Bodyweight Training

antraniks-progressions-l-sit

Last Updated 8-13-2014. Click here to see update history

Updated 8-13-2014: Major update today… with a new video of me that helps replace the entire bodyline section!

I made this video so you could follow along with me and properly hold 5 bodyline drills, for one minute each, one after another with minimal rest!

Deprecated the following out of the bodyline drills

Updated 8-8-2014: Added a new video to the warmup section: Scapular Shrugs. This is not a bodyline drill but it’s the perfect warm up for them!

Updated 8-5-2014: Found the missing link to help me nail the handstand: How to get into a handstand with control.

Updated 8-1-2014: Spruced up the OAPU section. You don’t need to be doing wide push ups. They can hurt your shoulder. Diamond push ups are the way to go if you’re looking for something harder than usual push ups.

Updated 6-29-2014: I just released The Floreio Project. I highly recommend you implement a lot of the mobility work and skill work into your routine to keep things fun.

Updated 6-6-2014: I’ve been making videos… and well, the latest one was my tutorial video on how I achieved the pistol squat. So I am updating the links to that in the Legs Section.  Here are the relevant new resources:

Beginners Guide to Pistol Squats: YouTube Video and Supplemental Blog Post

Updated 4-22-2014: Added RTO L-sit to the L-sit progressions.  And it’s only in this video, at 24-seconds in, where you could see a PROPER, RTO-Lsit being performed.  Everyone else is always doing an L-sit on the rings with the hands parallel or turning inwards.  This is a phenomenal challenge to increase your L-sit compression ability.  And remember, it’s not about lifting the legs higher and higher, but moreso about bringing them forward when you’re on the rings.  A very strong RTO support must be had before trying this.

I decided to work on this RTO L-sit for now, because the Straddle L-sit is too difficult at my current flexibility level.  But with the 90-day-splits-challenge coming along nicely, once I get closer to my middle splits, I will incorporate the Straddle-L into my personal workout.

Updated 4-16-2014: Updated Human Flag Section with a new video!

 

So for the longest time, I’ve been meaning to update the Human Flag section (under Pulling) because you guys have no idea what “Vertical Flag” means.  Well, now you know! Because I uploaded a video featuring Paul Scott that explains one of the best ways for beginners to learn and build strength for it.  Instead of kicking up to it uselessly, you use the parallel bars to get vertical and then lower down slowly.  But first, I would recommend you get comfortable with just staying vertical and feeling what it’s like to hold that position with your arms and upper body because that’s what it’s going to take to do that before you get the lower legs involved.  You’ll also note that I have a prerequisite of 3×5 wall HSPU’s for the flag, because the flag requires power in that same overhead position. Instead of being upside down, you’re sideways.  And instead of pushing both arms up like you do in a handstand, you push the bottom arm and pull the top arm.  Always remember to work both sides.

Updated 4-3-2014: In the handstand section, if you are proficient with stomach to wall handstands and are trying to work on your freestanding HS, I added this warm up recommended by Ryan of GMB: Warm up with frog jumps! More info here!  It feels really good to do frog jumps as a good warm up for the wrists as well, after you have done the handstand wrist preparation.

Updated 3-31-2014: Added Stomach Vacuums to core section (under “core in general”).  this works on the TVA muscle.  it’s not really about sucking in the stomach, as much as it is about feeling the transverse abdominus (TVA) muscle contracting which is under your obliques.  so before you “suck it in” put your hands on your obliques (sides of your abs) and if you don’t feel a contraction, you’re just sucking in your stomach and not contracting the TVA. work on feeling that part contract and you’ll be doing it right. you could hold your breath but don’t have to. there are many different ways of doing it.  (bodybuilder method versus yogic method)

Updated 3-26-2014:  Added L Russian Dips to the “All Kinds of Dips” section to increase your triceps strength!  If you can’t do L-Dips (don’t worry, most people can’t right off the bat, then do tucked Russian Dips! It’s just like following the Forearm Dips and L-sit progressions!

Updated 3-19-2014: Excellent video on wrist prep/warm up for handstands. Use this as part of your warm up!

