CALISTHENICS VS BODYBUILDING: THE M.I.T. (MAXIMUM INTENSITY TRAINING) METHOD PART 1

A BRIEF INTRODUCTION

Hey Caliathletics Fam!! It has been a while, but we are back with another awesome article that will help you to achieve a whole new level in your way of traning!

While taking a look daily at your questions that you post on our FB page, I noticed that many of you tend to aim to ask everything’s related to getting bigger (gains) and so increase your muscular mass.

Well, let me start by saying which is my personal opinion about this: I totally disagree with the idea of those who think that getting bigger and bigger is the key to success.

Some of you may find themselves too thin or fat and so your dream is to get leaner, stronger of course, but most of all BIG.

Keep in mind that, just to mention a name by chance, Bruce Lee reached his level of greatness worldwide not surely by taking steroids, supplements of whichever kind and lifting weights like a bodybuilder.

Of course his training schedules and programs were including also the help of weights, but with a totally different aim that was to increase his strength and explosiveness in the movements he was performing daily because his goal was to achieve perfection.

Now, said that, in our case talking about a discipline like Calisthenics that is mainly focused on learning how our bodyweight can really do its part without the necessary need to include weights and neither supplements and so on, I wanna share below a method that maybe will finally satisfy your needs by merging Calisthenics together with Bodybuilding.

Be aware that, in such case, the purposes of this method, are based on studies and knowledge applied by the Italian coach Umberto Miletto who, in 2005, wanted to create something that could really help athletes of different levels of body and skills conditions, to achieve new stimuli by merging strict bodyweight Calisthenics trainings together with bodybuilding trainings, in order to help them achieve new levels of strength by developing also a consistent body mass (avoiding taking any kind of supplement).

THE BASICS OF MIT TRAINING

The MIT training aims to create the perfect combination of reps, sets and rest times between the exercises so that the body will find always a new stimulus on its way by meeting an incredible and devastating intensity while performing the combined exercises and letting the gain mass process to start.

In order to let you understand briefly, what the MIT is about, we can say that such method was born to increase the organic intensity at every workout by quantifying it in a precise and easy way.

The organic intensity is the psychophysical effort modality with which a determined workout is executed.

Since the muscle is a biological system that improves by generating muscular hypertrophy in a proportioned way to the load and intensity applied to it; if the volume (as a parameter) doesn’t vary periodically and remains stable, but a different time lapse is applied to execute the same amount of work, then the intensity will increase.

In this way the muscle will adapt to a new stimulus by getting bigger and stronger.

PROGRAMMING

To start with, it is necessary emphasizing the fact that, to be able to follow in correct way the schedule by means of this program, you must have mastered already all the main basics of Calisthenics (fundamental exercises such as pull-ups, chin-ups, dips, push-ups all with the correct form).

The programmation in MIT style is mainly divided in 10 steps as follows:

  1. Superset hypertrophic adaptation push-pull

  2. Strength superset push-pull

  3. Double hypertrophic superset

  4. Hypertrophic 6×6 with variable recovery

  5. Basic multi-joint strength tri-set

  6. Double hypertrophic tri-set until exhaustion

  7. Strength/Hypertrophy/Endurance Pyramidal tri-set

  8. Hypertrophy 50RT

  9. Mixed hypertrophic tri-set

  10. Hypertrophy/Definition Workout-Time/Lactacid

In order to obtain the maximum benefits from this schedule, I recommend you to train 4 times a week by splitting them between three days of bodyweight training and one of bodybuilding.

In regards of the Calisthenics trainings, they will mainly include the following exercises:

  • Pull-ups

  • Push-ups

  • Wall Handstand

  • Parallettes Dips

  • Muscle Up

  • Front Lever

  • Back Lever

  • Planche

  • Human Flag

  • Plank

  • Hollow body position

  • Arch body

  • Pistol squats

  • Lunges

  • Gluteus Ham Raises

Said that, according to the list above, of course depending on which is your level for a specific advanced skill such as Planche or Front Lever and so on, you will adapt the difficulty of the exercises related to it, to your actual level for that skill.

This means that, according to the steps that can be applied in Calisthenics progressions, you will have to adapt the movement by performing it in:

TUCK or

ADVANCED TUCK or

ONE LEG or

STRADDLE or

HALF LAY or

FULL

In regards of the bodybuilding exercises instead, you will work on its basics suchs as:

  1. Bench Press

  2. Barbell Squats

  3. Romanian Deadlifts

  4. Military press

  5. Barbell Curls

  6. Barbell rows

At the end of every daily workout session (DAY1,2,3,4) you MUST do at least 15 minutes of stretching!

MIT STEP ONE: SUPERSET PUSH/PULL

For every bodyweight workout, you will have to perform 3 supersets made up of two exercises per each (total of 6 exercises divided in 3 blocks).

