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Timy7

where to go once bulgarian dips are easy?

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Timy7

so finished a workout today and did 3x8 bulgarian dips, felt good, turned the rings out controlled at the top and lowered till both arms at 90 degrees.

what is the next logical step? No adding weight, I can do RTO dips but it feels like an entirely different exercise, like it's not hitting the same muscles really

thanks for any help

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Philip Chubb

You start to focus on handstand pushups.

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JayTaylor
You start to focus on handstand pushups.

I've read before how we're supposed to work on pushups, THEN dips, THEN HSPU, but I still don't get it. Should I be doing planche pushups before dips? Apparently bulgarian dips before HSPUs? Freestanding ring HSPU before MPPr?

It seems like if I wait to do dips until I achieve planche pushups, then I may not get around to dips for possibly a couple of years! That can't be right!

Jay

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Philip Chubb

Good question Jay. I think it means if you can't do a good pushup, then obviously you can't get very far with dips. Once you have achieved a good level of strength with pushups, dips should become doable. I don't think you have to achieve a full lay planche pushup to work on dips though LOL. Same for dips. If you can't do a good dip, then you probably will have a difficult time making it past HeSPU

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Christian Sørlie

Multiplane pressing. I can do Bulgarian Dips quite well myself, but chest roll to HeStand, not a chance.

Working on it though.

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Blairbob

You can play with the tempo of the bulgarian dip but start working towards a HSPU on rings, starting with ring HS hold and press to shoulderstand or bent arm press to HS.

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Animalonfire

Why the aversion to adding weight? Resistance is resistance, and there doesn't seem to be a BW alternative short of cross pull progressions. Of course Cross pulls are an option, but I'm willing to bet that there are prerequisites for safe implementation, and progressions to puzzle out etc etc.

I agree on RTO dips. I'm sure it's a good idea to train at least 1pec dominant press

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Blairbob

You can add weight but Coach Sommer has already commented on it before.

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Razz

Why to not add weight is simple: When has weighted bulgarian dips ever gotten someone a higher level gymnastics skill? Never. You must progress in the movements to learn those new movements in this kind of training, while putting the easier movements on maintenance or using them as warmup.

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Timy7

^^ exactly!

I want to progress to harder skills, not be attached to weights. I like the freedom of pure bodyweight.

Thanks for the responses so far guys. Maybe Ill start working them in an L-sit, can further help my goal of doing a smooth seated muscle up like andre :twisted:

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MarineMotivatedMe

strength is a skill...remember that

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William Bateson

I would have to disagree that strength itself is a skil, for it is not the possession, but rather the expression of strength that is a skill. Too lie on one's back and push weight away from your body, no matter the poundage, is relatively unskilled. To raise your body from a hanging position into a handstand on unsteady rings is relatively skilled. A good question to ask yourself would be, when can I express the strength I am practicing now? An honest answer of this question would lead most people to the conclusion that increasing strength via adding weight to a movement is less desirable than learning a new, harder movement.

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Joshua Naterman
Why to not add weight is simple: When has weighted bulgarian dips ever gotten someone a higher level gymnastics skill? Never. You must progress in the movements to learn those new movements in this kind of training, while putting the easier movements on maintenance or using them as warmup.

I don't think that's entirely fair. It is 100% true that you must progress to lower leverage movements as a part of the program, but I think it is foolish to think that adding weight to a higher leverage exercise is not useful. For one thing it lets you microload the muscles and systems that you are depending on for that higher level skill. Low leverage, by its very nature, does not allow the degree of microloading that higher leverage does.

My primary strengths coming into this program were biceps curl, dips, and pull ups all with heavy weight. My progress was estraordinarily fast. Too fast, actually. Because of a combination of no straight arm conditioning and a massive, massive amount of scar tissue all over my body jumping straight into low leverage stuff like straddle planche set me up for failure. I was doing a good 8-10s front lever full lay about 6 months in, and the only reason I have lost that is that my shoulder issues have prevented me from mantaining that strength. I had no joint problems whatsoever. My issues have been from built up scar tissue and hypertonicity/trigger points, as my symptoms are almost completely resolved now that I am working that stuff out. You wouldn't believe how much that has changed what I can do. Despite not training pressing for a year hardly at all I can still do a flat tuck planche with no pain. I am starting to feel like a kid again. Seriously, I am not BSing you. I am starting to WANT to jump around and play again!

