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Joseff Lea

Back lever

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Joseff Lea

Is it worth me learning the backlever with either overhand or neutral grip on the rings? I'm working on developing a 60 sec german hang but I can tell that it's going to take me a while as I have to spot myself quite a bit due to the pressure it puts on my elbow joint.

Just to let you know I don't yet train the backlever as such but I do train tick - tocks which of course involve a slight pause in the backlever position. Whilst in the backlever position my elbows do feel quite a bit of strain, almost to the point of pain but the day afterwards it's my bicep that really feels sore, not the elbow. I've already been training like this for one SSC and have not yet got tendonitis. I don't want to slow my gains in elbow and multiplane pulling strength but of course I don't want tendonitis. Any advice? cheers

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Lucas Serur

I believe I'm pretty much at where you are. I can now hold a unassited german hang, but use assistance for my working sets. I don't see much value in doing a overhand back lever besides its value as a cool trick to show to your friends, also, you eventually will need to take a few steps back and do your biceps conditioning.

I don't know about tick-tocks, but I would err on the safe side and not do something my elbows are not ready for.

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Joseff Lea

Yeah I realized the answer as soon as I'd finished typing the question, need to back off the back lever until my elbows strengthen enough, just the old ego and my enthusiasm to do more getting the better of me. I suppose I could work the back lever with overhand grip (use it as more of a core exercise) but down that road lies injury, when I decide that my elbows are strong enough I will doubtless try and rush things and hurt myself.

Thanks for the advice; good to hear it from someone else

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Coach Sommer
Is it worth me learning the backlever with either overhand or neutral grip on the rings?

No.

For the time being I would focus on improving your GH (german hang).

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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Joseff Lea

Thanks for the conformation coach, gotta keep reminding myself basics first even though it feels like I'm taking a step backwards it'll be worth it in the long run.

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Coach Sommer
Make haste slowly, right coach?

Absolutely.

Nothing kills progress faster than having your training continually derailed due to impatience and the subsequent injuries. Used wisely, time is the most potent training supplement.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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Joshua Naterman
Make haste slowly, right coach?

Absolutely.

Nothing kills progress faster than having your training continually derailed due to impatience and the subsequent injuries. Used wisely, time is the most potent training supplement.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

As seen by my having to essentially start training all over again like a child :) :oops:

It doesn't seem so strange to me now, but the strength that comes from taking my time and not trying to increase loads very quickly is superior to what I gained when I was really pushing hard. Probably has a lot to do with not getting hurt :)

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Coach Sommer
It doesn't seem so strange to me now, but the strength that comes from taking my time and not trying to increase loads very quickly is superior to what I gained when I was really pushing hard. Probably has a lot to do with not getting hurt

It is also the connective tissues having sufficient time to adapt.

If someone is always pushing, striving and "fighting thru the darkness", eventually you reach the point where the muscle tissue strength sufficiently outstrips the connective tissue strength for injuries to result.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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Joshua Naterman

Very true. At this point I see no purpose in trying to push strength development past what connective tissues can safely handle at the moment.

What is interesting to me is that there is such an excess of strength beyond the level where I am training!

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Mehmet Yuce

I figured I would vent a bit just because it’ll make me feel better. I hope you guys don't mind. About 4 months ago, after what I would call a solid workout my right elbow started to bother me. It definitely wasn’t a sudden thing but probably a culmination of who knows what. I was happily following the WOD’s, boasting to myself about how patient and smart I was being and that I had gotten down German hangs and progressing in back lever. I don’t know what I did wrong, but it turns out that I gave myself a nice golfer’s elbow. As I said, this is about 4 months ago. I’ve been doing pretty much nothing and just waiting for it to go away, and it won’t. I have read whatever I could find about it in the forum and on the web and tried anything and everything in sight. Icing, physical therapy, vitamin C, you name it…Frankly I’m getting fed up with this thing and thinking about starting slowly and see if it gets worse. Some days it feels better, and then it gets worse. Who knows what’s triggering it. For all I know it could be the ten thousand clicks on the mouse every day. When I think back to see what I might have been doing that I wasn’t supposed to, I cannot come up with anything specific. Before I start a WOD, I usually do 3x20 sec L-sit, and 3x15 sec tuck planches. Also, I take longer rests between the reps of certain exercises just because I like feeling strong and keeping good form. They don’t seem like they would be the cause of the problem, but who knows, maybe not.

