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Anthony King

Getting Started Correctly

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Anthony King

Hello all,

I've spent quite a bit of time reading the forums and my copy of BtGB and want to ask the senior members if I'm putting together all the information correctly. I'd love to be corrected if I'm in error and to the extent that I am correct perhaps this post could serve as a decent synthesis of the presently available information for other beginners since this question comes up often.

As a beginner my weekly program will contain five components which will be treated in more detail below.

1--WOD (obviously scaled) four times a week

2--Warm-ups for WOD will include FSP work

3--Joint and mobility prep

4--Extra prehab/mobility work after WOD (some is contained in the WOD itself)

5--"Serious" half hour stretch session (once a week for 4-6 weeks, then twice a week)

1--WOD.

Easy enough, I trust Coach Sommer's programming acumen far more than my own. I'll use the book to scale the workouts appropriately and search the forum for tips to scale elements not covered in BtGB.

2--Warm-up/FSP

Although reading BtGB may lead one to believe the L-sit is the starting place, I found a post from Slizzardman in which he passes on information from a seminar instructing beginners to start at even more basic FSP's.

Your (beginner) warm up should look like:

60s plank

60s reverse plank

60s perfect hollow hold with hands over your head

60s arch hold in the superman flying position

60s Parallel Bar support.

60s chin up grip dead hang

That will keep you busy for quite a little while. You shouldn't need any rest really, maybe a few breaths. Honestly, that is probably too much right now, which is why you will be doing these for whatever time you can manage with a perfect hold and doing 3 total sets. You can do them in rounds or as individual exercises, though I know Coach prefers his guys to do 3 sets plank if they can't hold 60s, THEN 3 sets reverse plank, etc. If you DO have an easy 60s PERFECT hold then that is all you will do each day. At first this may take up to 20 minutes to perform. Eventually it will take 6 minutes. As you get stronger your warm up will evolve just as your workouts will, but for a while this is where you should be. If it makes you feel any better, I have started off with this stuff too and worked my way through the basics. I still practice them every day as my warm up, along with the shoulder balancing stuff that I repeat so often here, and I am seeing good improvements.

You should start thinking of "warm up" as basic strength and CNS learning reinforcement. For you, this IS the basics. It's going to be tough, and that's ok. If you don't build up to this you will never make good progress in much of your strength work. This idea applies whether it is weight lifting, bodybuilding or gymnastics. Failure to recognize this necessity and develop this ability is what holds back a lot of people.

I know that sometimes it seems like the advice we give is wonky, but try to remember that those of us putting it out there have gotten this information directly from Coach, face to face at the seminars. You would be surprised at how many people who are quite strong find out they have weak points that are holding them back. This knowledge is, in my opinion, the single biggest reason that May's seminar attendees made so much progress between then and September.

When you put a 6 minute video up showing me you have accomplished all of this I will assist you in the next step. In the meantime, master what I posted. Put up a video of your initial attempts so that we can see where you are starting from. It will help if you are wearing shorts that do not cover your knees and a tight tank top or no shirt at all. We need to be able to see your body in order to help you. Post that in Digital Coaching.

3--Joint and Mobility Prep

Obviously after the publication of Liquid Steel™ this will be clarified, but for now I found this from Coach Sommers. I'm still not clear whether by "nearly daily" he means each training day or seven days a week.

The video of the wrist series that Blairbob filmed at a Future Stars Clinic is actually my own wrist series; or at least the floor work portion of it. I guess that I should not find this surprising as I have been involved with the Future Stars program for over ten years and have introduced the series to a great many people. That being said, and as others have already observed, there are a number of issues present with the performance of the movements as shown by those inexperienced athletes.

For the gymnastics strength trainee the wrist series, and in particular the wrist pushups, are essential elements that must be included in their training on a nearly daily basis. My own athletes perform the entire series every day in warm-up (10 strict reps per variation

If I am correct the video he is referring to above is

.

4--Extra prehab/mobility work after WOD.

The WOD often contains wall extensions or wrist pushups at the end, but additional work should be inserted as needed. Ido Portal and Slizzardman have videos that many have found helpful for common shoulder problems.

5--Intense half hour stretch session once a week for 4-6 weeks, then twice a week.

This recommendation is taken from one of Sommer's posts on the forum.

For beginners, I recommend beginning with a serious stretching routine once per week, on the same day each week. Please note that this is not twist twist, touch your toes a few times, but a correctly structured full body stretch that will take a minimum of 30 minutes hard work. As a beginner, if you have stretched correctly, you will be SORE. It will take some time for the DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness) to dissipate. For beginners this dissipation may take the better part of a week; especially the first time. The amount of time for the DOMS to disperse will then begin to lessen from week to week.

