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Cody Clark

Iron Cross Training

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Cody Clark

I know theres been a few posts on this forum about the Iron Cross but none have really help me that much. I have been having some problems with this I don't know any build up exercises besides cross dips and pulls or bands.I can't even get barely any range of motion in cross dips. I've tried them but I just can't get any lower than I can right now are there any other proggressions besides bands and stuff Iare there any fundmental movements that must be mastered before Iron Cross. any help will be helpful.

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Blairbob

Before Iron Cross, both levers. Mastery of ring support work and then ring HS, then press to HS on rings and planche.

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Coach Sommer
I know theres been a few posts on this forum about the Iron Cross but none have really help me that much.

Blairbob is correct. Based upon your recent posts, you are not yet strong enough to begin concentrated Iron Cross Training. You must first master the basics.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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colcio

Very strange, I know few people who can't do free hand stand on rings and are very far from doing planche even on the floor yet still can hold cross for 5 sec or so. So when you say you must master the basics , do you mean gymnasts or everyone? I also see many people doing iron cross without locking elbows,but still looking straight. I know it's wrong for a gymnast but does that mean I'm doing more demage to my body working with the slight, very slight bent ? This guys are still very strong and enjoy conditioning their bodies with gymnastics exercises.

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Blairbob

Possibly.

For the enthusiasts and others, it may be possible but there is a definite reason their elbows are bent or slightly bent.

Mastery of the ring HS requires a proficient HS to begin with.

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Nicholas Sortino

If you are just looking to impress people you could always do the LoLCross like i do when I want people to think I am more badass than I am.

Put your arms through the straps and grab the rings from the outside (so the rings a between your forearms and your body). Now you can use the leverage of the straps and ring higher up on your arm to lower yourself down a lot more than you could otherwise. It is kinda the cheap version of one of those cross trainers, except there isn't a lot you can do to adjust the leverage.

Not saying you should do this, or it is a good way to train it, just a fun party trick, if your parties involve trying to one up each other that is. Of course anyone who knows about gymnastics will call you out, but to someone who is clueless, it looks more impressive than it is.

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AlexX

Coach never said it wasn't possible, just not optimal in terms of progress and injury potential. It's the same with a lot disciplines where soft tissue is stressed. Olympic lifters spend weeks to months practicing with just a broom stick and squatting. Powerlifter use a higher volume approach at first before working on singles consistently. Is it impossible to just walk up to a bar and max out? of course not. But does it significantly increase chance of injury? as quite a few can testify, it sure does.

Seeing as how soft tissue is stressed to even greater degrees in ring strength than the above mentioned sports, you will increase your chance of injury by foregoing the basics.

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Patrick Angelo Sardilli
I know theres been a few posts on this forum about the Iron Cross but none have really help me that much. I have been having some problems with this I don't know any build up exercises besides cross dips and pulls or bands.I can't even get barely any range of motion in cross dips. I've tried them but I just can't get any lower than I can right now are there any other proggressions besides bands and stuff Iare there any fundmental movements that must be mastered before Iron Cross. any help will be helpful.

Think of it like climbing a mountain ... take your time and enjoy the view at times rushing it won`t be as pleasant :P

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Erik Sjolin
I know theres been a few posts on this forum about the Iron Cross but none have really help me that much. I have been having some problems with this I don't know any build up exercises besides cross dips and pulls or bands.I can't even get barely any range of motion in cross dips. I've tried them but I just can't get any lower than I can right now are there any other proggressions besides bands and stuff Iare there any fundmental movements that must be mastered before Iron Cross. any help will be helpful.

Think of it like climbing a mountain ... take your time and enjoy the view at times rushing it won`t be as pleasant :P

Quite true. These are the kinds of things that are going to take years to master, which is part of the reason it's so great! And yes, there are fundamenal movements that must be mastered, Blairbob said them earlier in the thread, and Coach has listed them too.

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colcio
If you are just looking to impress people you could always do the LoLCross like i do when I want people to think I am more badass than I am.

Put your arms through the straps and grab the rings from the outside (so the rings a between your forearms and your body). Now you can use the leverage of the straps and ring higher up on your arm to lower yourself down a lot more than you could otherwise. It is kinda the cheap version of one of those cross trainers, except there isn't a lot you can do to adjust the leverage.

