Gymnastic Training Is Inefficient When Your Goal Is Hypertrophy

| by Truth Seeker |



Male gymnasts possess physiques talking to the deepest layers within the warriors trying to achieve ascension by forging thicker muscle fibers. The extraterrestrial upper body development common for the elite of the sport is attributed to advanced bodyweight techniques. The element blamed to produced the largest amount of muscular growth would be the routines on the rings since they require the most upper body strength of all gymnastic adventures.

Many muscle apprentices accept the notion that “sexy” bodyweight work will turn them into massive beasts carrying a form of the so-called “pussy slaying physique”. Subsequently, they embrace the bodyweight doctrine, hearts beating faster after a pristine revelation, and keep admiring their idol, hoping that one day, when is not exactly clear, they will have a development equal to that of the ring lords.

Since gymnasts are allegedly natural, their blueprint for muscle construction is particularly appealing to the average natty, especially when you add in the lean factor – gymnasts, unlike powerlifters, are all ripped, for they have nothing to gain from the extra fat.

All of this makes for a nice promo fairy tale, but there’s a problem, maybe more than one, that demands clarifications.

Truth be told, intermediate and advanced gymnastic training is an inefficient way to build muscle mass regardless of what the promo says.

What is hypertrophy?

Hypertrophy is a super-compensation process that originates as a response to stress imposed on the muscle tissue. Movement against a restricting force is one of the methods capable of triggering adaptation resulting in extra muscle protein synthesis (MSP). Another option to stimulate hypertrophy would be steroids (hormones). Anabolic drugs can cause significantly more protein synthesis than training. When extra male hormones are imported into the system, the muscles grow even without resistance training.

Does Gymnastic Training Provide The Optimal Hypertrophy Stimulus?

Undoubtedly, gymnastic training can stimulate hypertrophy. The question, however, is whether this is the optimal way to summon the process. An iron cross on the rings demands supreme lat and biceps strength, but is training in this fashion the most straightforward way to build those body parts? Not really.

The same holds true for many gymnastic drills. Virtually every strength element in gymnastics is a stunt first and muscle builder second. Gymnastics’s primary goal is not to build your muscles in the fastest, safest and most efficient way possible but rather to create a show for the crowd while showcasing the capabilities of the human body.

Is Gymnastic Training ”Natural”?

Note: In this case ”natural” does not refer to steroids.

There is nothing natural about walking on your hands and suspending yourself in weird and disadvantageous positions between parallel bars and hanging rings. There is nothing natural about jumping over a platform. There is nothing natural about flipping as many times as you can in order to “receive points”.

The same holds true for most of the physical entertainment that humans engage in. There is nothing natural about the sports that the modern man endorses.

“If they are not natural, why are we doing them,” asks the dreamer with a look suggesting deep curiosity slowly overshadowed by fear and uncertainty.

There are many explanations to this inquiry, but in this particular context, I will focus on the physical aspect. Humans are adaptable creatures. They can take a basic function, extract it, and put it in a context. The fact that something is “not natural” does not make it impossible or unattainable. The body clearly allows those stunts to happen in a fairly safe way after years of preparation. Therefore, one could even speculate that this alone makes them natural.

Meanwhile, you will never see a dog or other mammals do unnatural things. Sure, dogs like to play games but most of the time that happens when the owners create a specific context. By themselves, dogs rarely engage in stunt activities. Additionally, animals will never use their bodies in ways designed to satisfy some sort of aesthetic requirement and yearn for art even though they are more than capable of similar acts.

Humans, however, are different. We need those extras as part of our coping mechanisms. For that reason, we have created factories for dopamine production – sports are one of the reactors.

Is Gymnastic Training Capable Of Inducing Quicker and More Pronounced Hypertrophy?

There is absolutely nothing magical about the growth stimulus produced by gymnastic training. The drills do not possess otherworldly powers that somehow alter the natural course of events so much that you end up “jacked” before noon. This is the truth regardless of what the promoters are saying. They just have to make their training ideas look superior to attract more customers. Some bodyweight courses may indeed be superior to other types of training for some reason, but quicker and larger muscle growth is rarely one of them.

