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Weight-Vest Calisthenics a la HDT?
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Fleischman

Alaska, USA

Hi all,

What kind of muscle hypertrophy/muscle definition could one expect from a routine...
1. with Only basic Compound body weight exercises (say: pull up, inverted row, elevated feet push up, dip, squat*), so No isolation exercises,
2. wearing a (say 45-60-lb) adjustable Weight Vest for all exercises
3. following Brian Johnston's HDT principles, particularly that of Density (together with some but not huge/maximum Variation)?

I do not have time for or desire to optimize/maximize my physique potential, but I do want to improve.
I would like to keep it simple (that is: simple equipment, no isolation exercises, no complex training schedule) and convenient (aka at home).

I'd appreciate your opinions & suggestions on my plan.
What kind of physique could I expect?

If you give examples of people I can look up online that'll do. Like, "With your plan, you could end up looking like XYZ".

Or you could say: "With your plan you may reach between X% and Y% of your maximum muscular potential".

Thank you all very much,
F


*I'm in the process of finding an adequate calisthenic exercise to replace the "Deadlift". Hopefully one I can make more challenging with a weight vest.
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BorisV

Maryland, USA

I would argue that tools (equipment, training methods) are tertiary to genetics and your age & training experience. The better genetics you have, coupled with lack of previous training experience and being in the age range of 20-30s, the better the progress you can make (subject to some discipline and proper focus on training, recovery and nutrition) irrespective of the training tools. I think Nattyornot.com provided some valuable guidelines on maximum muscle potential without drugs, you may wish to check ones. And/or you can check measurements of Mr. America contenders from 1930-1940s (John Grimek, Clancy Ross, John Farbotnik, Eiferman, Jules Bacon, Steve Reeves, Jack Delinger, Dick Dubois etc.) and adjust downwards, because these were guys with superior genetics and they most probably used some drugs. Without knowing your age, height, weight, waist and wrist circumferences, as well as years of regular training experience, hardly anyone can tell you for sure. What I know for sure that physiques you can see on youtube and other websites and in professional sports are unattainable without PEDs. Period. Being 5'9", 150 lbs, 29" waist / around 10-12% BF year around, 6.5" wrist, I would be lucky to attain and maintain Vince Gironda's physique in his prime. More realistically, I can be a little bit more muscular than Charles Bronson (actor, Death Wish, Hard Times, The Magnificent Seven etc.).
P.S. I would use weighted vest on only some of the exercises, like dips, pull-ups/chins, squats: no reason to have it on during biceps curls; although I honestly will not be able to make a chin with 60 lbs vest on me. I am not that strong and will never be.
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Average Al

Fleischman wrote:
Hi all,

What kind of muscle hypertrophy/muscle definition could one expect from a routine...
1. with Only basic Compound body weight exercises (say: pull up, inverted row, elevated feet push up, dip, squat*), so No isolation exercises,
2. wearing a (say 45-60-lb) adjustable Weight Vest for all exercises
3. following Brian Johnston's HDT principles, particularly that of Density (together with some but not huge/maximum Variation)?

I do not have time for or desire to optimize/maximize my physique potential, but I do want to improve.
I would like to keep it simple (that is: simple equipment, no isolation exercises, no complex training schedule) and convenient (aka at home).

I'd appreciate your opinions & suggestions on my plan.
What kind of physique could I expect?

If you give examples of people I can look up online that'll do. Like, "With your plan, you could end up looking like XYZ".

Or you could say: "With your plan you may reach between X% and Y% of your maximum muscular potential".

Thank you all very much,
F


*I'm in the process of finding an adequate calisthenic exercise to replace the "Deadlift". Hopefully one I can make more challenging with a weight vest.


The unstated assumption in your question is that the look of your physique is primarily determined by the training program. It is not. Genetics and the natural shape of your body, plus how much body fat you carry, will be bigger factors. Training will make whatever muscle you have bigger; how much bigger depends on the program and your genetics.

IMO, body weight exercises have the least potential for building up muscle (harder to implement progressive overload). Adding the weight vest helps solve that problem. Being a focused bodybuilding routine, I suppose HDT would be better (though I have not tried it). The only way to find out if the extra complexity is worth it for YOUR results is to try it. (I personally find value in doing a larger variety of exercises, just for reduced stress on joints).

