Hey basuragomi, thanks for the response.
I agree that time spent exercising for only
fitness reasons (i.e. a single yield) isn’t a WoG approach. Unless I’m misunderstanding yields, my thought was that in my outdoor calisthenics training I am also “producing” several other yields beyond the pure fitness ones (strength/muscle/fat loss) that I desire and would strive to achieve anyways such as spending time outdoors (it’s an actual daily goal of mine, helps with mood/energy a lot), getting several miles of walking in every day, exploring different places, and (once I leave Hawaii) pushing myself to spend time outside regardless of heat/cold, that can occur without some of the “costs” of going to a gym. Some of the other benefits (socializing with other people into training, the enjoyment of bodyweight training, etc.) aren’t incremental compared to working out a gym, but are still yields to my exercise system. I also am toying with the idea of getting into personal training so I look at some of my training as moving up towards that break-even point on the skills curve that could result in income generation later, maybe.
Still, I agree with you. If one had a life consisting of enough activities that were physical one wouldn’t really need to train at all. I don’t know, but I’m guessing most hunter-gatherers didn’t spend much time training. With that said, I do really enjoy strength training so I suppose we do the best we can to integrate. It’s not perfect WoG, for sure. But it seems a step in the right direction from where I was before.
To deal with the issue that you brought up about doing X+1 task being just practice and wasted resources, my thought would be that you need to make sure the process of the practice is useful for something beyond the task. If your situation involves being bored sitting at home at a home gym doing deadlifts or workout videos just so you can have some level of strength to do something that seems quite narrow, sure. But every morning I go to the gym/workout park I get a nice walk in, some sunshine, talk to some friends at the gym, have fun training, get a little stronger, and so on. Maybe I’m deluding myself, but it doesn’t feel that narrow in benefits to me, or that I’m wasting resources.
What do you think? Am I thinking about that too narrowly?
Old me would have agreed with you that the gym offers an incremental advantage in practicing, but having studied and practiced progressive calisthenics I don’t believe that to be the case anymore. Part of this stems from what I believe to be an overly simplistic model of strength training where doing more weight or more reps is the only way people know how to measure progress. This removes a world of nuance of technical variations in how the exercise is completed and leads one to viewing progression in calisthenics as only step-function jumps in difficulty (push up to one arm push up, etc.)
Some of the elements that can be regressed or progressed in bodyweight exercises include the amount of tension you mentally bring to the muscle during a movement, how hands and feet are spaced relative to the centerline (hands closer together or further apart), the angle to gravity (wall push-up->ground push-up->handstand push-up), extension/torque (e.g. do you bend knees or keep legs straight during leg raises), range of tension (i.e. full range of motion, can be modified with say bricks during pushups to stop chest early or hands on breaks to go lower), rep tempo, the duration of a set, shifting weight between limbs (2 arm pushups->archer pushups->1 arm pushups, note this one offers huge progression as you can very incrementally shift weight more and more to one limb over time to build up), and then finally adding/taking off weight via adding weight or using bands to remove weight.
There is also the actual technical performance of how an exercise done is done with given the above set of conditions. In pretty much any set ever done there is some amount of technical breakdown between the first rep and the last one. Actively fighting this and maintaining form itself is another tool to allow one to get more out of the same exercises. While this isn’t unique to bodyweight training, the point is we all know people who lift who have atrocious form that resulted from an attempt to do more weight or reps. Lifting more weight with worse form isn’t what I’d consider progression, and focusing on perfecting form at a given exercise and rep range can allow progression, too.
To your question about one-handed pullups, you can progress from standard 2-arm pullups to 1-arm pullups by adjusting the following, often in conjunction with each other: modulating the range of tension (doing a small part of the range of motion with one arm), changing how close hands are to centerline, and eventually shifting more weigh to one limb “archer” style where weight is shifted more to one hand from the other. Of course adding weight is a great tool as well, I don’t mean to say the others are better, just that they can work, too.
Haha well if one can do 20 clean reps of full range of motion narrow hand position handstand pushups that’s pretty impressive and that seems to approaching some limits, all that is left is progressing to archer and then eventually one arm handstand pushups
The point is, there is actually a ton of variables you can manipulate to implement nearly endless progression via bodyweight training. It’s not as simple as adding weigh to the bar or sliding the weight adjustor down as in other types of training, but that’s what I love about calisthenics: you introduce knowledge and skill to progress rather than taking the simple solution of using “things”. Seems to have a nice parallel with DIY vs. turning to the market for a solution.
Those are good points in your last paragraph. To your point, I agree and I’m not aware of any great way to train so specifically and safely in a way to replicate the exact movement pattern of the deadlift at an advanced level, but to be honest I’m struggling to see that it’s necessary. I’ve deadlifted 405lb before but in my life never came across a task that it seemed very useful for. Maybe the closest was lifting a deer onto a 4-wheeler by myself, but my 1RM was far overkill for the task. At some point we have to be honest that strength/fitness training is Pareto-optimized for practical/functional purposes and is being done for other reasons, which is OK to me and why at some point the other “yields” have to be substantial on the activity to be a true WoG activity – something I need to keep in mind going forward.