  • Finger Pulses
  • Palm Pulses
  • Side to Side Palm Rotations
  • Front Facing Elbow Rotations
  • Side to Side Wrist stretch (lean/push away)
  • Rear Facing Wrist stretch – palms down
  • Rear Facing Wrist stretch – palms up (star trek)
  • Rear Facing Elbow Rotations
  • Forward Facing, Lean Forward as much as possible

Updated 2-5-2014: updated the order of skill work: L-sit to HS to Support Holds because that’s what naturally happened anyway going from the warm up of the bodyline drills onto the skill work. removed the hangs from skill work and threw them in the supplemental section cause they just didn’t belong there.

Updated 1-30-2014: Have you attained a floor L-sit and Handstand and want more skills to work with? I will be adding a couple new arm balances in the skills section that are fun, such as…

Updated 12-25-2013:

  • To make the plank harder, bring your hands (or elbows if on forearms) further forward as demonstrated in the second half of this video.
  • Scapular Pull Ups: This is a very helpful supplemental exercise for your front lever training: go in a tuck FL and retract the shoulder blades like this video shows.
  • This 2 minute video exemplifies the importance of the false grip for achieving your first bar muscle up.
  • It just goes to show, if you have been doing…
    • false grip bar dead hangs
    • chest-to-bar pull ups
    • deep dips of all sorts (single bar, parallel bar, forearm dips, etc)

    But can’t do the bar muscle up… you’re probably missing the FLICK OF THE WRIST action. So by doing the false grip as the video shows, the wrists are already in the perfect position (and not to mention, it effectively makes your arms shorter).

Updated 12-18-2013: Major change: Choose a core exercise not only on Day 3, but on all the other days as well. Added a couple new epic exercises as well

The following compression exercises focus on the hip flexors such as the iliopsoas muscle group, which I consider more important for foundational trunk stability than the abs when it comes to handstands, L-sits etc.

Updated 12-2-2013: Added Archer Pull/Chin Ups to OACU progression.  You could try getting in these on a low-bar and lowering down if you’ve never done it before, but it’s still a very advanced exercise, so it may be out of reach if you’re not close.

pdated 11-30-2013: Added a prerequisite for the Flag: 3×5 Wall Handstand Push ups.  The flag is extremely challenging and it would help if you had a very strong overhead pressing ability and that’s exactly what the HSPU’s do (but upside down).

Updated 11-20-2013: Just a quick note on what to do with the bodyline drills.

For every single bodyline drill follow this sequence everytime: Flex the butt (this will set the hips into the neutral position and remove anterior or posterior pelvic tilt) and then flex the abs/core to LOCK that position.  Now hold your bodyline. (Source)

After you have gotten proficient in the bodyline drills and you are very comfortable holding any of them for 1 minute, you don’t have to do them at the start of every workout anymore.  Just do them once or twice a week to maintain your current level.  Note that I didn’t say “once you reach 60 seconds.”  I said once you get very comfortable with holding them for a minute.

  • Whether you’re holding plank, side plank, reverse plank, or any of the variations on your hands or forearms or with your feet elevated, the sequence is the same. Get in position, flex butt and then abs.
  • This is probably the most important in the Hollow Hold position so that when you go for Hollow Rocks, your lower back is rolling smoothly on the floor. (If you’re rocking and it feels lumpy or unsmooth, it means your lower back is arched and you’ve lost the hollow body and you should strive to rebrace the position.)
  • Next time you practice your handstands and support holds, do the same thing. Flex the butt and abs and see how that is reminiscent of the hollow body position.
  • Obviously you could flex a lot more muscles (like flex the inner thighs together and point the toes in handstand or whatever), but I just wanted to share that tiny tip about your INITIAL setup.
  • If you make it a habit to always do that sequence, it becomes automatic. Same for when you’re standing (stand straight, flex butt and you’ll feel the hips move, and then flex the abs to lock it).

Updated 11-8-2013: Buy this very powerful band and use it for numerous things such as a band-assisted MU on the bar and a band assisted pull over on the rings.