It is largely useless to look at pictures of other people to determine what you can expect. Since genetic potential is impossible to quantify, it is hard to assign percentages to what you might achieve.
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Fleischman

Alaska, USA

BorisV wrote:
I would argue that tools (equipment, training methods) are tertiary to genetics and your age & training experience. The better genetics you have, coupled with lack of previous training experience and being in the age range of 20-30s, the better the progress you can make (subject to some discipline and proper focus on training, recovery and nutrition) irrespective of the training tools. I think Nattyornot.com provided some valuable guidelines on maximum muscle potential without drugs, you may wish to check ones. And/or you can check measurements of Mr. America contenders from 1930-1940s (John Grimek, Clancy Ross, John Farbotnik, Eiferman, Jules Bacon, Steve Reeves, Jack Delinger, Dick Dubois etc.) and adjust downwards, because these were guys with superior genetics and they most probably used some drugs. Without knowing your age, height, weight, waist and wrist circumferences, as well as years of regular training experience, hardly anyone can tell you for sure. What I know for sure that physiques you can see on youtube and other websites and in professional sports are unattainable without PEDs. Period. Being 5'9", 150 lbs, 29" waist / around 10-12% BF year around, 6.5" wrist, I would be lucky to attain and maintain Vince Gironda's physique in his prime. More realistically, I can be a little bit more muscular than Charles Bronson (actor, Death Wish, Hard Times, The Magnificent Seven etc.).
P.S. I would use weighted vest on only some of the exercises, like dips, pull-ups/chins, squats: no reason to have it on during biceps curls; although I honestly will not be able to make a chin with 60 lbs vest on me. I am not that strong and will never be.

BorisV,
Your reply was indeed helpful (even though I did not provide any of the data points you mentioned and provided). Thank you.
Regarding the two people with height similar to yours that you mentioned, I am way more interested in using the Bronson look as a goal than I am in the Gironda look (both in terms of muscularity and leanness). Much more.

I wonder how Bronson attained his prime years' physique, or whether even his physique is, like you said, mostly genetically determined and most of us cannot get to look like Bronson (let alone like Gironda!).

Anyway, I will work hard (and hopefully smart) at pursuing a Bronsonesque look within the constrains of my age (50+) and a calisthenics+vest(+HDT?) approach, which I prefer because it suits my lifestyle & personality best.

Thank you.
F
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BorisV

Maryland, USA

Fleischman wrote:
BorisV wrote:
I would argue that tools (equipment, training methods) are tertiary to genetics and your age & training experience. The better genetics you have, coupled with lack of previous training experience and being in the age range of 20-30s, the better the progress you can make (subject to some discipline and proper focus on training, recovery and nutrition) irrespective of the training tools. I think Nattyornot.com provided some valuable guidelines on maximum muscle potential without drugs, you may wish to check ones. And/or you can check measurements of Mr. America contenders from 1930-1940s (John Grimek, Clancy Ross, John Farbotnik, Eiferman, Jules Bacon, Steve Reeves, Jack Delinger, Dick Dubois etc.) and adjust downwards, because these were guys with superior genetics and they most probably used some drugs. Without knowing your age, height, weight, waist and wrist circumferences, as well as years of regular training experience, hardly anyone can tell you for sure. What I know for sure that physiques you can see on youtube and other websites and in professional sports are unattainable without PEDs. Period. Being 5'9", 150 lbs, 29" waist / around 10-12% BF year around, 6.5" wrist, I would be lucky to attain and maintain Vince Gironda's physique in his prime. More realistically, I can be a little bit more muscular than Charles Bronson (actor, Death Wish, Hard Times, The Magnificent Seven etc.).
P.S. I would use weighted vest on only some of the exercises, like dips, pull-ups/chins, squats: no reason to have it on during biceps curls; although I honestly will not be able to make a chin with 60 lbs vest on me. I am not that strong and will never be.
BorisV,
Your reply was indeed helpful (even though I did not provide any of the data points you mentioned and provided). Thank you.
Regarding the two people with height similar to yours that you mentioned, I am way more interested in using the Bronson look as a goal than I am in the Gironda look (both in terms of muscularity and leanness). Much more.