Not saying you should do this, or it is a good way to train it, just a fun party trick, if your parties involve trying to one up each other that is. Of course anyone who knows about gymnastics will call you out, but to someone who is clueless, it looks more impressive than it is.

It's nothing to do with impressing people, doing iron cross with straight elbows but not locked is still a feat.Straight elbows I think is a must in gymnastic, points are deducted if in some position elbows are not locked but not all of us are gymnasts, someone doing Fl or IC without locking elbows is still a strong man , many wrestlers can do this things without perfect form and enjoy conditioning their bodies this way with gymnastic rings without putting huge pressure on elbows by locking them with each exercise. Ok so let's take a senario when athlete would benefit from biceps tension with the elbow bent at some angle, wouldn't he benefit from doing let's say front lever with the elbows bent? It seems to be better idea and more fun than doing biceps curls:)

Thanks

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Razz

I've always thought that Iron cross training with locked elbows would be great for MMA fighters. Once your elbow joint gets strong enough from rings work I imagine it must be impossible to force a tap out by elbow pressure.

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Newguy
If you are just looking to impress people you could always do the LoLCross like i do when I want people to think I am more badass than I am.

Put your arms through the straps and grab the rings from the outside (so the rings a between your forearms and your body). Now you can use the leverage of the straps and ring higher up on your arm to lower yourself down a lot more than you could otherwise. It is kinda the cheap version of one of those cross trainers, except there isn't a lot you can do to adjust the leverage.

Not saying you should do this, or it is a good way to train it, just a fun party trick, if your parties involve trying to one up each other that is. Of course anyone who knows about gymnastics will call you out, but to someone who is clueless, it looks more impressive than it is.

Haha This was hilarious, I did this for my brother, and I went down almost all the way :twisted: But he noticed I was not holding them correctly, and tried doing it himself (He did not quite understand tho how I was doing it wrong, and he failed miserably :lol: Nice :wink:

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colcio
I've always thought that Iron cross training with locked elbows would be great for MMA fighters. Once your elbow joint gets strong enough from rings work I imagine it must be impossible to force a tap out by elbow pressure.

:) Once someone locks you with let's say armbar with your elbow locked, I don't think It would help even if you were able to hold the cross for an hour, however training it with slight bend could be good for stopping someone for a while to extend your elbow and give you a little time to escape.

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Dillon Zrike
It's nothing to do with impressing people, doing iron cross with straight elbows but not locked is still a feat.Straight elbows I think is a must in gymnastic, points are deducted if in some position elbows are not locked but not all of us are gymnasts, someone doing Fl or IC without locking elbows is still a strong man , many wrestlers can do this things without perfect form and enjoy conditioning their bodies this way with gymnastic rings without putting huge pressure on elbows by locking them with each exercise. Ok so let's take a senario when athlete would benefit from biceps tension with the elbow bent at some angle, wouldn't he benefit from doing let's say front lever with the elbows bent? It seems to be better idea and more fun than doing biceps curls:)

Locking the elbows is not just about form, it is about becoming stronger. The reason people do FL or IC with bent arms (even slightly) is because they are not strong enough to do it correctly. Bending happens to "escape" the pressure. Yes these individuals are still strong but they are missing out on all benefits associated with strengthening the biceps tendon (which there are many). I have been one of coach Sommer's athletes for a number of years and I can tell you from experience that bending even to the slightest degree is worlds apart in difficulty from the same move locked out.

The real problem though comes with people attempting locked out IC or any IC without proper preparation.

To answer Cody's original question. Don't worry about the IC yet. Take your time really mastering BtGB for now, and by the time you're ready to start advanced ring strength the information you're looking for will be there.

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Joshua Naterman
It's nothing to do with impressing people, doing iron cross with straight elbows but not locked is still a feat.Straight elbows I think is a must in gymnastic, points are deducted if in some position elbows are not locked but not all of us are gymnasts, someone doing Fl or IC without locking elbows is still a strong man , many wrestlers can do this things without perfect form and enjoy conditioning their bodies this way with gymnastic rings without putting huge pressure on elbows by locking them with each exercise. Ok so let's take a senario when athlete would benefit from biceps tension with the elbow bent at some angle, wouldn't he benefit from doing let's say front lever with the elbows bent? It seems to be better idea and more fun than doing biceps curls:)

Locking the elbows is not just about form, it is about becoming stronger. The reason people do FL or IC with bent arms (even slightly) is because they are not strong enough to do it correctly. Bending happens to "escape" the pressure. Yes these individuals are still strong but they are missing out on all benefits associated with strengthening the biceps tendon (which there are many). I have been one of coach Sommer's athletes for a number of years and I can tell you from experience that bending even to the slightest degree is worlds apart in difficulty from the same move locked out.

