll see how small they are.

    Originally Posted by WarWithWeakness View Post
    remember not to add reps as your means of progression, but modify the exercises to be more difficult instead.
    Adding reps is a valid means of progression, the whole 'forget reps switch to harder stuff' is more for when people have attained a higher amount of them to save time and switch to more strength than endurance generation.

    Originally Posted by bushwickboris View Post
    google the great gamma of india, world champion wrestler over 100 years ago no weights
    Ignoring that I'm pretty sure Gamma swung very heavy clubs (weight training) and used stone neck weights to do difficult squats, he spent his time grappling with other very strong men, not something we all have the luxury of.

    Originally Posted by Simpy View Post
    But how much can a bodyweight exercise be modified without adding weights?
    A lot, give an example and we'll see what we can do.

    Originally Posted by KurtyJ99 View Post
    Van Damme was actually a bodybuilder for many years.
    Everyone's a bodybuilder these days, where do we draw the line?

    Originally Posted by WarWithWeakness View Post
    Only thing you'll have trouble with are legs.
    How small are the guys who can do dozens of pistols? Household counterweights could go a long way too.

    Originally Posted by WarWithWeakness View Post
    either elevate feet or progress to doing them on fingertips, then use fewer fingers.
    I don't see the point in fingers, sure for hand strength or whatever but I don't think it would load the prime movers much. The instability would just make a bosu ball effect, in which case I'd rather just use a bosu, seems safer.

    Originally Posted by WarWithWeakness View Post
    Pull ups, do them on a thick bar, or from a hanging rope, or with an otherwise modified grip.
    Good for wrist hypertrophy I guess, otherwise doubt it'd affect the back.

    Originally Posted by angelofangle View Post
    depends on your genetics too. ****ty genetics, tough luck.
    Genes, not genetics. As for them, I think people tend to embellish their effects. Keep in mind that the people who will see more muscular development from easy exercises are the people who are LEAST efficient. The genetic superfreaks who have perfect proportions for doing things easier see less muscular development because they don't need to expend as much energy.

    So, on the plus side, if you don't see results from training due to your genes, you're likely some kind of mega-efficient guy who will turn out to be incredibly strong some day, go rock out some 1-arm HSPUs Mr. Genefficient.


    Originally Posted by PeterGibbons316 View Post
    In order to gain strength/size you must increase the amount of weight you lift with each muscle group.
    This is false. To gain strength the resistance does need to be increased over time, but this can happen by means other than weight increase, such as decreasing the leverage, exploding faster, or using other implements like resistance bands.

    Weight increase seems like the best way to progress to me, due to the reliability of the numbers involved, it's easiest to track progression. But it is not a 'must', using more difficult paths to strength (including grappling with bison) are still options. They just usually involve a lot more guesswork and in some cases more danger.

    Originally Posted by PeterGibbons316 View Post
    If you limit the amount of weight you can lift to your bodyweight then you are limiting the amount of strength/size that you can gain.
    Incorrect, with movement modification the potential of bodyweight movements are limitless. In analogy to the bench press: if you got good enough at explosive clapping push ups, you could see the same kind of pectoral hypertrophy we see in big benchers.

    In practise we don't see this very often, because benchers can make subtle adjustments to their programs and be more aware of whether or not they're making progress. Things like plyometrics involve stuff that's ridiculously hard to keep track of like "just how far off the ground is my sternum travelling?". They force people to generate the force voluntarily when it is not necessary. People who do movements like benching or squatting put themselves in positions where they must press out of the hole or be injured and crushed. That may be why they see more success.

    This makes weights probably the most tried and true method (based on how everything seems) but not the only one. Others can be tried, and should if people lack options until they create more options for themselves, but if they don't work out, then the choice of where it is best to turn next is obvious.
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    It's possible to get big, but not BIG lol. Free weights are key, especially for gaining mass. Screw the machines, they don't even compare to free weights!
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    Originally Posted by freyer View Post
    It's possible to get big, but not BIG lol.
    Except that it is.
    Originally Posted by freyer View Post
    Free weights are key, especially for gaining mass.
    If by 'key' you mean the ideal most methodical and reliable means of doing so, sure. If you mean the exclusive requirement by which you could not do without, then no. It's like protein, free weights are like your whey and bodyweight is like your soy.
    Originally Posted by freyer View Post
    Screw the machines, they don't even compare to free weights!
    Incorrect, everything compares to everything. "Doesn't compare" is a false expression used to express extreme dissatisfaction with something.

    That said: many large men do utilize machines, both those who do and do not use free weights. Tell them they're wrong. (Note: I'm not a big guy, but I don't have access to machines so it's a moot point).
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    Originally Posted by Tyciol View Post
    Except that it is.
    No.
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    Yeah, I think you can get plenty jacked without weights. Obviously I have no proof these guys never touched a free weight, but I would think they rarely did, and mostly just did bodyweight gymnast exercises. You can do plenty without any free weights.
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    inb4omegablazemysteriousworkoutplan
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    big takes a good amount or resistance. more than you will get from your own body weight
    Some call it obsession, I call it dedication
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    Originally Posted by Greco-Roman View Post
    Yeah, I think you can get plenty jacked without weights. Obviously I have no proof these guys never touched a free weight, but I would think they rarely did, and mostly just did bodyweight gymnast exercises. You can do plenty without any free weights.
    First, most gymnasts (from what I know) actually have lifted weights over a period of time at some point or still do as part of their training. Second, as you mentioned, the pics you posted prove jack sh*t.Third, no one here is talking about doing bodyweight exercises equivalent to that of what a gymnast performs during training or an actual routine. Fourth, neither one of the people in the pics you posted are "Big", they are lean with *some* muscle mass.
    My Training Journal: http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=120696121
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    Registered User freyer's Avatar
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    Everyone's got different opinions on machines vs. free weights, so I really can't argue you're OPINION. But go to any gym, the big guys who are adding mass are all doing free weights. Machines are useful but free weights are the way to go man - sorry I don't have any scientific BS to back this up. - you guys are problly the one's who believe Couture when he says, "Got a door? Got a gym!" lol
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    ^ Guarantee that guy has CRAZY genetics haha. And just cause he has a bad-@$$ workout w/o weights doesn't mean he doesn't use them lol.

    I feel like this entire post isn't even helping Vadimroschin anymore haha
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    Originally Posted by Greco-Roman View Post

    Yeah, I think you can get plenty jacked without weights. Obviously I have no proof these guys never touched a free weight, but I would think they rarely did, and mostly just did bodyweight gymnast exercises. You can do plenty without any free weights.
    the real question is why would u want to, not 'is it possible'.

    its purely a question of efficiency. gymnasts spend many hrs a day training, u can get jacked by spending 4hrs a week with weights properly. why any1 would continue wondering about this issue any further is just mind blowing.

    also...those gymnasts u posted happen to be the more jacked ones out of all of them, some of them dont look anything special at all. watch a gymnastics comp - there is a huge variation in how jacked they look (due to genetics). on the other hand look at a bb'ing comp (even natty one) - they are all jacked in comparison.

    apparently mike tyson hardly ever did any weight training at all. i guess that means the hundreds of other successful skinny boxers (who had to train weights to move up weight class) must just be retards who didnt really know what they were doing
    "Though the concept is not scientifically validated in detail (it should be considered as a hypothesis rather than a scientific theory), it is useful from a practical standpoint. When training athletes, it is impossible to wait until scientific research provides all of the necessary knowledge." Vladmir M. Zatsiorsky, Ph.D.
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    i dont think u can
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