I wonder how Bronson attained his prime years' physique, or whether even his physique is, like you said, mostly genetically determined and most of us cannot get to look like Bronson (let alone like Gironda!).

Anyway, I will work hard (and hopefully smart) at pursuing a Bronsonesque look within the constrains of my age (50+) and a calisthenics+vest(+HDT?) approach, which I prefer because it suits my lifestyle & personality best.

Thank you.
F


At some point, Bronson trained in Vince Gironda's gym. Same did Clint Eastwood and number of other big names of that area (Bill Smith etc.). You can check The Iron Guru Public Group on Facebook - they have a lot of information about Vince's training. I do not know for sure what training program Bronson used. However, he used to say that he practiced "push aways" (meaning limiting his food intake) especially when making movies in France where food is great.
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Fleischman

Alaska, USA

Average Al wrote:
The unstated assumption in your question is that the look of your physique is primarily determined by the training program. It is not. Genetics and the natural shape of your body, plus how much body fat you carry, will be bigger factors. Training will make whatever muscle you have bigger; how much bigger depends on the program and your genetics.

IMO, body weight exercises have the least potential for building up muscle (harder to implement progressive overload). Adding the weight vest helps solve that problem. Being a focused bodybuilding routine, I suppose HDT would be better (though I have not tried it). The only way to find out if the extra complexity is worth it for YOUR results is to try it. (I personally find value in doing a larger variety of exercises, just for reduced stress on joints).

It is largely useless to look at pictures of other people to determine what you can expect. Since genetic potential is impossible to quantify, it is hard to assign percentages to what you might achieve.

Average Al,
Thanks for helping me see things in perspective.
Just to be sure I understood, which "complexity" did you refer to in your 2nd paragraph?

At the risk of being found a heretical around here, I admit that instead of HDT, I am also considering the approach by Ted Naiman: quasi-daily three sets (per exercise, to triple failure in "reverse pyramid" fashion (see infograph). Such weekly volume might fall under HDT, though!
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Average Al

Fleischman wrote:

Average Al,
Thanks for helping me see things in perspective.
Just to be sure I understood, which "complexity" did you refer to in your 2nd paragraph?

At the risk of being found a heretical around here, I admit that instead of HDT, I am also considering the approach by Ted Naiman: quasi-daily three sets (per exercise, to triple failure in "reverse pyramid" fashion (see infograph). Such weekly volume might fall under HDT, though!


When I mentioned complexity, it was a reference to HDT. As I said, I have not done that program, or even read the book. But from the discussions here I have gotten the impression that in addition to focusing on a high density of exercise (more contractions per unit time), the book recommends using a lot of variation in exercise performance, to avoid stagnation. So I inferred that it is more complex to execute than something like a McGuff Big 5 program, where you do the same 5 exercises over and over again, with little variation.

As far as I can tell, there are a lot of heretics here, at least relative to the standards set by some of the more dogmatic HIT folks. I think most here are open to hearing about different approaches. It is only when someone asserts that their way is the only correct way that trouble starts.

As for Ted's approach: It looks like a pretty basic bodyweight program with some embellishments to compensate for the fact that it is hard to build progression into those kinds of programs. As for daily workouts... that seems like it might be overkill, but maybe you'd find that you enjoy it more, even it the extra workouts don't add much to your results.

You basically have three variations of body weight exercise that you are considering. Start with the simplest, lowest volume approach and give it a couple of months; then add the vest on exercises that have gotten too easy and go a couple of months more; then add more frequency, and start experimenting with more advanced failure techniques. By the time you have completed that (6 to 9 months) you will have a very good idea of how your body responds to those kinds of programs, and you should have improved your strength and conditioning from what it had been. That might then be a good time to consider if you want to try something else, like HDT, or a more conventional program with barbells or machines.


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Fleischman

Alaska, USA

Average Al an BorisV,
I thank you both for your follow up replies. You both have given me plenty to consider and think about as I develop/finalize my plan.
F
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