I do body-weight only, and with clothes on I look skinny. With clothes off I look deformed because the only parts of my body that get bigger are the back and the butt.

How does one adjust their training to build bigger limbs when it comes to body-weight training?

For now I'm mainly doing pull up variations, dips, one legged squats, running and calf raises. The rest of my training is skill work aimed for the reverse planche and iron cross. "Skill work" is only about 1/4 of the time I spend training.

Here a picture, as you can see, noodle limbs and I only look "decent" on the torso enter image description here

Equipment available: my body, bars and rings.

2 Answers 2


It is important to begin by saying that there is nothing fundamentally ‘wrong with’ or ‘deformed about’ your physique. Objectively, you are proportionally normal and healthy.

Whether we are in peak form or otherwise, our bodies vary enormously in shape and proportion due to differences in bone geometry, muscle type, hormone levels, and all manner of other factors. Thus, any cosmetic assessment of a healthy physique is necessarily a subjective one. And the cosmetic ideal that we celebrate today is entirely different from those we celebrated yesteryear—now heavily influenced by the chemically-enhanced physiques of the modern bodybuilding world. (It is very interesting to see how the depiction of cartoon superheroes has followed the proportions of the strongmen and bodybuilders of the day.)

Most people will never approach the modern cosmetic ideal without considerable drug use and supplement abuse.

That said, we can, of course sculpt our bodies to a great degree by following standard hypertrophy protocol combined with specific isolation exercises for those areas that we want to emphasise. Moderate loads, volume (volume, volume, ...), fatigue, and adequate recovery are the only tools necessary.

In your specific case, the only hurdle that you are going to face is applying sufficient loads with body weight only, so as to be ‘moderate’. That is, your current physique is the product of the loads and training regimen that you have employed to date, and although you will likely be able to gain significant size through supplemental (isolation) exercises, exercise modifications, and high-volume training protocol, at some point your physique will reach a practical limit with such body-weight-limited loads. There exist only so many ways that you can modify an exercise to increase the loads on your muscles; the physics of it all are fixed.

Thus, the only solution is to load your body-weight exercises. And this can be done either by applying a mass to your existing lifts—doing pull-ups and dips with plates chained to your waist, for example—or changing their loading characteristics by altering velocity and rates of change of momentum—jump squats, box jumps, kip-ups, plyometric push-ups, ...

I hope that helps.


Doing calisthenics can give you great results and you can train literally every part of the body with it. I don't know how experienced you are but you need to do it right, starting with the basics and working up from there.

You do kind of look like a beginner in the picture so I'm just going to assume you are, this will also help anyone reading this answer in a later stage who wants to begin doing bodyweight exercises.

In most movements you have different varieties you can do to target different parts of the body, and then also different stages to make it harder once you get better at it.

For example, shoulders. At the start, regular pushups will work on the front of the shoulders, so you'll be doing some shoulder work while working on your chest. (a pushup is a good allround exercise by the way, it targets almost everything in the upper body)

In addition to this you'll want to do scapula pushups, scapula dips and scapula pullups. These will all be a very important base exercise which you'll need to master for later movements like a pullup or handstand. After you're strong enough for this you can start doing pike-pushup variations, after that moving into handstand against a wall, handstand pushups, etc.

Your question regarding limbs, doing pushup variations and later things like handstand and L-sits on dipbars will be increasingly heavier for your triceps, thus making them stronger and bigger. Doing variations of pullups on the other hand requires strong biceps, so that will work on the biceps a lot. Especially underhand grip. But in this case again, it's very important to do it right. If you're halfrepping chin-ups to get in more reps, you'll not work on the full potential of your biceps.

The same can be said for any muscle group. I can't give you an example for every muscle group because that will take me hours and I am your personal trainer, but I think explaining this will get you on your way.

In your question you say your working on referse planche and iron cross. Unless you've been doing calisthenics for atleast 5 years I would advice you to not start with this. You'll be skipping so many important other movements in which you learn to control your body that you'll end up doing it the wrong way and eventually injure yourself.

If you have any further questions, feel free to ask.

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