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SorenPA

Stalled front lever progression flat tuck -> stradle ?

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Cole Dano
You'll see one of the exercises he does is in a push up position. That needs to be your primary focus for now! I mean, do any of them that you can make your scapula work correctly on, but if you wing uncontrollably, don't do it. You don't want to re-inforce that! Just do more work with the push up. That's the serratus push up, btw. As you're able to, do his stabilization routine more fully. It's a really good one!

The push up is the key movement for you, sometimes its also done on the elbows which some find make it easier to focus on the serratus.

One important thing to realize with the stabilization routine is that the shoulder blade should remain fixed in each of the movements. This is part of the particular brilliance of the routine. It takes the shoulder blade through its entire range of motion and teaches you to fix (stabilize) it in each of those positions.

With winging you will you can try to feel the inner edge of the shoulder blade. Try to glue it to your body in each of the arm positions and at the same time to more fully activate the serratus anterior (the key muscle involved in winging) feel as if you are moving the entire inner edge of the shoulder blade towards your side. As if you could scrape the inner edge of your shoulder blade along your back ribs.

You said that both of your shoulders wing, thats a good sign, sometimes when its only one side, it can indicate that there is nerve damage. You are able with effort to prevent the winging right?

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Erik Sjolin

The inner edge? That's right about where the rhomboids are, right?

I think I may have something other than winging then (still doing the routines and focussing on keeping them in though), because where it sticks out is the outer edge, right in the crook of where shoulder meets tricep.

Could be muscle, but I have my doubts on that.

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Cole Dano

Here is a photo of what is typically called a winging scapula.

winging_scap_1.jpg

Maybe at this point a photo of whats going on could be helpful?

(Of course this is the big pitfall of any Internet diagnosis. The internet is never a substitute for human contact! Unfortunately in these matters there often aren't any better alternatives, at least that we can afford, money and timewise....)

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Joshua Naterman

I had scapular issues more similar to what Erik is describing, though part of my issue was definitely some frozen scapula issues as well, and isometric holds are what have helped me so far. I started just holding the rings, retracting my scapulae, and holding that as hard as I could for 15 seconds while leaning back just a little. At first that was tough. Now I'm almost horizontal! Anyhow, this definitely is more focused on classical winging scapulae like what Mr Brady's mentioning, but even though that wasn't my main issue this has helped.

Once I got to where I could do this correctly with a decent load, which was about a month, I started doing chin up isometrics at the top of the chin up, where the scapulae should be fully retracted. At first this was an 8 second hold. Now it's 20s with 40 lbs added. This has gotten me to the point where I am feeling my scapulae move correctly when doing our pulling work here.

The push up was my next addition, and that too is weighted now and this practice is really helping me with overall shoulder stability.

I know there are different ways to handle this, and as long as you do what works for you, that's great. I don't believe in movement until the muscles are able to hold the bones in the proper position under a decent load isometrically. Until that point I think there's just too much dysfunctional motor patterning to justify movement. I test occasionally, and it wasn't until the point I am at now that I can move correctly, which is why I didn't start doing WODs until a week ago.

Be patient with your recovery, and don't reinforce bad movements! Only do what you can do perfectly.

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Cole Dano
I had scapular issues more similar to what Erik is describing, though part of my issue was definitely some frozen scapula issues as well, and isometric holds are what have helped me so far. I started just holding the rings, retracting my scapulae, and holding that as hard as I could for 15 seconds while leaning back just a little. At first that was tough. Now I'm almost horizontal! Anyhow, this definitely is more focused on classical winging scapulae like what Mr Brady's mentioning, but even though that wasn't my main issue this has helped.

This is interesting to me, but i'm not 100% sure of what is being described. I often see waht is sometimes called winging where the lower tips of the shoulder blades will move over to the sides but not wrap to the ribs which makes them look somewhat like mini airplane wings. Is this what you are talking about?

Once I got to where I could do this correctly with a decent load, which was about a month, I started doing chin up isometrics at the top of the chin up, where the scapulae should be fully retracted. At first this was an 8 second hold. Now it's 20s with 40 lbs added. This has gotten me to the point where I am feeling my scapulae move correctly when doing our pulling work here.

