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Gymnastics Phase 6: Middle Split Mobility & L-Sit to Shoulderstand on the Rings

Posted 5th October 2016 by Josh Schouten

MrPotatoeThe barbell is by far the best tool in the gym to improving lower body strength, and the gymnastics rings are the best tool for upper body strength.

With a well structured strength focused program it doesn’t take long for a couch potato to start seeing improvements in their lower body strength.  By sticking to the program, and making gradual progressions, before long most athletes can perform multiple repetitions of bodyweight back squats and 1-1.5 x bodyweight deadlifts.   So why do so many of us have trouble bash out bodyweight movements like pull-ups, push-ups, dips, and levers?  Is the lower body that much stronger than the upper body?

The total muscles mass of the lower body is generally larger than the muscle mass of the upper body, unless you’re skipping legs day. But this should not be an excuse, because there are loads of  “lower body heavy” people in the world who can still bash out upper body strength exercises.  So why the big discrepancy between lower body and upper body strength?

1. Not enough practice – So many of us want immediate results, I get it.  Quick results give us a mental boost and help us stay positive.  We’ve all seen that person who expect to have a six-pack appear after eating Paleo for a few days.  In this day and age we are very spoilt and expect many things to happen at the flick of a switch. Unfortunately, the human body does not have an instant “get lean” switch, or an instant “get strong” switch.  Many ignore the reality of human physiology and go right into negative thinking when they don’t get their way. We are like little kids who throw their toys, telling ourselves that they can’t do it, and that sticking to the program for 8-12weeks if far too long to start seeing changes.  We give up before we even get started and 12weeks down the track we are still throwing our toy out of the pram because we unable to do a pull-up.

Solution: You need more patience, faith, and a training program to help you succeed.  You need to check your ego and start putting in the hard work. If you want to get strong start training for strength, if you want to lose weight start making positive changes in you life.

2. Your overweight – I’m not here to sugar-coat it (because sugar makes you fat) and tell you to “stick with it,” “keep trying,” or to be your Mr Motivator with the “you’ll get there” bullshit.  If you’re not making progress with your bodyweight movement, chances are your lean muscle mass to body fat ratio is fat-skewed. Muscle has contractile properties and is very useful when it come to strength, fat has no contractile properties and is rather useless as it is only weighing you down.  It takes at least 2-3 weeks to see a measurable change in body fat, IF you are eating a low-crap diet, training correctly and getting enough sleep.  Lean muscle development can take a solid 6 weeks to see a measurable result, IF you are eating sufficient protein and not over doing the aerobic training.  Stop expecting miracles to happen just because you own a gym membership! If you honestly want to see real results you better start doing the work in the kitchen and in the gym.  Most people think they eat a healthy diet and yet they get their nutrition advice from the media, and friend, or a diet book not tailored to their individual needs .  If you’re nutrition knowledge tell you to eat less, skip meals, use meal replacement shakes, take supplements without first fixing the diet, or to detoxify, then you need help.  Don’t take advice for just anyone, find someone who actually knows what the fuck they are talking about because hyper and hypo calorie balance, gut health, and macronutrients all have critical role to play here, not to mention your hormones.

Solution: Instead of being fixated on a goal to lose weight, shift your focus to establishing sustainable habits that will help you gradually achieve and maintainable results.  Start following a nutrition plan and a training program designed for your goals like Momentums Small Group P.T Body Composition.

3. Scared to fail – Let’s be honest, most of don’t like to fail.  This mindset is very detrimental and can stop us from achieving our full potential in life.  If we continue to “play it safe” and do the same routine over-and-over again, how can we expect to make any progress?  If what you’re doing right now is not scaring you, then chance are its not changing you.   You need a new, effective plan that scares you just a little.  Stop focusing on the obstacles in the way and start brainstorming ideas of how to go over, under, around, and through these obstacles.  “Success breeds success,” and nobody has time to listen to complainers.

Solution: Stop holding back and doing the same thing that haven’t worked before and expect to get a different result!  Find the experts in the field that can help you identify what needs to be done to reach your goals.  Work with them to set some goals and put down a plan that scares you just a little!

Gymnastics Phase 6: Middle Split Mobility & L-Sit to Shoulderstand on the Rings

“If the best in the world are stretching their ass off in order to get strong, why aren’t you?” – Christopher Sommer

This next little phase is going to take some of your existing skills and hopefully move them then to the rings.  For the next 2-weeks will will be working on your middle split mobility and isolating the L-Sit and Shoulder Stand position on the rings. The main goal is to feel strong and comfortable on the rings in these positions for the weeks ahead.

Once we have these elements down the objective will be to integrate the movements together and be able to transition from the L-Sit into the Should Stand.  FUN!!

If this sounds a little scary, GOOD!!  This is exactly what you need to be working towards.  No matter your level of strength and ability our coaches have the skills and knowledge to help everyone work on the right progressions.  You may not get to perform the movement on the rings, but you will lean some new skills and see some progress if you take the time.

Good Training!!!

Middle Split and L-Sits (12min)

:20sec Ring L-Sit
2min Standing Pancake Hang
:20sec Ring L-Sit
:90sec each side Pancake: right side / left side bend and hold, use strap
:20sec Ring L-Sit
20reps Alternating Cossack Slides

Middle Split and Scapular Strength (12min)

2sets :15sec hold Arch Scap Pull-ins
:60each Static Pigeon Stretch
2sets :15sec hold Arch Scap Pull-ins
:2min Frog Stretch (dymond legs), activly squeezing the floor
2sets :15sec hold Arch Scap Pull-ins
10 passes Straddle Bounce form lef to right and back

Middle Split and Shoulder Stands (20min)

5min Shoulder Stands (rings/p-bars)
2min Wall Straddle hold
5min Shoulder Stands (rings/p-bars)
10reps leg pulls off the wall and raises, (open and shut legs) 10reps
5min Shoulder Stands (rings/p-bars)
10reps wall facing standing straddle holds (pulling into the floor)
2min wall facing standing straddle holds (pulling into the floor)

Core Work (10min)

  • Bent Knee Hollow Dish Holds – you should be able to hold a solid position for :60sec
  • Straddle Hollow Dish Holds – you should be able to hold a solid position for :60sec
  • Hollow Dish Holds – you should be able to hold a solid position for :60sec
  • Hollow body rocks – you should be able to rosk for :60sec (bent knee, straddle, hollow)
  • Icecream makers – Either Tuck, Adv. Tuck, Single Leg straight, Half Lever, Straddle, Full Hollow Body
  • Elbow Support or Uprise on P-Bars