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Amebix138

Stalled on headstand push ups

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Amebix138

For the past 4 weeks not I've been stuck in a rut with HePSU. What I've been doing for the past 4-5 months is doing partial range of motion HePSU 3 times a week and every 2 weeks removing a half inch. I started at 5" 3x3. And I've stalled at 1" unable to move on to .5". What happened was I first tried to progress from 1" to .5" after only 1 week. I got all 3x3 the first workout of the week but starting missing reps until at the end of the week I could only get 1 good rep on the first set. So I went back and started working 1" again. Today is the last workout of my second week and I got 2x3 1x2 1/2 and I've stalled again. Im not sure what to do now. Any ideas?

Thanks in advance,

Amebix

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Joshua Naterman

More rest could help. 3 times a week is a lot of work for such an intense movement. You may be doing more work than your body can recover from.

You'll probably find that taking a few days off and eating well, then starting off at 2x a week will work better for you. It sounds like you've been working so close to your limits that you are raising the intensity too far for your body to properly adapt to. Working on doing more sets during the day, but not necessarily back to back, may help as well. For example, you work HeSPU every Monday and Friday. You do 3 reps, at a controlled pace. 2 seconds down, slight pause still holding your weight with your head brushing the floor gently, 2 seconds up for each rep. Then you rest as long as you need to. If you have to rest more than 5 minutes that's ok, just stay warm. Swing your arms occasionally, jump around some, stay warm. When you feel ready do the next set. Keep doing that until you've done your sets! I'd start with 3x3 and build up to 5x3, with the extra sets being done either before or after the main workout, as a sort of greasing the groove protocol for those two days. The rest of the time focus on different aspects of your training. When you can do the 5 sets of 3 reps, start doing 3 sets of 4 reps in your workout, with 1 set of 4 outside of the workout. After that doesn't seem like a huge deal, add a 5th set of 4 outside the workout. So you're doing 3x4 in the workout, and two separate sets of 4 reps at other times during the same day, well apart from each other. When that becomes easy, start doing 3 sets of 5 reps in your workout and one set of 4 or 5 outside. When you're doing 5 sets of 5, 3 sets during workout and two at other times, at a minumum, go down an inch and start the process again, building your strength and endurance to where you have a surplus at the current intensity before moving on to the next level!

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Coach Sommer

You are attempting to increase the depth of your HeSPUs too rapidly. Spend more time, 4+ weeks, at a given height prior to attempting to increase your training load; e.g. descend lower.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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Joshua Naterman

I sure did waste a lot of words trying to say that! :shock: :lol:

Don't feel bad, Amebix! I too have been the victim of trying to move forward too quickly.

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JL

Another vote for overreaching. I think every beginner and intermediate goes down this road. You can also try cutting the volume back for one week, but keep the intensity. If you fail at greater intensity, yet decline again after you go back to an old (easy intensity), you probably overreached. Me, I would cut the overall volume (total reps in half). I use this for pistol squats, and after becoming worried, I chopped the volume for about 2 weeks, and now I toy with the workout which was hard for me 2 weeks ago. Ido was the one who got me thinking about this. It is scary sometimes to allow yourself to go backwards a step. But it pays off very often, and for a lot of people. Coach's idea is about cutting intensity, which is also proven.

I guess if I were you, my workout would look like this. Instead of 3x3, I would do 2 sets of 3 reps. Or, 1set of 3 reps, and a 2nd set of 2 reps. Surprisingly, I made gains on pistols doing 2 sets of 3 and quitting. Sometimes 1 set of 3 reps for the days I felt weak.

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Joshua Naterman

It really does often only take one or two sets to make training progress, and more than that ends up just being more recovery without adding much of any extra training effect.

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Coach Sommer

It is also important to differentiate between the volume needed for maximal strength exercises (2-3 sets) and the volume needed for assistance work (3-5 sets); as well as the differences in repetitions ranges (1-5, as opposed to 10+).

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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Cole Dano

Assistance work? Can someone help me with this? I'm not familiar with the term.