Updated 11-4-2013: Added “Hang” section to Skill work, check it out.  Changed “Dip Progression” title to “Dips of all kinds.”

Updated 11-3-2013: Added Baby Muscle Up to MU progression.  With a low set of rings and your feet on the floor, go up into a muscle up.

Updated 10-22-2013: Added Cossack Squats to Leg Day, because I love how they feel.  You could make them more difficult by holding weight in between your hands in front of your chest and keeping your back straight.

Updated 10-9-2013: Removed “Support Swings” from “Support Holds” cause they’re just two different animals.  Now these are in the random skills section in the supplemental section.

 

Updated 10-7-2013: Cleaned up the pistol squat progression a bit, need to rework that section a bit more…

Updated 10-6-2013:

Tips: Follow support hold with a 60sec dead hang for a good stretch afterwards.  Follow handstand with a 60sec inverted hang as well.

Good advice by Coach Sommers in regards to linear programming:

  • Be careful to never increase intensity and volume simultaneously. That will eventually lead to certain injury.
  • The proper method is to increase intensity first and then later gradually increase volume to stabilize the strength gains. Before once again dropping volume, increasing intensity and beginning the microcycle again.

And in regards to steady state cycling (SSC):

  • SSC is not for everyone, beginners especially will struggle with implementing it correctly.
  • SSC can however work quite extremely effectively; if you are an advanced enough athlete/coach to take advantage of it.
  • One reason for SSC with the FSPs is due to the fact that changing intensity is so difficult.
  • FSP are done before every workout, as a warmup thing. That’s why you’re doing sets for 50% of your max hold time, so they aren’t too taxing.
  • FBEs have the added variable of reps and the intensity is generally much easier to manage, a little shift here or there doesn’t magnify like it does in most FSPs. So since it’s so easy to add reps over time and most people have good instincts about when they are ready to fail, there is no special need to do an SSC.

FSP=fundamental static position (f/b levers, L-sit, straddle L, frog stand, manna, planche)

FBE=fundamental bodyweight exercise (pressing: push ups, dips, hspu etc., pulling: rows, pull ups, etc)

Updated 10-5-2013: Day 3 has gotten reworked… I have added the option of Manna training and revised the “more pulling” suggestion.  Instead of choosing one more vertical pull AND one horizontal pull, you could CHOOSE JUST ONE Vertical OR horizontal pull OR Manna progression.  Manna training will take care of the extra exercise we need to balance out shoulder health because we need extension-work in extension/hyperextension and manna training fits the bill.  If manna training is unavailable to you, then continue to at least choose a set of pulling exercise (vertical or horizontal, your choice).

Manna Training progressions added to day 3:

Manna Training Progressions

  • Reverse Plank while purposely setting feet back a couple inches (creates hyperextension in the wrists)
  • Middle Split Hold with bent legs on the parallel bar
  • Middle Split Hold with straight legs on the parallel bar
  • Horizontal Middle Split Hold on the floor
  • Manna

Other additions:

  • Added Single Bar Dips to Dip Progressions.

Are you trying to wonder why I’m making the changes I am? I’m following Overcoming Gravity’s suggestion for routine creation which includes:

  • Day 1: Vertical push upwards (HSPU) and downwards (Dips), as well as a horizontal push (push ups/dynamic and planche/static).
  • Day 2: Then one vertical pulling exercise downwards (pull ups/dynamic) as well as a horizontal pull (rows/dynamic and levers/static).
  • Day 3: Do manna OR add in another horizontal pulling exercise (rows/levers) OR vertical pulling exercise upwards

Updated 10-2-2013: Put new prerequisite for planche work: you must have a 60 second full L-sit before trying to work on the much more demanding planche work.

Updated 9-27-2013: Discovered these leg exercises from oneresult.com.  Some of them are kinda cool.  In the beginning doing 3×12 may not be possible, but in a couple weeks they may be too easy.  That’s the only problem with them, as with most bodyweight leg workouts.