FWIW…

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Joshua Naterman
I figured I would vent a bit just because it’ll make me feel better. I hope you guys don't mind. About 4 months ago, after what I would call a solid workout my right elbow started to bother me. It definitely wasn’t a sudden thing but probably a culmination of who knows what. I was happily following the WOD’s, boasting to myself about how patient and smart I was being and that I had gotten down German hangs and progressing in back lever. I don’t know what I did wrong, but it turns out that I gave myself a nice golfer’s elbow. As I said, this is about 4 months ago. I’ve been doing pretty much nothing and just waiting for it to go away, and it won’t. I have read whatever I could find about it in the forum and on the web and tried anything and everything in sight. Icing, physical therapy, vitamin C, you name it…Frankly I’m getting fed up with this thing and thinking about starting slowly and see if it gets worse. Some days it feels better, and then it gets worse. Who knows what’s triggering it. For all I know it could be the ten thousand clicks on the mouse every day. When I think back to see what I might have been doing that I wasn’t supposed to, I cannot come up with anything specific. Before I start a WOD, I usually do 3x20 sec L-sit, and 3x15 sec tuck planches. Also, I take longer rests between the reps of certain exercises just because I like feeling strong and keeping good form. They don’t seem like they would be the cause of the problem, but who knows, maybe not.

FWIW…

Doing nothing is the wrong answer. Icing is garbage, it won't help your injury. Long application of gentle heat, preferably IR but really it doesn't matter as long as you get that area heated up to around 98-100 degrees F. That's the temp that the tissues heal most quickly at because that's where enzyme activity is the highest!

This is not medical advice, but rather the shared experience of a guy who has helped a number of people fix these issues.

1) first and foremeost, some sort of soft tissue therapy (whether cross-friction massage, trigger point/SMR work, ART, graston, whatever) is key. You need to recondition the fascia and restore internal tissue mobility. These modalities also increase the healing rate of the connective tissue when used properly (about 1-2 minutes per session, with 2 sessions of ART or Graston per week, 1-2 cross-friction massage per day, and/or SMR performed up to once per hour). SMR, cross friction and Graston should all be performed for 1-2 minutes per session on the affected area. More than that will be damaging. It should not hurt beyond a 5 on a 1-10 pain scale, so adjust pressure accordingly. Cross friction is by far the most painful when done properly, don't dig too deep on any one session. The goal is to keep healing processes in high gear, not to pile on additional damage.

2) Slow strengthening of the forearm musculature is vital. Slow is the key word. Pronation and supination should be loaded if possible. Someone recently mentioned the Tyler Twist... I hate, hate HATE cutesy names like that but it is a good tool. I have no idea how strong it is, which may be an issue if it is too weak for continued progress... I don't think it is adjustable. You can also just use a hammer and twist the wrist with a supported elbow or at least with the elbow at your side bent 90 degrees, changing the length of the lever arm (how far away from the hammer head you hold the hammer) as you get stronger and occasionally buying a heavier hammer. You could also just put a bag on a stick and start filling it with pennies... then you would literally be investing yourself in your rehab! Whatever you do, use loaded supination and pronation. Both are important.

3) Thick grip work for all curls, rows and pulls not performed on the rings (or, perhaps, even there with fat grips) helps maintain the balanced forearm, wrist and hand strength that you need to avoid this kind of thing in the future.

4) Stretch! You want to stretch for at least 60s after you perform #1 and also after your rehab workouts. a 60 static stretch at the limit of pain free stretch ROM appears to significantly help with getting the body to lay down collagen parallel with the muscle. That's very important, this is how it is designed to be.

5) after the stretch, which should be after rehab, at least 30 minutes of gentle heat (not over 110F, and not over 103 F if using moist heat and a full arm heating pad (recommended) from the bottom of the shoulder all the way down to the hand will help a lot. You want to get that whole area warm but not hot. You are looking for right around 99 degrees. You WILL get hot, drink some water. It should be obvious that a warm whirlpool is ideal but that is not available to most of us. Please look up contraindications for whirlpool immersion before considering this, I am not offering any medical adviceor treatment prescriptions here.

6) Make sure you have protein and carbs in your blood before doing any of this. You can't heal properly if your body doesn't have the basic building blocks of new tissue.