The issue NOW is that I have to build up the muscles of my inner elbows and forearms again. All the big muscles too... Sigh. If I had known what I know now when I started I would have treated everything right then and there and I would be blowing away our concept of what is possible at my weight. Ah well, there's always 2013! :lol:

I absolutely believe that a combination of the two is always going to work better than using just one. Only using high leverage work will never build the connective tissue up to where it can safely handle regular weekly exposure to lower leverage positions like IC or PL. Only using low leverage movements like that means you will always be limited by the intensity of the exercises and the inability to build maximal strength in the prime movers (not always the most important thing) or to perform sufficient volume to adequately prehab the area. When you get so strong that something like Bulgarian dips, which are designed to prepare the shoulders for IC support, is too easy with weight you should absolutely add weight because this SIMULATES the shoulder stress of a lower leverage position without having to actually perform an Iron Cross. To my mind this is intelligent prehab for the shoulder, because while you still have to prepare the lower arm and inner elbow for IC your shoulders will be built up to the point where they are not supremely challenged by the IC and that should help protect you from shoulder injuries, so long as you maintain balance across the joint and periodically break up accumulated fibrosis.

I know that some will disagree and say that this encourages building strength beyond what the body is ready for, but I disagree with THAT statement. That does hold a bit more weight in a pure competitive gymnastic environment because everything with high point values is lower leverage and therefore the progressions will primarily be limited by the weak points, which are usually not the prime movers. However, even in that environment this ignores the very real possibility that smaller muscles are being overworked because the bigger muscles have not been strengthened as much as possible ,which would allow the biceps to handle more of the stress in a straight arm position and take load off of brachialis, radiobrachialis, and a number of other muscles that cross the inner elbow for example. These are going to account for more of the strains than pure biceps tendonitis because they are smaller muscles and therefore smaller tendons. Some, like brachialis, attach pretty much directly underneath the biceps tendon, easily referring pain there and showing inflammation at the same site. Others cross the elbow nearby and muscle strains in the area can also be misdiagnosed as biceps tendonitis. Other times the biceps itself could actually be at fault. No matter what the problem is, weighted arm curls in a variety of positions alternated with bodyweight bicep or forearm curl variations (depending on what you want to target) will help strengthen both the muscle and the tendon more effectively than the low leverage work alone. Obviously this would not be the primary focus in training, but to not include it is madness.

I believe the same situation applies to the question of whether or not to weight the Bulgarian dip. Yes, you should if you safely can, because it will help you continue to progressively strengthen your shoulders to the point where you may not be ABLE to injure them during training, barring some sort of catastrophic accident. I believe that is a statement that can be well supported by current anatomical and kinesiological data, as well as controlled anecdotal evidence.

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Joshua Naterman
I would have to disagree that strength itself is a skil, for it is not the possession, but rather the expression of strength that is a skill. Too lie on one's back and push weight away from your body, no matter the poundage, is relatively unskilled. To raise your body from a hanging position into a handstand on unsteady rings is relatively skilled. A good question to ask yourself would be, when can I express the strength I am practicing now? An honest answer of this question would lead most people to the conclusion that increasing strength via adding weight to a movement is less desirable than learning a new, harder movement.

If you ask a powerlifter, you will find out that there is a lot of skill involved in a bench press. Yes, you CAN perform the bench press in an unskilled manner, but if you learn the skill you will be able to move considerably more weight without any additional strength training.

Even in a neurological sense, strength is a skill. Applied force is the result of action potentials reaching the muscle. You can teach the nervous system to send MORE action potentials, which causes the muscle to contract HARDER and produce MORE FORCE. You can also teach the nervous system to send action potentials to motor groups in a more coordinated fashion, again improving applied force.

Whether you look at strength as the magnitude of the load moved during a movement, the force production of an individual fiber, or the production of a single muscle or even just a few motor groups there is a large skill component.

There is, of course, also a purely mechanical component, which is the ability of the individual proteins to produce force. but that is a smaller part of the overall equation. If you r nervous system is uncoordinated you will never reach the mechanical stress limits of the whole muscle or even the parts you are using. On a gross coordination level, if you do not know how to lock your scapulae during a planche you will not be able to do it, and if you DO learn how to lock the scapulae you will immediately be able to hold a harder position.

For example, and I know I am going to have to show this on video, but I can actually hold a decent bent horizontal MSH now that I have learned what to do with my scapulae. We all know that the MSH are strength positions. This simply made me realize yet again how much of a skill component is in strength moves.

