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Should I still bother with bodyweight exercises for fat loss and strength build?


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OK, so I've been doing full-body workouts with dumbbells, and I've managed to hit 30 lbs in full dumbbell weight on my press and curls, but I don't look or feel like I've lost any weight. My muscles are getting bigger. Although my arms still look fat on the surface, I see more muscle definition when I flex. That being said, I still can't do a push-up, nor can I do a pull-up.

 

If I weigh 208 lbs and can only hit 5-6 reps on inverted push-ups, should I bother with bodyweight exercises?

 

The last time I weighed, I was 208 lbs. I want to get down to 160 lbs some day, but I realized that may take even longer and be more difficult, as I have to eat less calories the lower I go. Also, the only reason I want to get down to 191 lbs or lower, is for the military, but I have been looking into other career options lately, and even applied for AmeriCorps. I'm actually on the waitlist for AmeriCorps NCCC service for this summer.

 

I feel like if I want to gain more control over my body, I will need to do one of two things: Either get much stronger, or lose a lot more weight. I was working with dumbbells, and I may go back to working with dumbbells, but I just got a bit burnt out on working at the gym and doing a whole laundry list of dumbbell exercises, and not knowing if I'm hitting every muscle just right. I also thought that if I wanted to correct my anterior pelvic tilt and lose a lot of fat on my hips, thighs, and butt, and shrink the width of my hips, I would need to lose a lot of weight to "reset" my body composition. So I went back to bodyweight exercises for now, following Neat Progressions.

 

I noticed that I have a similar issue with bodyweight exercises that I did with dumbbells: Lack of stamina. Except, I don't feel sick after doing a bunch of bodyweight exercises real fast. Still, I question if I'm doing any good with it:

 

I did jumping pullups, and that seemed to work my arms really good, even though I only managed to get a good grip and hold every 5 reps.

I did bodyweight rows and hit 20 reps at one point.

I did inverted push-ups on a bench, and couldn't get past 6 reps.

I could barely do Hindu push-ups and pike push-ups.

I could do a straight bridge for 30 seconds before my hands got sore from balancing myself on the ground.

I hit 20 reps in squats, although my thighs aren't sore.

I hit 2 sets of 20 reps in sit-ups.

 

All these movements took a lot of my energy, and even though it didn't hurt, it felt some-what agonizing at times, but I'd be willing to do it again because it's so quick to do, and once it's done, it's done. Only thing is, after doing these exercises, I don't feel sore. The only part of me that is sore are my arms and forearms, as well as my abs/stomach area. everything else feels like I didn't even do anything. My thighs and glutes are a little sore, and I already know my legs are pretty strong as they are, but that's it. I don't feel anything in my chest, and that bothers me, because I want a bigger chest.

 

I think overall, the exercises did some good, and the bodyweight exercises would probably lead to more arm growth than working with dumbbells since I have to work with so much extra weight, and I like how I don't feel like I'm about to pop anything like with weightlifting. Still, I'm worried it didn't do any good simply because my weight kept me from doing a lot of reps.

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I'm no expert, I'm fairly new to workout routines. But I'm going to start this on Monday - http://www.menshealth.co.uk/fitness/let-your-six-pack-go-viral-april-2015-needs-video-link-pics, bringsallyup 28 day push up challenge. I think it's worth giving it a go, your first day will probably be a rubbish time, but drive to beat it everyday coupled with noticeable progress could be good motivation. 

 

I've heard that mixing up your routine every now and again is good for progress, being able to do push ups will help. Push-ups can be varied to do different muscle groups, but work chest muscles as well as arms.

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If you want to do push-ups and pull-ups, then you need to be training for push-ups and pull-ups, preferably without weights.  Remember those are bodyweight exercises, focusing on internal strength, rather than external you get with weights.

That being said, if you can't do full push-ups, or even knee push-ups, that's okay.  There are progressions that you should be able to do.  I weigh nearly 400 lbs, and I do wall push-ups, and doing those gives my pecs a great workout.

I know that you've chosen the ranger's path, and a full bodyweight training regimen probably isn't your thing, but if you get curious, I'd check out the book Convict Conditioning.  It's a great reference for learning bodyweight exercises.  Also check out the works of Al and Danny Kavadlo. 

Good luck. 

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8 hours ago, Warnamon said:

I just got oddly frustrated, but I'm gonna stick to it. I just get paranoid I'm not doing any good if I'm not sore in the morning, and I was expecting it, but from what I've researched, soreness is not an indicator of progress.

 

Nah, I had the same idea/concern and some folks here straightened me out. Not having DOMS just means your body is getting used to what you're doing. I don't get them when I'm adding weight to the moves I already do, but will get them something fierce when I'm targeting something new.

 

15 hours ago, Warnamon said:

 

I feel like if I want to gain more control over my body, I will need to do one of two things: Either get much stronger, or lose a lot more weight. I was working with dumbbells, and I may go back to working with dumbbells, but I just got a bit burnt out on working at the gym and doing a whole laundry list of dumbbell exercises, and not knowing if I'm hitting every muscle just right. I also thought that if I wanted to correct my anterior pelvic tilt and lose a lot of fat on my hips, thighs, and butt, and shrink the width of my hips, I would need to lose a lot of weight to "reset" my body composition. So I went back to bodyweight exercises for now, following Neat Progressions.

 

If you're concerned about form, you can always post some form videos here, lots of great advise that will save you some worries and hurting.

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If you mean have most of my excess weight be in muscle, then yes, I totally agree. The military seems to be more concerned with whether or not you can handle your own weight and body, rather than how heavy you are.

 

I'm going to do bodyweight exercises over the summer due to lacking equipment, but for now, I'm thinking about going back to barbell training, while being cautious with the squats. However, I am interested in experimenting with medicine ball exercises, as well.

 

I don't expect to get really strong from them, I don't even see medicine balls as being good for building strength, but if someone can prove me wrong, I'd love to hear how. Mainly, I just want to give it a try for burning excess calories, continuing to build a better, sturdier body, and have something different and exciting to do in general. Maybe even something I can do with my friend, who has been wanting to go to the gym with me and occasionally does.

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