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Cole Dano
It is also important to differentiate between the volume needed for maximal strength exercises (2-3 sets) and the volume needed for assistance work (3-5 sets); as well as the differences in repetitions ranges (1-5, as opposed to 10+).

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

This sounds like another one of Coaches very important aphorisms, but can some one help me out, i'm losing the plot!

What is assistance work? When do you do strength work vs. assistance work? And how does this relate to the OP?

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Joshua Naterman

As far as OP relevance, for the OP to successfully manage their own training program they must understand what protocols produce specific results, as well as the differences between maximal strength work and assistance work. I can't pretend I have any idea what Coach's ideas on the differences between maximal strength work and assistance work are.

My working definition, which will honestly probably change to Coach's if he has something different to say, is that maximal strength work is any exercise you do with the intent of specifically increasing muscular strength, with the specific goal of building enough strength to move on to a harder progression. My working definition of assistance work is any exercise you do with the intent of making your body capable of performing maximal strength work without injury. In a way, assistance work is a type of prehab.

For example, I am capable of performing muscle ups. I can only do a few, less than 4 consecutively for certain. Muscle ups would be my maximal strength work. However, if I perform nothing but muscle ups in my quest to gain strength, I am probably going to hurt myself. Why? Because my body is not yet so strong that it can handle the strain of more and more and more muscle ups. So, I do assistance work, like the false grip pull ups and the russian dips, to assist me in building the joint integrity necessary to safely train the muscle ups.

Because I am working so hard on the muscle ups, I am depleting my body's resources fairly quickly as I perform them. The more I do the deeper I delve into my recovery ability. Strength increases at a fairly slow rate from one workout to the next, no matter how much work you do, because it involves the body remodeling the physical structure of skeletal muscle tissue. If I do too much work, it may take me so long to recover that I lose most of the strength gains my body built up by the time I'm able to perform an effective workout again. One set to total failure(NOT recommended for most of the things we do, as the risk of injury is just too great) or two sets of high intensity but not to total failure is all it takes to get a strength adaptation. Any more than that will get pretty much the same adaptation, but cause extra damage that needs to be repaired. That wastes time, because it forces the trainee to spend more time recovering and less time training.

The russian dips and false grip pull ups, on the other hand, are well within my abilities. I can perform quite a large number of bodyweight dips and pull ups, so doing 3-5 sets of 3-6 reps for these exercises is not putting my body under as much strain as the muscle ups, so I can do more. It is less intense. These exercises allow me to strengthen components of the muscle up that contribute to my muscle up progress without overtraining myself or putting unnecessary strain on my joints. So, this assistance work, while not anywhere near as hard or draining as the muscle ups, is very important for my progress.

Not every maximal strength exercise necessarily has assistance work that goes along with it so clearly, but for Amebix 2 sets of HeSPU is plenty. After that, higher reps with a much shorter ROM may well help far more. The idea behind my protocol, which is somewhat different from what Coach lays out in the BtGB book, is that the current ROM, which right now is maximal strength, actually becomes more of an assistance exercise through the ability to perform more volume over time. Even so, I still generally conform to using 2 sets of maximal strength and usually 3 sets of one or two assistance exercises. It really works well, and produces strong, injury-resistant athletes.

In Amebix's case, too much volume for the current intensity level is the big issue. The volume comes mostly from the frequency in this case. 3x per week is just too much for this trainee. If it wasn't, Amebix would be making progress, not stalling out or moving backwards. When in doubt, more rest is almost always the right answer.

I may not be anywhere close to how Coach feels about this issue, and I'd definitely go by what he says if it's different.

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Cole Dano

Excellent post Slizardman, thanks!

Regardless of the training issue, making sense of this has to be the one of the most important things a trainee needs to learn. And perhaps the most misunderstood, even more so in the arena of body-weight work!

The assistance work term through me off. But as a principle, its something i've been trying to find how to adopt into my practice and balance with the pure strength work. I'm not sure i'm anywhere near getting it right though.