After 4-6 weeks, when you are no longer spectacularly sore after a thorough stretch, it is time to add an additional day and begin the process again. It may also help to remember that stretching is a separate endeavor from joint preparation and pre-hab. For example, I prefer for hip extensions to be performed after leg conditioning rather than during stretching.

Many people confuse stretching with relaxation. While you may feel relaxed after the stretch, the stretch itself should be hard work.

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Neal Winkler

Sir, you are the wind beneath my wings.

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pogo69

As more of a fellow recent beginner... that is a most excellent synopsis. Kinda wish you'd posted just prior to my starting out, cos it's taken me the last 6 or so weeks to figure all of that out!!

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Adam Bodestyne
I've spent quite a bit of time reading the forums and my copy of BtGB and want to ask the senior members if I'm putting together all the information correctly. I'd love to be corrected if I'm in error and to the extent that I am correct perhaps this post could serve as a decent synthesis of the presently available information for other beginners since this question comes up often.

Hi Anthony. I'm not a senior member, but as just another guy who's spent quite a while trying to put together the information from the forums and the book, your post gels pretty well with what I'd determined, too.

It summarises most of the (initial) things I was trying to find out when I started lurking these forums.

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Tom Docking

Still baffles me why we all have to try to figure our a program.

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sean.albo

Figuring things out is good for the organ that does it.

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William Bateson
Still baffles me why we all have to try to figure our a program.

Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he eats for life. There's no harm in trying to help someone new learn how to fish.

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Guest kevinrohrbach

Just out of interest. Are the plank and reverse plank held on elbows or hands?

Thanks

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Cole Dano
Just out of interest. Are the plank and reverse plank held on elbows or hands?

Thanks

Hands,

Coach teaches it with feet raise to about shoulder height, like on a chair. I like the feet on the floor.

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Philip Papandrea

Hi,

For the underhand hangs should I have my shoulders pulled into the socket or should i let them shrug up. Just curious for shoulder health. thanks

Phil

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Cole Dano

Full hang, you want the scapula to 'reach' for the ears, tailbone for the heels.

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swarovski

wow!!

I'm amazed from your thorough research Anthony, the best and probably most useful sticky to beginners. I've joined this forum months ago, I've spent many hours reading and digging it, still I wouldn't be able to summarize my comprehesion so clearly.

I wanted to write a post like this myself but I wasn't even close to what you did.

thanks man, really.

EDIT: 10-10-2011

It's now been more than a in bodyweight, so I'd like to share some experience with beginners who read this sticky.

here's the most basic gymnastic bodies workout in my opinion.

- mobility (shoulder bands, hips extensions, wrist pushups, etc)

- static hold:

60 sec plank

60 sec reverse plank

60 sec arch hold

60 sec hollow hold

60 sec support hold

60 sec dead hang

60 sec handstand

60 sec inverted hang

60 sec L-sit tuck

- FBE

push ups - rows (horizontal)

dips - pullups (vertical)

handstand pushups - ring curl (inverted)

- core (HLL, v-ups)

- legs (deck squats, sumo squats)

notes:

static hold have to be for an aggregate of 60sec, divide 60sec by 50% of your max hold to find the set/reps for every static. es l-sit max hold 15 sec => 10 series of 6 sec hold time. rest 30sec.

FBE, find the variation that allows you to complete at least 3 good reps in control, it means that your max for the given variation should be 5. start with 3*3 and if you look for some mass increase as well, work your way to 5*5.

You should be able to complete easy sets on ring push ups and rows before starting to implement vertical plane, inverted plane comes after you're in control of at least regular dips and pullups. Once you're strong enough to work more than one plane, start aternating planes in workouts.

core must be done with at least 5*5

I believe legs should be done with 3*15 at the beginning. Sumo squats, with correct form and all the way down (hamstrings in full contact with calves)

alternate HLL-Vups and deck squats-sumo squats if doing both at every workout is too much.

2 workout a week for 8-12 weeks. Don't think to strength train 4 times a week for at least 3 months, then add 1 and after 6 months you can add the fourth. Every workout should be done in 1-1.5 hrs. If you're stiff like most adults, you should do supplementary mobility WOD.

if you ask yourself about WOD, here's what I've figured out some time ago on those

3 reactive/explosive strength wod (1 every other 3 working days)

A1 - Dynamic Push

A2 - Dynamic Pull

A3 - Dynamic Legs

4 maximal or submaximal kinetic strength wod

B1 - Handstand

B2 - Ring Series

B3 - Embedded

B4 - Leg Strength

isometrics (FSP) in general are not implemented in wod programming and have to be worked separately

here's how the monthly pattern seems to be laid out:

¦A1-B2-B3-A2¦B4-B1-A3-B2¦B3-A1-B4-B1¦A2-B2-B3-A3¦B4-B1

¦-01-02-03-04¦05-06-07-08¦09-10-11-12¦13-14-15-16¦17-18

wod110314 was number 13 in the sequence above, ie: dynamic pull.

