Bodyweight Exercise for Upper-Body Increase

Bodyweight Exercise for Upper-Body Increase

A TransFormetrics Forum member recently posed a great question relative to the type of bodyweight exercise that will produce results similar to those experienced by weightlifters practicing the classic “20-rep squat.” Read on:

John—20-rep squats are generally agreed upon by the weightlifting community to be the most challenging and results-producing workout one can do when performed correctly. I was wondering what one bodyweight exercise, performed in what specific way, would give the greatest results?

Here’s my answer:

I have known three men who diligently practiced Peary Rader’s 20-rep “Breathing Squat” program. All of them added a great deal of body weight just as the program guaranteed. However, by far the majority of that weight was concentrated on the waistline, hips, and thighs. Though the upper body did grow as a result, it was not nearly as much—or as noticeable—as the lower body.

While a program of ultra heavy “breathing” squats can yield tremendous increases in size and strength, those increases often come with a heavy price tag: Compression of the lower spine and great stress to the ligaments and tendons of the knees.

Now as far as effective bodyweight exercises are concerned, the Atlas Push-Up between chairs was the cornerstone of the Atlas Dynamic Tension Training System. It yielded fantastic results in minimal time, most of which was to the upper body. The Atlas Push-Up was the foundation upon which the entire Atlas system was built.

It is worth mentioning that in both the Rader “Breathing Squat” program and the Atlas Push-Up from Atlas’ Lesson Number One, there is a major emphasis on the importance of deep breathing. It is the foundation for both programs—and that is no coincidence.

Tomorrow let’s talk about the importance of deep breathing.—J.P.

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