How Gymnasts Build Huge Muscles (JACKED GYMNASTS!)

How Gymnasts Build Huge Muscles (JACKED GYMNASTS!)

What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, What is it about gymnasts that allows them
to get the level of muscularity that they’re known for? Particularly in the fact that they
don’t spend a lot of their time in gyms lifting weights. As a matter of fact, most
of their time is spent on skill work, or doing bodyweight training to improve their skill
work. So check out this clip of this gymnast making
a pretty regular transition for them and see if you can spot what you think it is that’s
attributing to their gains. Now, if you’ve ben watching me for any length of time you
know that I’m a big fan of tie motor tension. Tie motor tension is one of those factors
that can allow us to build muscle. But is it what’s causing the muscle growth
that we know and find in gymnasts? It’s not because if you think about tie motor tension
I could take a band right here, put it under my feet and get into a curl position. I have
tension here on my biceps, but is this enough to cause a growth in overload, certainly to
the degree that you see in the gymnast? It’s not. What about eccentric? You saw a lot of eccentric
transitioning between movement and movement here. Well, we know that eccentric training
and overload is a great way to cause the muscle damage necessary to spark new growth. However,
I will say that again, an eccentric overload can happy in any exercise. I could be experiencing
an eccentric load, again, right here with this band, and as I come down this is an eccentric
contraction. Again, this is nothing, but is it a stimulus
to cause new growth? It’s not. So that’s not the answer. There’s isometric components to
gymnastic, but I could do an isometric like this and hold my hands together as hard as
I possibly can. Is this going to cause muscle growth in my body? It’s not. So what you have
to notice is that the one key element of a gymnast training program is the transitions
between movements under high loads. So what am I talking about? Well, I put together
a couple transitions that I actually work on and do in my training. It’s just a way
to kill two birds with one stone and create a more efficient movement pattern and the
exercises kind of blend together nicely. More so, it demands that my body has complete control
under high levels of tension and able to move my own body through space throughout that
tension. I call that a dynamic isometric because we’re
having a lot of holding exercises, but we’re doing transitions between them. So if you’ll
look first at this lever raise into an L-sit pull up, then into a swiveling L – to the
right and to the left – this is a much different movement than if you tried to do any of them
in isolation. That, I think, is the key for why gymnasts are as strong as they are. There’s tie motor tension, there’s eccentric
training, there’s isometric components, and there is this transitioning between all those
elements while having to have complete control of your body and core and plug up the energy
leaks that lead to these immense amounts of growth. I carry it over to another move here
as well. This one is a dip, combined with a plus – the plus is great for the serratus,
for our shoulder blades, for the strength of our entire shoulder girdle – and I can
go into a gymnast ab tuck, which allows me to pull my pelvis up high using only my abs. Then I can come back down again and I proceed
into another dip, back into the plus, and back into that gymnast ab tuck. So now we
have a pushing movement combo, and we have a pulling movement combo. Now, these are hard.
These are not easy. I don’t expect you to be able to run out and do these same exact
transitions. I’m going to come up with more of these transitions for you, but the fact
of the matter is, I believe it’s this combination of those elements I talked about, placed into
transitions that creates the level of muscularity that gymnasts see from their training. Now if you can’t do any of this, but you want
to start to at least experience what I’m talking about, then dial it back a little bit. Go
back to that dip position and put yourself in a position of the plus. So engage all those
muscle of your shoulder girdle, get your core activated, plus yourself out, you should feel
it in your chest. I’ve talked before about having your shoulder blades be pressed. Now
do this backward and forward bicycling. What you’re doing is you’re experiencing this movement
of your body under tension. You’ve got this isometric position held and
you have to move your body around and through that. You feel how much different that feels
from all the muscles that you just engaged by forcing yourself to control it as your
bodyweight drifts forward and as your bodyweight drifts back. As your bodyweight drifts forward,
and as your bodyweight drifts back. It is a major difference in how it feels as opposed
to just holding it in, or if you’ve been doing dips by themselves. Same thing can happen here on the pullup bar.
You’ve probably seen this before. I’m not trying to do this in sync with music, or anything
like that. That’s not what this is about. This is not choreographed. I’m just trying
to place my body and move it through space, transitioning through space, while I have
my legs moving and holding this pullup position. Yeah, I’m going up and down into a pullup,
but that’s not the focus of the exercise. It’s more about engaging the muscles and then
moving through it. So guys, I hope you’ve found this video helpful. Start figuring out
ways that you can experience that transitioning in some of the exercises you’re doing. As
I’ve said, I gave you two of the more advanced ones here. I’m going to give you some more
here in the future, but the main point is, if you’re looking for a bodyweight training
program that uses nothing but your own bodyweight and creates the overload needed to create
muscle growth; I’ve got you covered there. That I know. That’s our ATHLEAN0 program over
at It’s a six week program that uses no equipment at all. Just your own body
and space to allow you start building some serious muscle. All right guys, I’ll see you back here in
just a couple days. I hope you’ve found this one helpful. Make sure you leave your comments
and let me know whatever else you want to see here with our bodyweight Wednesday videos. See you.