Updated 9-26-2013: Having trouble going from tuck planche to advanced tuck? ME TOO!  I realized my back needed strengthening so I started adding in tripod headstand raises into my routine.  These have been very good.  So combine your planche training with Headstand Leg Raises (5×5) to strengthen back for upcoming advanced tuck. Start with tuck raises, then straddle, then pike raises.

Removed clapping pull ups progression because I personally am not enjoying them because explosive moves like this are very hard on the tendons.  I don’t want to hurt myself or be the reason YOU hurt yourself trying it out either.  If you really want to practice it, I am placing it at the end of the supplemental section.

Cleaned up the printer friendly doc!!!  Now the pushing is all on one day and pulling is all on one day and day 3 is on the bottom corner with a more complete outline!

 

Updated 9-23-2013: Revamped dips section: made the progressions more robust. we have regular dips, elbow dips and leaning forward dips.  these are the 3 bread and butter dips.  to make the elbow dips harder, do russian dips where you basically go back onto your triceps.

Extended support hold progression to include more challenging things such as: pb support swings and rings support swings (note that “support swings” are different than “swinging support holds”)

For printer friendly version: added in new area where you could pencil in more skills of your choice for maximum spice/fun in your routine. If time is aplenty and you want to do more skill work, here’s a typical gymnasts routine.

Some recommendation for reaching goals faster: For greater efficiency, stick to the same goals for a few weeks and then when you reach your goal, switch to different goals and simply maintain your previous goals. For example, for vertical pushing, you have the option of working on dip progressions or handstand push up progressions… choose a formidable goal in the dip progressions (such as russian tricep dips) and stick to ALL the dips in that section to get there until you have a solid 5×5 (or better) of russian dips down.  Then switch to HSPU goals and maintain your russian dips 5×5 status.  Otherwise you spread yourself too thin, that’s what I’ve noticed.

In the background, I’m experimenting with building up my foundational strength to 5×15 FOR COMPLETE MASTERY instead of 3×12 before progressing forward. Then for the really-tough stuff, to focus on 3×12 or 5×5.  We’ll see what happens or if that will impress me enough to make changes.  Also, I’m thinking of adding in a Core section to be included everyday.

 

Updated 9-18-2013: Added Sprinting to Legs day as it’s excellent for building up power in the legs.  Also created a wrist-friendly workout routine in case they need a rest.

Sprinting

  • For max speed: Sprint 20-60yds giving 90%+ effort, repeat 5-10 times max, rest completely between runs.
  • For fat loss/conditioning: Sprint 10-100yds, 5-20 max repeats, with incomplete resting periods.
  • For hypertrophy: Sprint up hills.
  • Excellent Form Drills for Sprinting

Updated 9-16-2013: Revised some things and revamped core section… details below…

  • Instead of just going for 3 sets of 5-8 reps… shoot for 3 sets of 12 reps, because that is really the minimum one should be able to do anyway before moving to the next progression to reduce the chance of injury.
  • Revised Printer friendly version to finally include some (compact) details for Day 3 (there were none before)
  • Revamped core section (day 3) a bit to organize by abs/obliques/general
    • Added Tuck Ups -> Saddle Ups -> V-Ups (Pic) progression cause it may be too difficult to go straight into V-Ups!
    • Added Falling Tower exercise.  This is not the most intense ab exercise, but it could be! It’s also a nice active stretch for the quads.  If it’s too easy for you, raise your arms up in the air for increased leverage.

Updated 9-10-2013: A word about goals because there are so many in this routine.  Ido Portal says, “Aspire to push further one element and one element ONLY.”

Updated 9-9-2013: Added Russian Twists to Core section in Day 3.  These are a good challenge to the obliques.  Hold a weight with both hands to increase difficulty.

Update 9-5-2013: In the FL Supplemental Exercise section, added Weighted Pull Ups because they have great carry over to the FL and are a strong ticket to break through a plateau.  If you don’t have a vest, use a book bag with books, sand, rocks, anything.

Update 9-3-2013: Revamped the Core section in Day 3 with the following changes:

Added Prerequisite “One Arm Plank” in the mushroom progression (Because if you can’t hold a one-arm-plank, front tappers are going to be no bueno).