Now i understand why you are doing the isos, makes sense. I actually do this often with my students for the same reason.

I do like the idea of creating a situation where you can do the full movement, with less of a load. This is what i think of the Scapular mobility routine as doing. So you can isometricaly work the stability under load, and also work the movement with an underload.

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Joshua Naterman

My right scapula had a tendency to pull away from the ribs a little bit on the outside edge. It wasn't bad, and took a long time to develop. My right scapular retractors weren't firing correctly, I mean I couldn't even retract my right scapula properly! I believe that this problem eventually spread and led to this other dysfunction. I continue to do strength work to make sure that my scapular muscles are as strong as possible, because these are really the core of upper body strength and mobility.

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cccp22
Thanks for the advice :)

Hmmm. I might need to work on the pull ups more. Not doing alot of them since my back gets hit from PPPs, BL, FL and dragon flags (yes its actually my back that gives up on these too). But when I do its with the hips bent in 90 degree angle with straight legs, pretty much like an L-sit which for me makes them tougher on the back :)

I'll defenately try the 90/90 position next time and see how that goes :)

- Soren

There's a lot of good advice here. For some reason people think you have to go straight from a tuck to a flat tuck, or from flat tuck to straddle, and that's simply not the case. There are infinite positions inbetween, and you should use a slow progression from one to the next. This eliminates most stalled progress all by itself. Adding some volume helps as well, but from what you've said your back is a HUUUUUGE weak link.

The first thing you should do is start doing the WODs. If you throw in extra work, do so on the appropriate days, and don't go crazy. The WODs will cycle through most of the aspects of athletic performance and each enhances the others. This is what most people are missing in their training. Reactive/explosive, submaximal kinetic, maximal kinetic, and isometrics (both maximal and submaximal) all enhance each other. WOD dynamic days are reactive/explosive, tempo days are submax kinetic, ring days are max kinetic, and we do submax isometrics (FSP) as warm up. The only thing missing is maximal isometrics, and with the WOD template I think 3x per month is all there is room for, and that may be too much. Even if you're doing nothing at all, you can only do 4x per month of maximal isometrics if you're looking for the greatest gains in strength.

As sean said, weighted pull ups are a big part of building back strength. Once you get to where you can do the two-arm pull up progressions here for 5x5, start adding weight! Use the same progressions, but start doing them with 5 extra lbs. I was a weighted pull up beast and FL came to me as naturally as breathing.

The other thing is that in your body lever or "dragon flag" you should have a hollow body. If you don't, you're not helping your front lever. You should also be doing static holds as close to the ground as you can.

**********What is maximal kinetic strength?

Brandon Green

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Joshua Naterman

Kinetic = moving. So, i guess if you wanted to be technical that would include everything except for isometric strength. In this post I am referring specifically to maximal concentric strength, nonreactive.

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SorenPA

Ok, back from holidays. Time for a little update.

I have decided to start on the WODs. Did my first scaled down version yesterday. I will do the FSPs as warm up prior to doing the WODs. I will do SSC on the FSPs, so 50% of max holds. Since this is warm-up I will only add sets to 60 sec for FSPs where I feel I can do this without getting too exhausted for the WOD exercises.

I decided to start a fresh SSC, so I tested my max on the 4 FSPs I have been doing. The max holds are done until I loose proper form.

45 sec tuck planche (+5 sec)

60 sec adv tuck FL (no progression)

35 sec full lay BL (+15 sec)

40 sec L-sit on PB (+10 sec)

I was quite surprised at the BL. It seems I am very imbalanced strength wise, which I find to be a quite big problem considering the injuries this may cause. I believe following the WODs should help alleviate this problem over time.

I have tried the straddle L hold for the first time, and can hold a straight legged one for about 5 seconds max. I also tried one of the first mana progressions. I could hold the first straight legged one for 2-3 seconds or so. Damn tough on the triceps! I had some balance issues with these exercises, but that is to be expected since it was the first time.

