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Benefits of strandpulling over weights and bodyweight workout

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May 1 16 2:55 AM

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I had asked and compared strandpulling with weight and bodyweight fitness in few topics here and some interesting information were spoted.

Strandpulling is by some viewed as great supplement workout, but have it´s disadvantages over weights and calisthenics.
Strandpulling vs. weights: weights are better for building lover body (maybe even upper, but that may vary) and overall "weighted" strength (picking weight, carrying weight, etc) and also cardio.
Strandpulling vs. bodyweight: bodyweight fitness is better for strengthening overal body (compound movements, core section is trained more, leg calisthenics excercises have better bang-for-buck also), movement and cardio.

That lead me to question:
Is there any significant advantage of strandpulling in terms of (practical life) results (over weightlifting and calisthenics)?

I know that targeting muscles from different angles (and so) is mentioned often by comparing with both other, but that is in my opinion only addition, not advantage: You just work muscles in different position (advantage is that strength for strandpulling excercises is builded more, but usage of that strength could be limited in practical life).

If I take weights, strandpulling have huge advantage only if person work out with dumbbels, barbells or kettlebells, that don´t provide possibility of vertical pulling: strandpulling have ODP which provide that motion. Bigger impact to nervous system and spine compression with weights is mentioned, but that may vary (technique, training frequency, etc...). I thin, that with strandpulling it´s easier to correct posturas problems, but as before: that may vary.

If I take bodyweight fitness I can´t find any advantage that strandpulling have in terms of results (if one have all posibilities of bodyweight movement = horizontal and vertical push and pull). Maybe bigger focus on shoulder development (but that comes with prize of undeveloped different parts, that expander is not so good tool for).

I know... apples and oranges, different tools for different purposes, one could use combination of principles and tools etc, but:
In last days/weeks I thought about if calisthenics and/or weights don´t provide better overall results in shorter scale of time, than strandpulling (= if strenghtening in strandpulling movements as such isn´t one´s goal, than if other two aren´t "better deal").

In current time I do calisthenics only with inferior frequency and shorter workouts than I did with chest expander and already have better results in two-three weaks in all aspects of strength/building muscles/moving (except strandpulling excercise strength) than I have with expanders. I´m planning to stick to BWF mainly (oldschool - pull ups, chin ups, push ups, squats and horizontal rows as staple, core excercises and dips as addition) for longer period of time and see how it will go.


Last Edited By: Lemmy01 May 1 16 12:09 PM. Edited 1 time

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#1 [url]

May 2 16 7:32 PM

As I thought about my question more... that´s not advantage in terms of practical life results in my situation (eh... I have postural problems and some elbow issues, but I don´t feel any pain with bodyweight fitness due to this).
I found advantage, that strands have above weights and bodyweight workout and thats:

Accessability with age/health issues (+ rehabilitation).
I know about people who couldn´t do for example pull ups or overhead presses due to injuries but could do same motions with strands. Also, I don´t know about anybody who have joint or elbow issues (or other injury from longer usage) from strands, but know about injuries from bodyweight fitness and weight training.
I know that strands and bands are reccomended with back and shoulder issues, as a pre-workout tool for shoulder opening and for people, who arent that strong (for example older folks or overweight people, who couldn´t do pull ups yeat due to their´s weight).

But still... I don´t know about anybody who benefit more with strands in same amount of time in terms of strenght/muscle mass than with weights/bodyweight excercises (sad... I am big believer in strands, but practical experiences lead me to different "tools" now).
Any other thoughts or personal experiences?

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#2 [url]

May 3 16 4:48 AM

I wouldn't say that strands are inferior to bodyweight exercises. They complement bodyweight exercises nicely. Some muscles that are easier to work with strands than with bodyweight exercises are shoulders, biceps and middle-upper back.

Another thing to consider is that bodyweight exercises (and compound exercises with weights) are leverage-dependent, i.e. the shape of your body and limbs will often determine how individual muscles are used, and there's nothing you can do to change that. Strands can then be used to isolate individual muscles and prevent imbalance and injury.

I believe that with strands and bodyweight training combined you can achieve results comparable to the results you would see from weight training.

