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Ideas? Need external rotation and hyper-supination... help!


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#1 synchroGENized

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 03:57 PM

So I discovered the Gymnastic Bodies website/book last November. In January I started incorporating some of the stuff into the workouts that my atletes do. (Competitive synchronized swimmers, 13-23 years old, training 18-36 hours a week) Two months later they are really benefiting.

Specifically I think that including hollow holds and L-sits, head stand work and hand stand work into practice two or three times a week has really helped them strengthen their core and thus control their position in the water better. I have hopes that one day they will be able to do all the FSPs... but not yet

However there´s one thing that we need to strengthen, and I have no idea if there are any gymnastics-type positions or exercises that would help. It seems to be a weakness of everybody I train, (except one) so I am pretty sure it is my failure to include some exercise, not a coincidence.

The weak spot is as follows. To maintain their legs out of the water the athletes bend their elbows to about 90º with their palms facing upwards. The upper arm externally rotates in it's socket while the elbow stays still, causing the hands to swing in and out in 90º arcs in front of the body. Like there is a pizza in each hand and they can't drop it or smoosh it on their shirt. When the hands move outwards the palms should face 15º outwards (pinky up, hyper-supination) and when the hands move in the fingertips should curl slightly up at the end. In one breath the athetes should be able to execute 15-40 repetitions of the movement (depending on their age and skill) supporting the weight of both legs (plus fighting the resistance of the water)

So I beleive that we need to stregthen a position of simultaneous 90º flexion of the elbow, hyperiation of the fore-arm and external rotation of the shoulder.

In this video you can see the skill from 2:50 to 4:20 with the best example arount 4:00. Note: these aren't my athletes, this is just the clearest video exmple of the skill I could find.

Does anybody have any ideas?

Thanks

#2 Blairbob

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 06:33 PM

Hah, learn how to hold a front rack for an olympic front squat. That's basically what you are describing.

Ok, now getting back to it, I doubt that is feasible and worth your time.

You know that stretch where you hold your arm besides your ear and the side of your head so your hand can scratch your back while the other arm pulls the elbow back?

You can also lay on the ground and work on getting their hands into the starting position of a bridge on the floor and apply gentle pressure. Their hand should be alongside their ears with their elbows up.

At least, this is how I'm visualizing what you're talking about.

For one of those swimmers, I'm thinking handstand, hollow/arch, and planks should suffice as well as L stuff (extra points really).

#3 synchroGENized

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 06:32 AM

No it's not like the front rack position. Looking around further it is probably like the middle of an inverted muscle-up.

Here's a picture of the position

http://www.flickr.com/photos/45200850@N03/4167443012/in/photostream/

Due to the hypoxic effect, plus the fact that there is no immediate feedback if the muscular contraction isn't strong enough (you just float lower in the water) land training with heavier weight than they will support in the water is very effective.

...so I guess the question would be does anyone know of a super-beginner progression for an inverted muscle-up? I think that unless anyone has a better idea I will start inverted hangs with everyone who hasn't lost their grip over the last two weeks.

#4 phrak

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 08:42 AM

How about Mike Reinhold's Shoulder W?

#5 Blairbob

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 01:11 PM

Super beginner version of an inverted MU?

Inverted pullup or what is called on GB, a body curl.

#6 synchroGENized

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 06:15 PM

Phrak, thanks for the idea. We've tried similar exercises...and it requires a lot of time invested for little sport-specific improvement.

Blairbob, I looked around and found some videos of inverted pull-ups...is this sort of what you mean? (ROM issues aside)
... re=related

If it is, do you think it would be possible with the palms forward?

We tried hanging in an inverted position today, nobody lost their grip and fell on their head this time around, so we've gotten better over the last 2 months. But we will probably need at least two months of inverted hangs before moving on to anything more ambitious. Is an inverted hang like a dead hang where the body sinks down away from the bar, stretching out the shoulders, or is it like a handstand where you shoud tense the shoulders to fight gravity?

#7 Blairbob

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 07:38 PM

Yes, that is an inverted pullup. I'd start in a tuck position at first. You can do shrugs on rings or parallel bars. Doing them on a single rail is a bit tricky since you have to be off vertical towards a FL or BL to some degree and it's harder to hold.

Hand position doesn't really too much at start. It can be supinated or pronated or neutral.