A's are performed as 4 rounds

B1 are performed sequentially

B2-B3 are performed as 3 sets

B4 are performed either as 3 sets or rounds

As for exercise selections, those follows a pattern as well but are just too many for a concise note.

example: wrists pushups always ends A1 and B1; bridge wall walks ends B3; hip extensions B4; etc.

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Anthony King
wow!!

I'm amazed from your thorough research Anthony, the best and probably most useful sticky to beginners. I've joined this forum months ago, I've spent many hours reading and digging it, still I wouldn't be able to summarize my comprehesion so clearly.

I wanted to write a post like this myself but I wasn't even close to what you did.

thanks man, really.

Thanks. The trick is that I found GB when I was rehabbing a couple injuries, so I had extra time and energy to spend reading the forums and book rather than jumping right in.

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Robbie Main

What an excellent post! I agree putting everything together can be daunting! How many, when, how often, with what... etc.

It would be great to have some more of the aficionados make a comment or two.

Thanks!

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James Portillo

This is awesome, I couldn't have asked for a better summary. For a while i have been doing the basic forms for the FSP in my warmup, so I have three questions for anyone who can answer:

For Slizz's recommended beginner static holds, do i replace all my FSP holds with them? *edit- For example, I still want to work on my PB straddle L (or in my case elevated on the end of a chair seat) and my FX tuck L Sit, would it be too much to add these two into my pre-req SSC or should I just wait til I have perfect 60s for each of these pre-reqs before doing all the regular FSPs in my warm-up?

Is the reverse plank the same as the reverse pushup hold?

And would it be best to just work these holds as an SSC, testing my max on each and using 50% of the time for work sets to add up to 60s total?

Any help is much appreciated.

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Pranaman

James,

I personally have just added them into my warm up. That's what I'd do especially if you can hold each one for the entire minute.

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Ian Legrow

This is very helpful, thank you. If we do not have access to any type of parallel bar support, what shold we do?

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Marlon

Two chairs work well as a parallel bar substitute, but anything you can hold yourself up on that'll keep your feet off the ground works, get creative. It's ok if you bend your knees too.

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Adriano Katkic

How to progress when I achieved a 60 seconds static hold? Do I work 3X30s for the next SSC or just skip to the next progression?

For example, 3 months ago, my L-sit PB low was 43s, so I did 3X22s for like 3 months. I can hold it 60+s now and floor L-sit for 30s straight. Should I do 3X30s L-sit PB low for the next SSC or 4X15s floor L-st? This goes for other statics as well - achieve 3X30s or 1X60s before progress?

I'm asking because I'm able to hit 60s mark with all FSPs from my previous SSC except L-hang which is at 50s, but I can max hold next progressions for 30s and I remember slizzardman saying that a 20-30s "rep" is what we should aim for. Also, achieving 3X60s floor L-sit is prerequisite for serious planche work, but is 3X30s considered standard in progressions when training a specific FSP?

Am I making too much cortisol over this? :mrgreen:

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OyvindBirkeland

Thanks for a great post. The "warm up" was most helpful. And I have been doing it for a 3 weeks.

I do the plank and parallel bar support in the rings and I add 60s "upside down" hang in the rings with straight vertical body.

To get a good quality hollow hold was not easy the first time I tried but I think I have it quite good now. I read somewhere that I should try to push my bellybutton to the floor, that helped because in the beginning I was just falling backwards when I took the arms behind me.

It's quite hard, but I manage to hold 60s on all. However when I am done with it, I have very little strength left for any good workout. So the suggested warm-up has basically become my workout.

Is this a good idea? Or should I rather use the little strength I have on exercises that I cannot hold for 60s?

I am really enjoying reading this forum, and have got the book and rings. It was this site that got me into gymnastic training and I hope that I will be able to contribute to the forum in the future.

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Cole Dano

Try cutting the hold times in half for your warm up, so you still have energy for the rest of the workout.

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Keegan Yentsch

Hi guys,

First post on this forum. I'm coming back to gymnastics training from a couple year hiatus. I had previously worked up to being able to hold a straddle planche for 5 seconds and 8 advanced tuck PL push-ups at my best, and straddle front lever pull-ups and a shaky couple second full lay FL (though, I was admittedly piking a little) along with several strict narrow grip Muscle-ups on rings simply from reading Coach's original article "Building The Olympic Body Through Bodyweight Conditioning" and working my way through the progressions (which took me a while).