100 Replies to “How Gymnasts Build Huge Muscles (JACKED GYMNASTS!)”

  1. Jeff straight-up looks like a gymnast and knows his stuff. My personal aesthetic goal would be a gymnast-esque bod, nod an Olympia bod. Ladies are also much fonder of the gymnast bod, too (with some very rare exceptions). Anyways, Great vid!

  2. Hi Jeff
    my name's Joshua and I wanted to thank you for all the work you do! I know I'm not alone when I say this but without a doubt your program has completely changed my life and the way I look at fitness and health in general!! I've been training with your program for a few months and and it has positively affected every single other aspect of my life
    so thanks again

  3. Ah man, it's never ending! So much great content. I'm just getting in to training. Once I've built up some strength with the stuff I've seen on these vids I'm gettign Athlean X Zero.

  4. Itd be worth mentioning volume to. Even if these methods werent as effective as they are, these guys spend 5-6 hours training a day, you couldn't not see gains

  5. It's better for y'all stick to wieghts if all you care is size, Gymnastics is ridiculously hard and takes years of train to get big.
    If size doesn't matter to you and you want skill and strength then I highly encourage gymnastics.

  6. I talked to a pro gymnast once and he said that for every workout (Bodyweight or weightlifting) he does 8 sets of 8 to 1 rep, so that first set he does 8 reps, then 7 reps, Then 6 All the way down to 3, Then he increases the Weight 20% and makes 3 reps All the way down to one. I don’t know the science behind this, but I’ve tried it for 6 months and I sure as hell feel a Big difference!!!

  7. Wow! Started AX-Xero literally a week ago and was hoping to see more body-weight content on the main channel! Surprise surprise! Thanks!

  8. Very helpful athleanx I just had a question about trying to figure out how to keep my elbows inward when I do my dips I sometimes feel my elbows slip out of position as I push off any suggestion? Thx again for the vids

  9. He explains everything so well, he makes me want to study Physical Therapy seriously!He knows the body like a mechanic knows a car!

  10. This video was posted on reddit, and recieved loads of criticism and accusations of bro science. On here, it's respected and taken well. As it should be. Good stuff Jeff!

  11. How bout that the time under tension is spent in positions that are mechanically disadvantageous and create loads that would normally not be applicable with just one’s body weight. Christopher Sommer anyone?

  12. Also when you work out at an early age you get under developed fat cells so when you grow up you get permanent ripped. When you combine this with skill work over years you get a impressive look.

  13. Transitions sets are my goal but I find there are too many things to think about when doing them. I'm still learning how to breathe properly when doing some exercises.

  14. Here I am a few years into this channel thinking I'd seen them all only to find this amazing gem. Great info. Great channel. Thanks Jeff–Sorry it took so long.

  15. It’s called neurological adaptation. For example doing a pull-up and then doing a dip is not as effective as a muscle-up.The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Great channel btw.

  16. @athlean-X Is slight knee flexion okay when doing the L-Sit or is that a sign of tight hamstrings or weak hip flexors?

  17. Can confirm, i have seen the most muscle growth by doing multiple exercises at once (i did pull ups with leg raises when up and knee raises when relaxed and my lat development skyrocketed)

  18. Gymnasts don't train legs. That's why more calories can be utilized on the upper body. That's the biggest part about it.


  20. I wonder if any of the "know it alls" in the comment section ever go back to see how stupid they sound. Probably not.

  21. the difference between body builder's and gymnast is. body builders have 6 packs . true gymnast have and 8 pack . better muscle results without weights.