The real problem though comes with people attempting locked out IC or any IC without proper preparation.

To answer Cody's original question. Don't worry about the IC yet. Take your time really mastering BtGB for now, and by the time you're ready to start advanced ring strength the information you're looking for will be there.

Hi Dillon, its Josh! The really big white guy you taught to flip into the pit this past May.

I had no idea your last name was so hardcore!

Will you be showing up here from time to time?

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Coach Sommer
... It's nothing to do with impressing people, doing iron cross with straight elbows but not locked is still a feat ...

This is 100% completely wrong.

... Straight elbows I think is a must in gymnastic, points are deducted if in some position elbows are not locked but not all of us are gymnasts, someone doing Fl or IC without locking elbows is still a strong man ...

The requirement of straight elbows actually has little to do with aesthetics and everything to do with performance. Insisting that bent arms is nearly as good and will still produce solid results is nothing more than a urban myth perpetuated by those who do not know better. Correctly conditioning the biceps tendon is the lynch pin upon which all future ring strength progress will rest.

The failure to understand this key fact is the primary reason that, despite the gymnastics rings resurgence as a fitness tool over the last 7-8 years, most people who include ring strength training in their conditioning are only capable of performing the most elementary strength elements on them; about on par with a medium level 5-7 year old gymnast.

Forgive me for being rather direct in the above responses. However this is an issue which is continually misunderstood and needs to be addressed clearly. Ring strength is an entirely different animal and requires highly specific training and progressions in order to advance. Failure to understand this, and correctly apply the necessary principles, will only ensure that years from now little to no progress has been made.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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colcio
It's nothing to do with impressing people, doing iron cross with straight elbows but not locked is still a feat.Straight elbows I think is a must in gymnastic, points are deducted if in some position elbows are not locked but not all of us are gymnasts, someone doing Fl or IC without locking elbows is still a strong man , many wrestlers can do this things without perfect form and enjoy conditioning their bodies this way with gymnastic rings without putting huge pressure on elbows by locking them with each exercise. Ok so let's take a senario when athlete would benefit from biceps tension with the elbow bent at some angle, wouldn't he benefit from doing let's say front lever with the elbows bent? It seems to be better idea and more fun than doing biceps curls:)

Locking the elbows is not just about form, it is about becoming stronger. The reason people do FL or IC with bent arms (even slightly) is because they are not strong enough to do it correctly. Bending happens to "escape" the pressure. Yes these individuals are still strong but they are missing out on all benefits associated with strengthening the biceps tendon (which there are many). I have been one of coach Sommer's athletes for a number of years and I can tell you from experience that bending even to the slightest degree is worlds apart in difficulty from the same move locked out.

The real problem though comes with people attempting locked out IC or any IC without proper preparation.

To answer Cody's original question. Don't worry about the IC yet. Take your time really mastering BtGB for now, and by the time you're ready to start advanced ring strength the information you're looking for will be there.

Off course They're not strong enough to do it with straight elbow,because their ligements and tendens are not strong enough but I gues someone training with the slight bent will have advantege holding the iron cross in this position over somene who always trained it with locked elbows. I'm not saying that we should train without locking elbows at the end of the day It's all about gymnastic, but I think It can be done without locking the elbow with straight looking elbow and still can have a lot of advantages for conditioning athletes for different sports.Locking the elbow does not mean you're are stronger, It means you're stronger in this position. If you do more pull-ups than me It does not mean you will do more wide grip pull-ups than me.Don't get me wrong I do condition my elbows too and I nearly have a cross without locking my elbows yet still quite hard to spot the bent, I'm not a gymnast I weigh nearly 90kg and don't really need to put a lot of strain on my elbows , so train without locking and still happy, progresing quite fast, .

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Cole Dano

TWO proven authorities on the subject speak very clearly.

Progress at a certain point is just another kind of ego trip. Lay the foundation, then real progress will happen naturally.

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Coach Sommer
... Off course They're not strong enough to do it with straight elbow,because their ligements and tendens are not strong enough ...

This is correct, however this is also a key fact that you continue to misunderstand throughout the rest of your post.

