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).
Several months ago I wrestled with one of my buddies who used to be in the Navy. When he was in the service he wrestled guys a lot, although I don’t think I’ve ever really done it before haha. He had a really hard time pinning me down because every time he would try I would simply press off of the ground and get out of it. He ended up having to get me in an arm bar while on top of me to get me to tap out. Later he told me I was at about the 50th percentile of guys that he’s wrestled (even though a lot of those guys spent a lot of time doing it). Oh yeah he was also about 200 pounds while I was 130. He felt like I would do really well in my weight division.
There’s a reason they call wrestler’s bridge a wrestler’s bridge, and I know that bodyweight training has always been very popular for boxers, MMA fighters, and martial artists in general. Look up The Great Gama, he was arguably the greatest wrestler of all time and a huge part of his conditioning (I hesitate to say only part) was Hindu push ups and Hindu squats.
EDIT: Oh wait, he said I was in the top 1/3 of people he’s gone up against. He was talking about another of our friends when he said top 1/2 (this was all without regard to size).
Focus on keeping your chest pitched up/forward and your shoulder blades retracted; think of rolling your shoulders back and locking them back. It’s sort of like shrugging only in reverse, kinda.
I’m not a big fan of cross fit. I mean, it does take and provide a ton of conditioning, but it really is a sport rather than a training program, and this can be seen in the emphasis on speed and reps rather than strictness of form and building strength. Some people get hurt doing it because they use poor form (rounding lower back during deadlift is the most obvious culprit I think) and/or they simply aren’t conditioned enough for the workload and they approach it as a super intense training program…most of the people who excel at cross fit are already well conditioned athletes going in. Also, from what I’ve read you can get a basic cert as a cf trainer in a weekend course, plus the cost of actually working out at a crossfit gym is ridiculous, when you consider you could go to the park and learn how to do stricter muscle ups and pistol squats by yourself for free. I also find it a bit irritating that some people see cross fitters doing muscle ups with humongous kips and assume that is how muscle ups are done and that they are all technique and not a worthwhile strength building exercise…but of course a strong parallel can be drawn when observing the same cross fitters doing pull ups with equally huge kips.
Then again, it can be good in the right context for the right type of person. Also, I’ve spoken to a few crossfitters, and they seem to be nice people who are genuinely interested in fitness. Sure you hear stories and see videos of so and so who’s acting like a pretentious snob because he thinks he’s the greatest thing since Hercules, but there are people like that everywhere, it’s not limited to crossfit and it’s not limited to fitness for that matter.
Ultimately, view it as a sport. To that end, it is a very young sport, and I’m sure it will be refined in time, if it is to stick around.
I’d suggest not using towels for HLR, just hang from the bar. You can resist the swing if you go more slowly. This control starts at the upper body, actively “push” the bar forward and down while focusing on the speed that your hips are moving, while also keeping your back and abs rigid.
For more abdominal work, I suggest working on building up time on L sits and also doing L pull ups. L towel pull ups are quite challenging!
Definitely! Dragon flags and HLR are both excellent abdominal exercises that help you prep for the front lever. But dragon flags should be harder, what do you have against HLR? If you find the dragon flag to be easier, you likely are piking your hips during the movement, which is to be avoided. But if you simply prefer the harder exercise then more power to you!
Dude, that’s totally awesome!
Well you did 3 more reps in the same number of sets in the same amount of time. That’s a 14% improvement in rep count, which is great. But keep in mind that you shouldn’t expect gains like this continuously, some days you will not feel as strong as on other days, but notice that you see fairly consistent improvement over time.
Here are a couple of slightly different approaches:
Try ascending ladders. Start at 1 rep, add a rep every set with fairly short rest periods between each set (personally I did maybe 10-30 seconds). Once you get to a high enough set that you can cleanly finish and maybe have one set left, restart at 1 and go back up. I would descend my max rep set by 1 every round. For example 188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.1.2.1. Then after the last set maybe do a set to failure.
Pick a number near your max, in your case I’d say 8. Start busting out sets of 8. Once you can no longer finish, do negatives for the remainder of the set. So say your first 3 sets are 8 each, but the next set you only get 5, so immediately do 3 negatives.
Steve has some great points here, heed the advice that his experience provides.
One other thing I think is relevant to adding weight is negative reps. I love doing slow negatives for advanced moves that you don’t quite have the strength for. One arm chins, full range handstand push ups, etc. In this case, specifically weighted chin up negatives. Grab a weight that will allow you to do only like 2 or 3 reps, jump to the top, and slooooowwwwly lower yourself down to the bottom; I’m talking 5 seconds minimum, but ideally 10 or more. Really feel the tension as your muscles expand; imagine slowly drawing back a bow or a huge rubber band. Try to get like 8 or so reps in per set, for about 3 sets. Then, the next workout, go back to full chin ups only without weight and see if you’ve improved.