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Razz

Yes Slizzardman, I was a bit one-sided in the above answer. Weighted work does have its place in high leverage movements and sometimes in ridiculously strong people also in low leverage movements. Using weighted dips for one cycle is certainly a way to go, but I wouldn't stick with them even though you could keep adding weight forever. I'd use it a month or two, or if you're rotating exercises every workout just have it pop in there once in a while. That being said, there is still a higher transfer from low-leverage-> high leverage exercises than the other way around so progressing in leverage should be the main focus in gymnastics training. (If tendons and all are okay!)

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AlexX

Bill, powerlifters take YEARS to master the bench press, saying it is an unskilled exercise is simply not true. Especially when an intermediate lifter (325 bench) increases his bench by 20 lbs in less than a week due to technique work.

People often have the stereotype for this is skill (in strength training) and this is just pure strength where as in reality the line is pretty blurred between the two. Do you consider lifting a heavy stone a skill or just strength? how about a handstand press? what about a clean? deadlift? In reality they all require skill, watch a new commer try to lift a stone their technique is atrocious even if that person is strong in some other movements that are similar, compare that to a seasoned stone lifter and the difference in SKILL is tremendous. The deadlift itself lends itself to years of training to do properly and with a lot of skill, I've been deadlifting for 7 years and I still work on my technique all the time discovering new ways to properly set up my alignment - or in other words work on skill.

Some other good examples are tennis players practicing serves and baseball pitchers pitching, strength or skill?

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Joshua Naterman
Yes Slizzardman, I was a bit one-sided in the above answer. Weighted work does have its place in high leverage movements and sometimes in ridiculously strong people also in low leverage movements. Using weighted dips for one cycle is certainly a way to go, but I wouldn't stick with them even though you could keep adding weight forever. I'd use it a month or two, or if you're rotating exercises every workout just have it pop in there once in a while. That being said, there is still a higher transfer from low-leverage-> high leverage exercises than the other way around so progressing in leverage should be the main focus in gymnastics training. (If tendons and all are okay!)

I agree, I mean once you've done something for a while you're better off switching it up. Personally, I'd switch periodically between decline press, parallel bar dips, and XR dips with weight just to keep getting maximal response. At some point there will have to be more variety, and I would probably add in heavy weighted bench dips as well, and weighted Korean dips with my heels sliding against the wall. That would give me a good 6 months or so between repeating the same exercise at 4 weeks per exercise and should create an incredibly effective assistance exercise protocol. For a gymnast, lowering leverage should always be the primary focus. I simply see the high leverage work as a way to make this happen somewhat more quickly and a whole lot more safely.

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Eddie Stelling

Does this apply to someone who is doing there own programming or does this also apply to those following the FSP and WODs programming? I still am having trouble figuring out how to effectively add in weighted movements to my program while following the WODs. If the weighted high leverage work is beneficial shouldn't we figure a way to program this in?? Would you weight the movements in the WODs?? Seems impossible for 90% of the time for the majority of us. Or would it be beneficial to focus on one movement group with extra weight a day?

For instance,

Mondays = weighted pressing (chest), (flat/incline bench press, weighted dips, weighted PPP....)

Tuesdays = weighted pulling ( muscle ups, multi grip pullups.....)

Thursday = weighted pressing (shoulders) , (weighted HSPU, weighted bulgarian dips...)

Friday = weighted pulling w. bicep work (weighted pull/chin ups, bicep curls, bodyweight curls....)

Find a way to work this in before or after the WOD or in a 2 a day fashion??

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Coach Sommer

Weighted work definitely has its place; for advanced to elite level trainees. Most beginners and intermediates are better served establishing a solid foundation through basic FSP & FBE work prior to implementing this type of training.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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Joshua Naterman

I am pretty much right with Coach on this, I think he is correct. I mean when you're talking about working through gymnastic progressions the muscles you have to focus on are the ones that will be stressed the most as you decrease leverage. That's the hands and wrists, everything that crosses the elbows, small muscles of the shoulder, and everything that attaches to the shoulder blades or upper arm but does NOT cross the elbow, more or less in that order. Since many positions stress the muscles crossing the elbows, from now on referred to just as elbows, just as much as the hands and wrists they should share top priority.

If anyone has noticed, the number of complaints about wrists and elbows are much more common than shoulder complaints, which in turn are more prevalent than issues with the chest or shoulder blades. Obviously we have had complaints about all of those body parts, but we tend to see this general trend. That should tell us that our first priority with any kind of weighted work is to strengthen the hands and wrists, second is to strengthen the muscles that run across the elbows, and third priority is to worry about things like weighted dips, which primarily rely on the muscles that attach to the shoulder blades and upper arms. If anyone is going to add in weighted work, focusing on the hands, wrists and elbows is going to be a much better use of time than weighted dips until you have mastered russian dips, slow muscle ups for reps, advanced frogstand for 60s in one set, tuck FL for 60s, etc. These basics (and others of similar difficulty), which are still pretty hard, will not benefit from weighted dips as much as they will benefit from consistent direct work and perhaps some supplementary balanced weight or band work for the specific body parts that have to be strong.

