All posts by GymnasticBodies Team

GymnasticBodies Rope Climb

A Guide to Gymnastic Rope Climbing

The rope climb. For many individuals, the phrase brings back memories (nightmares?) of physical education class and being forced to climb a rope. At GymnasticBodies, we know that for those who aren’t trained to do this move, it can be intimidating, but we assure you, it was meant for more than just scaring school children.

Gymnastic rope climbing is a great workout – it works your arms, upper back, grip, and strengthens the connective tissue around the elbows (which is essential for ring training later). Not only that, but it also builds muscular endurance and your cardiovascular system. Unlike rope climbing exercises in a physical education class, gymnastic rope climbing does not involve the legs – it focuses on the strength of upper body muscles.

A Bit of History on Gymnastic Rope Climbing

Rope climbing was once an Olympic event – from the 1860s into 1932. Even when it was removed as an Olympic competition, college athletes competed in rope climbing until the 1960s. About thirty years later, rope climbing once again became a popular sport, in the Czech Republic.

Steps to Learn Gymnastic Rope Climbing

The first step is to ensure that you can hold your bodyweight on the rope. Reach up as high as possible and pull your legs into a hanging tuck. Hold the movement for several seconds, and if that’s something you can manage, try extending your legs, one at a time.

Start the gymnastic rope climb with the no leg climb:  Sit on the floor with the rope between your legs, which are either bent or straight, depending on your confidence and comfort. Pull yourself up, hand over hand, reaching as high up as you can. Continue that motion, and when you’re ready, come down, using hand over hand placement to bring yourself down the rope.

Once you’ve mastered those steps, the gymnastic rope climb will be a piece of cake.

For more information on proper rope climbing progressions, see the GymnasticBodies Foundation Series, which includes a Czech series of progressions that are inspired by rope climbers in the Czech Republic.

Male Gymnast Physique

What Does it Take to Have the Look of a Male Gymnast Physique?

At GymnasticBodies, we know that training has a great deal to do with developing the muscular and lean physique of the male gymnast. When done correctly, gymnastic training requires the whole body to move as a single unit, in smooth, strong movements that engage the entire body, pushing the muscles and connective tissues that create the toned look and impressive functional strength that many men desire.

The best way to get that male gymnast physique is to start slowly. We do not suggest that anyone jump into an elite-level training program immediately. We know that training has a great deal to do with developing that look, but we know how important it is to build a foundation of strength and endurance.

We do not encourage individuals to train to the point of exhaustion. You won’t see improvement overnight, but don’t become frustrated. You would not poke a seed into the ground and then jump back waiting for the plant to explode out instantly. Physical conditioning requires patience as well. While you may become more skillful or feel more powerful while performing a new exercise relatively quickly, this is due to becoming more neurologically efficient (“greasing the grove”), rather than experiencing an absolute gain in strength. It takes approximately 6 weeks to establish the first concrete strength gains. To be successful and gain muscle strength and endurance without injury, one should seek consistent, incremental improvements – not rush in order to see results, which only leads to injury.

Exercises like those in the GymnasticBodies program work because of the muscle contraction required. These advanced bodyweight exercises challenge the entire body in such a way that strengthens the joints and connective tissues, aiding in one’s ability to develop strength. This type of workout does not focus solely on the muscles, but other parts of the body that help the muscles to work more efficiently and effectively.
These moves often require that the individual hold the body in a position that increases the weight of the body – to put it simply, exercises like the static hold require supporting a heavy weight in a locked static position, which strengthens the joints and connective tissue.

Don’t give up hope, and don’t rush through these exercises – with time and dedication, you’ll see the results you desire – you’ll develop a look like a male gymnast’s physique.


The Benefits and History of Gymnastic Rings Workouts

While it’s not new, the idea of strength training using ring training workouts is gaining momentum. This style of strength and muscle training focuses strictly on bodyweight and uses very few items – a set of gymnastic rings, potentially specialized straps for reduced leverage.

For those who are looking to gain muscle strength, a gymnastic rings workout will, over time, give you that increased strength that you seek. This type of workout leads to a very strong, lean physique, like the bodies of Olympic gymnasts.

The beauty of a gymnastics rings workout is that it is great for upper body  training – these exercises work on entire muscle groups – the abdominals and obliques, for example – at once and come closer to everyday movements.   There are many gymnastic ring exercises that one can attempt – from the dip and pull up to the muscle-up and L-sit— that work different areas of the core.

History of Ring Training Workouts

The concept of gymnastics rings training was developed in the 1800s in Germany, by Adolf Spiess. It wasn’t until 1903 that the rings became a competitive sport; originally the rings were used in bodyweight training only.

It was another 21 years before the rings appeared in the Olympics – in the 1924 games during the eighth Olympiad in Paris. Throughout the years, the rings themselves underwent many changes as the competitive sport and training technique developed. The original rings were not circular, but triangular in shape – the circular rings made their debut in the early 1900s and were made solid wood. In the 1970s, those solid wooden rings were replaced by layered and glued ring and steel ropes came into use. In 1928, Leon Stukelj of Slovenia introduced the head cross move in Olympic competition.

For those men who are looking for an effective strength-building workout that burns calories quickly and challenges the body, gymnastic rings workouts may be the perfect solution.