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Alan Tseng

Why does straight arm cause biceps hypertrophy?

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Alan Tseng

Since straight arm means elbow is extended, doesn't that mean it should cause triceps hypertrophy instead and bent arm cause more biceps hypertrophy?

 

But why is that gymnasts gets so much biceps hypertrophy from straight arm strength exercises?  Don't really understand that part

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Connor Davies

The biceps need to strongly contract in order to protect the elbow joint.

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Chris Aldersley

The ground reaction force wants to push the elbow into hyperextension, so the elbow flexors must counter act this

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Mark Collins

I did years of bicep curls and never had the gains that I have had since doing straight arm strength.

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Alessandro Mainente

Sometime you can hear also by me that the point where a muscle is stronger is near the point of semi elongation BUT if you train a muscle near that point you will get the maximum muscle strength, but if you train it on the weak point you will boost the strength you can generate on the optimal elongation. and usually mass gain comes after strength gains. 

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Brian Li

I did years of bicep curls and never had the gains that I have had since doing straight arm strength.

Interesting! My experience is almost like the exact opposite. Most of my biceps mass was gain from doing curls prior rather than from straight arm exercises. With curls, I can feel the biceps muscles working while in straight arm inner elbow exercises, I feel mainly the biceps tendons stressed and like no bicep muscle fiber recruitment.

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Mark Collins

Interesting! My experience is almost like the exact opposite. Most of my biceps mass was gain from doing curls prior rather than from straight arm exercises. With curls, I can feel the biceps muscles working while in straight arm inner elbow exercises, I feel mainly the biceps tendons stressed and like no bicep muscle fiber recruitment.

So you should get a lot of biceps stimulation with the Bent arm strength work. It is amazing how different people respond to the same exercises.

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Coach Sommer

Or the straight arm elements that you are currently capable of performing were of insufficient intensity to promote much additional biceps growth for you.  

 

This is rarely the case however once someone has progressed to iron cross and maltese work.  

 

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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Brian Li

So you should get a lot of biceps stimulation with the Bent arm strength work. It is amazing how different people respond to the same exercises.

Yeah, I heard how some people got huge biceps mass gain from achieving the iron cross and then there are some people who have iron crosses and their biceps don't look really big. 

 

Edit: I posted this before I saw Coach's post above. I also wanted to clarify that the curls I did were strict form bicep curls with heavy weight and not any bent arm exercises like chin-ups.

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Brian Li

Or the straight arm elements that you are currently capable of performing were of insufficient intensity to promote much additional biceps growth for you.  

 

This is rarely the case however once someone has progressed to iron cross and maltese work.  

 

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

Well I'm currently close to being able to hold a full lay maltese after since fully recovering from my long term elbow tendon injury like a few months ago. My biceps have actually gotten quite a bit smaller as I haven't really done much curls in these 1-2 years.

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Joshua Slocum

Well I'm currently close to being able to hold a full lay maltese after since fully recovering from my long term elbow tendon injury like a few months ago. My biceps have actually gotten quite a bit smaller as I haven't really done much curls in these 1-2 years.

Take it slow. You don't want to re-injure that tendon. 

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Brian Li

Take it slow. You don't want to re-injure that tendon. 

Thanks for your concern! I know how much it sucks not being able to work straight arm elements due to pain/injury for more than half a year. I currently wait for all soreness in the elbows to disappear before training maltese again.

 

I'm actually training the maltese on floor and not rings though so I'm not sure if the elbow stress is comparable, but I know it's a lot harder on the elbows then both the supinated grip back lever and hands backwards planche. How often do you train malteses Josh?

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Alessandro Mainente

Thanks for your concern! I know how much it sucks not being able to work straight arm elements due to pain/injury for more than half a year. I currently wait for all soreness in the elbows to disappear before training maltese again.

 

I'm actually training the maltese on floor and not rings though so I'm not sure if the elbow stress is comparable, but I know it's a lot harder on the elbows then both the supinated grip back lever and hands backwards planche. How often do you train malteses Josh?

Did you mastered iron cross before approach maltese?

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Joshua Slocum

Thanks for your concern! I know how much it sucks not being able to work straight arm elements due to pain/injury for more than half a year. I currently wait for all soreness in the elbows to disappear before training maltese again.

I'm actually training the maltese on floor and not rings though so I'm not sure if the elbow stress is comparable, but I know it's a lot harder on the elbows then both the supinated grip back lever and hands backwards planche. How often do you train malteses Josh?

The stress on the elbows is comparable. I'm currently training just for maintenance: once a week. My shoulder is getting much better, though, so I'll be gradually adding volume and another training day over the next few months.

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Brian Li

Did you mastered iron cross before approach maltese?