Ultimately, gymnastic training is an inferior system for mass construction.

Below you will find a full list of reasons why it’s not a good idea to count on gymnastics to get “swol”.

1.Gymnastic Training Is Torso and Arm Dominant

All strength elements are focused on the upper body alone. Gymnasts have zero incentive to build big legs. They need supreme lower body explosiveness, but plyometrics do not build big muscles. A common trend among many acrobats is to skip leg day and run instead. While most gymnasts are not as extreme in their approach, some coaches limit the lower body training simply to avoid unnecessary hypertrophy. Every gram of muscle on the legs and hips that is not required to jump higher has to go.

This shows how incredibly inefficient the sport of gymnastics is in the pursuit of a bigger lower body.

Moreover, many of the gymnastic movements for the legs and hips are gimmicky. For instance, pistol squats may look like the hardest thing ever, but they do not require exceptional leg strength nor are they capable of building the primary movers (quads, glutes) as much as basic “gym” exercises like squats, leg presses…etc. Furthermore, the balance requirements of pistol squats take away from the work of the primary movers.

Another lower body movement that the gymnastic community loves to talk about is the so-called natural leg curl done for posterior chain development. Ironically, there is nothing natural about the natural leg curl. When was the last time you had to natural curl yourself? Never. Moreover, the exercise is so difficult that most people will never do it properly. It’s much better to stick to more programmable and scalable movements. A simple deadlift or a regular leg curl make for a better choice when it comes to hamstring hypertrophy.

2.The Advanced Strength Elements Are Not Designed For Tall Men

It is significantly easier to excel in this sport when you have short limbs. Most men who have long arms and legs will never achieve the advanced strength elements (iron cross, maltese…etc.) Yet the promoters of gymnastic training say that those movements are the engine behind the hypertrophy presented by the elite. This isn’t exactly true. To reach those skills, gymnasts do all kinds of exercises and progressions to prepare themselves for the extreme. That preparation made of more basic exercises plays a huge role in the assembly of a modern gymnast. Secondly, if you are never going to reach the advanced elements due to structural characteristics, why are you even trying to, especially when your goal is pure hypertrophy? Why are you wasting your time and killing your elbows to do an iron cross if all you want are bigger biceps? Just do regular curls. The gains will come faster, and you won’t have to embarrass yourself by engaging in a mission doomed to fail right from the start. When your arms are long, the torque is way too high. It is unlikely that the joints of a tall man will ever be prepared for similar stunts.

3.Bodyweight Only Training Requires You Switch To More Difficult Variations

Most bodyweight only programs require you to either add reps or progress to harder variations of the same exercise. For example, once push-ups get too easy for you, you can elevate your feet, switch to one arm push-ups…etc. While this is a legit way to progress and probably the best one when you only train with your bodyweight, it has a downside – the pattern changes and with it the stress on the joints and the muscles.

For instance, when you switch from regular dips to the so-called Russian dips, the load shifts, and the body has to adapt to a completely different motion. And while this may be beneficial for gymnastics, it has zero value in terms of muscle growth. The first time I tried Russian dips, my elbows started crying right away. You could say that I was really weak, but I was actually doing weighted dips with 60lbs for high reps (5+) without joint discomfort. The elbow pain was the result of a new pattern which places more stress on the joints. Adapting to it over time would have made my elbows stronger for that particular movement, but the adaptation wouldn’t have resulted in growth unachievable by simply adding more weight to the classic dip.

Another example would be the one arm push-up. When you switch from two arm push-ups to the one arm variation, the exercise immediately becomes deltoid and triceps dominant because the pushing arm is really close to the body. In other words, the new pattern shifts the emphasis. Meanwhile, adding weight to the basic push-up preserves the original load distribution intact.