However I really need to find a place for my XR rings. At the gym I work out I only have an overhead bar and a single lower bar at my disposal :cry: I will be sure to share my results at the end of the SSC :D

-Soren

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Joshua Naterman

Wow, great back lever! Your holds, just in general, are quite strong! 45 second tuck planche is no joke.

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SorenPA

Well thanks Slizzardman. I have worked on the holds for about 1 year though.

Regarding the BL I don't know why It's progressing alot faster for me than all other static holds. I could do a full lay first time I tried the exercise. Perhaps it has something to do with my background in sports. Been a competetive swimmer in my early days :)

However my strength is really bad for the WODs, I did my second yesterday 8) The GHR on the first WOD and the HS wall runs on the second was damn tough. My legs are still trying to heal hehe :) Seems the WOD will be quite a fun challenge.

I still need to get those damn rings up. I am eager to begin training with them :)

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Joshua Naterman

That honestly sounds about right.

I could hold full lay back lever right off the bat as well, though I stopped doing that after I messed my elbows up. I wish I had videos of my full lay 360 pulls... :P

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SorenPA

Its been a bit over half a month since i began doing WODs with statics as warm up. At yesterdays warmup I decided to test my FL straddle, and I was very pleased to see that i could actually hold it for 2-3 seconds! Hips weren't totally straight but almost. Never been able to this before. To me thats a very nice and shockingly fast improvement.

In two weeks time I am going to do max holds again for my next SSC, will prolly begin to work 90/90 FL's on warmups now. I haven't tested the planche holds yet, but the 20 sec tuck planche holds isn't too much of a struggle currently.

I am slowly integrating mana and straddle-L statics to my warm up.

I am certain the progress is due to the WOD program, so I will advice anyone with stall problems to follow the WODs. I have been doing scaled down versions but tried my best to scale down as little as possible for my current strength. The WODs are even faster to complete than my former training protocol (Not easier though), and more fun due to more diversity in the exercises.

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Joshua Naterman

Nice! Don't you worry, the gains will keep coming.

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cccp22
Thanks for the advice :)

Hmmm. I might need to work on the pull ups more. Not doing alot of them since my back gets hit from PPPs, BL, FL and dragon flags (yes its actually my back that gives up on these too). But when I do its with the hips bent in 90 degree angle with straight legs, pretty much like an L-sit which for me makes them tougher on the back :)

I'll defenately try the 90/90 position next time and see how that goes :)

- Soren

There's a lot of good advice here. For some reason people think you have to go straight from a tuck to a flat tuck, or from flat tuck to straddle, and that's simply not the case. There are infinite positions inbetween, and you should use a slow progression from one to the next. This eliminates most stalled progress all by itself. Adding some volume helps as well, but from what you've said your back is a HUUUUUGE weak link.

The first thing you should do is start doing the WODs. If you throw in extra work, do so on the appropriate days, and don't go crazy. The WODs will cycle through most of the aspects of athletic performance and each enhances the others. This is what most people are missing in their training. Reactive/explosive, submaximal kinetic, maximal kinetic, and isometrics (both maximal and submaximal) all enhance each other. WOD dynamic days are reactive/explosive, tempo days are submax kinetic, ring days are max kinetic, and we do submax isometrics (FSP) as warm up. The only thing missing is maximal isometrics, and with the WOD template I think 3x per month is all there is room for, and that may be too much. Even if you're doing nothing at all, you can only do 4x per month of maximal isometrics if you're looking for the greatest gains in strength.

As sean said, weighted pull ups are a big part of building back strength. Once you get to where you can do the two-arm pull up progressions here for 5x5, start adding weight! Use the same progressions, but start doing them with 5 extra lbs. I was a weighted pull up beast and FL came to me as naturally as breathing.

The other thing is that in your body lever or "dragon flag" you should have a hollow body. If you don't, you're not helping your front lever. You should also be doing static holds as close to the ground as you can.

********** So once a week or 10 days or so you can do MAXIMAL isometrics? If so what might the max volumes potentially be?