Added Ab Wheel (Tutorial) to core section. For 10-15 bucks you get a gnarly exercise toy.

Added Dragon Flags to core section.

Removed Hanging Leg Raises from L-sit section and moved it to day 3′s core section and added this excellent tutorial on developing the hanging leg lift.

In the Supplemental section I added “Front Lever Supplemental Exercises” including Dragon Flags, Ice Cream Makers (start out tucked if you can’t do with straight legs) and Front Pulls to help you progress in the FL all the faster.

Update 8-29-2013: Added V-Ups to Day 3 (Core / Legs). Start in the hollow body position (legs, arms and shoulder blades off the ground) and bring both the legs and arms together.  When you bring your arms up to your feet, lift your ENTIRE BACK (especially lower back) off the ground to reach the feet. Do NOT cheat by bringing your legs to your arms without lifting your lower back off the ground.

Update 8-24-2013: Added progression exercises for strengthening the fingers in the Supplemental section.

Added King Deadlifts to Leg Day. It’s very deceiving in how easy it looks but doing 3×12 is not as it requires some fine coordination.

Added One Arm Plank to OAPU section.  This isometric exercise revealed a severe imbalance for me.

Update 8-13-2013: The planche progression section has been revamped.  Thanks to this note by Ido Portal, it has come to my attention that Frog Stands don’t translate effectively toward Tuck Planches.  Instead, the Band-Assisted Tuck Planche will get you there faster.  I have also added Planche Lean as the first thing one should get used to before attempting PPPU’s.  Also added Elevated Planche Leans.  (Adding just a couple inches of elevation makes it dramatically harder, so start with small increases.)  Note: the frog-stand and its variations have been moved to the bottom of the supplemental section.

In the Skill Work section, for Handstand Practice, I added the wall progressions and 3 tutorial videos.  The first, dubbed “THE Handstand Tutorial” is by the RingFrat channel and is an extremely thorough video.  The other two videos (#2, #3) are by Coach Carl from gymnasticswod.  They both say the same thing in different ways.

Update 8-12-2013: Leg-Day (“Day 3″) is looking substantially more badass.  Just added “Cross Reverse Lunge” and a very challenging “Behind Leg Pistol Squat.”

Update 7-29-2013: Added “Bird Dog” to bodyline exercises. Also, the more advanced version is Bird Dog from Plank position.  Work on building up the regular bird-dog before trying the plank version. (Funny aside: In Denmark they call them “Hitlerhunden” which means “The Hitlerdog”).  Also, on the Dips (Rings) section, I added a videos (progressions and form check!) to help you transition between P-bar dips and ring dips as the difficulty increase is quite dramatic.

Update 7-28-2013: Add a “Pull to Inverted Hang” to your pulling routine for even more front lever dynamics.  Follow the usual progression protocol: First get used to doing it while tucked, then advanced tuck, then with one leg straight, then finally, from a straight front lever position for ultimate badassery.  In the video he does it from a L-hang position, which is yet another variation.

Update 7-21-2013: Add this “Seated Elevation” exercise to your L-sit progression exercises.  Even if you’re not as flexible as the man in the video, bringing your legs as high as you can will still activate the core.  Note how he rapidly brings the legs up and purposely lowers them slowly.  That’s the key to making each rep count.

Update 7-17-2013: Added Casio watch recommendation in supplemental section to use as countdown timer to hit your isometric holds and rest times.  This watch dramatically reduces any or all fuckarounditis.

Update 7-1-2013: Added explosive workouts to the Leg section: Deck Squats and Squat Tuck Jumps.  After you master 3×8′s of those two, we combine the two to do 3×5-8 of Jumping Tucked Deck Squats.  Then take it a step harder with Jumping Deck Pistol Squats (do Pistol Squats as your warm-up set).  Also adding Inverted Hang Pull-Ups to One Arm Pull Up progression.

Update 6-29-2013: Added False Grip Hang and Russian Dips to the Muscle Up Progressions.  This should tremendously help build a much more solid foundation before trying strict or kipping muscle ups. More details here.