Referring to BtGB and Coach's Steady State protocol, essentially a way of cycling from over-load to under-load, so load is constant. There is no assistance type work at all. Is assistance work something that you incorporate into your training protocol? Is the SS protocol only one facet of the work being brought out, and the assistance model something that will be in Liquid Steel™?

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Coach Sommer
This sounds like another one of Coaches very important aphorisms, but can some one help me out, i'm losing the plot! ... What is assistance work? When do you do strength work vs. assistance work? And how does this relate to the OP?

Strength training is not a simple linear progression. There is no one size fits all. Depending on the level of the athlete in question, there will be a number of factors which will need to be attended to. For beginners, it is best to simply focus on establishing a solid foundation of basic strength as set forth in Building the Gymnastic Body and to not be overly concerned with assistance work.

However as your training progresses, you will discover that manipulating volume is also quite important. Increasing volume through additional assistance work, at a carefully controlled intensity: stimulates the central nervous system, builds work capacity, builds the capillaries, institutes additional hypertrophy and promotes joint health; all within the targeted area. However you must be at a certain level of development, before you can take advantage of this component of training.

For example, an advanced intermediate athlete (someone still developing their XR planche and iron cross) may perform planche pushups on the XR with a 2 sec static hold on each repetition for 3x5 reps. This would constitute the maximal strength portion of his training for that day. However for his level, this is not enough volume; hence for his assistance work he would also perform 5x10 Russian Dips with additional weight added as needed.

Please note that the above volume of maximal ring strength would be far short of what an advanced ring strength athlete would require; but it will be just about all that an advanced intermediate level athlete could handle and far beyond the capacities of a beginner.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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Joshua Naterman

That makes a lot of sense.

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Getinthecar

Thanks for the email notification. So after you build a solid fondation of strength and your progress stalls. Try increasing the volume with the excersice and/ or an assistance excersice.

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Cole Dano

Thanks for the excellent answer Coach, very helpful! It would be great to get more specifics on this in the future.

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Jason Stein

Coach Sommer,

You've posted elsewhere some rough strength baselines for beginning dynamic strength training. Do you have any rough ideas for guidelines based around the exercises in BtGB as for when to experiment with volume manipulation?

(E.g.: 5 HeSPUs, 10 FL Pulls, 5 Strict MU, 5 Pike-press HS, Straddle BL?) Just curious.

XX and I have inadvertently ended up messing with volume, sometimes just for variance sake, i.e. increasing band-assistance and reps for Natural Leg Curls (more assistance, 10 reps; or 15-second eccentric, 10 singles).

best,

jason

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JL
This sounds like another one of Coaches very important aphorisms, but can some one help me out, i'm losing the plot! ... What is assistance work? When do you do strength work vs. assistance work? And how does this relate to the OP?

Strength training is not a simple linear progression. There is no one size fits all. Depending on the level of the athlete in question, there will be a number of factors which will need to be attended to. For beginners, it is best to simply focus on establishing a solid foundation of basic strength as set forth in Building the Gymnastic Body and to not be overly concerned with assistance work.

However as your training progresses, you will discover that manipulating volume is also quite important. Increasing volume through additional assistance work, at a carefully controlled intensity: stimulates the central nervous system, builds work capacity, builds the capillaries, institutes additional hypertrophy and promotes joint health; all within the targeted area. However you must be at a certain level of development, before you can take advantage of this component of training.

For example, an advanced intermediate athlete (someone still developing their XR planche and iron cross) may perform planche pushups on the XR with a 2 sec static hold on each repetition for 3x5 reps. This would constitute the maximal strength portion of his training for that day. However for his level, this is not enough volume; hence for his assistance work he would also perform 5x10 Russian Dips with additional weight added as needed.

