Sunday, January 18, 2009

Why Strength Train?

So why do you guys train for strength, or specifically bodyweight strength? Is it for fun, do you do it to cross-train for a certain sport, or are you involved in a bodyweight strength centric-sport like gymnastics or climbing? Write me back in the comments. I'm curious what brought you guys here.

Before I was into bodyweight strength training I used to love lifting weights (still do). I love the feeling of intense exertion, the rush that comes with it, and getting pumped up a few sizes bigger than normal. The main reason I switched to bodyweight strength was to increase my body control.

I had already been a dancer for many years (mostly popping, the robot and etc.) and I realized that I was being held back by my lack of upper-body strength, flexibility, and balance. Here's a clip of me from 2006:

After a few more years of strength training I would like to extend this style to include hand-balancing elements, pulling, and complete overhead leg extensions. I don't want to be limited by my body. By training it I hope to be limited only by my imagination. Of course this is an unobtainable ideal, but it gives me direction.

I'd love to be able to move like this (AMEE, from the movie Red Planet):


  1. My first encounter with bodyweight training would come from martial arts. I was around 5 years old. In class we would do some controlled sparring and some katas but we would also have these contests. Handstands against the wall and push ups on knuckles on the wood are two i remember quite clearly. I only got better and stronger as time went on, doing climbing, surfing, acrobatics etc. So martial arts got me serious and had me training harder than ever with bodyweight training, but believe it or not, I didn't become a fanatic with BWT until seeing ninja warrior on g4. Thats when i started working the pull-ups and all like my hair was on fire! lol I trained climbing and bwt with Joe and saw my very first m up on youtube performed by Zakaveli. Marcus Bondi also had a hand in there.

    The reasons for training are fun, cross train for sport, involved in a bodyweight sport and any other reason you can think of! lol BWT is my baby. My love. I'm addicted. I can't stop. Need to rest more. I do it all day. Think about it all day. Need help! lol

  2. I was first introduced to bodyweight training through Ross Training.

    Then, I decided to enter the military, and I did a lot high-rep circuit training with pushups, dips, pullups, box jumps, burpees, etc. After going to OCS (Officer Candidates School), I felt as if I weren't strong enough. I realized that all the high-rep stuff I was doing wasn't getting me strong. I did DeFranco's WS4SB for a while and bulked up, and then I trained for about 3 months out of CrossFit Coronado.

    While I was CrossFitting, I still felt like I wasn't strong enough. I ended up getting really bad shin splints, so I stopped training there, and started doing Starting Strength. Then, after I plateaued, I started doing Gant Grime's Hybrid Program, which incorporated heavy lifting, a few gymnastics static holds, and heavy metabolic conditioning.

    Then, I hurt my lower back while squatting 6 months ago, and I've been having problems with it ever since. Because of problems with my lower back, I resorted exclusively to gymnastics for my upper body strength training. Since purchasing the Gymnastic Bodies book, I've been working on a few things, such as FL, Planche, Full ROM HSPU, OAC, FL Rows.

    I still love barbells, but I feel that bodyweight and ring training adds a different component that you can't get with barbells.

  3. I can see how cross-fit would put a lot of wear and tear on the body with all of the high rep work. I also had a similar experience with heavy deadlifts. It was after hurting my lower back (really the very bottom of my lat) on sumo deadlifts that I switched to single leg lifts and bodyweight work with the upper body. Now I'm incorporating more weights into my routine just to switch things up, but I really think that there is less risk of injury with bodyweight exercises than lifting heavy or even high impact cardio.

  4. Both clips == money!

    As for motivations for training, the fun of the motions is probably enough, isn't it? It's easier to go to the bar when they're littered outdoors, rather than sequestered inside in expensive playgrounds for adults.

  5. Why? I got bored of being fat and weak. Now, I'm less fat, and less weak.

  6. I do it do push my body past its limits and so I can control my body and my mind until the end of time because in the end what else do you have ⓒ

  7. Wow, are you my brother from another mother? That is exactly my thinking. So many people go through life with only the ability to sit, lie down and walk at most at a moderate pace. It's amazing that they choose to be so limited when the body is capable of so much more. Instead they are completely focused on acquiring things that at most they can touch and taste, while they themselves rot from disuse.