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#3 [url]

May 3 16 11:31 AM

Fatman 2 wrote:
I wouldn't say that strands are inferior to bodyweight exercises. They complement bodyweight exercises nicely. Some muscles that are easier to work with strands than with bodyweight exercises are shoulders, biceps and middle-upper back.


Yes, but easier only for leverage, as You mentioned (You don´t need to go to special position, for example handstand, to work shoulders with strands).
Also, strands would be easier in terms of lighter resistance (nearly everybody could work out with light strand resistance, but not everybody could do pull up, even negative) and amount of resistance You could choose (You simply ad another strand... with bodyweight fitness, progression to another movement is harder).
But that difference of using, not difference between results, if You know what I mean (at the other hand - it could have effect on results - for example You ad lighter strands and worked to harder resistance in time one with bodyweight fitness still work on skill to be able to perform next step of bodyweight excercise)

As for my experiences, I have better results in for example biceps development with horizontal rows and pull ups than from strands excercises.
Other parts You mentioned - shoulders: handstands seems to me that give more shoulder development, as pull/ups, chin ups and horizontal rows do for upper and middle back - I mean here overall strength and muscle building results, I know, that strands may be better for sepparation and definition some small muscles in shoulder/traps/upper back area.

Thanks for mentioning bodyweight fitness with combination of strands as way to work on comparable results with weightlifting. I believed it too: know some examples of strandpuller who had great physique and strength claimed/prooved that they did mainly strandpulling and calisthenics as only "tools" for workout - but not many people do strandpulling (stand alone, or with calisthenics) as main, staple workout and one´s ho did/do don´t take a part in any study or measuring in strength contest. And usually, they work out with strands with numerous Years and have muscle building results that weightlifters or calisthenics excerts have in shorter amount of time.
I think that combination calisthenics/strandpulling is better for calisthenics movement and excercises (pull up numbers for example) than weightlifting but is not matching weigtlifting in other strength (carry, lift, squat numbers, etc...) and muscle building results. Combination weightlifting + calisthenics is could be best if one is reaching for muscles, but also for movement possibilities.

I would really like to know (and I mean it in a good way, in terms of motivation why to continue with strands) if any of members of this forum (or athlete any of You know) who did/do strandpulling mainly did any strength contest and what was his/hers "numbers"/results compared to another athletes who did weights to proove that idea, that You could match weightlifting results with strands and bodyweight fitness combination. I know about mr. Danks as weightlifting champion, but I haven´t found any proven fact of weight he could lifted in championchips.

Last Edited By: Lemmy01 May 3 16 12:48 PM. Edited 1 time.

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#4 [url]

May 4 16 9:25 AM

Maybe I didn't express myself correctly. When I wrote "results", I meant muscular development, not strength. I don't think that you can train for weightlifting contests by doing strands and calisthenics. You can't - you have to lift weights if you want to be good at lifting weights.

But I do think that strands plus calisthenics will give you muscular development quite close to that gained from lifting only weights. If you look at physiques from the pre-steroid era of bodybuilding, this seems to be true.

By "leverage", I wanted to say that the muscle-building effectiveness of calisthenics will depend on your particular body structure. E.g. you mention that you get good biceps development from pullups. I, on the other hand, feel pullups mostly in my lats and in my forearms, so for me they are not an effective biceps exercise. Some people get great chest development from dips, others get more tricep development, etc. This is why isolation exercises are important, and strands are useful for those.

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#5 [url]

May 4 16 1:15 PM

Fatman 2 wrote:
Maybe I didn't express myself correctly. When I wrote "results", I meant muscular development, not strength. I don't think that you can train for weightlifting contests by doing strands and calisthenics. You can't - you have to lift weights if you want to be good at lifting weights.

But I do think that strands plus calisthenics will give you muscular development quite close to that gained from lifting only weights. If you look at physiques from the pre-steroid era of bodybuilding, this seems to be true.