4.Lack Of Efficiency and Too Many Variables

Unlike gymnastics, lifting is pretty straightforward. For instance, before you can start doing handstand push-ups for your shoulders, you will have to spend an eternity preparing your whole body for them. Eventually, you will get there, but if your initial intent was to simply build stronger shoulders, the overhead barbell press wins every time. You can start doing it tomorrow because the learning curve is short and the skill level is low compared to a handstand. In addition, the exercise gives you more control over the actual pressing movement.

The same inefficiency is characteristic of many gymnastic movements designed to hit a specific muscle group hard.

5.Overemphasis On Being Functional

Goals determine whether something is functional. Strictly speaking, there’s nothing functional about handstands, press to handstands, planches, front levers, iron crosses…etc. Those movements are not required for anything other than gymnastics, tricking, acrobatics, bboying…etc. For example, if you are a skateboarder, and you want to improve your ollie (basic jump), training with your head upside down has zero benefits.

When it comes to everyday life, weightlifting is more functional than gymnastic training because it teaches you how to manipulate external objects. Even the simple barbell curl provides more “functional” strength than a press to handstand even though it requires basically no athleticism. Yet the gymnastic gurus want you to believe that everything they teach is mega functional when we all know that the only way to get good at something is to practice. If you want to be good at handstands, do them, but if your goal isn’t that, you could still be healthy and strong without putting all your blood into your head.

6.The Bodies Of Gymnasts Vary In Their Size

I am tired of people posting pictures of gymnasts as a way to prove that gymnastic training results in massive muscle mass. This simply isn’t true. Most gymnasts are not nearly as big as you may think. Yes, all of them have decent upper body development, but only a few stand out. The truth is that gymnasts are not bigger than the local crew doing push-ups, dips and pull-ups on the monkey bars in the neighborhood.

In addition, one would have to be very naive to believe that drugs are not a part of the sport. It’s true that gymnasts don’t benefit from extra “non-functional” bodyweight, but just about any athlete can improve his or hers performance with doping. Even some swimmers take steroids to gain an edge. Yet people think that bodybuilders have a monopoly on steroids and PEDs in general. I am sorry, but that’s incorrect. Bodybuilders are simply the obvious example, but at the highest level – all athletes are taking something when they can get away with it.

The Actual Benefit Of Gymnastics Is Elsewhere

The strength of gymnastic training is not hypertrophy. There are more user-friendly options for that. The real benefit lies in the skills and mobility training. As a natural, you will hit the wall faster than you think. It may take you a while to realize it, but after trying most of the suggested routines, you will quickly learn that bodybuilding is one big hallucination designed for teens and insecure adults who still haven’t figured out that nothing is as it seems in this rigged reality. The natural response to this revelation is anger and depression. How would you feel if you learn that you’ve worked overtime for nothing? Would you be motivated to work even harder? Exactly.

Here’s where skill training comes into play. While you cannot become as big as the movies say naturally, you can develop exceptional physical skills without taking steroids.

Sometimes it is nice to forget about hypertrophy altogether and do an activity for the trill and the skill. This is why I often recommend to desperate naturals to limit their training to a minimum (sometimes even only once a week) while dedicating the extra free time to the pursuit of other physical activities such as gymnastics, martial arts, swimming, shooting…etc.

What are the optimal exercises for hypertrophy?

It depends on the situation, but in general, the following movements would be considered the greatest of all time:

Chest – bench press, dips, push-ups

Back – deadlift, rows, pull-ups, shrugs

Legs – squat, leg press, deadlifts, calf raises

Arms – curls, close grip bench press, dips, close grip push-ups

Shoulders – overhead barbell press

Neck – Curls with bands or neck harness (some machines are also good)

Forearms – wrist rolling, curls

Abs – cable crunches and static exercises (gymnastic movements are great abs builders)

P.S. Potential: How Big Can You Get Naturally is out.

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  1. Raven Starre

    Gymnasts are the most natural guys I know as they stay rock hard during play as I have been with high school gymnasts as recently as last week

    1. Grey Mysterio

      “They stay rock-hard during play”
      Is that a Freudian slip ?

