People generally think that weightlifting is essential for bulking up. After all, there’s an old saying about muscle mass, “You get, what you lift”. While there is some truth to that, it’s not the whole story. There are many reasons why athletes and celebrities are turning to calisthenics and plyometrics for bulking, building lean muscle mass, and improving their athletic performance.
Another reason is that, for many of us, traditional weightlifting can be boring. The repetitions aren’t varied and the sets aren’t challenging. Sure, you can go to the gym and lift weights for a long period, but that doesn’t mean you should. There are dozens of benefits that calisthenics provides better than weightlifting.
How to Bulk Up and Build Muscle Mass with Calisthenics?
As we found out that calisthenics can be beneficial for bulking it is time to learn how can we do that.
Calisthenics is the name of any exercise that uses body weight as resistance (e.g. push-ups, pull-ups, etc.). It also works every muscle of your body and is perfect for beginners and advanced fitness enthusiasts alike. Calisthenics is also viable for all age groups and can be done anywhere and anytime.
In this article, we will look at the 5-step guide to help you bulk up and build muscle mass with calisthenics.
Step 1 – Use Plyometric and Eccentric Movements
The goal is to perform high-intensity exercises with short duration, using explosive movements to achieve a high amount of power and speed.
Plyometrics, or ‘jump training’, refers to an explosive, ballistic form of exercise where the body is pushed beyond its limits. Jumping involves both power output and core stability. While there are countless plyometric drills, you can quickly build strength, power, and cardiovascular fitness with a few key calisthenic exercises.
Jump rope is one of the most effective and versatile forms of plyometrics, as it trains you to fire your muscles in a controlled way that mimics sprinting and jumping. For the best results, use a jump rope that is one size larger than your actual height.
Eccentric training build strength by focusing on the “negative phase” of muscle contraction. While the muscle is contracting, it’s pulling back to its original position, rather than moving forward or pushing the weight.
Eccentric training is any movement where the muscles contract against resistance rather than move an object. Think squats, lunges, press-ups, and chin-ups. These exercises use the stretch-shortening cycle to grow bigger and stronger.
Step 2 – Pick The Right Exercises
While picking up the exercises you need for bulking with calisthenics you should focus on Compound exercises as they include two or more basic movements done consecutively with minimal rest in between. The purpose of compound exercises is to improve strength, increase muscle mass, and/or burn fat. There are many compound exercises, such as:
-Squats, lunges, step-ups
-Dips, shoulder shrugs, pull-ups
-Jump roping, jump squats
Perform 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions on each exercise, and continue to increase the number of repetitions until you have reached your goal.
I think you get the idea. But I wanted to go beyond that. I wanted to give you some exercises that you can choose that will allow you to use your body in ways it wasn’t used before so that you can improve your strength and performance and build lean body mass.
Step 3 – Create a Beneficial Calisthenics Program for Bulking
Start by dividing your workouts into different periods throughout the week. Try to work on as many exercises as possible. This will help keep you motivated throughout your training. You can also make your routine as long or short as you’d like.
To bulk up, it’s important to stay true to what works for you. That might mean working out every other day or working out three days in a row.
When you find something that works for you, stick to it. And don’t be afraid to mix things up, as well. Changing your workout schedule once you’ve reached your desired size won’t hinder your progress.
To make your workouts more effective, break them up with the following suggestions:
MONDAY – Arms (Bicep and Triceps)
TUESDAY – Back (Lower and Upper Back)
WEDNESDAY – Legs (Glutes, Hamstrings)
THURSDAY – Rest (Take a rest and eat well)
FRIDAY – Shoulders
SATURDAY – Chest
SUNDAY – Abs and Core
Step 4 – Progress
Now that you’ve completed this routine a couple of weeks or months it is time to progress. You are probably wondering how is it possible to get even bigger and stronger doing calisthenics.
This can be done by increasing the volume of your workout (doing more reps and sets), adding weight to your exercises, and using beneficial equipment such as gymnastic rings, kettlebells, weighted vests, or resistance bands.
So how does this work? If you’re familiar with bodyweight exercises, you may already be doing calisthenics. In this case, you’d want to make your work harder by moving faster or lifting heavier. You could also add in different types of exercises, such as kettlebell swings, or use bodyweight exercises that require a greater degree of athleticism (jump rope, lunges, etc.)
Another way is by changing your workout, if you have been sticking with the same routine over a long time and have not seen any substantial gains, then it is likely time to reevaluate your training.
Step 5 – Increase Your Calories Intake
To bulk up you have to increase your calorie intake. For many, this means simply eating more calories. While this is true, you can also increase your calorie intake by focusing on quality over quantity.
The best way to increase your calories is to focus on high-quality, nutrient-dense foods. While it may seem like you can eat more calories by eating foods like pizza, fast food, or burgers, they often contain empty calories. This is the case with many convenience foods, packaged items, and junk food. These foods are often low in fiber, high in sugar, and low in nutrients.
Instead of eating a bagel, eat a salad. Instead of eating a burger, eat a grilled chicken breast with vegetables. If you eat food that is lower in calories and higher in nutrition, you’ll not only have a larger caloric intake, but you’ll also enjoy the foods you eat.
Here are three ways you can increase your calorie intake:
- 1. Increase your protein consumption – A well-rounded diet should contain plenty of protein. Protein is essential for the growth and repair of cells. It’s also important for muscle building and recovery after exercise.
- 2. Consume more vegetables and good carbs.
- 3. Eat bigger meals throughout the day.
There are many different reasons to use calisthenics (or bodyweight exercises) as a bulking routine. Some people find that calisthenics provides a natural, safe alternative to lifting weights.
It’s also been proven that a strength and conditioning program that uses calisthenics will improve your performance in the gym more than a traditional weightlifting program.
So whether you’re looking to increase your fitness levels for sports or want to bulk up, calisthenics can be an effective part of your workout regimen.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Should you bulk and cut with calisthenics?
There is a strong debate about whether to bulk up or cut with calisthenics. Many gym goers feel that if they bulk up, their bodies will look better and attract more attention. However many others feel that they will bulk up to unhealthy levels. If you decide to cut, make sure that you do not go on a crash diet because this could lead to you binge eating later on.
Does calisthenics make you lean or bulky?
It does not make you lean or bulky, but it will strengthen your muscles and build muscle mass. How you train and eat determines whether you’ll get bulky or lean.
Does calisthenics build muscle faster?
There is no evidence to suggest that doing calisthenics builds muscle faster. It may improve muscle tone though, and increase strength and flexibility. This will give you great cardiovascular health, as well as make your body more flexible.
Are 20 minutes of calisthenics enough?
Yes. The number of exercises in a set varies from one to nine, depending on the exercise. The exercise is done continuously until you reach the number of repetitions for the session. The goal is to work your entire body at the same time.