I have since however gained about 30 lbs of muscle (mostly powerbuilding type training) and realize that there is substantially more weight on my joints now. I can still hold a tuck, advanced tuck, and press to a straddle PL (though, I can probably only hold it for a second or two) and can still easily hold a tuck and advanced tuck FL, and can hold a straddle FL for a couple seconds. Muscle-ups however have become much more difficult and I have to kip to do them.

I do not however want to run into any tendonitis/joint issues and therefore want to make sure that I don't skip any steps along the way. So, I've been performing the Warm-up beginner FSP's that were posted in this thread as well as some FBE's (XR push-ups/XR floor rows on Mondays, XR negative Muscle-ups on Tuesdays, Wall Handstand negative HeSPU/Pull-ups on Thursdays, and PB Dips/XR inverted chin-ups) for the past 7 weeks.

I have been making steady progress (some of the beginner FSP's along with the FBE's are feeling very easy) but upon reading several posts/threads I seem to be getting some conflicting information. I had originally started doing the beginner FSP's as straight sets (much like when I was performing PL/FL progressions in the past), but then saw a post suggesting to do them as a circuit, so I switched to that. Doesn't seem to be progressing as well though, so am thinking about switching back (definitely more time efficient that way though).

Now I'm starting to wonder whether I should have been doing L-sit progressions and BL progressions (starting with German hang), since these seem to be the most basic FSP's discussed in the book? I can hold an L-sit on the floor (haven't timed myself for a maximal hold though) and at least used to be able to hold a full lay BL (haven't tried in a while though), but again want to make sure that I totally master each step along the way.

I also have read that one should do a set/hold of all of the easier progressions prior to performing that days "work sets". This makes sense to me in terms of the FSP's, and some of the FBE's, but I don't really see the benefit of doing negative Pull-ups and jumping pull-ups if regular pull-ups have become very easy to perform with very strict form. It's been said that the earlier progressions work the muscles in different ways and help to prevent muscular imbalances, but I don't see (at least in the case of say Pull-ups) how negative pull-ups or jumping pull-ups are any different biomechanically than regular pull-ups. Are the easier progression sets really mandatory, or just a suggestion (or perhaps situation/movement specific)?

I'm going to wait until this SSC is finished before adding additional things, but am just looking for some advice from the more experienced/knowledgeable moderators/forum members in terms of warm-up structure as well as FSP work/progressions and FBE warm-ups.

Thanks for the great forum and knowledge you guys share.

Keegan

P.S. hope that I'm not hijacking this thread too much. Perhaps I should have started a new one, but I figured since this one was already about getting started correctly, and my question(s) pertained to that, that it would be ok to post it here. My apologies if I was wrong.

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admonisher

There is something I am confused now, Til now I have been doing 3 series of the full worm up, 3 series of 60 secs and some exercise I do the 60 sec seperated by 3 30 secs. Is this how I am supposed to do it ?

Option A Doing all the warm up, hollow+superman+hang+all the rest 60 sec each *3 with breaks in between.

Or OPtion B am I suppose to do all those exercises once for 60 sec each/doing 3 times those exercises but for 20 secs

is option A or Option B what I should do.

If It is indeed option B I am doing and that I am able to hold everything for 60sec perfect then it means in 2-3 weeks I should start to level up to harder static positions right ?

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admonisher

and i understand that I will always be doing this+adding the difficult ones, so this one will be the workout.

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Uzeeh

I've been real stupid.

When i started gymnastics, I jumped right into front levers, back levers, stuff like that. I thought warm-ups like these were dumb and unneeded. It showed, as in a couple of months I didn't really have any progression in almost any statics (except for the front lever, which went well, strangely enough), and really neither in dynamics except for the handstand wods. I became unmotivated and quit gymnastics, focusing on weightlifting. Now, being a bit wiser, I've decided to try again, this time following a better routine (I used the WODs before but didn't make them easy enough for my weaknesses)

I tried these holds this evening. My hollow hold seems rather good, with the exception of poor shoulder mobility, and I can get the legs to almost touch the ground with the lower back firmly glued to the ground for about 25 seconds. Arch hold was much, much harder, with me failing at about 20 seconds. My lower back is awful. The planks and hang were easy, while the support was a bit harder - I could do 50 seconds properly. I really liked how these felt to my body. So, this is how I'm gonna do them:

Plank 60s

Rev plank 60s

Hollow hold 3x20s

Arch hold 4x15s

Chin-up hold 2x40s

Support 2x35s

Does this sound reasonable? Can I add 3x25s tuck L-sit there?

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