  2. Glove

    Muscle growth is not more than a side effect for Gymnasts. Nevertheless some of them have impressive bodies.

      1. Nathan

        Sorry Glove this was for Raven who knows what she is doing is wrong

  3. Alex

    What would be the bare minimum of sets, reps and frequency to just maintain in your experience?

    1. Truth Seeker Post author

      1 work set per compound exercise done once a week.

  4. swabbie

    Haha, good work bro – especially on “functional training” dorks, but it’s worth to mention that lifting weights is not more functional than gymnastic in terms of everyday activities (unless your job is to move heavy things)
    The most functional activity is, it may suprise you, cardio training – if you take closer look to everyday activities, almost all of them (including many payed jobs) are some kind of cardio (walking, raking, mowing the lawn, digging, gardening, shoveling, painting, house cleaning, farming…etc)
    As for gymnast, yes, some of them have ripped upper bodies eg Yuri Van Gelder but just look at stats of that dude – he is only 160cm and 60kg with underdeveloped legs, and like most gymnasts dude is practically a midget (and it’s easy for short man to look more impressive and “packed”)
    Also exclusively bodyweight progressions are hard as hell to ordinary mortals – all gymnasts train practically their whole life from small age to reach that level
    As you said – stick to the weights and/or to basic calistehnics movement with added weight (pushups, pullups, dips, rows…)
    And for the end – this advice of yours is golden

    “This is why I often recommend to desperate naturals to limit their training to a minimum (sometimes even only once a week) while dedicating the extra free time to the pursuit of other physical activities such as gymnastics, martial arts, swimming, shooting…etc”

  5. joe santus

    There’s also the chicken-or-the-egg question involved for what might be termed “guys with impressive hypertrophy who are successful at gymnastics”.
    Does a guy develop impressive hypertrophy because he’s a dedicated gymnast; or, is he a dedicated gymnast because he has the muscle genetics suited to gymnastics?

    Often times, a person enjoys and then pursues a sport or activity because he finds he is successful doing it; and, whether he realizes it or not, he’s successful at it because his genetics make him more suited to the sport or activity.

    Meaning, the outstanding physiques often had by successful gymnasts may very well reveal why they could become so successful at gymnastics: they were born with a set of muscle mass potential and proportions which is well suited to performing gymnastics.

    If they’d never become gymnasts but had taken up bodybuilding, they’d have developed the same hypertrophy without developing the athletic skill nor mobility.

    Meaning, it’s not gymnastics which explains their physiques; rather, they happen to have the genetic potential for impressive hypertrophy and could have built the same amount of muscle doing overhead presses and pull-ups as they build doing handstand presses and iron crosses.

    1. Alex

      It’s true, though not as set in stone as you think. Take a look at these skinny ecto kids on youtube building super aesthetic physiques in 2-3 years with some test and deca. They actually have better proportions than someone who is naturally bigger and takes the stuff.

      1. joe santus

        Genetics also determine response to anabolic steroids.

        Some of those “skinny ectos” likely were born with more androgen receptors as well as shorter CAGs but relatively low testosterone levels, compared to what those “naturally bigger” were born with. When those “ectos” began steroids, their more numerous receptors and shorter CAGs were available to use that exogeneous T to grow phenomenal amounts of muscle; whereas the “naturally bigger” with less receptors, longer CAGs, and naturally higher testosterone could only grow moderate amounts of muscle on the same dosages of steroids.

        1. Alex

          No offence but this sounds too over complicated, I think the truth is much simpler. Most of them don’t look impressive compared to the ones that are actually competing, they only do compared to the average natty who follows them on youtube hoping their 999th video will finally reveal some secret routine or diet that will finally transform them in their idols. I’ve been there, done that. At this point I’d give the dark side a try if it weren’t for my uncannily attachment to my hair and balls.

          1. joe santus

            Agreed, most (whether juiced “skinny ectos” or juiced “naturally bigs”) don’t look impressive compared to those “actually competing”. which is a comparison of apples to ant-lions.