It will be up to you determining which will be the best rest time in between the exercises, keeping in mind that between the blocks (supersets) you are allowed to rest for a period from 3 up to 5 minutes.

Every time you finish a superset, you can write down in which amount of time you were able to complete it so to keep a track of it; in this way then, you will be able to increase the organic intensity (which means increasing muscle mass as well as strength) by reducing the resting time between the exercises and so complete each superset in a shorter period of time.

In consideration of what just said above, to make a clear and concrete example of how it works, if for instance we have push-ups and pull-ups, we will be performing:

  • A set of 6 reps of push-ups

  • Very short rest just to go to the next exercise

  • A set of 6 reps of pull-ups (the first superset is completed)

  • Very short rest again to go all the way back to the first exercise

  • Repeat all over again always following sets of 6 reps each exercise

  • Your goal is to complete 10 supersets (6 reps push-ups/6 reps pull-ups) in the shortest time lapse possible

Like I said before, according to which is your actual level of strength and endurance, you can adapt the difficulty of the exercises by lowering it (if you notice that you are not able to complete the Supersets in a timely manner of about 13/17 minutes that Is the average), or at the opposite you can also increase the difficulty to make it more challenging for you.

For this 1st step you will have to workout for 4 weeks (4 workouts a week), considering the 4th one as the week of rest where you will cut in half the number of sets per each superset:

DAY 1 UPPER BODY:

PPP (pseudo planche push-ups) 6 reps

Chin-ups 6 reps

x10 supersets

V Push-ups 6 reps

Inverted pull down 6 reps

x10 supersets

Front Lever 15”

Dip 6 reps

x 10 supersets

DAY 2 LOWER BODY

Pistol squats 6 reps (each leg)

Gluteus Ham Raises 6 reps

x10 supersets

Full Squat Jump 6 reps

Femoral Arch 20”

x10 supersets

V Crunches 10 reps

Inverted plank x30”

x10 supersets

DAY 3 UPPER BODY

Handstand Push-ups 6 reps

Ice cream makers 6 reps

x10 superset

One arm push-ups 6 reps

Close grip pull-ups 6 reps

x10 superset

Triceps on floor 6 reps

Dragon Flag 6 reps

x10 superset

DAY 4 BODYBUILDING

Squat Box 3×8 reps rest 1’30”

Romanian Deadlifts 3×8 reps rest 1’30”

Calf Raises 3×30 reps rest 1’

Bench press 3×8 rest 1’30”

Barbell Military press 3×8 rest 1’30”

Barbell rows 3×8 rest 1’30”

Dumbbell curls 3×8 rest 1’30”

Plank 4×60” rest 1’

Hollow body position 4×60” rest 1’

Arch body 4×60” rest 1’

On week 4, you will divide in half the supersets so this means that instead of 10 you will aim to 5: in regards instead of the bodybuilding training day, you will halve the sets.

MIT STEP TWO: PUSH/PULL

In this second step, your goal will be to increase the overall strength.

The mechanic followed in this second step is the same you applied for the previous one, so per each couple of exercises (superset) you must be able to complete the correct amount of reps by not reaching the overtraining and by always executing in perfect form the exercises.

DAY 1 FULL BODY CALISTHENICS WORKOUT

Wall Handstand Push-ups 3 reps

Prone Grip pull-ups 3 reps

x10 supersets

Pistol squats 3 reps (each leg)

Dragon Flags 3 reps

x10 supersets

Plank 4×60” rest 1’

DAY 2 FULL BODY CALISTHENICS WORKOUT

Planche push-ups 3 reps

Archer pull-ups 3 reps (each arm)

x10 supersets

Russian dips 3 reps

Gluteus ham raises 3 reps

x10 supersets

Hollow body position 4×60” rest 1’

DAY 3 FULL BODY CALISTHENICS WORKOUT

Front Lever pullouts 3 reps

Pistol Squat Jumps 3 reps (each leg)

x10 superset

Dynamic Human Flag 3 reps (each side)

Muscle Up 3 reps

x10 superset

L-Sit 4×20” rest 1’

DAY 4 FULL BODY/WEIGHTS WORKOUT

Full Squat 10/8/6/3/3 reps rest 2’

Romanian Deadlifts 3×8 reps rest 1’30”

Calf raises 3×20 reps rest 1’

Bench press 10/8/6/3/3 reps rest 2’

Lateral Raises 3×8 reps rest 1’30”

Curl EZ (on foot) 3×8 reps rest 1’30”

One arm plank 3×30” (each side) rest 1’

Dynamic hollow body position (swing) 3×45” rest 1’

Inverted plank 3×60” rest 1’

On week 4, you will divide in half the supersets so this means that instead of 10 you will aim to 5: in regards instead of the bodybuilding training day, you will divide the sets.

