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Matti Paalanen

Shoulder girdle in lever training

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Matti Paalanen

Hi!

 

Some background information (skip to the actual question if you like):

 

I am 31 years old guy from Finland, I don't have gymnastics background, but I have practiced martial arts for ten years intensely and about six years ago started practicing handstands, basic flips and capoeira style acrobatics. Four years ago I found gymnasticbodies and started planche training and got myself rings. I haven't been able to follow a strict routine, but have held bodyweight exercising as a main way to keep myself fit and even progress a bit.

 

At the moment I'm in a state where I can do a few muscle ups on rings, can hold decent advanced tuck planche for a couple of seconds and have quite good straddle back lever and advanced tuck front lever.

 

ACTUAL QUESTION:

 

I've been wondering about the way shoulders act when doing front lever training. When I do normal pull ups, the very beginning of the pull feels really natural and easy for shoulders, as they tend to roll to the movement without any hassle. But when I set my starting position more into lever-like state (raise my hips towards front of my body, or just raise my knees in front of my body), this naturally changes the position of the shoulders to a more difficult state pulling-wise.

 

What it feels like is that when I try to do a pull when keeping my knees in front of me is that the very beginning of the movement is really awkward for the shoulders as if the joint itself is not in a position it likes to move at all. When I start to pull I notice that some muscles that surround the shoulder girdle / shoulder joint are doing a lot more work than in a normal pull up position, and midway through the movement the shoulder joint is still in a very different position than in a normal pull up movement.

 

I hope this sounds understandable and more experienced people know what I'm talking about :)

 

Now my question is that is this something that should be happening or am I doing it wrong somehow and should I try to "switch" the joint position somehow midway to the normal pull up position? Or should the pull be done in this state where the whole shoulder girdle area is very much intensely working to hold the awkward position of the shoulder joint?

 

Thanks for any advice!

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Guest

this is perfectly normal! bringing your knees up will change your center of mass which your shoulders has to compensate for, by changing the angle of the shoulders. and yes, it's supposed to be more intense, that's a good thing!

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Matti Paalanen

this is perfectly normal! bringing your knees up will change your center of mass which your shoulders has to compensate for, by changing the angle of the shoulders. and yes, it's supposed to be more intense, that's a good thing!

Right, sounds very reasonable! I have been doing some basic conditioning now by keeping my knees tucked to my upper body and doing really slow and static pulls to amost halfway of the pull up. It really seems to condition small muscles around the shoulder joint that are not actually doing anything in normal pull ups. It feels intense, but ok in a sense that no pain is involved. After the short workout, the whole shoulder area feels a bit sore and "worked out" in a good way. I can do rope climbing without legs, so I guess there's a bit similar thing going on here.

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Karri Kytömaa

It sounds like you have neglected rows in your training all together. There are strong reasons to work in all plains of movement, that is horizontal push/pull (push ups and body rows), vertical push/pull (pull ups and dips/HSPU) and push/pull with shoulders extended behind your back. (Back lever and manna) 

This keeps your shoulders balanced and adds mobility.

Replace one of your pull-up sessions with body rows (horizontal or even feet on ground) and get a good feel of the muscles in your back working.

 

Good additions would also be just doing scapular retraction work and pulls from hang to FL to get the muscle activation right.

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Matti Paalanen

you should definitely start working your front lever, if you don't know what it is it's basicall: http://www.arthlete.com/imgs/FrontLever(1962).JPG

progressions to this move is found in "Building the gymnastics body" and here: http://www.beastskills.com/front-lever/

 

 

It sounds like you have neglected rows in your training all together. There are strong reasons to work in all plains of movement, that is horizontal push/pull (push ups and body rows), vertical push/pull (pull ups and dips/HSPU) and push/pull with shoulders extended behind your back. (Back lever and manna) 

This keeps your shoulders balanced and adds mobility.

Replace one of your pull-up sessions with body rows (horizontal or even feet on ground) and get a good feel of the muscles in your back working.

 

Good additions would also be just doing scapular retraction work and pulls from hang to FL to get the muscle activation right.

 

Thanks for the ideas! Actually I have done some front lever training (tuck holds and skin the cat), but you are right about rows - I haven't been wise enough to include them in my training, and it really feels that in certain positions the shoulders and upper back are totally lacking in strength and support. I will definitely integrate rows!

 

I also got myself Foundation 1, and as I put some time to find out at what phase I was at for each movement, I noticed really clear discrepancies regarding my current strengths and weaknesses. For example, I can do 5 reps of pistol / single leg squat, but in front lever progression I'm not yet at mastery level even in the very first phase!

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Connor Davies

Rows are more important than just about anything.  With feet elevated or one arm they can build as much strength as standard pullups, and they really balance out the shoulders, as well as building a huge back.  If I had to choose only one I would take rows over pullups.  They're that incredible.

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Matti Paalanen

Rows are more important than just about anything.  With feet elevated or one arm they can build as much strength as standard pullups, and they really balance out the shoulders, as well as building a huge back.  If I had to choose only one I would take rows over pullups.  They're that incredible.

I begin to feel this way as well. Did a few sets of 8-10 full body rows with rings yesterday, and today my shoulder / back area feels tired in a good way. Definitely putting effort and time into rows!

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