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Mehmet Yuce

Thank you Josh.

I wasn’t expecting a quick and detailed answer like this. Heck, it almost looks like you already had a ready-made answer waiting to be sent out :shock:

1) I will try the cross-friction massage, but I have one thing to say. The area that hurts and is sensitive to pressure is very localized. It’s literally the tip of my humerus where everything attaches. I can massage the surrounding muscle tissue, without any pain, no matter how hard I do it. What do I do? Just massage the bone?

2) I had already ordered the Theraband flexbar and should receive it any day. They come in 3 different strengths, I chose the medium one (15 lbs).

3) If I used a towel wrapped around the rings, would you consider that to be a “fat grip�

4) Stretch I can do.

5) I will look into the full arm heating pad, and you don’t have to worry about the contraindications involving whirlpool immersion. I neither have that option, nor would I hold you responsible for trying to help me even if I did have it.

6)This one is a done deal.

Thanks again.

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Joshua Naterman
Thank you Josh.

I wasn’t expecting a quick and detailed answer like this. Heck, it almost looks like you already had a ready-made answer waiting to be sent out :shock:

1) I will try the cross-friction massage, but I have one thing to say. The area that hurts and is sensitive to pressure is very localized. It’s literally the tip of my humerus where everything attaches. I can massage the surrounding muscle tissue, without any pain, no matter how hard I do it. What do I do? Just massage the bone?

2) I had already ordered the Theraband flexbar and should receive it any day. They come in 3 different strengths, I chose the medium one (15 lbs).

3) If I used a towel wrapped around the rings, would you consider that to be a “fat grip�

4) Stretch I can do.

5) I will look into the full arm heating pad, and you don’t have to worry about the contraindications involving whirlpool immersion. I neither have that option, nor would I hold you responsible for trying to help me even if I did have it.

6)This one is a done deal.

Thanks again.

Actually, I am using questions like yours to organize my thoughts so that I help out here as well as speed up my website development hahaha! Two birds with one stone :)

in regards to 1), you start at the bony attachment and slowly work towards the muscle belly. It is not fun. You will need to evaluate the passive tone of your forearm and wrist extensors, chances are that they are too tight. A muscle can be flexible and yet still have too much tone, I have some issues like that. Seems odd, but it's happening on my body and I don't think I am the only one. It sounds like working cross-friction from the bone to the muscle belly and then working graston from distal to proximal (wrist to humerus) for a minute or two will give you your best results. Take that through the entire muscle belly and on to and slightly past the bone.

Also consider stretching forearms, triceps,rear delts, traps and lats on the same side, and piriformis/glute/hamstring/calves on the opposite side. That is one full fascial train. Start with the outside edges and work your way in. Foam rolling or other SMR will work better than any graston stuff for the hamstrings, at least in my experience. If nothing else, just stretch. Work in order:

Soleus, gastrocs, hamstrings, piriformis, glutes (medial/minimus and maximus), forearms, triceps, rear delts, lats.

If the problem is in both sides do one full chain at a time, don't switch it up. Don't do left gastroc and then right gastroc, follow the entire line from the left leg to the right arm. Then do the entire other line. Foam rolling in this order IS your friend.

#3: Maybe, I mean anything that makes the grip thicker works but we don't have anyone's experiences to go off of with the towe; + rings idea so I don't really know... Tennis wrap, tons of tape (use spray adhesive for the inner most layer unless you want it to spin freely), towels, whatever. All these other options are a bit permanent, at least for a section of the ring. Towel will slip, making false grip work basically impossible but you shouldn't be doing thick bar false grip anyways... not for the muscle ups. Too stressful on the wrist. Thick bar is for full hand grip :)

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Mehmet Yuce

Good luck with your website. I'll be one of the many regulars I'm sure.

Off I go. I will report back...

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Blairbob

To note, I think it was in 2009 when my left elbow started incurring some pain from ring strength (probably done too often which really did help fix things).

One of the things Coach Sommer told me to do in a PM was a drill that is in the GB seminar elbow series. Sliz already described it so I won't mind describing it as well.

While holding my elbow tucked into my ribs and supported by the non working arm (so it's bent at 90degrees forward of the body), I would hold a stick or weight and turn my wrist 180 degrees.