            However, the explanation for why some juiced “skinny ectos” end up looking bigger than “naturally bigger” using the same dosages does lie in genetic differences of response to exogeneous testosterone.

            Of course, the physiological, biochemical, and genetic details of the explanation are complicated, lol — human physiology ain’t a simple thing. But the explanation can be reduced to a tee shirt meme: “The reason is genetics”.

        2. Alex

          Can you give citations for your claims?

          1. joe santus

            Sure can…which claims, specifically?

        3. Alex

          “However, the explanation for why some juiced skinny ectos end up looking bigger than naturally bigger using the same dosages does lie in genetic differences of response to “exogeneous” testosterone.”

          1. joe santus

            {I’ve had to manually type the following links and quotations, because, for some reason, copy n’ pasting won’t function in NATTY’s Comment section, sooo…hopefully I transcribed each link accurately.}

            Three links discussing genetic variance in androgen sensitivity:




            One link discussing genetic differences in response to resistance training:

            One link (you can access the other parts via this part I’ve linked) from a four-part series of interviews with retired world-class competitors, which reveals their recognition of the primacy of genetic variations and responses to steroids:

            Kevin Levrone says in Part 4, “….We have yet to see one Mr Olympia champion die prematurely. Why is that? I tend to think they weren’t as extreme in their use as some people want to think they were. It’s the guys who don’t have the best genetics that go overboard and take the bigger risks in an attempt to compensate and catch upto the more gifted guys. It’s tough for some guys to accept that some of us have better genetics and just respond a lot better to gear than the average person….”

            Dorian Yates says in Part 3:
            “….If you have gifted genetics, you really won’t need megadoses….The guys who come to me taking the highest dosages are typically frustrated amateurs who lack the genetics to become pros. They try to make up for it by using tons and tons of gear, but it doesn’t work that way….”


            And, a link to Levrone, Ray, and Yates addressing the importance of genetics; Yates says:
            “….It should be said that all these qualities aren’t always apparent in an individual before they begin training, or even in their early years of training….”


          2. Truth Seeker Post author

            The ctrl+c and ctrc+v option works.

            Thank you for the support.

          3. Glove

            Dear Joe,
            thank you so much for this tremendous work to put the links by HAND in your post. Is it possible that the first link has a mistake inside? In opposite to the others I couldn´t open.
            These are interesting infos which more or less cope with my own observations and many informations which I got in the net. Thanks again.

    2. Victor

      Not sure about having a really good genetic potential for muscle building helps as a gymnast. There are many high level gymnasts that aren’t very muscular…
      It’s more like people focus on gymnasts who are more muscular than most other gymnasts to sell this bodyweight exercise fad.
      I see the same thing showing the photos of fighters or sprinters who are more muscular than 99% of fighters or sprinters to prove a point that doing some bastardization of these sports will get the average mens health reader looking like that.

      1. joe santus

        Agreed, great hypertrophy potential alone doesn’t qualify a person for gymnastics; but gymnasts who develop great hypertrophy are likely genetically gifted for developing hypertrophy no matter what resistance exercise they do.
        Both gymnastics and straight bodybuilding trigger their inherent responsiveness.

        Likewise, I agree that those few gymnasts, MMAs, and sprinters who happen to have superb hypertrophy are anomalous; manipulative (or perhaps, if we grant them the benefit of doubt, naive) marketeers utilize that anomaly to peddle their fitness wares (which programs aren’t necessarily “bad” but, agreed, won’t build muscle on the average-gened guy any better in long term than other simpler-and-even-available-for-no-charge resistance programs can).

      2. DrunkenMonkey

        Nice to see a guy who actually knows his shit on this board.

        The fact that so many people have trouble comprehending “selection bias” says all you need to know about the “Health and Fitness” world, and why so many people are easily duped.

    3. twp

      Agree with your last paragraph. Sooner or later you will reach your maximum muscle potential no matter what you do.