When all that stuff is strong and you have developed something of a surplus of strength in the hands, wrists and elbows then I would think the weighted dips or pull ups are more practical but still don't need to be a focus. You really don't need to do all that much to see substantial progress, and the last thing you should do is reduce your performance in the WODs or whatever your personal BtGB training program is because of too much work, whether it is weighted FBE, some other lifts, or just too much volume with regular FBE.

For the beginners and intermediate guys like me, the focus has to be on the FBE and FSP progressions. Outside of that I do regular work to strengthen my wrists, hands, elbows, and shoulders and that is the exact order of importance. My shoulder strength is not my big concern right now, wrists and elbows are. My hands and wrists are pretty strong but my false grip shows that they need to be better and my elbows need lots of re-conditioning so my supplementary work is focused on those two areas. Even so, it takes between 5 and 10 minutes each training day at the most. That's total, with most of that time spent on the elbows. Most days it is less than 5 minutes.

Another way to look at this is "How does it help me to have chest/shoulders that are strong enough for full planche when my elbows can't even handle tuck?" The answer is that it doesn't help at all in terms of GB progress. This hypothetical person should stop worrying about the chest/shoulders and start focusing on the elbows and wrists. They share many of the same muscles, especially in the lower arm, and must be strengthened together. Just focusing on bicep curls or something like that is not going to be the way to go. The wrist series is a great bodyweight method to use, and if someone has an attachment to weights there are tons of exercises with weights to strengthen your wrists and elbows with. Whatever you do, make sure to focus on things in the right order. In healthy trainees, wrists and elbows come before shoulders and chest. You don't have to abandon the shoulders and chest, but one set of bench and three sets of reverse curls is going to do you a lot more good than three sets of bench and one set of reverse curls, just as one single example.

If it means anything to anyone, I am spending the majority of my time on the FSP and FBE stuff with very little time on anything weighted for the upper body. Just a few minutes, usually around 7-8, is spent on low to moderate intensity prep work. I use the wrist series, one specific version of bicep curls and one specific version of forearm curls that I will be changing each month or so, and that's it. I do some scapula work with pull ups and dips, usually one set of each just to re-teach myself how to maintain depressed scapulae through the proper ranges of motion, and I never even come close to failure. 5 pull ups and 7-8 dips are my norm. My results? Well, I have a proper full lay front lever for a few seconds again. The majority of that strength has come back due to following properly scaled WODS. The rest has come back by proper self therapy and the very low volume work that I am doing 4-5 days a week that I have just described. Like Coach has said, someone at my level right now isn't going to benefit from weighted work as much as they will benefit from consistency with and proper scaling of the FBE and FSP. I am finding this to be true.

Someone at Razz, Demus, or Ashita's level will probably benefit from adding weight to some FBE, but how many of us are not there and still trying to do this? There are too many people, I think, who can not even do 10-15 perfect full ROM dips at a 101 tempo that are thinking about doing weighted dips. When you get there, adding maybe 5 lbs won't cause problems, but focusing on that instead of moving on to Bulgarian PB dips is not a good move. You can add weight to regular dips forever but it won't strengthen your joints like the Bulgarians will, and then the Koreans after that. If you start adding a few lbs to your one or two warm up sets of regular dips and don't do them to failure that probably won't be a problem, but the focus has to remain on mastering the Bulgarian PB dips as an example. This may require that you strengthen your wrists and elbows more, which would be where your energy should be spent. After that, you'll be focusing on mastering the Koreans, which are harder on the shoulders. Even these may require that you build up the wrists and elbows yet again to achieve mastery. This is the most sure path for GB success, not focusing on weighted dips.

Well, that's my long post. No more of these until Saturday.

Work the wrist series, work elbow prep, work the FSP progressions, work the FBE. That's going to be what most people here need.

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Eddie Stelling

Slizzardman, thanks alot for the detailed response bro! I really appreciate your effort! Much better understanding now, thank you!

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Newguy

Slizzardman, I am going to become a millionaire by copying all of your posts like this and pasting them into book format and selling that. jk jk! :lol: But seriously great info!

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