Generally I started with the DB head pointed vertical or the bottom of the stick in my palm with the stick extending vertically. I would twist so it pointed outside of my body and then twist so it would point inside of my body (so if I was doing it with my right hand, the end of the stick would be pointing towards my left pass my left shoulder).

I can't exactly remember the reps nor can I find that PM (maybe I deleted it?). Maybe it was just a post in a thread in the forum somewhere. 10reps at a time, 3 or 5 sets seems to be what I remember doing.

I still use them a lot since my elbows are important to me. Though I'm not using GB as my dominant form of training right now, the mobility series are something I still use more often than anything since I'm wary that the Olympic Lifts are going to be hard on my elbows, if not shoulders.

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Bruno Cochofel

5) after the stretch, which should be after rehab, at least 30 minutes of gentle heat (not over 110F, and not over 103 F if using moist heat and a full arm heating pad (recommended) from the bottom of the shoulder all the way down to the hand will help a lot. You want to get that whole area warm but not hot. You are looking for right around 99 degrees. You WILL get hot, drink some water. It should be obvious that a warm whirlpool is ideal but that is not available to most of us. Please look up contraindications for whirlpool immersion before considering this, I am not offering any medical adviceor treatment prescriptions here.

6) Make sure you have protein and carbs in your blood before doing any of this. You can't heal properly if your body doesn't have the basic building blocks of new tissue.

Do you know any good heat therapy gizmo? I've found this on amazon:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Infrared-Lamp-I ... d_sim_sg_2

I'm trying to buy something for a long time, but haven't quite decided because I don't know any good gizmo for this, basically I use those old fashion hot water bottles but they are not that good for knees and elbows...

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Joshua Naterman

Something like that is ideal, that's massively over-priced though. You can just buy a heat lamp bulb and get a flexi-lamp that is rated for a 150 watt bulb and have much better results :) Just my opinion there.

Infrared is the most ideal heat source. It is instant, it penetrates deeply and it won't burn you unless you are a complete fool and put the lamp so close to you that you actually feel like you're burning. Very easy to control.

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Bruno Cochofel
Something like that is ideal, that's massively over-priced though. You can just buy a heat lamp bulb and get a flexi-lamp that is rated for a 150 watt bulb and have much better results :) Just my opinion there.

Infrared is the most ideal heat source. It is instant, it penetrates deeply and it won't burn you unless you are a complete fool and put the lamp so close to you that you actually feel like you're burning. Very easy to control.

Thanks, you rock :D

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Joshua Naterman
Something like that is ideal, that's massively over-priced though. You can just buy a heat lamp bulb and get a flexi-lamp that is rated for a 150 watt bulb and have much better results :) Just my opinion there.

Infrared is the most ideal heat source. It is instant, it penetrates deeply and it won't burn you unless you are a complete fool and put the lamp so close to you that you actually feel like you're burning. Very easy to control.

Thanks, you rock :D

:D 8)

If you are enterprising, you can just run bigger wire if you find flexi-lamps of that rating are too expensive and re-wire an old crappy lamp. A new wire and a new bulb socket together will cost like 5 bucks. Just make sure you can point it where you need it, you don't need a shroud because the heat lamp bulbs are coated reflectively on the inside so you can cut the shroud off of flexi lamp shrouds that are too small for your purposes. Hooray for ghetto mods!

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Andreas Magneshaugen Ullerud

Slizzardman, about graston, are thinking of doing on yourself with a piece of metal (for example) or going to practioner. I have to chiropractor who have done graston on me before, but it was expensive as hell.

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Joshua Naterman

What do I think? I think that butter knives, spoon handles, dinner plates and all sorts of other things work well too :) You just have to find the right edge for the pressure you will use. That comes with experience. You don't need a practitioner, but you do need to know what you are doing and why.

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John Dalton

When you train the back lever, should you try to completely relax your back and hang only by your elbows? And should you be pressing down on your locked elbows or just "lock" the elbows?

Thanks

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Blairbob

Even though you are hanging in the BL, you should feel as if you were pressing. Shoulders and elbows engaged.

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Brian Li

When doing a back lever should you activate/recruit the lats (I don't mean digging in to the lats with your arms) like how you would in a planche and maltese? When I activate my lats in a back lever I feel it working about just as much as the front delts I think, but a back lever without activating the lats feels very slightly harder. Also, should your scapula be protracted?

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Blairbob

Yes, see above post.

And yes for protracted shoulders, I think.

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