“I can’t do pull-ups, I’m just too big!”
You’ve probably heard this excuse from one of your gym buddies in the past, as they try to explain why they’re limiting their outer back to the use of cable pulldowns. The truth is that they aren’t strong enough to pull themselves up, and they are using their body weight as an excuse. While it’s true that skinny lifters at 155 pounds can do pull-ups for days, there is no excuse for heavier trainers to toss out the movement. There’s no doubt that the mechanics of some exercises are going to change as you get heavier. However, for the most part, only a very minimal number of adjustments will need to be made to your training systems to keep making gains and getting the most utility out of these useful movements. Let’s examine some of the most commonly neglected exercises due to body weight.
It’s long been debated among heavy lifters as to when pull-ups for the back are no longer useful for the heavy bodybuilder. For proper perspective, let’s have a look at Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic winner Vic Martinez. He competes at 270 pounds and grows up to over 300 pounds in the off-season. Yet he still uses pull-ups with every workout all the way up to his pre-contest phase. Is it more challenging to pull your body weight when you weigh that much? Absolutely. However, Vic Martinez’ back is one of the best in the sport of bodybuilding. The proof is in the pudding!
If you’re complaining about your body weight while completing parallel bar or bench dips, you need to have your head examined. In fact, no matter what your bodyweight, you should be adding weight to your body after the first two sets to keep the progressive resistance factor intact.
This is one movement which is very useful for bodybuilders of all sizes. However, it can bring some additional risks as you move over 200 and closer to 300. Balance becomes an issue as your body takes on new proportions. You are going to want to be careful not to go too low on sissy squats as your body weight increases. This exercise is very difficult for lean men. If you’re 310 pounds and trying to balance, it can be very dangerous.
It’s commonly believed that as long as you can pull yourself up, this movement is safe. If you find more and more momentum is coming into play, you may want to opt for an exercise with a bit more controlled movement, such as barbell or dumbbell curls.
Ab Training & Hyperextensions
Even at your heaviest body weight, ab and lower back training should never change. Don’t use the excuse “I’ll just use diet for abs as the show nears”.
It is important that you don’t use a heavy body weight as an excuse for selling yourself short in the weight room. It’s sad when you see 215-pound bodybuilders complaining that they can no longer complete chins, as their back development will suffer. Train hard and use your weight gains to your advantage!