No, I never tried an iron cross before. My rings are hung on a doorway chin-up bar so I don't have enough room and I currently don't have access to a gymnastics facility. I plan to mount a bar to the ceiling to hang the rings and also to get adult gymnastics lessons at a local gymnastics facility soon. 

 

I don't think iron cross is a prerequisite to maltese though. Maybe it's recommended, but not really required. I can see that an iron cross can almost match the stress on the elbows and shoulders as the maltese so it might be a good preparation element for the maltese. My shoulders are very strong from doing the levers, planche, and planche push-ups and my elbows are strong as well from locked arm work and heavy curls, but I'm currently taking it slow on the elbows.

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Coach Sommer

... I don't think iron cross is a prerequisite to maltese though. Maybe it's recommended, but not really required ...

Your injuries say otherwise.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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Brian Li

Your injuries say otherwise.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

The injury wasn't from the maltese training though. It was before I even started training maltese.

 

Could you please elaborate why an iron cross would be a prerequisite to maltese because I see them as two completely different exercises/skills with some common overlap in muscle recruitment like shoulders and biceps? Or is it a seminar secret that can't be openly shared?

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Coach Sommer

Tongue-in-cheek innuendos regarding seminar restricted content aside, GST is not a buffet from which you get to choose what you like and don't like.  It is a hierarchy of strength elements which progress from less intense to more intense, from neuromuscularly simple to neuromuscularly complex in a carefully structured progression of strength and mobility designed to take you from where you are to where you want to go by the safest, most efficient route possible.

 

Skipping the iron cross is analogous to becoming strong enough to bench 100lbs (ring HS), then progressing to 150lbs (ring press HS), then progressing to 200lbs (ring planche), then deciding that you don't like 250lbs (iron cross) and skipping it while you then attempt to go directly to benching 300lbs (maltese).

 

Now it is your body and your elbows and you are most certainly welcome to train in whatever way you see fit.  I am simply sharing the progression with you that the vast majority of high level coaches in the world follow.  The same progression that most of the top ring men in the world were developed and trained with.  And they follow it, not because it is tradition; but because it is the most effective.

 

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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Samvel Azizbekyan

Listen to the Coach! xD

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Alan Tseng

Does that mean planche is easier than iron cross and iron cross is easier than maltese?

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Joshua Slocum

Does that mean planche is easier than iron cross and iron cross is easier than maltese?

No. It means that a straddle planche is less stressful on your body than an iron cross, which is less stressful than the maltese. 

 

In general most people who can hold all three will say that a maltese is harder to hold than a cross, and a cross is harder to hold than a straddle planche, but this is not a hard and fast rule. 

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Alan Tseng

where would you place a full legs together planche

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Keilani Gutierrez

Does that mean planche is easier than iron cross and iron cross is easier than maltese?

from the way he puts it, no wonder. in the essay that was recently sent as an email blast, he talks about the steps to master prior to undertaking iron cross work and (for the life of me, i cant remember where) mentioned that iron crosses should be mastered before working Malteses.

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Brian Li

Does that mean planche is easier than iron cross and iron cross is easier than maltese?

Yes in terms of elbow stress.

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Brian Li

Tongue-in-cheek innuendos regarding seminar restricted content aside, GST is not a buffet from which you get to choose what you like and don't like.  It is a hierarchy of strength elements which progress from less intense to more intense, from neuromuscularly simple to neuromuscularly complex in a carefully structured progression of strength and mobility designed to take you from where you are to where you want to go by the safest, most efficient route possible.

 

Skipping the iron cross is analogous to becoming strong enough to bench 100lbs (ring HS), then progressing to 150lbs (ring press HS), then progressing to 200lbs (ring planche), then deciding that you don't like 250lbs (iron cross) and skipping it while you then attempt to go directly to benching 300lbs (maltese).

 

Now it is your body and your elbows and you are most certainly welcome to train in whatever way you see fit.  I am simply sharing the progression with you that the vast majority of high level coaches in the world follow.  The same progression that most of the top ring men in the world were developed and trained with.  And they follow it, not because it is tradition; but because it is the most effective.

 

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

I appreciate the detailed explanation and best progression you just shared with us. I interpreted from your post that the iron cross is simply a tool to prepare the elbows and shoulders for the more strenuous maltese. I can see that there can be substitutes or alternatives one can use in place of the iron cross to prepare for the maltese like wide grip planche on rings or with hands back and maltese leans progressively increasing the degree of lean although it would be better to use the iron cross instead because you will be having an extra skill before getting to maltese. Either way, I genuinely believe I have sufficient elbow preparation for maltese work and will progress safely if done slowly. Please don't take this comment as me not taking you seriously because I do have high regards for your insights on GST. I know that I have only myself to blame if I do fail and injure myself by taking this choice.

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