In an inverted hang, your shoulders will be working to some degree because if they aren't, your torso and lower body will just flop off true vertical and you'll end up on your feet.

So work on hang for time and shrugs. You could probably do spotted inverted pullups if you care to. Don't spot at the feet, spot at the hips and perhaps back of the head, in case their grip fails. If you just spot at the hips and they slip, you're in a better position than the ankles but you have to be stronger and able to basically hold them in mid-air so they don't bonk their head. No idea if you have any padding underneath (since I envision you doing them over concrete for some reason).

#8 synchroGENized

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 08:16 PM

Yup concrete with a truly ancient artificial turf type carpet on top (like putting a towel on the ground)...I guess that comes through.

Today we found a bar in the playground that is low enough that the tallest has her head about 5cm off the ground. I will be keeping my eye out for a better spot but for now it works. I'm hoping that in a worst case scenario a fall wouldn't be so catastrophic, and everybody understands that at the first sign of problems they should put their feet to the ground. And no one goes upside down untill they can do 5 series of 10 hanging leg raises without complaining about their grip.

I agree completely about spotting at the ankles, I think I would just fall on top of them, making matters worse. One of the things that really impresses me about the gymnastics coaches is all the spotting that they do.

Thank you so much for your advice :)

#9 John Sapinoso

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 05:47 AM

This obviously cannot be completely simulated in their cross training, nor should you attempt to. I think what you should do is evaluate if the weakness is a mobility issue (if I had to venture a guess, I'd say this is probably the case) or if it's a specific lack of strength. They try to bring that single variable up to par, otherwise their bodies will compensate toward their present imbalances.

Having not seen you athletes in the gym this is only a guess, so it could be completely wrong, but I'd guess that they need to work on external rotation exercises (YTW's + external rotation with a band) to balance the shoulder girdle. This is assuming they are heavily internally rotated like most of the swimmers I've seen. And for the supination, I've used a hammer/dowel forearm supinator / pronator warm up for a long time (youtube it) while concentrating on the end ranges and have pretty decent mobility for that.

#10 synchroGENized

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 08:34 AM

Thanks Ts00nami. I like the look of the hammer dowel drill idea as a warm-up, and will be testing today to see if its ROM or strength that is the issue. I suspect it's strength, but now that you put it like you do I'm getting doubts.

Interesting that you mention the internal rotation thing, my guys don't have that, but when I got to go to an international competition recently I noticed that most other countries did. Since they wiped the floor with us it probably indicates a lack of training on our part, not brilliant program design :(

In fact one of things that has really spurred me on to including gymnastic bodies type stuff in the workouts was seeing how much stronger everyone else was, and how from 4th place on down to last place muscle mass seemed to de directly correlated with success.

#11 phrak

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 08:44 AM

I'd guess that they need to work on external rotation exercises (YTW's + external rotation with a band) to balance the shoulder girdle. This is assuming they are heavily internally rotated like most of the swimmers I've seen. And for the supination, I've used a hammer/dowel forearm supinator / pronator warm up for a long time (youtube it) while concentrating on the end ranges and have pretty decent mobility for that.


I too have a lack of external rotation (due to being at a computer all day for years). I've been doing both active and banded W's (see the link I posted above to Mike Reinhold's subtle variation), and have made progress, but very little.

I assume you're talking about something like this:
hEdNZc7A_3g

Correct?

Edit: adding in the Reinhold video:
_G0feLqXA0E

#12 John Sapinoso

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 12:27 PM

put the weighted end on the pinky side of the hand and it will make supinating more difficult at the end range of motion although if you're lacking range then weight at thumb side can help stretch you a bit. This is just a guess though, I don't understand the swimming movement enough to get the mechanics of it, nor do I know what your athletes look like...so take any specific advice of mine with several hundred grains of salt..

You may also want to look into some of kstar's material via mobility wod.

#13 Coach Sommer

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 08:30 AM

Have your athletes perform standing internal and external rotations with their palms up using therabands or bungees. Remember that the rotators are not primary movers and thus will not require a substantial load.

1) Attach the theraband to a solid anchor anchor point so that it is horizontal at the same level of the athlete's forearm. I prefer to use stall bars, but any solid anchor will do.

2) Your athletes will grasp the theraband by simply looping it around their palm.

