Sunday, July 26, 2009

Work the Shoulder Stand

I have been working on the Parallette Handstand for quite some time.

I have tried a variety of methods to enhance my training: working on the floor and on the parallettes, with band support in doing handstand push ups, with a spotter, doing wall handstands and most recently, working the shoulder stand.
If you saw the post on Death Metal you know what I mean. I have been working the transition from L sit to shoulder stand rather regularly (as my clients will likely tell you), and slowly but surely my comfort and ability to maintain the position for longer periods of time has increased. Most recently, I have confirmed that I can do sets of 20 seconds or more most of the time.

Of all the supplemental methods, I would rank spotting very highly, as well as wall handstands. However, it is with shoulder stands that I feel like I have gained the most in terms of time and ability to stabilize. And it feels like it's from strength.
Let me explain. When performing the shoulder stand, there is a very high level of tension in the wrist, forearm, elbow, upper arm and shoulder the entire time you are holding it. You maintain your balance by way of straightening or bending your body, mostly at the hip, and by bending your wrists. Those of you who do Judo will know what I mean. It feels like 'answering the phone' on the collar grip. For those of you who passed some sort of bio mechanics or kinesiology course, we're talking mostly about a fine balance controlled through forceful radial or ulnar deviation at the wrist. The thing is, while you hold the shoulder stand, you have to force most of your balance by pulling against your own bodyweight with those motions at the wrist on the parallettes.

As I have gained the ability to do this for longer periods of time, I have noticed it's much easier to do the same thing whilst in the handstand, and as such, to use pure grip strength essentially to make minute adjustments to balance with the wrists, and more gross adjustments with the legs.

Here's some video to show the two:

Shoulder stand strength from Full Circle on Vimeo.

So, my advice to those that want to improve their handstands; practice the most closely related strength holds, they seem to help immensely!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

30 "Muscle Ups" For time

Recently there was a video on the HQ homepage of 30 kip ups for time labeled 30 muscle ups for time and it got me thinking;
how would a 'anything goes' approach to the workout, redefined as from under to over for 30, change the time/power output?

30 Muscle Ups for time from Full Circle on Vimeo.

for me, not much.

I think I need to work more on my dips. That's really where I was struggling the most or slowing down the worst.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Food Inc. Screening and Panel Discussion

This Saturday, following the 4pm and 7pm showing of "Food Inc." at
MovieLand on Richmond's North Side
there will be a panel discussion regarding the subject covered in the film, as well as complimentary food and wine provided by Whole Foods.
I think it might be worth checking out.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Claims staked and controversies

One of my stated goals was to be able to perform the
'30 muscle ups for time'
WOD at 5 minutes or less
I had never done it before, but really wanted to try after seeing this recently:
July 6, 2009

Monday 090706

Check it out here
technically a rest day, there were two really awesome links;
an interview with Robert Kaplan (Balkan Ghosts, Warrior Politics, the Ends of the Earth)
and a video of '30 Muscle Ups for time'

sort of

It was actually an athlete from (i think) Crossfit Montreal named Mizar, performing the Kip Up or Kip Up to front support. A movement that entails the same range of motion as the muscle up, to ascend from below the rings to above the rings. However the kip up is driven almost entirely by the hips, whereas the muscle up (ideally...) is driven entirely by the shoulder and elbow.
If you've ever trained with me, you know that I am pretty critical of what is typically demonstrated as a Muscle Up in the Crossfit Community;
This would probably be considered pretty good
maybe somewhat better than this
Not that either of these guys aren't strong. It's just that both are kipping pulls from bent arms. With the first guy, with lats like a gorilla, you'd think he'd be able to actually pull himself up. From a straight arm at the bottom to above the rings at the top without kipping. But no.
There were several others which also included kipping presses as well. That is beyond the scope of this post.
The issue is one of terminology really. And Defined standards. Since the muscle up has a very clear definition in one movement discipline that we purport to draw from, I think we should agree to adopt a meaning for the word that is closely allied with what exists in that discipline. I wouldn't call a Turkish Get Up an Overhead Squat simply because the load travels the same distance.
Finally, I don't think there is anything wrong with having a workout that is essentially:
'Go from below the rings (straight arm) to above the rings (straight arm) 30 reps for time'
I know that doesn't seem as succinct as 30 MU for time, but it's more accurate. Let's face it, every time we explain what we really mean when we do Grace it makes us look like we're back-pedaling. Let's not make it worse for ourselves.

OK. So that being said, I did the strictest muscle ups I could for 30 reps for time. I finished that in 8:53. In a few days I am going to try an experiment and do 'from below to above' 30 reps for time, with kipping muscle ups and kip ups, and see how fast I can do that. Since I get to rest my arms a little, I think I can do it significantly faster.

Finally, as regards Mizar himself and what he did in that video; Holy Shit! The kip up is hard. I can barely do it from a regular grip. I usually do it from the false grip to make it easier. The fact that he burned through 30 of those as fast as he did is clear evidence that he is one hell of an athlete. Way to go man!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009