Please note that the above volume of maximal ring strength would be far short of what an advanced ring strength athlete would require; but it will be just about all that an advanced intermediate level athlete could handle and far beyond the capacities of a beginner.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

That reminds of a topic where an experience practitioner (poster 2) responded to some peoples' posts.
Poster 1:

Thanks for your help leighton, but I've decided to just go with the Bill Starr 5x5 program:

Monday

Squat 5x5

Ramping weight to top set of 5 (which should equal the previous Friday's heavy triple)

Bench 5x5

Ramping weight to top set of 5 (which should equal the previous Friday's heavy triple)

Barbell Row 5x5

Ramping weight to top set of 5 (which should equal the previous Friday's heavy triple)

Assistance: 2 sets of weighted hypers and 4 sets of weighted sit-ups

Wednesday

Squat 4x5

First 3 sets are the same as Monday, the 4th set is repeating the 3rd set again

Incline or Military 4x5

Ramping weight to top set of 5

Deadlift 4x5

Ramping weight to top set of 5

Assistance: 3 sets of sit-ups

Friday

Squat 4x5, 1x3, 1x8

First 4 sets are the same as Monday's, the triple is 2.5% above your Monday top set of 5, use the weight from the 3rd set for a final set of 8

Bench 4x5, 1x3, 1x8

First 4 sets are the same as Monday's, the triple is 2.5% above your Monday top set of 5, use the weight from the 3rd set for a final set of 8

Barbell Row 4x5, 1x3, 1x8

First 4 sets are the same as Monday's, the triple is 2.5% above your Monday top set of 5, use the weight from the 3rd set for a final set of 8

Assistance: 3 sets of weighted dips (5-8 reps), 3 sets of barbell curls and 3 sets of triceps extensions (8 reps)

I'll swap the rows with power cleans and deadlift with high pulls.

If I ever do find a coach then I'll come back with a much stronger base.

Thanks.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Poster 2 response

That's simply assinine.

The progression your program envisions is linear.

Of course, if strength gains were linear, everyone would be clean and jerking 500 Kgs in their 10th year, if not sooner.

Tell me, genius -- how many weeks do you think you will actually quintuple what you could only triple the previous week?

Jesus Christ.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Poster #2 2nd reply

Leighton, and all:

I do apologize for the tone of that intemperate post; it was beyond over the top. You guessed right -- caught me on an awful day when I should have kept my mouth shut instead of mini-ranting on a keyboard.

The point is that the aggressive week-to-week increases Pete had laid out are just wildly unrealistic as something that anyone -- intermediate or otherwise -- would be able to sustain over any significant period of time. (Though one could "fudge it" on that kind of program by simply setting up the loading in the early weeks, or otherwise undershooting those loads, so that the "best triples" were really less than an actual "best" triple load.) The only instance where those kinds of gain rates are normally seen is in untrained lifters, who may get 3-5% better week to week purely due to neuromuscular adaptation -- they are getting "stronger" at that rate only because they are learning the mechanics of the particular movement pattern and developing the ability to recruit whatever strength they already possess -- not really improving the capacity of the organism otherwise. Those kinds of gains plateau in 6-8 weeks and the lifter becomes subject to the same rate-limiting physiological steps that everybody else is. And then they will no longer be doing fives on Tuesday with what they could only triple last Thursday -- when they try to do so, they will flail, fail, and if they do not understand what is realistic, become disheartened.

I don't even think a lifter with chemical assistance could quintuple what they could only triple the prior week for even 3-4 weeks in a row. Nor do I think Bill Starr ever suggested that kind of loading progression in any of his classic prescriptions. If such a program were feasible, certainly everybody in every field of strength development would adopt it very quickly; nobody would be training any other way, because everybody would become Superman in a year or two. But they aren't, because it isn't.

[

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Emil Brannmark

Nonetheless there are also tons of stories of people linearly progressing in weight training. Of course, those stories generally involve being seriously underweight at the beginning and having a lot of mass in the end. And 6kcal a day.

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Joshua Naterman

The poster wasn't claiming that linear progression isn't possible, but the rate at which that OP was trying to do it was out of the reach of even the most gifted lifter on the most powerful drugs. It just isn't how things work. You can't up your weight that quickly. You're working with percentages, so that means that the stronger you get the bigger the jumps, which is exactly the opposite of what happens.

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Amebix138

Thanks for the replies everyone.

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