      Also I will add to the whole topic that last 10 years still rings gymasts are incorporating weightlifting also in their training. Even most of the famous street workout athletes are doing lifting with additional weight. They market themselves as only body weight guys, but they go to gym too. There is almost no one who is doing only statics or clean body weight stuff.

      It is big misconception that pro gymnasts have small legs. This is illusion, because you never see them with shorts. They definitely have strong big legs(not huge). I have seen some average level gymnasts with ripped legs and they rep 2x bodyweight squats easly. The ones who have silly legs are the instagram street workout guys, who never used their legs, except for walking or some running.

      1. joe santus

        Agreed, that almost any kind of resistance exercise will eventually get a guy to his (near-)maximum drug-free genetic muscle potential, as long as it involves progressive overload.

        Optimal progression (meaning, being consistent with workouts, using intelligent workout programs, eating and recovering adequately, and constantly increasing resistance as frequently as possible) will get a guy to his max hypertrophy potential in the least amount of time (probably to 75-80% of his max in two consecutive years; to 90% in three consecutive years).

        Sub-optimal progression (erratic training, inadequate eating, insufficient recovering, misinformed workout programs, and/or failure to add resistance when possible) will simply get him there later (for example, might take him five or six years).

    4. Joos Liftsteen

      Strength is foundational to function.

      Build coordination
      Build strength
      Build cardiovascular capacity

      Then go do things with them.
      You won’t do well to leave off any of the three, but strength as the foundation allows the other two to blossom properly.

      You should consider that because juice creates super human athletes, no amount of great genes can compete with juiced competition. If you’re suggesting that genetic make up is behind the willingness to use performance enhancing drugs, I suppose that’s at least plausible.

  6. Going Iron Berserk

    Mr. Truthseeker just want to thank you for another great article. Backsquats have been wrecking me. Never going back. In love with Front Squats and RDLs. Continue writing my friend.

    1. Matt

      I have recently switched to Front Squats because of my back and glad I did! I just Bench, Power Clean, and Front Squat twice a week and keep the working weight the same for all movements adding reps or weight every session.

  7. DrunkenMonkey

    Yeah, if you think someone like Brandon Wynn isn’t on PEDs, I’ve got a planet in Alpha-Centauri to sell you.

    1. Going Iron Berserk

      Nice brotha! Wish I could Power Clean but use to upright rows from my early days of “body building”.

  8. Matt

    What about the fact that Gymnastics takes years to become proficient and years of doing movements and more difficult variations of those movements in addition to teenage hormones (as most of the Gymnast in Peak form in the Olympics are fairly young in the early 20s and being short and lighter to begin with. It makes sense that Gymnastics is not a overnight hypotrophy secret that body builders are doing in their closets but just like Furniture movers, Constructions workers, Brick Masons, Trash Collectors and Farmers can build some muscle too over time with resistance in their jobs because the body does not care what the resistance is because it will adapt to it in time.

    1. Glove

      Yes it’s as described by you. Gymnast will exactly develope the amount of muscles their exercises afford. Same as “bodyworkers” you mentioned. I did gymnastic on a rather low level at school at the time I already lifted. All elements which demands power I was much better than any others. There are elements power doesn’t matter. These I couldn’t do better as the others.
      Of cause gymnastic is not the “best” way to reach hypertrophy. Why? Because it’s not designed for. The best and the direct way to build the body is BB. It’s as simple as that. You play soccer to play soccer. Not to develope your quads. You are a gymnast because you like these “stunts” as TS called it. And even if you are a Olympic lifter you don’t do it because of muscle developement. You do it to get the f***** weight over your head.
      All sports EXCEPT BB: muscle growth is a side effect!
      Back to gymnastic compared to BB. What are you doing to get better pecs? You decide to bench. 10 reps, one more. Maybe another one. Maybe one more. Für the next one the spotter behind you helps a bit. That’s f**** BB!!!! Do you find anything similar in Gymnastic! No! Definitly NOT! For that reason BB is the best for muscle development.
      The other way round: let a BBler try to make gymnastic movement. It will look pretty funny!