Brandon Green

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Joshua Naterman

Depends on your goal. Because you're doing supposedly maximal work, you want to keep volume very low. 1-2 sets should be plenty. Remember that maximal work is nearly 100% for CNS adaptation.

What I have started doing is this: On handstand days I am doing heavy strong range partials for 1-2 sets in standing military press. I am also doing HSPU negatives. On ring strength days I am doing assisted slow muscle up negatives (I should be ready to add weight in 2-3 weeks) and OAC negatives. Max leg days are barbell squat negatives and deadlift negatives, along with one heavy-ish concentric set on the deadlifts. Dynamic leg days are heavy strong-range back squat partials and heavy barbell shrug negatives. Metcon days are more or less as described in the WOD, though I will do that AFTER any dynamic strength-related work such as heavy partials (which I do at a fairly fast pace).

All negatives are at least 10s. I have not started maximal isometrics yet because, quite honestly, I just do not have an efficient set up for that yet. It is also, in my opinion, something that I will be spending very little volume on for both the above stated reason and because I am nowhere near a 2-2.5x BW ATG squat. The negatives should help speed that up a lot, and what will end up happening is that every 4-6 workout cycles (probably every 6-8 weeks) I will switch out the negatives for concentric-oriented work in order to de-train for the negatives. This is not something that would be good for a gymnast's leg training unless they are exclusively a vaulter, and even then I do not know if this would be ok because it WILL lead to some mass gain beyond what you need for landings and whatnot.

I keep the volume fairly low, 3-4 sets of 30-40s. I am primarily targeting myofibrillar hypertrophy and not sarcoplasmic, for the purpose of generating more contractile fibers. As I get stronger I will do shorter cycles of the negatives with longer cycles of the CNS-specific work so that I maximize relative strength and rate of force development. I believe this will lead to an ungodly increase in my speed and explosive ability. Underneath all of the CNS adaptations, you still need myofibrils to produce force. As eliciting myofibrillar hypertrophy is by far the most time-consuming part of the training process besides (possibly) actual event technique development and can happen concurrently with event technique development (meaning you don't need a different training cycle or anything) I believe that this must be done first. The WODS do a great job with the GB exercises and I do not believe they can be improved very much without adding in non-gymnastic elements. As a bodyweight only system the GB WOD cycle is as close to perfect as any system will ever get, and even when looking to add on to it I have no reason to try and change the wod cycle itself. I simply alter the application of the exercises to get the response I am looking for and I add in the minimum volume of OTHER work necessary to meet my needs as an athlete who is trying to build exceptional all-around abilities in as many areas as I can maintain concurrently.

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cccp22
Depends on your goal. Because you're doing supposedly maximal work, you want to keep volume very low. 1-2 sets should be plenty. Remember that maximal work is nearly 100% for CNS adaptation.

What I have started doing is this: On handstand days I am doing heavy strong range partials for 1-2 sets in standing military press. I am also doing HSPU negatives. On ring strength days I am doing assisted slow muscle up negatives (I should be ready to add weight in 2-3 weeks) and OAC negatives. Max leg days are barbell squat negatives and deadlift negatives, along with one heavy-ish concentric set on the deadlifts. Dynamic leg days are heavy strong-range back squat partials and heavy barbell shrug negatives. Metcon days are more or less as described in the WOD, though I will do that AFTER any dynamic strength-related work such as heavy partials (which I do at a fairly fast pace).

All negatives are at least 10s. I have not started maximal isometrics yet because, quite honestly, I just do not have an efficient set up for that yet. It is also, in my opinion, something that I will be spending very little volume on for both the above stated reason and because I am nowhere near a 2-2.5x BW ATG squat. The negatives should help speed that up a lot, and what will end up happening is that every 4-6 workout cycles (probably every 6-8 weeks) I will switch out the negatives for concentric-oriented work in order to de-train for the negatives. This is not something that would be good for a gymnast's leg training unless they are exclusively a vaulter, and even then I do not know if this would be ok because it WILL lead to some mass gain beyond what you need for landings and whatnot.