I see. You mention that (strands couldn´t match weightlifting in terms of pure strength for moving weights) in my another topic about strandpulling for "functional" purposes. I stiil think about if isn´t there any carryover for weightlifting (resistance is resistance, Alfred Danks stated as weightlifting champion who don´t use weights in regular workout, Fred Crivello stated in another forum by one of his student as really, strong man). I´m sure carryover between calisthenics in most excercises is (even if small) - examples of gymnasts that could pick huge amount of weight in their first time in gym are known (but mostly, it´s upper body excercises and training for hours a day isn´t for gymnastics unknown thing), or street-workouters too (I know that "Hit" Richards from Calisthenics Kingz could do 50 kg dumbbells bench-press for reps - and he only train with calisthenics with little bands addition... but still, trains for several Years - bodybuilder trained with weights could match that weight quicker).
But as I stated in other topic (strandpulling and "functional" strength) I didn´t see much carryover for myself. I´m thinking it is for fact, that I don´t add resistance (cheap expander with limited resistance - but for me still hard with all attached strands) or that expander isn´t that great for lover body/lower back development (one couldn´t easily beat heavy deadlift or weighted squat in same amount of time with different excercise). Or it is for fact I don´t train with strands for that long time (few months) and my workout were not much demanding in whole body workout (as I had more demanding workouts with weights years before).

Yes, I believe it too, that strands + bodyweight fitness could lead to physique gained from weights. But important question is: how long it takes. Fred Crivello for example have really great physique, but he trains with tube for Years (20+ if I am correct?). Another fact is that lover body and lover back could be harder to build without weights - and very limited (I know anthetes who could do pistol squats or hyperextension for high reps, but don´t have builded legs as pre-steroid bodybuilders who did weighted excercises for legs and lover back).

About importance of isolation excercises:
So, would You say that better isolation and simply separation of muscles in workout with strands is their advantage over bodyweight fitness that could affect results? (and maybe even over weightlifting - one could easily work small muscles in upper back with stands that with weights withou need to change body bosition - for example one couldn´t be lying on the bench to work muscles around scapula and simply do Front chest pull in standing position). Or it is just targeting muscles in different angles (in terms of results), as I stated in first post here?

Btw, thanks for Your time in this post.

Last Edited By: Lemmy01 May 4 16 1:18 PM. Edited 1 time.

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#6 [url]

May 4 16 7:28 PM

If you stick with the classic strandpulling exercises and those are the only exercises you do then your general strength development will probably be poor. They are good exercises, but not enough, it's a little like if somebody had a weight training routine consisting of one arm dumbell rows, two hand dumbell press and front raises.

For strength like the ability to carry things around, you need to be able to brace your whole body, that's difficult to learn with the classic pulls. Exercises which use more of the body tend to encourage muscle and strength development more. When you get better at bodyweight exercises, you will have more strength to help with your expander exercises but will also have a better feeling for tensing the midsection etc which will in turn make the strandpulling more worthwhile.
If you don't have weights, a reliable way to train the lower back is with heavy bands looped under the feet or (better) to the ground and either round the back of the neck or in the crook of the elbow, then perform squats or good mornings. I think the cheapest way is to purchase "pallet bands".

For somebody like Fred, practical functional strength means being able to resist and overcome an another person from any position. Cables are much more practical for acheiving this than weightlifting, because you can so easily train in so many positions and angles.

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#7 [url]

May 4 16 8:16 PM

Muscle definition/"separation"will be accomplished by your diet, not by any favored exercise method.

"Any problem in the World can be solved by dancing." James Brown 
"I don't even know if I'm doin' this right" John Mellencamp
Mastering principles, frees us from slavery to recipes.
Set a DIRECTION, not a goal.

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#8 [url]

May 4 16 9:52 PM

Mikey: Yes, I agree, diet is huge part in muscle building (and have effect in all sport overall, not only bodybuilding).
But even experts mainly agree, than some tools are better for different things (in most cases - but as always, depends on genetics and other circumstances):
For example classic adjustable dumbbels and barbells are stated as better tool for purely muscle building than for example kettlebell, which ich stated as better by many as conditioning tool. If bodybuilder-like physique is the goal, surely diet is main part, but dummbells/barbells would be better tool for a job than kettlebell (if one could/want to use them and not different equipment for some reasons).

Diet isn´t what I am interested in this topic, but Yeah - thanks for mention it, it´s surely one of main parts (diet, training, regeneration).


Last Edited By: Lemmy01 May 4 16 9:55 PM. Edited 1 time.

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