This is probably discussion. I don't know how else to ask a specific question. I don't know any other serious fitness forum. This is the only one.

Should I change the whole routine or just some specific things in that routine if my progress is too slow? Routine would be: https://www.reddit.com/r/bodyweightfitness/wiki/kb/recommended_routine

And do I need a kcal surplus and 140g protein if I am NOT low fat? I have enough fat on me. The body should be able to use it. I'm your normal skinny fat guy who sits whole day and has fat everywhere. Legs, arms, belly.

Should I try cluster sets, if normal setsXreps don't give me normal progress?

183cm, 70kg, 6ft, 154lbs

Btw. I don't think i would gain faster with weightlifting. Yes, you can just add 1 kg weight, which you cannot in calisthenics. But my problem is that I cannot progress. I plateu 24/7.

  • 1
    You add much more than 1kg with weightlifting, and it is progressive overload that contributes to size/strength gains.
    – JohnP
    Oct 14, 2019 at 16:05
  • calisthenics should do the same.
    – Stjema
    Oct 15, 2019 at 19:48
  • I think that you should distinguish the strength and size parts a bit. Why you are plateauing and why you are not gaining mass are two distinct concepts.
    – Paul K
    Oct 17, 2019 at 9:43
  • 1
    @Stjema It's not that black and white, you should see it like this; You can train to become a lot bigger while only getting a little bit stronger, you can also train to become very strong while relatively not getting as big. In both cases you'll gain both size and power, but in one case you'll gain a lot of power and not a lot of size, while in the other case you will gain a lot of size without gaining equal amount of power. For example bodybuilders are a lot bigger than powerlifters, but are a lot less strong than powerlifters because they train for size, not for power.
    – MJB
    Oct 29, 2019 at 12:12
  • 1
    How long have you been following the recommended routine for?
    – Dark Hippo
    Oct 31, 2019 at 9:12

2 Answers 2


I made really great gains via calisthenics. You don't need to be in surpluss. Make sure you eat a lot of protein (more is better to a degree); 140 grams seems good but like i said; more is better.

If you feel comfortable with your routine, you must increase your volume to stay true to progressive overload. I personally workout 6 times a week. This will be hard, but once you adapt to it, that alone will make you great gains. After that, you truly need to focus on volume. Since you're not doing weighted calisthenics, the only form of progressive overload (at least if you're goal is hypertrophy) is increasing volume. Add reps, sets. Sometimes it will feel impossible to add reps, but what i'd advise is to then add another set but with less reps and then see if you're able to do more next week.

  • and if im not able to add reps next session or reps go down and deloading doesnt help?
    – Stjema
    Aug 8, 2020 at 19:08
  • I personally rarely have days when reps are going down. If they do, the reason is usually very clear; bad sleep, not enough protein, maybe losing weight too fast or just simply DOMS. Also, you should increase your reps and sets every week not session. If you try to progress too fast, you won't have time to adapt. Once you have all the variables in check, you should never see your reps going down. Worst case acenario is that rate of progress slows down to about increase of volume only every other week.
    – Vocaloidas
    Aug 9, 2020 at 8:50
  • 8h sleep. more than 140g protein. im not loosing any weight. and i only have doms if i do something new. i trained AMRAP since 1st april, my routine says so. cali. up/lo. so i do amrap, and if i fail reps, i do the stuff with 50% volume of the failed workout. and for others this helps and they get back to track. but for me it sometimes doesnt, and if it does, then im back to track for 2-3 sessions and my reps go down again. do i have to reload every 3 sessions? reddit.com/r/naturalbodybuilding/comments/fivvhv/…
    – Stjema
    Aug 10, 2020 at 9:53

From your post it is not obvious how do you measure your progress and the lack of your progress. But some general hints:

About the size - check out some basic informations about how the hypertrophy works. For example: https://ioncardiff.com/the-3-mechanisms-of-hypertrophy/

  • you can achieve hypertrophy with calisthenics, also with sets x reps approach, if you address any mechanisms of hypertrophy correctly of course (this could be a bit tricky). If you do so, and still not gaining weight, increase the food intake and rest (this part is not a rocket science). Idea of transforming fat into muscles is quite naive in most cases.

About the strength - it is not necessarily related to size. It is a skill. And it is activity specific. With correct load + rest you will improve in any skill you practice. If you practice too many skills (exercises) you will most like not improve at all. To gain strength you should limit you selection of exercises (best would be to choose only one exercise/skill/move).

  • gaining weight is easy for me. im applying progresive overload. but its not helping and im failing and applying overload succesfully. and im not into strength. just muscle mass.
    – Stjema
    Aug 8, 2020 at 19:16
  • how i track my progress? what you mean? i track is like everybody
    – Stjema
    Aug 8, 2020 at 19:28
  • @Stjema How is everybody tracking their progress? I have seen many approaches from guessing to various measurements (body weight, strength tests, body fat percentage..). You cannot really state that you "struggle to achieve something" if you do not have a metric to measure it.
    – matousc
    Aug 10, 2020 at 12:45
  • when did i say i dont track?
    – Stjema
    Aug 11, 2020 at 13:03
  • @Stjema Sorry, how do you track it then?
    – matousc
    Aug 12, 2020 at 8:48

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