      1. joe santus

        Yes…if hypertrophy is a person’s goal, then bodybuilding is the most straightforward and simplest (though not easy) route to reaching his goal. Other physical activities and sports can cause hypertrophy, but hypertrophy isn’t their primary purpose.

  9. david

    Dude this is one of your best articles and no matter what you say some people will refuse to accept “this rigged reality”. I have been following you for three years now and read every article on your website and your writings changed not only my way of training but also my way of living and thinking i will keep following you as long as I am alive thanks for the hard work and please keep writing 😡 .

    1. Truth Seeker Post author

      Thank you for the support man!

  10. lass lassiter

    Your exercises in logic are exceptional! Salute.

    1. Truth Seeker Post author

      Thank you for the support.

  11. joe

    yo dude love your site keep up the good work. i would love to hear yourr take on “bootcamp” style classes and what you think about them.. Im a personal trainer/ bootcamp instructor and personally i think they are a scam a smoke and mirrors trick that make people think they are getting a good workout when in reality once they get past that noob stage of gains thats about all they get. yea anyways just an idea since they are all the rage right now. stay up man

  12. Sad

    This site is made by a man who is very sad in life and complains about everything, you may know the truth about things, but you sound very pathetic, in your writings, just give up you fool.

    1. Truth Seeker Post author

      Thanks for the support, my friend.

    2. M

      Nice comment.

      Please go and buy that recycled-shitty program called, “Believe in yourself, Do anything”… and tells you to correct that 1 degree error during bicep curls and you will get 24 inch arm after 6 months.

      You deserve to be fooled, a perfect example of sucker born every second.

  13. fredrik

    while I agree that doing weight training or weighted calisthenics are more optimal for muscle growth because you will simply build muscle faster by adding weight over time instead of going through bodyweight progressions.
    I have to say that after about a year or two with traditional weight training, that type of training gets really repetetive because at that time you have most likely reached your natural potential or very close and trying to get stronger at movements like bench press or weighted dips just to get stronger at those movements gets really boring and repetetive over time(at least it did for me).
    So for me, switching over to gymnastic type training was a way to progress from the whole bodybuilding scene (after I realized that naturals will never be big) and continue getting stronger by just using your bodyweight by going trough progressions (which are actually a lot more fun than just adding weight to the bar!).
    I am rambling on but what i’m trying to say is that after a couple years of lifting, switching over to gymnastic type training can be very useful tool if you are after a fun and different way of training and also getting insanely strong with just your body than by just lifting iron.

    Massive support to you Truthseeker btw for helping us poor delusional natties. Greetings from Norway!

  14. Arun nt

    I have found ur blog 3 months ago and since I have been hooked to ur writing and philosophical musings.I would say u r the best writer ever among all .i love ur mastery of words and sarcastic humour.I wish u would expand ur writing to other things than bodybuilding too because so called classic and modern writers could not match u in quality.

    1. Truth Seeker Post author

      Thank you for the support. I am planning an expansion.But don’t underestimate the classic and modern writers.

  15. Arun nt

    I do feel sad that for all ur exceptional knowledge u have never made it big but brainless morons r succeeding in this fucked up the way I am from stupid india

    1. joe santus

      An observation during my 62 years is that, regarding problems and difficulties, people don’t want the truth, especially if it’s “there isn’t a solution”. Rather, and understandably, people want and will pay “someone who claims to have The Solution”, especially a quick-and-painless solution.

      Therefore, marketeers, scammers, and fact-manipulators can make a good income selling the dishonest nonsense they’re peddling, while the person teaching the truth is largely ignored.

