New Research Says Bodyweight Exercises Could Build as Much Muscle as Barbell Back Squats

Upon exploring the impact of outdoor workouts as opposed to traditional gym sessions for enhancing muscle gains, new scientific research published in Scientific Reports offers an intriguing piece of information. This research focuses primarily on the effects of progressive bodyweight training and barbell back squats when it comes to muscle strength, muscle size or hypertrophy, and the percentage of body fat in participants over a six-week period. Both groups, one using barbell squats and the other utilizing bodyweight routines, were engaged in performing exercises such as lunges, Bulgarian split squats, and skater squats effectively.

The participants involved initially acquired the necessary exercise techniques in preparation for the study. Each exercise session — which lasted 60 minutes spaced at least 48 hours apart — began with a 15-minute warm-up comprised of ten activities, followed by a workout focusing on squat exercises, later concluded with a 15-minute cool-down session featuring eight activities intended to aid in muscle recovery for both groups. The exertion level was measured using the Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) Scale, and the total training volume was gauged.

Following measurement of strength, muscle size/hypertrophy, and total body fat levels prior and post-intervention, significant findings emerged. Despite noticeable differences in muscle strength reductions in body fat percentage for participants enrolled in the barbell back squatting group, no meaningful discrepancies were observed between the groups with relation to muscle strength and size development following the intervention. The evidence also suggests that lower loads used may elicit similar muscle growth like higher loads when designed within an effective program.

Known as a fitness writer for Men’s Health UK, Kate has demonstrated insightful contributions in workouts, nutrition guides, and training tips with credible qualifications such as Post Graduate Diploma in Sports Performance Nutrition. Prior to her career progression, she has experience working independently as a nutritionist, fitness consultant, and personal trainer. Her work-life balance includes a volunteer presence at animal shelters, and on average, she spends her nonworking hours lifting weights out in her garden and walking her rescue dog. So, if you are pondering the idea of substituting sweaty gym visits with natural park workouts this summer, considering focusing on high-intensity and volume bodyweight session sets, and pushing your effort levels close to failure to avoid conceding muscle gains.

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