I wouldn’t suggest doing heavy negatives for more than one exercise in one workout, as it is extremely taxing on the central nervous system. Also, be extremely cautious when using this approach for dips, since the shoulder mobility requirements are higher to begin with.
And, as I usually recommend, I encourage you to round out this training with back bridge variations and one leg squats (pistols and/or shrimps). Once you can do 20 really clean dips and I’d say a solid 15 pull ups, you can start working on handstand push ups. In the meantime, simply try to get comfortable holding a handstand at a wall, and you may want to practice hand balancing with the elbow lever and frog stand.
It sounds like you are already on the road to success. Yes, rolling your shoulders over your hands is the hardest part. In fact, performing this mental cue completely is indicative of a successful muscle up transition! Once you get it, you will actually be at the bottom of the dip. Take a look at my avatar and you will see.
As far as your hands dealing with pressure, you can try some gloves; it doesn’t have to be anything fancy, I see some guys use regular cheap gardening gloves for their training. I use baseball batting gloves myself, but it is mainly to avoid developing large callouses rather than for hand pressure.
Pistols are very difficult, of course. I would suggest working on shrimp squats as well. Both are worthwhile, even when you are able to do pistols. While some people find pistols easier to perform, in my experience most people find the shrimp easier to learn. I also recommend working assisted pistols by either holding a weight in your hands with your arms extended (serves as a counterweight to keep you from falling backward), or using a pole or door frame or something like that to guide yourself down with your hands.
I personally prefer a continuous string of rollovers with muscle up negatives rather than the jumping muscle up approach, but either is fine; the most important part is the muscle up negative. For this part, check your speed by focusing on the speed that your elbows come down through the transition. Ensure that you are moving them slowly and with control throughout the movement. In addition to high pull ups (chest to bar), I also suggest deep dips (chest to bar). I personally preferred working false grip pull ups to explosive regular pull ups, however I was aiming for false grip muscle ups from the get go. Either way, at the top of the pull up try to focus on “rolling” your shoulders over your hands. Also, contracting a tight L hold with your legs at the top of the pull up is ideal. To that end, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to work on hanging leg raises and/or L sits as well.
And for the sake of completeness, I recommend also working on pistol squats, handstand push ups, and bridging exercises.
I usually don’t go to complete failure, and I don’t think it’s the best idea to go to complete failure every single set; you want to be able to do a good number of reps the next set. If you want the fastest results, you have to either focus on strength training or building endurance; it will take longer to improve both. On this forum I typically suggest focusing on strength, keeping the rep ranges low (anything past 20 and you’re well into endurance territory).
Beyond that, you’re overthinking it man. Just train. Everyone reacts differently, the only way to know for sure how long it will take is to do it. For the strength goals you listed, for most serious trainees who start out with high relative strength (such as people who are relatively small and/or young), I’d say 2-6 months is a reasonable time frame, but it will take longer for some people.
There’s a lot of carry over between exercises. Focus on chin ups and australian pull ups, dips, diamond push ups, and pike push ups (overhead pressing shouldn’t be overlooked; in my opinion handstand push ups are more essential than one arm push ups), L leg raises and planks (working toward full hanging leg raises and L sits), and shrimp squats. In my experience most people find shrimp squats easier to learn than pistol squats, and they are still an awesome exercise. Jumping shrimp squats are excellent for lower body plyometric strength (which translates strongly to vertical jump height).
Try starting out doing 3 days a week, I like working out every other day. Pick a few exercises that you feel good about doing that day, do 3-5 sets. I would say once you can consistently do sets of like 15 or 16 reps of an exercise then you’re ready for a harder variation, as far as strength building goes.
A picture would be helpful here, but it sounds to me like you’re describing a lack of shoulder and/or spinal mobility, such that the arch in your body is not as acute as it should be and thus your hands are farther from your feet than they otherwise would be. Mobility with the bridge comes with time, don’t worry too much about it, just keep bridging haha.
Speed of progress depends on your dedication to your training and recovery, as well as your body’s ability to adapt to certain exercises. Could be anywhere from a couple of weeks to a number of months. Increasing your reps alone, especially from such low numbers, is an indicator of strength gains. I’d say 20 pull ups is more in line with about 10 pistols per leg. Explosiveness will come with strength, but you can train more specifically for it with plyometric exercises.
Sure, it can’t hurt. But if you can set aside 20 or 30 minutes a day at least twice a week for a more structured workout that would be more helpful. I view GTG as a sort of side training to help improve fringe skills, rather than a primary training approach. Although it is far better than nothing, and you will still see results. 15 sets is a lot that’s about once per hour if you sleep 8 hours. You might try doing 2 sets at a time but half as often. Seems to me it would be less cumbersome to just do a workout.
In any case I’d suggest some leg work too. Pistol or shrimp squats are a great go to.
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