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Coach Sommer

My Picks for the Top 5 Gymnastics Strength Exercises

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Coach Sommer

1) Any reasonable ring strength series - This series should include a press variation (either to shoulder stand or handstand), a support variation and some kind of lever at the very least. Click here for an example of a basic ring strength series.

2) Press handstands - Any variation is fine, although for the most benefit, the emphasis should be on developing the ability to press from either an L-seat or straddle L.

3) HSPUs - Try to build to a full range of motion on these; hands to shoulders on either parallets or rings. Free balancing is much more beneficial than supported. Advanced trainees can, and should, substitute chest roll variations or Bowers in place of the HSPUs.

4) Rope Climb - Legs in a straddle L position

5) Front & Back Limbers - Done correctly, these are excellent for developing core strength and flexibility at the same time. Wall walks are an excellent starting point for these skills.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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Guest Ido Portal

Coach!

Very interesting choices.

Can you suggest a basic Ring series as an example?

I've noticed the need of extensive experience with ring work for building an optimal series that will produce results.

Ido.

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Ricky Dawson

.... the front and back limbers (anybody)

What a great post BTW!!

I thought i had read everything from the Coach but i have no idea what this is :shock:

...and with the HSPU's is it best to do facing the wall and away or one rather than the other?

The rest are self explanitory i think.

thanks,

Ricky, London, England

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JoeS
.... the front and back limbers (anybody)

What a great post BTW!!

I thought i had read everything from the Coach but i have no idea what this is :shock:

front limber: From a handstand, arch your back all the way until you are in a bridge, then push off with your hands to stand up.

back limber: From standing position, lean back into a bridge, then push off with your legs into a handstand.

...and with the HSPU's is it best to do facing the wall and away or one rather than the other?

HSPU always free-standing.

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Blairbob

Ido -

simple ring series

muscle up to L sit, press to shoulderstand/handstand, hold for 10, back to L sit

pullup, front lever pull to inverted hang to basket hang ( invert pike ), extend to back lever, pull in to basket. Lower to long hang in skin the cat grip then pull out to basket hang. rinse repeat enjoy

pullup, motion through front lever through invert hang to back lever and back.

combine first series with 3rd series

Coach Sommer...interesting I like the idea of limbers but I'm a bit worried about overuse when it comes to WAG and young developing spines and connective tissue.

For push series, add some dips or support swings, out to partial cross in support or HS.

Add some pullups in front lever hold or just do more than one ice cream maker.

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Ricky Dawson

Hi JoeS,

Thank you for the details on the limbers, i understand now.

In terms of the HSPU's i understand that free standing oes are always the preference but i was referring to someone (me!) who cant quite manage the freestanding handstand yet...

would i be right in presuming that the supported HSPU with the abdomen facing the wall will be more helpful for advancing to the freestanding one?

thank you,

Ricky

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Coach Sommer

Good questions, gentlemen.

The following is an essay on a introductory basic ring strength series with both performance guidelines and tips for correctly hand-spotting:

http://gymnasticbodies.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=351

The following is an essay on my philosophy of developing active back flexibility and why it is an absolute necessity:

http://gymnasticbodies.com/forum/viewto ... =1028#1028

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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JoeS

In terms of the HSPU's i understand that free standing oes are always the preference but i was referring to someone (me!) who cant quite manage the freestanding handstand yet...

would i be right in presuming that the supported HSPU with the abdomen facing the wall will be more helpful for advancing to the freestanding one?

I think abdomen facing the wall looks more like freestanding. The freestanding HSPU always looked (to me, anyway) sometimes more like an upside-down incline press than a military press. The back-to-wall looks to me almost like a behind-the-neck military press. I'd do them both ways.

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williamprowse

i think most of these people on this forum need some good old fashion wieghted dips and pull ups, surprisingly enough, i bet theres some people on this site who cant even do a muscle up!!

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Gymnast Michael
i think most of these people on this forum need some good old fashion wieghted dips and pull ups, surprisingly enough, i bet theres some people on this site who cant even do a muscle up!!

Erm, excuse me, I do dips and pull ups. I, however, cannot do a muscle up. Muscle up is a hard skill to learn and takes months to aquire the right muscles to do it. So, if most people can't do it, it's because of the muscles. So, you little qoute I find quite rude. Also, many people may not even work on the appartus, rings, for example.

ANYWAY,

Thanks Coach Sommers,

Your work for that is something I shall be practicing, the front and back limbers sound like so much fun, for a 16 year old, they sound like fun to me. I shall be working on this, thanks again.

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Marky Mark

Coach,

What about the lower body??

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Blairbob

Pistol variations, bounding jumps, BW glute-ham seem to be what Coach Sommer has posted for lower body off the top of my head.

Doing height jumps and sticking is another good drill. I've seen people eventually get to jumping off high bars and sticking. Hitting the stick with good form is a lot of weight to be absorbed and shock to the system ( think BW+gravity ).

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Kevin Conley

Where can I get a rope I can hang from an over head bar? Should I just tie it having it looped? I am sure it can work, but I figured it would be better having only the rope I am going to grab hanging. Any suggestions?

Thanks,

Pro

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sasquatch

Is the straddle L rope climb better than the regular L rope climb?

I always climb in a regular L, and yesterday I tried it in a traddle L, and it felt easier.

