mastering skills

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    Hey guys, I was wondering how you guys feel about picking and prioritizing several skills and concentrating on them in your workouts? Once you master them and feel satisfied you can then move on to other skills?

    I am considering working out on a MTTHF schedule and put my energy into focusing on handstands, l-sits, back levers, hspu’s and pullups.

    Mon and Thurs

    Handstand 15-30 min (current max is 10 sec, still struggling finding consistent balance point)

    Lsit 12 x 5 second holds

    Back Lever 60 seconds of work (can hold full BL about 15 sec)

    HSPU 5 x max

    Pullups 5 x weighted

    core movement (body levers, hlr..)

    Tues and Fri

    HS 15-30 min

    lsit 12x 5 sec

    BL 60 SEC work

    hspu 10 x 1/2 of max

    pullups 10 x 1/2 of max (speed for eventually training muscle up)

    core movement

    Do you think a plan like this could be successful? Should I neglect working on the Front Lever? Are there any exercises I should add?

    Thanks – Justin

    Robby Taylor

    That would work, personally I prefer doing skill work (such as handstand) separately from my actual strength training workouts because of the time it takes and that it induces enough fatigue to diminish your performance in other exercises, notably handstand push ups; with hand balancing, skill work quickly becomes endurance work, and even basic skills have a notable strength element.

    L sits will actually help to train the core muscles in a way that carries over well to the front lever, and actually the back lever and weighted pull up will have some carry over as well, so even if you don’t train the front lever directly you will likely improve at it anyway, although probably not as much as if you were to train it directly.

    If you can do a 15 second back lever, you should be able to do a much longer L sit than 5 seconds. If you do the L sit in a separate workout, you should strive to reach 60 seconds in as few sets as possible. With such a strong back lever, I think 3 sets of 20 second L sits is a reasonable goal. In fact, you may want to have one workout consist of L sits and handstands, and I would also suggest the advanced frog stand (or whatever planche progression you feel comfortable doing; besides helping form the basis of planche strength, there will be some carry over to the back lever here) and tuck front levers (or whatever progression of the front lever you feel comfortable with; this is a great place to put this into your training).

    I also suggest some sort of leg exercise, ideally pistol squats or even shrimp squats, and I think everyone can benefit from bridging. I do bridges and some kind of leg exercise in every workout in some way (often I hold a couple of bridge variations as part of my cool down, but sometimes I’ll do stand to stand bridges as an exercise during a workout).


    Hey Robby thanks a lot for the input man. So how would you advise I put together my workouts then? I was thinking 3-4 main workouts a week?



    Do you like how this looks? Any suggestions welcome?


    HS practice 15 min

    Lsit 60 sec

    FL progressions

    BL progressions

    Planche progressions


    HS practice



    Core and legs

    W- off

    Thur- same as Mon

    Friday-same as tues

    Sat- hs practice longer session


    Robby Taylor

    Looks solid man! Personally I often tweak my workouts and their scheduling, I just go with what looks good for now and mix it up every now and again. I currently try to do a main workout every odd day then an isometric/hand balancing workout every other even day. Every 4th day is a day off. But sometimes I take an extra day off haha.


    I really like your programming a lot! I might give it a shot haha. My only question to you is, why only twice a week for hand balancing? If I wanted to do more where do you think I could fit it in on my schedule?

    So I would do


    2-isometrics, hs

    3-hspu, pullups, core



    6-isometrics, hs

    7-hspu, pullups, core


    Robby Taylor

    Anywhere man, I think if you’re going to do an extensive hand balancing session on a training day you should do it after your regular training that way you can be as fresh as possible for your main workout. But you can also just work on a skill for a minute or less whenever you find time; sometimes I will do handstands while getting gas. The great thing about it is even if you can only spare literally a minute it’s plenty of time to do these skills; a 1 minute L sit is extremely impressive to me. I can’t do handstands at work because its a “safety hazard”, but I found 1 arm elbow levers a great way to practice balancing and strength simultaneously. Just get creative with it man. Coach Wade, author of Convict Conditioning, recommends practicing flags whenever you’re around a pole on the street!

    Robby Taylor

    Looks good man! Here’s what I did the last 3 days


    Day 1: dragon flags, back levers, pistols with a 30 pound dumbbell

    Day 2: adv. Frog stands, tuck front levers, back bridge, handstand facing wall, hold bottom position of pistol squat (when I add weight to them I hold on to my free foot to make the mobility requirement easier, but I aim to improve here by holding the bottom position unassisted).

    Day 3: muscle ups, HeSPU, pistols with 30 pound dumbbell.

    Today’s my day off. I’m really thinking about repeating this cycle at least a couple more times. A couple of months ago I was doing more exercises in a given workout but it would take like 2 or 3 hours. This feels pretty good right now and I feel like I’m still making progress; back levers and dragon flags are easier than they’ve ever been, and my bridging is also advancing quite well. I also feel like I’m making progress on the one arm chin.

    As you may notice the back lever is a critical exercise at this stage, particularly with a supinated grip (chin up grip, palms facing feet during the lever). Excelling at this exercise will help you prepare for the planche (it’s said the core requirements are nearly identical), the one arm chin (due to the stress put on the biceps and elbows), and will also have good carry over to the muscle up. It is also useful to set the groundwork for the front lever, and even critical in training for the iron cross and, obviously, the Maltese cross.

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