I’ve already addressed, some of the concerns of adding extra resistance to body weight exercises. Today I ran across one more.
I learned that as you add more resistance to the same exercise technique, you essentially imprint your movement and muscle activation patters deeper into your nervous system.
uh huh, so what does that mean?
What it means is that you’re strengths have the potential to get stronger, but if you’re lacking muscle activation in certain muscles then you further ingrain that activation as well. So your weaknesses get weaker.
Take for example, the pull up. The pull up is a classic example of people moving within a certain way and activating their muscles in a particular pattern. So let’s say you do pull ups and you emphasis your lats and bicep but your rear deltoids don’t do much and you have trouble keeping your upper back engaged so you hunch forward. The thing is, if you add a few extra pounds to your pull up you’re reinforcing using that same pull up technique. So your lats get stronger, you upper back stays as it is and you reinforce that forward motion.
So adding extra resistance is a way of saying “keep doing this exercise in this way.”
Using progressive calisthenics techniques is kind of an escape route away from this sort of thing. Progressive calisthenics makes an exercise harder by altering the technique. Through doing so, you are forced to “earn” the resistance you want to place on your muscles. If you can’t make it happen then something needs to change on a technical standpoint thus you fill in the gaps where you may be weak or uncoordinated.
Adding extra weight isn’t a bad thing, it’s just that it must be done with caution and a focus on technique. Always remember, it’s your technique that makes you stronger and the extra weight is just there to challenge your technique. If you compromise your technique just to lift more weight then you’re not really getting stronger, you’re just trading one aspect of strength for another. Only this time you’re trading quality for quantity which can lead to further risks in your joints and health.