MIT STEP THREE: DOUBLE SUPERSET

This mesocycle will be strictly related to hypertrophic training, considering that the two previous ones were instead focused respectively on hypertrophic adaptation and strength.

This phase indeed takes properly the name of “hypertrophic peak”.

In this phase, the schedule will be a bid different since your goal will be the one to use at its best the strength that you gained in the two previous months.

You will be working on a double superset made up of 4 exercises, each one to be executed next to the other for a total of 8 sets.

The exercises will be coupled in a way that, when the agonist muscle will be working, the antagonist can rest so for instance you will have pulling exercises followed by pushing ones, legs exercises followed by core ones and so on.

DAY 1 UPPER BODY

Planche push-ups 8 reps

Inverted pull down 8 reps

Handstand push-ups 8 reps

Chin-ups 8 reps

x8 supersets

One arm push-ups 8 reps (each arm)

Close grip pull-ups 8 reps

Russian dips 8 reps

Australian pull-ups 8 reps

x8 supersets

DAY 2 LOWER BODY/CORE

Pistol squats 8 reps (each leg)

Front lever 15”

Gluteus ham raises 8 reps

Back lever 15”

Full squat jumps 8 reps

x8 supersets

Pseudo planche 30”

Facilitated gluteus ham raises 8 reps

Arch body 30”

x8 supersets

DAY 3 UPPER BODY

Pull-ups 8 reps

PPP Pseudo planche push-ups 8 reps

Front lever pull-ups 8 reps

Pike push-ups 8 reps

x8 supersets

Dragon flag (straight arms) 8 reps

Tricpes (on floor) 8 reps

Back lever pull-ups 8 reps

Dips 8 reps

x8 supersets

DAY 4 BODYBUILDING

Squat box 4 sets x 5 reps rest 2’

Romanian Deadlifts 4 sets x 5 reps rest 2’

Dynamic lunges 3 sets x 8 reps (each leg) rest 1’30”

Calf raises 3 sets x 30 rest 1’

Bench press 4 sets x 5 reps rest 2’

Barbell rows 4 sets x 5 reps rest 2’

Lateral raises 3 sets x 8 reps rest 1’30”

Dumbbell curls 3 sets x 8 reps rest 1’30”

Human flag 4 sets x 10” (each side) rest 2’

MIT STEP FOUR: 6×6 VARIABLE REST

This phase is mainly dedicated to all those who wanna really put emphasize on their physical condition and create a better body in terms of aesthetics.

In order to do so, in this mit step you will be performing 6 sets x 6 reps of each exercise; with an initial rest of 20-25” between the sets your goal will be, of course, to lower it as time goes on and you get stronger.

Exercises should be performed with an eccentric phase that lasts more or less 3-4” and a concentric phase of instead 1-2”.

On bodybuilding day, make sure to work in supersets; this means that the exercises you will see below must be executed in couples with a rest in between of 2’.

On week 4 you will execute only 2 sets in each superset, weights used in each exercises will not vary.

DAY 1 FULL BODY CALISTHENICS

Muscle Ups 6×6

Pull-ups 6×6

Back lever pull-ups 6×6

Planche push-ups 6×6

Handstand push-ups 6×6

Pistol squats 6×6 (each leg)

Plank 6×60”

DAY 2 FULL BODY CALISTHENICS

Dynamic human flag 6×6 (each side)

Ice cream makers 6×6

Front lever pull-ups 6×6

Russian dips 6×6

PPP Pseudo planche push-ups 6×6

Full squat jumps 6×6

Gluteus ham raises 6×6

DAY 3 FULL BODY CALISTHENICS

Front pull 6×6

Close grip pull-ups 6×6

One arm push-ups 6×6 (each arm)

Parallettes dips 6×6

Pistol jumps 6×6 (each leg)

Dynamic hollow body position 6×30”

Inverted plank 6×30”

DAY 4 FULL BODYBUILDING

Bench press 6 reps

Barbell rows 6 reps

x3 supersets rest 1’30”

Dumbbell shoulder press 30° 6 reps

Dumbbell pullover 6 reps

x3 supersets rest 1’30”

Dumbbell military press 6 reps

Lateral raises 6 reps

x3 supersets rest 1’30”

Close grip bench press (triceps) 6 reps

Curl EZ (on foot) 6 reps

x3 supersets rest 1’30”

Full squats 6 reps

Romanian Deadlifts 6 reps

x3 supersets rest 1’30”

Calf jumps 3 sets x 20 reps rest 1’

Abdominals Knees to elbows 6 reps

Arch body 45”

x3 supersets rest 1’

TO BE CONTINUED WITH PART 2…