This bodyweight routine allows you to build impressive strength with minimal equipment. All you need is the floor and a pull up bar for most exercises. That’s the magic of bodyweight exercises! If you have access to a parallel bar or a set of rings, you could do even more!

Credit: The split routine was created with the advice from the fundamentals of bodyweight strength training. The original inspiration came from the residents of Original Muscle Beach, Santa Monica who got me into the traveling rings.  OMB is now my home away from home.  The exercises were compiled from a multitude of sources including but not limited to the reddit progressions wiki, this post and other forums such as GymnasticBodies.com.

RULES TO MAINTAIN SAFETY:

  • Everything in the lists generally go from the easier variation to the more advanced.
  • DO NOT ATTEMPT the progressions if you have not mastered the prerequisites in red.
  • Go to the next exercise only when you can do 3×12 or 60s holds of the previous with perfect form.
  • If you cannot maintain proper form, go back to an easier variation or the prerequisite.
  • If you feel pain, STOP. Never work through the pain. REST.
  • If the rings are too difficult (they move!), use the parallel or pull up bars.
  • Implement a Steady State Cycle for the static moves because a stronger foundation is better than injury down the line.

Need more guidance than just photos or video demonstrations? Look for the #1, #2 for links to full tutorials.

Wrists feeling funky? Give em a break and try this: Wrist Friendly Modified Bodyweight Routine

Warm Up

Bodyline Drills (Go for a 60sec hold)

  • Scapular Shrugs (This is not a bodyline drill but it’s the perfect warm up for them!)

Flex butt and then abs to lock that position and hold that in every bodyline drill. (Source)

Note: I alternate between the dolphin and normal variants every week.  The dolphin/forearm versions are great to give your wrists a break if they are feeling funky.

Skill Work (1-2min for support holds, 5-10 min for L-sit & Handstand practice)

*NEVER SKIP SKILL WORK*

Here is More Skill Work if you have the time for it

Strength Routine

Day 1 (Pushing + Core)

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1A. Vertical Pushing Exercises (Choose one progression from the Dips section and one from the HSPU section and do 3 sets of 12 reps)

1B. Horizontal Pushing (Choose one progression from the OAPU section and one from the Planche section and do 3×12 or 5x30sec)

1C. Choose ONE Core Exercise from below

Day 2 (Pulling + Core)

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2A. Vertical Pulling (Choose one progression from the OACU section and one from the MU progression and do 3 sets of 12 reps)

2B. Horizontal Pulling (Choose one progression from the rows, one from the FL, one from the BL and do 3 sets of 12 reps or 60sec of aggregate time)

2C. Choose ONE Core Exercise from below

Day 3 (Legs & Core & Manna or Pulling)

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3A. Legs (Choose one exercise from each section and do 3 sets of 12 reps)

3B. Choose ONE Core Exercise from below

3C. Manna Progressions (pics and videos coming soon for easier progressions!)

  • Prerequisite: Advanced Floor L-sit for 10+seconds. (advanced meaning, flat back, no rounding, hips forward)
  • Reverse Plank while purposely setting feet back a couple inches (creates hyperextension in the wrists)
  • Straddle L on PB with bent legs
  • Straddle L on PB with straight legs (feet going below PB is okay)
  • Middle Split Hold with bent legs on the parallel bar
  • Middle Split Hold with straight legs on the parallel bar
  • Horizontal Middle Split Hold on the floor
  • Manna

3D. If Manna Training is out of reach, choose one Horizontal OR Vertical Pull from Day 2 (do a 3×12 of preferably something you didn’t work on already)

Core Work (choose a new exercise on every workout day to keep things interesting)

Printer-Friendly Version so you can take this with you anywhere!

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The hyperlinks to the photos and tutorials are all stripped in the printer-friendly version to make it look a bit cleaner.  You don’t need that stuff on paper anyway.

Click Here for the Google Docs Link to Antranik’s Printer Friendly Bodyweight Routine

Troubleshooting: If the document looks like it splits into 3 pages, it should actually be just 2 when you go to actually print it when it produces a PDF version.