3) Now have them stand sideways to stall bars or other anchoring point for the theraband. Your athletes' palm facing upward, degree of elbow flexion (bend) and distance of the elbow from the torso should exactly mimic the position they maintain during their stroke.

4) For external rotations their arm farthest from the stall bar will be the working arm; for example with the anchoring point to their left they will begin with the right hand as close to the left hip as possible (internally rotated) and then rotate the arm out to the right as far as possible (externally rotated) before returning back to the left hip. Do not use momentum, but rather a smooth controlled movement.

5) For internal rotations their arm closest to the stall bar will be the working arm and the movement will be reversed beginning from externally rotated and then finishing in internal rotation.

5) To make the most efficient use of time with the least re-positioning of the body, I generally have my athletes perform a set of external rotations on one arm and then immediately switch the theraband to the other hand for internal rotations before turning to face the other direction.

4) The load for this exercise is is adjusted by increasing or decreasing the athlete's distance from the anchor point.

5) Do not allow the athletes torso to lean or sway into or out of the movement. All movement should be solely the result of the arm rotating in isolation.

6) Two to three sets of ten repetitions on each arm for both internal and external rotation should be adequate.

Yours in Fitness,
Coach Sommer

p.s. Thanks for sharing that video of the Japanese synchronized swimmers conditioning. Their control in the water is amazing!

#14 synchroGENized

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 07:43 PM

Coach Sommer, you've just described a variation of one the cannonical synchro exercises that everybody uses... I just hoped that there might be some other exercise that could produce more results. Other gymnastics bodies stuff has had a remarkable effect and I guess I got greedy :?

So thank you everybody, I think I have my adjusts to the current strength program laid out:

a) Continue with (slowly) improving wrist and grip strength, basically a light version of the wrist pre-hab discussed elsewhere (M/F)

b) Reforce pronation-supination of forearm with hammer-dowel exercise. (W)

c) Y T W (Tu/Tr)

d) Theraband external rotation (Sat, or swap with YTW)

e) Inverted hanging, 5 attempts (M/F), no pressure, no time expectations for 1 month, then test for maximum hold (April 2).

By the 28th of May I should be able to report back and say if we've evolved :)

#15 Cole Dano

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 01:02 AM

You might already be doing this, but if not, also try varying the height of the Theraband, placing it higher and lower than the hand to add the push / pull component of the movement.

It would also be interesting to try to add random stress to the movement, this is something I've seen Eric Cressy doing with great success. Basically as the athlete is performing the exercise you (or a partner) would randomly tug on the band from various directions. You could also make the contact point at the hand, but I think due to the nature of water, against the band would work better.

You could even do it as a complete pair exercise. Sharing one band two athletes would hold the band around the wrist in the pizza position. One would act as the anchor while the other did the movement. The anchor could either remain as still as possible or add random fluctuations.

#16 phrak

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 01:21 PM

around the wrist in the pizza position



:? the what now? :?

#17 synchroGENized

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 04:20 AM

I think he means the position of holding the elbws by the side with the elbows bent 90º so that the forearms are perpendicular to the body....it's like hoding a pizza in each hand.

Am I the only person who holds a deep dislike of theraband? I think I dislike it because it creates more resistance at the end of the range of movement. But apart from resistance opening splits I tend to avoid using it.

#18 Coach Sommer

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 06:10 AM

If you dislike the additional resistance at the end of theraband ROM, you will probably prefer the much more consistent tension throughout ROM of a bungee cord.

Yours in Fitness,
Coach Sommer

#19 Cole Dano

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 07:49 AM

The tubing style bands are also much better that way than the flat Theraband loops.

The longer the tube the more even the pull will feel. I have a tube about the same thickness as the bungee cord I've seen you use coach, and honestly it feels about the same. I think it's more a property of how strong the band is and how long it is. After all underneath the wrapping of the bungee is the same latex.

I also have a german made chest expander with bungee style cords, it pulls like it's molasses.

The big advantage of bungee is it's more durable and if it breaks the cotton casing will still keep the system in tact so it doesn't snap your face.

#20 Blairbob

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 10:21 AM

I like the small, medium, large resistance bungees with handles available at your sport store. Sports Authority actually has a wide range of bungees so you can pick and choose but I generally find the SML bungees with handles more than suffice. Like $15@Walmart or online and they are setup so you can use any combination of bungees to adjust load.