... but I gues someone training with the slight bent will have advantege holding the iron cross in this position over somene who always trained it with locked elbows ...

If their ligaments and tendons are not as strong, how is this an advantage?

... but I think It can be done without locking the elbow with straight looking elbow and still can have a lot of advantages for conditioning athletes for different sports.Locking the elbow does not mean you're are stronger, It means you're stronger in this position ...

No, it absolutely means that the athlete is stronger. I would recommend that you review the experience of an OL Coach who was teaching my advanced athletes the jerk.

... Don't get me wrong I do condition my elbows too ...

It is not possible to condition for the elbows for advanced ring strength elements without going through the proper progressions. There is no amount of bent arm work which will accomplish this end. Multitudes of fitness enthusiasts have been injured through their refusal to accept this.

... I'm not a gymnast I weigh nearly 90kg and don't really need to put a lot of strain on my elbows ...

As for your weight being an excuse for performing these incorrectly; here is a video Andreas Thorkildsen, World and Olympic Javelin Champion, at 100kg bodyweight performing Iron Cross and Iron Cross Pullouts correctly. By the way, he unequivocably credits his Gymnastic Strength Training™ for his outstanding success in competition.

F-zEYIe0EKA

Now it is obvious that your mind is made up, so you may of course continue to train these elements incorrectly. When your elbow injury arrives, we can discuss the necessary rehab at that time.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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Joshua Naterman

Colcio, you can justify how you want, but you are wrong. I can do IC with bent elbows too and I'm 222 lbs. It really is much, much easier than it looks.

Yes, it's a move that takes great strength compared to holding the bottom of a Bulgarian dip for time, but not all THAT much more. Many of the muscles that allow you to perform the straight arm IC are very small and cross over the elbow from the forearm. The biceps tendon is just the upper arm component. The biceps themselves have nowhere near the change in moment arm from a 15 degree arm bend to a 0 degree arm bend (straight arm) compared to all those smaller muscles like brachialis, radiobrachialis, etc. THOSE muscles are nowhere near the same percentage of their full length compared to the biceps, which means that there is a lot more stress on them and that is where many injuries actually occur. They are still in their strong point with arm bend, and the strength you need in THOSE muscles and tendonsto do straight arm IC is much higher than the strength you need in the biceps.

Those muscles happen to be what grapplers depend on the most, so there really isn't as much benefit athletically to a bent arm cross as there is to a straight arm cross. That is what you seem to be missing. Forces are much higher in the straight arm versus even slightly bent. Part of that reason is that you are removing a joint from the active motion, and just by doing that you are making things harder. Everything from the length of the levers involved to the actual angles of applied force change quite a bit from straight arm to bent arm, and adapting to accommodate these differences is where the athletic value of IC training lies. The strength gained is almost unreasonable. You are also not considering the inhibitory effect of all these muscles on other upper body pulling work. As they and the attached tendons become better conditioned and stronger all associated movements will improve as well. You could make some sort of analogy between this relationship and that of external rotators' relationship to bench press strength. If you really still think that your strength is comparable to a gymnast with a straight arm iron cross then there is just no way for anyone to help you.

You now have all the facts, from several different areas of fitness and several very experienced and knowledgeable people. One of them is the best developmental strength coach in the country and perhaps the world as far as gymnastics is concerned. Coach may think that is a bit too much to say, but I'm quite sure that it is a factual statement.

I think you should do what you enjoy, and if it happens to hurt you we will be here to help you heal. You should understand that some injuries can take a very long time to heal from, so if you get hurt be prepared for a long recovery.

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colcio
. If you really still think that your strength is comparable to a gymnast with a straight arm iron cross then there is just no way for anyone to help you.