I keep the volume fairly low, 3-4 sets of 30-40s. I am primarily targeting myofibrillar hypertrophy and not sarcoplasmic, for the purpose of generating more contractile fibers. As I get stronger I will do shorter cycles of the negatives with longer cycles of the CNS-specific work so that I maximize relative strength and rate of force development. I believe this will lead to an ungodly increase in my speed and explosive ability. Underneath all of the CNS adaptations, you still need myofibrils to produce force. As eliciting myofibrillar hypertrophy is by far the most time-consuming part of the training process besides (possibly) actual event technique development and can happen concurrently with event technique development (meaning you don't need a different training cycle or anything) I believe that this must be done first. The WODS do a great job with the GB exercises and I do not believe they can be improved very much without adding in non-gymnastic elements. As a bodyweight only system the GB WOD cycle is as close to perfect as any system will ever get, and even when looking to add on to it I have no reason to try and change the wod cycle itself. I simply alter the application of the exercises to get the response I am looking for and I add in the minimum volume of OTHER work necessary to meet my needs as an athlete who is trying to build exceptional all-around abilities in as many areas as I can maintain concurrently.

************ Thanks by the way. I am also including very slow (10-30s) negatives on a few exercises as i believe that you have stated earlier that these are the only ones that transfer to the concentric(not good for just muscle mass).

Brandon Green

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Joshua Naterman

They do seem to work differently. I notice that the slower work seems to work the stabilizers much more, but that is probably due to a much larger collective time under tension in critical joint angles.

Negatives tend to transfer the most to concentric movements of a similar speed, but there is always some transfer to everything unless you have detrained a movement or tempo. I think these have the most value in myofibrillar hypertrophy work, quite honestly. The interesting thing about eccentric motion is that the faster you move, up to a certain point, the more force you have to exert due to fighting the momentum of the bar. If you consider that a 200 lb bar moving at 10 MPH is exerting much more force against your body than a bar moving at 3 MPH (which could be calculated with fairly simple physics equations by anyone seeking to verify this statement) it would seem that somewhat faster negatives would be more useful, but again everything with eccentrics is velocity specific. Your body will adapt to the demands of that speed of movement! It is probably most useful to spend a few weeks on slow negatives, a few weeks on faster negatives, and a few weeks on either concentric work or strong range partials, cycling through those on a regular basis. This would allow pretty much total detraining of each stimulus by the time it comes around in the training cycle. Using a method like this, you can actually train strength in "functional" movements (with regards to actual sport performance) without suffering from high efficiency.

By suffering from high efficiency, what I mean is that if you become efficient your body will be using less muscle fibers. This is fantastic for actual performance but terrible for actual strength training. You want to be training as many muscle fibers as possible, not as few as possible, when trying to increase myofibril counts. I think the solution is as simple as ALWAYS training the tempo the sport uses, perhaps as warm up and CNS potentiation for the strength work, with the most similar exercise to the given sport performance characteristic possible. Then you would rotate strength work, also using the same basic movement, but changing the stimulus being used for strength training every 3-6 workouts (making sure that 6-8 weeks passes before the same stimulus is used for strength training again). If you're working the given characteristic 2x per week, as an arbitrary example, assuming you are changing the workout every 3 workouts you would need 4 different strength training stimuli to meet this requirement. Something as simple as moving eccentric work to a vibroplate is enough to constitute a completely separate stimulus. Radically different training speeds, such as a 4-5 second eccentric vs a 12-15s eccentric, absolutely constitute different stimuli. Anyone who has changed tempos will notice the difference. By having just a few of these in your arsenal you should be able to continuously work on strength while always maintaining high efficiency in sport performance.

This would be the ideal off-season training concept for athletes who need more strength, which is most athletes. You would put speed on maintenance mode, as you would the performance-mimicking and actual performance work, and this strength training would be the priority. I have yet to really delve into Poliquin's methods but I have a strong feeling that something like this is at work.

The only "downside" to this is that it takes planning. Not ridiculous amounts of planning, but you have to keep track of your training logs and compare them to make sure you are seeing progress.

I am actually seriously considering building a winch system with limit switches to completely raise the load when using this concept for external load exercises. I really need money... hahaha!

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