Can you build muscle with ONLY bodyweight training? To answer with a single word YES. But let’s dive a bit deeper to understand how this phenomenon works. First, we must understand what “building muscle” means from a scientific standpoint. Another word for building muscle is hypertrophy, and there are two types of hypertrophic responses that the body can achieve through exercise.
The two types of ways to “gain mass” are sarcoplasmic and myofibrillar hypertrophy. Sarcoplasmic has to do with gaining visible size and increasing each muscle’s mass, whereas myofibrillar hypertrophy has to do with expanding the tonus and definition of each muscle’s fibers. Sarcoplasmic is a typical bodybuilding goal, which is where the size of the muscle increases based on the increase of fluid inside it. Myofibrillar hypertrophy is a plan more suited towards athletes and functionality, with the purpose being to increase the number of muscle fibers to increase density.
What is the Best Type of Strength Training?
Now that we understand the two significant hypertrophy types, we must figure out which kind of strength training improves each one. With bodyweight training, there are generally two approaches to accomplish these goals. In terms of sarcoplasmic, high rep calisthenics is the best approach to achieve this goal because the high volume mixed with low rest accumulates a lot of lactate in the muscles causing them to “swell” and increase in visible size over time. For myofibrillar, this is usually a goal more suited towards athletes and people looking for functional fitness. With bodyweight training, progressive calisthenics is best to achieve this because resistance is progressively increasing. In bodyweight exercise, the resistance used is gravity, which is increased based on the progression of activities, leading to increased overall strength and a slight increase in size due to increased muscle fiber recruitment.
Ok, so we have answered the question using science. We have gone over the two types of “building muscle” and even explained the training types to help with each one. Finally, we can answer the real question on everybody’s mind. which style of training do I need to do. Well, to answer this, we can use a simple question in return. First, go to your bathroom and look in the mirror and ask yourself this honest question: do I want bigger muscles (pure mass)? Do I want more defined muscles (tone and vascularity)? If the answer is size, then take the high rep calisthenics approach. If it is tone and definition. Then look towards progressive calisthenics, and if it is both (like most of us, if we are honest), then do a mixture of both. Still, the real secret comes in the programming.
I just want to say thank you for making it this far in my second ever full blog post. I hope that I was able to teach you something. Knowledge is nothing but forgotten if it is not shared. So that is what I am here to do with you all. Share what I know to help in any way that I can. Be sure to check back for future posts dealing with healing on all levels physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me @firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay up to date with my articles at www.7dayaweekveganology.com. And, you can also find some of my posts on Instagram @the_veganologist.