I never said my strength is comparable to a gymnast with a straight arm iron cross. I'll probably will never achieve most of elements that gymnast do, because I'm not a gymnast and training wrestling I have to seriously scale ring wods down otherwise it compromises wrestling sessions. I have to say that a lot of my success in wrestling I have to give cradit to my strength which I think I have from using rings.The reason I'm doing a lot of elements without locked elbows is that when I actually tried doing it I was getting elbow injury,maybe I don't understand locking elbows or I have some problems there, In my case eg. when I was training IC pulls with locked elbows I felt a lot of strength to pull up but I could never use it because my elbow was about to dislocate, even when I used to do leg raises with locked elbows the elbow joint felt like ligements and tendons were stratched too much,ther was no tension there at all and this is when I was getting elbow injuries, once I unlock my elbow the biceps and forearm muscles seem to work harder and stop the joint from stretching it. That's why I'm scared from locking them, I nearly have a IC I can do 15 M-up with no swinging ,FL and most of basic ring strenght without locking my elbow,they're straight but not locked. I always lock the elbow when I'm over the rings eg. handstand with legs on straps,or ring support , BL doesn't seem to effect my elbow either ,maybe it is because I feel my shoulders and back take most of the tension before it reaches the elbows in this position,It's only when I'm in hanging position my elbows don't like it. So no disrespect, in fact I think I could achieve Iron cross quicker with locked elbows because I could better activate my chest,shoulder and lats It just seems like locking it in hanging positions even when I hang from the bar gives me immediate injury. Yes I know what you're gonna say guys go back to basics, but what basics ?I can hadstand with locked elbows for 30 sec, I can walk some stairs on my hands,my ring support is quite solid too,there's no issue with elbow when doing those, I gues I could hold FL with locked elbows for few seconds,but I'm sure I would injure my elbow very quickly.

So how do I condition my elbows so they don't hurt when locked in hanging positions.? or maybe as I said I don't understand locked elbow position? and I extend it way to far?

In video of Andreas Thorkildsen his elbows look like there's a little angle there,I don't think my elbows look worse than that but I know I'm not locking them It's hard to judge if they're locked.

Thanks

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Neal Winkler

Those muscles happen to be what grapplers depend on the most, so there really isn't as much benefit athletically to a bent arm cross as there is to a straight arm cross.

How do you know that?

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Joshua Naterman

When locked up, performing arm drags, trying to pass guard, defend a pass, perform an arm bar, defend an arm bar, breaking a high posture, etc etc etc, the elbow flexors of the forearms are heavily engaged since they are the means through which the force generated by the upper body is transferred through the elbow, wrist and hands to your opponent's body. They are actually the prime movers of the lower arm in pulling (elbow flexion) for everything except the last 20-30 degrees of elbow flexion. That means that until around 120 degrees of elbow flexion the brachialis and other muscles are what MUST be strong in order to maximize the transfer of pulling power from the lats, scapulae, and the rest of the body into the hands, which are what is attached to the opponent. Powerful biceps will not lead to powerful punches. Powerful forearm elbow flexors will. The one place where biceps are key is a very close head clinch, whether one hand or two. Even then, getting to that degree of flexion is the domain of the forearm elbow flexors, and they still work hard in the full head clinch because of the force vectors involved.

With regard to punching: hooks, overhands and looping punches in general are nearly all contacting the opponent with less than 90 degrees of elbow flexion. This means that the forearm elbow flexors are the muscles which take all the impact. Improving their strength improves force transfer, which subsequently makes the impact more powerful through sustained velocity and ideally sustained or progressive acceleration. With the exception of shovel punches which sometimes are close enough to have heavy biceps involvement even uppercuts are primarily making use of these forearm elbow flexors.

They are even involved in straight punch recovery, since you're pulling back from a fully or nearly fully extended position. Compared to the limited number of situations where biceps strength is the primary factor the forearm elbow flexors dominate real world pulling, and combat sports have an awful lot of that going on from what I see on UFC and wrestling/jiu jitsu matches. Even boxers need these muscles more than the biceps because of the punching power they contribute to so many hits and the punch recovery they initiate.

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Neal Winkler
They are actually the prime movers of the lower arm in pulling (elbow flexion) for everything except the last 20-30 degrees of elbow flexion. That means that until around 120 degrees of elbow flexion the brachialis and other muscles are what MUST be strong in order to maximize the transfer of pulling power from the lats, scapulae, and the rest of the body into the hands...

*in robot voice* Commencing research to verify. Please stand by....

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Joshua Naterman

HAHAHAHAHA!!! Nice.

Just look at the angles of impact on punches and how the muscles work. You can actually feel it if you do an isometric contraction with your fist on a wall, friend, or whatever else with the arm in the correct impact position. It's pretty neat.

I'm not saying biceps aren't important, because they are, but all you have to do is grab someone and start pulling on them to feel for yourself what muscles are firing.

There is good research about elbow flexion ROM and at which points certain muscles work the most. That should be pretty easy to find.

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