If you have ever watched the Olympics, you have seen some amazing feats of human strength. Watching the gymnasts you will some incredible strength, power, & body mass.All these incredible feats are taking part during body weight events. So this begs question, can you build mass with body-weight exercises?The short answer is yes you can, however it is much much harder to do so. Here is why...Increasing muscle mass requires 3 different factors:
- Tension - this brings physics into play by incorporating mechanics. Anytime you lift a heavy barbell overhead, or have to push weight around, mechanical tension is taking place. This stimulus forces the body to respond by stabilizing itself. If the torso & shoulders were to collapse under the weight, well then there would be no lift. In order to respond to the mechanical tension the body adapts, by growing, thus building muscle & increasing mass.
- Stress - every time you complete a movement that leaves your muscle burning, gasping for air, your muscles feeling though they are about to explode, you are creating a strain. This strain again forces the body to adapt by sending blood & oxygen to the area. This creates a natural "pump" and also drives nutrients into the muscle group. Both the pump & fuel end up increasing the muscle's size.
- Damage - Correct training can cause microscopic damage to muscle groups. We have already discussed why this damage is needed to increase strength. When a muscle heals the tears in itself, it not only becomes a stronger entity but also larger. The filling in of microscopic tears with new muscle fiber, enlarges the muscle's size & makes it a more stable structure.
All of three of these responses are EXTREMELY hard to obtain through bodyweight movements. But adding weight training into your daily training regimen will bolster the positive effects of each of these. Also weight training recruits multiple muscle groups at one time, making it a very effective way to train.Body weight movements are great to do and can have positive influence on your day to day life. But they should not be ONLY form of exercise done, and are not ideal for increasing muscle mass.