ProTip: Print page 1 only.  Then feed the page back in your printer and print page 2 on the other side.  Fold it up, keep it in your pocket and wham bam, you’re ready to hit the floor!  Also, make sure you jot down your progress in the margins!  Write down how long you were able to hold everything, how many sets/reps you were able to do, and any other notes so you can see how quickly you’re progressing!

ProTip #2: Highlight the progression exercises you are working on to make it super obvious what you have to work on that day.  Then when you move onto a new progression, highlight that.  So you’re always just paying attention to getting strongest with the lowest-highlighted-exercise.

Supplemental Info and FAQ

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Question: Do I do ALL the warm ups in the beginning?  Do I do all of the skill work?  And for the day-specific exercises, do I do all of the exercises or just a few?

Answer: At the start of every workout, go through ALL of the warm ups. Then do all the skill work (basically choose one support hold you’re comfortable with holding and one L-sit progression you’re comfortable with holding for up to 60s before moving onto the harder ones). And if you can do handstands or practice them in anyway, do those after the L-sits.  All that should take about 15-20 minutes and should be done at the start of EVERY workout.  Then focus on the day 1, 2 or 3 exercises depending on what day it is. Day 2 is a lot of pulling exercises, too many to do in a day, so it’s unlikely you’re going to be able to do one progression exercise from every single goal available there. That’s why day 3 asks you to choose pulling exercises you haven’t done from day 2 to pick up the slack.

Easy way to reduce fuckarounditis (measure your hold times and more!)

I just bought this Casio watch because it is inexpensive and has a countdown timer I could use to hit my isometric holds.  This watch dramatically reduces any or all fuckarounditis.  This way I don’t have to fiddle with my phone or anything cumbersome.  The countdown feature is actually really cool because I could set it to 1 minute and then when the alarm goes off I have it set so that it automatically restarts the counter again.  So after I hold something, I could easily know when I’ve had 1 or 2 minutes of rest and it’s time to do the next set.  This is just so practical and actually ends up making my workouts super efficient.

As you progress, the easier variations become part of your warm up

The hardest variation you can do are your work sets (3×8 or 3x30s).  As you progress, the easier ones will become single warm up sets! I would encourage you to perform high reps to increase blood flow to these areas.  Each position or movement works and emphasizes different muscles, so you really do need to do those warm up sets to keep your body balanced and healthy.  A great example are the pull up and dip variations. Each of those variations work very different muscles and just one set of each as a warm up to the work sets is enough to maintain your musculature and motor patterns. It also happens to be a great way to build up work capacity!

Want to know what level you’re at?

Check out this Gymnastic Progression Spreadsheet on Google Docs created as a reference guide for Overcoming Gravity.

Of Great Magnitude, Understanding REST DAYS and DELOAD WEEKS

Recommended For Getting Comfy with Rings

Beginners Basic Ring Workouts: This excellent video shows you how to increase grip strength, understand how to do the inverted hang in a hollow body position, pull ups and then how to combine them all.  An inverted hang is something I take for granted but you shouldn’t if you can’t hold one for a long period of time.

The German Hang (aka Skin the Cat/360 Pulls) is a rudimentary rings exercise that gets you comfortable with the levers and it’s an incredible chest and shoulder stretch.  Every week you come back to this stretch, your shoulders and chest will open up more and more.  You must learn to relax in this position.  Eventually it could be done with straight legs and arms to mimic the transitions of going in and out of a back/front lever.

What about Stretching?

Stretching is EXTREMELY important.  Not just because being limber helps you progress even faster, but it also FEELS SO GOOD!  For me, personally, I recommend you simply follow some yoga videos!  That’s what I do anyway.

Reps/Set

Objective

Reps/Set

Time

% Range

Maximal Strength

1-3

4-10sec

85-100%

Strength

4-6

10-20sec

75-85%

Hypertrophy

8-12

20-45sec

60-75%

Endurance

15+

45+sec

<60%

We choose 3 sets of 5-8 reps because it’s the best compromise between gaining strength, neural adaptation and hypertrophy (gaining muscle mass).  What else do you take away from the above table? If you want to break through a plateau, even just three sets of 1-3 slow, sustained reps will make you stronger than before. Do it only if you can hold proper form.  (3 sets x 1-3 reps)

Isometric Holds

If you want to advance beyond the catch-all 60 second holds, then you can modify the workout further.  Honestly the 60 second holds work very well but if you’ve gotten very strong and your time is limited so your workouts are running too long, then you may want to look at this following table taken from eshlows website on how long to hold your isometrics.