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David Picó García

One thing about straddle is that you can't aid the descent with the legs. At normal leg position if the rope is between the legs you can add some resistance while going down (of course you can put the rope outside the legs).

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sasquatch
One thing about straddle is that you can't aid the descent with the legs. At normal leg position if the rope is between the legs you can add some resistance while going down (of course you can put the rope outside the legs).
I always put the rope on the side of my legs. Maybe the straddle is better because it makes you more balanced than the L sit one?

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Coach Sommer

Rope climbing in a straddle L is better for hip conditioning and rope climbing in an L-sit is better for ab conditioning. You will tend to prefer whichever position you are stronger at, so be conscientious in intermixing the two variations in your workouts.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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sasquatch
Rope climbing in a straddle L is better for hip conditioning and rope climbing in an L-sit is better for ab conditioning. You will tend to prefer whichever position you are stronger at, so be conscientious in intermixing the two variations in your workouts.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

Thank you for your answer, Coach.

That makes sense.

Too bad I only get to climb ropes on the weekends, It's a very good exercise.

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Justin Rawley

I've noticed all the helpful hints that Coach Sommer has been dropping (like sledgehammers) :lol: on us newbies, so I want to take advantege of what he has to offer and incorporate some of his suggestions:

Next week, I'm hoping to start a steady state training cycle concentrating on basic static holds and their equivalent pairs of basic strength exercises. The program would be based on static support, FL, and trying to build enough flexibility (within a plane of motion that I have not used in many years) to get a real BL. My legs are proportionally long and my arms short, making my natural body lever slightly more disadvantaged than average for these kinds of positions. Should I also try and fit in some HS/HSPU work as well? I don't want to focus on too many things at once; perhaps I should drop BL in favor of the latter. I would like to know what exercises to pair with the static holds, perhaps the obvious dips and FL rows? Also, how do I progress on the support position without increasing time? Should I start the L-sit progression as a continuation of the basic support?

I would probably include one other pair. I've always done some kind of static hold in my workout routine long before I started using the rings, one of which was a wide pushup support for 45 seconds or so using kettlebells as handles and propping my feet up on a Swiss ball. In lieu of starting any planche work, I thought I would just continue the pushup support static hold on the rings as I've been doing. Perhaps here too, I could use the Swiss ball. I thought I would continue with Bulgarian pushups, hopefully by the end of the cycle, progressing into a solid pseudoplanche pushup. For static holds, I would start with 30 seconds (40 for pushup support) and 3x5 (3 x 7 for pushups).

This would be in addition to rock-climbing and restarting my normal cardio routine (which has been on hold for the last 2 weeks). I don't have access to a rope, but rope-climbing used to be a regular part of my warm-up (http://mirtesen.ru/people/182985663/photos/20398419610). Going up was easy, but I could not do it in a stradle L, and coming back down was much more difficult. Only rarely did I feel confident enough to come down without assisting with my feet. I would like to work on these things. Is there something I can substitute for rope climbing in the interim?

How does that sound for a routine?

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matthew.percussion

In my routine I am working all 6 static holds. But coach has mentioned that two of the most important things when beginning ring work is to master front and back levers. So keep those two in your routine for sure.

Don't have much else to add. Maybe someone else can help you out.

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Blairbob

If you do not have a rope, do towel pullups as a substitute. 15 equals 1 climb of the rope without legs.

Depending where you are on your ring support will depend whether it's time to start doing it in tuck or L. Tuck really isn't that difficult and I have my boys do it simply so their feet will not be touching the block or ground yet they still can safely come down by putting their feet up versus having them have to do a significant jump up to support so their feet can be clear of the ground. If you tuck with your hips at 90 and knees less than 90 it isn't a big deal. If your hips are at less than 90 and your knees are greater than 90 it becomes gradually more difficult.

Before you ever touch back lever, you should become very comfortable with skin the cats to german hang ( which turn into 360 pulls when done in advanced tuck, 1/2 lay, 1 leg, extended ). In a funny note, I was getting distressed that our optional L7 girls were complaining about doing a german hang so I went and did one real fast since they refused to extend last night. It's an unfamiliar move for them ( though bare in mind most kids work skin the cats in their early years and I work skin the cat on rings with my preteam girls ) but just to be snide I had our L4 boys do it today in front of them. Just our friendly girls vs boys competition in the gym. Bare in mind L7 girls usually have been competing for about 5 years and doing gymnastics for 5-8 years while L4 boys are roughly in their first year or two of gym and competition.

Whether to tackle HSPU depends on where your HS ability is current. Having tested this movement recently with my boys and watched our L7 girls, I'm thinking even the headstand to handstand pushup will take more time to build up though I've always considered this a fairly easy progression and expect L5 boys to be able to do them with ease.

Body levers are a good assistance exercise for front lever and you still should have regular dip work in there somewhere. HSPU work of any kind sort of depends on where you are in your ability to push ( can you push to the deck in a pushup position, decline pushup [ you seem quite strong but I'm not going to presume to know your limits ).

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Justin Rawley

Thanks Blairbob and Matthew.

I will definitely plan to add in body levers, skin the cats, and probably some kind of static hand stand for time againts the wall. I haven't done handstands in years, so I'll want to work back into it slowly.

Towel pull-ups sound like a great idea and an easy solution.

Thanks again!

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