  16. John

    Gymnasts are the ultimate high volume trainers. They are the antithesis of HIT. They do thousands of reps during the course of training

  17. K. Knight

    This article is so full of sh!t! Please do 6 set’s of TRUE Bulgarian dips with full palm turned contraction to 80% failure with one-minute rest followed by 4 sets elevated ring push-ups again with one-minute rest to 80% failure and come tell me you don’t reach hypertrophy, I dare you! And that’s just the first two exercises for chest… Don’t even get me started on back, bi’s, tri’s… Key elements of muscle growth are time under tension, frequency, intensity, hypertrophy, sleep and good nutrition, these are all elements of an Olympic ring specialist (since they are the most muscular and what people look to). So, of course, they will look amazing and when you add joint and muscle flexibility they become far superior to your committed gym bro or pro lifter in every aspect of health, strenght and quality of life. These dudes have been training for over a decade growing hard muscle fibers incrementally at a rate that the typical gym rat can’t compete with cause most of them have never been dedicated full time for such a period of time like successful gymnast. There is no “ONE WAY” to build a great body but the principles remain the same, whether your a crossfitter, power lifter or wannabe Arnold. You’re gonna have to work your ass off, eat like a champ, rest and utilize the same basic principles mentioned above. I use Olympic rings as part of my full body split and it’s been a game changer. I’ve gotten stronger in every way and added a more muscular shape when it comes to my upper body with athletic results no dumbell or barbell could accomplish when it comes to stabiliser muscles. I could rep out 25 solid pull-ups in one set and pump out over 150 in 9 sets before I started rings training. My first time doing ring pull-ups I could only rep up 12 with good form in my first try, I couldn’t believe the difference! Anybody who tries to tell you rings isn’t a good way to accomplish hypertrophy does not know what the hell they are talking about! Intensity is up to you, I’ve had some of my best bi workouts from rings and it’s not even close, sorry truth seeker but you’re so off it’s should be criminal. Do 9 sets of Bulgarian dips with 9 sets of ring pull-ups back to back with one-minute interval under 30 minutes just to start and come tell me you don’t feel hypertrophy until then choose a subject you actually know. And I’m not gonna even bring up adding a weight vest to the equation because that’s next level Super Sayan sh!t that mere mortals evaporate from!

    1. Truth Seeker Post author

      My friend, I never said that you can’t build muscle this way. I love ring training. My point was that the classic approach is more straightforward without the extra bells and whistles. That’s it.

      1. K. Knight

        No. But you stated that ring training is an inefficient way to reach hypertrophy and that’s just false. And here is where you are also confused, there are no extra bells and whistles with rings, it’s just rings. The bells and whistles come with dumbells, barbells, cables and bands. Ring training is far more efficient if you know how to use them and have the strength to do it right.

        1. Truth Seeker Post author

          Yes, but even in that situation you are talking about the basic exercises – dips, push-ups – no need for fancy stuff.

          1. K. Knight

            Wrong again, there’s nothing fancy about ring pull-ups or Bulgarian dips, they are your basic compound movements with additional stabilizers muscles required. I don’t even have to go into controlled ring muscle ups (which might be too “fancy” for you) but go ahead and do 8-10 reps and tell me you don’t accomplish hypertrophy. Good luck!

          2. joe santus

            KNIGHT — and the fact that additional stabilizer muscles are required to do ring pull-ups and more complicated form to do Bulgarian dips means they MORE complicated to do for hypertrophy than straight-bar pull-ups or standard dips.

            Certainly, ring pull-ups and Bulgarian dips cause hypertrophy. But the same amount of hypertrophy can be achieved using standard pull-ups and standard dips, without having to learn the more complicated form and stabilization of the other two exercises.

            Using your earlier comparison — instead of switching from 25-rep-per-set standard pull-ups to 12-rep-per-set ring dips, you could have achieved the same hypertrophy goal by simply fastening enough plates to yourself so you could only manage 12-rep-set standard dips.

            The same hypertrophy which more complicated-to-perform ring pull-ups and Bulgarian dips will build can be equally developed by adding resistance to simpler-to-perform standard pull-ups and standard dips.

  18. Griswold

    Gymnastics training, huh, it’s almost like lifting 80% of your 1RM for a handful of sets and then doing a ton of pump and fluff ie hours of “skill training” with long conquered exercises will build muscle. Golly gee, this concept sounds familiar.

  19. MB

    Which exercises for abs can I concider as ‘gymnastic movements’?

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