  22. Bro I love all your videos and I use your information regularly, but the sound in this video is very bad.

  23. Gymnasts are so muscular because of proper form skills and strait arm moves, which creates immense load to the body, especally biceps, so this is why their biceps are so big too.

  24. I love this, Jeff! I'm going to see if you have videos with more of these transition movements. I'm all about this.

  25. Not to mention moving bodyweight at the end of your arms which act as long levers, essentially multiplying your bodyweight hence the huge shoulders. And it take years to get that sort of shoulder development.

  26. In gymnastics it’s important to have steel tendons and ligaments, so better start with conditioning them. They take more time to recover than muscles.

  27. I think this concept is why i got so toned so quickly, and such major strength (not necessarily huge muscles but with ALL the muscle groups strong it's better than having big muscles that only work in limited groups), when i did landscape gardening, we were lifting but also walking with and maneuvering heavy weights in and out of all sorts of body positions over and over again. We ended up MUCH stronger and more stamina than bodybuilders who came in, they had bigger muscles but no stamina and couldn't move around with the weights or keep it up for long at all (they had to stop after ten minutes for a break, but we kept going for hours at a time with moving the loads of stuff). We built majorly STRONG core strength etc through that movement of weights (70kg bags of sand, slavs etc etc) from trucks through houses, into gardens etc etc etc. Not just doing static reps standing on the spot.

  28. Yea but he is doing it from real young the first one, above 40 its realy hard never met sommone Who can .Who did? ???

  29. You all seem to forget how their is way more muscle growth if you use BALANCE exercises, and not just isolated exercises like bodybuildiers.
    There are a bunch of studies on balance exercises vs isolated exercises, and when you force your body to always find a balance, muscles will grow way faster because it triggers a "survival" switch in the brain, which isolated exercises don't, as keeping your balance and further mastering it can litterally mean life or death back in the ancient times,where as isolated exercises simply meant "I need to get a bit stroger next time".

  30. You're not wrong about the things you mentioned, but the most significant factor is that their training frequency is very high and so all of that time under tension is spread out across a full week. All it takes is talking to a gymnastics coach and you'll see that on any given day in a week, a gymnast may workout for 20 minutes doing some light conditioning, come back in the afternoon and do an intense skill session focused on maybe 1 or 2 skills and the movements that help to condition those skills for about 1-2 hours, then they'll return in the evening and do some more light conditioning or light weights. The next day, it'd basically be similar but the intensity, volume, and VARIATIONS will change thus creating a daily periodization effect in an effort to manage fatigue.

    Gymnasts are constantly working through soreness and like most athletes they tend to deal with injuries more often than the average gymgoer. So they get strong and jacked largely due to high frequency, high variation, and all while utilizing rings which create an unstable environment for the muscles which have to contract more forcefully under isometric conditions to stablize and protect the joints. Finally, they do use weights, but more as a supplement to the bodyweight skill work.

  31. This guy comes up with so many routines on his YouTube channel.
    All to get people to buy his programme as it leaves people confused on what workout to pick.
    Very clever. Give people a few exercises and get them to invest.

  32. Mr Universe Mike Mentzer put it best when he called the dip the UPPER BODY SQUAT. Some male gymnasts w/ very responsive arms, delts and pecs develop absolutely incredible upper (not lower!) bodies using only bodyweight. This does NOT apply to the general population but it does prove Mike Mentzer anecdotally correct. For example the bench press bodyweight exercise equivalent (the push up) has never nor will EVER build the muscle the dip has and always will. There is no multi-million dollar machine that'll ever beat it.. EVER! You can right buy a dip rack off Ebay capable of handling 400+lbs for $45 that'll last you a lifetime. There is nothing else you can buy for any amount of money that'll equal the possible results. Not many people do dips because their freakin hard and painful..but most people are weak and lazy and don't have the kohonas to train as hard as dips force you to do. Gymnasts generally train alot harder than any weightlifter and their bodies demonstrate this. An incredible physique has one VERY high pricetag that most people lack the fortitude to pay. Its as simple as that.

  33. Will these tips amd excercises apply to am adult gymnast? I LOVE gymnastics and I'm starting to get into it and I was wondering if i can still apply this information when I start training? Im 19, and I know these gymnasts start HELLA early too so is it too much for me to expect similar results?

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