 Max Hold  Hold Time Range Sets Total Range
26s-33s 16s-20s  3-4 60s-76s
19s-25s 12s-16s  4-5 52s-65s
13s-18s 9s-12s  4-5 45s-60s
8s-12s 6s-8s  5-6 36s-48s

Understanding the table: The maximum amount of time you could hold a move is the “max hold.”  For example, if the maximum amount of time you could hold a move is 20 seconds, that falls in the second row that says “19s-25s” max hold.  So, instead of holding a move for 20 seconds until failure, do 4-5 sets of 12s-16s holds.  The benefit of not holding a move until failure is that it limits neural fatigue which increases rest and recovery time!

Front Lever Supplemental Exercises

The following exercises have great carry over and overlap to helping you achieve the front lever.  Use them along with your FL progression work.  Also, some FL tips by Ido Portal.

  • Ice Cream Makers (start out tucked if you can’t do with straight legs; add ankle weights if it’s too easy)
  • Front Pulls
  • Dragon Flags
  • Weighted Pull Ups (use a book bag with books, sand, rocks, etc)

Be a pro at all the hangs

  • Hangs
    • Bar Dead Hang
    • Bar Inverted Hang (legs in front of your hands, way harder than you think)
  • Advanced Hangs
    • German Hang
    • False Grip Bar Dead Hang (chalk bottom of wrists)
    • False Grip Rings Dead Hang (chalk up outside wrists)

OMB Specific Exercises (Old Muscle Beach, Santa Monica)

OMB is where I workout and train others.

Slackline Specific Exercises

Warning: these put extreme amounts of tension on muscles and tendons that have NEVER been asked to work under unique demands like this so if you could only hold a move for 1 second, do NOT try to go for longer!  Rest and repeat later in the week.  Trust me, these slackline moves are absolute destruction on the stabilizer muscles, akin to the rings, but I even more due to the very powerful tension rebound!

  • Turning around without falling
  • Bird Dog on slackline
  • L-sit on slackline
  • Peacock Pose on slackline
  • Shoulder Stand on slackline
  • Need some guidance? check out yogaslackers on youtube.

Here’s my random intermediate/advanced stuff

Supplemental Planche Progressions

The following progressions used to be part of the Planche Progression, but have been removed and placed here now because they weren’t the most efficient route.  They are, however, supplemental and fun.

Clapping Pull Up Progression (Requisite: 3×10 pull ups)

This used to be part of the main routine but I had removed it because this type of explosive-work is hard on the tendons and I don’t want to be the reason people are hurting themselves.

  • FAST High Bar Pull Ups (Bar to Chest, FAST!)
  • Explosive Pull Ups (Pull up, remove hands, place back on bar)
  • Finger Touch Pull Ups (Pull up, touch index finger and thumbs, place back on bar)
  • Full Clap Pull Ups

Mushroom Circle Progressions (Supplemental Video and Text)

This used to be part of the day 3 routine, but i have moved it in place of manna training.

  • Prerequisite: One Arm Plank
    • Front Tappers (Plank, feet elevated, touch front pocket) (video@2:56)
    • Back Tappers (Reverse Plank, feet elevated, touch back pocket)
    • Side support, front support, rear support (with feet elevated)
    • Circle Walks (Hold each position for 4 seconds)
      • 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 and 4/4
      • Head, chest and hips face the SAME direction the entire time!
    • Advanced Position Swings (1:00 in video)
      • 1/4 and hold
      • 1/2 and hold
      • 3/4 and hold
      • 4/4 and hold
      • 1 and ¼ and hold
      • 1 and ½ and hold
      • 1 and ¾ and hold
      • 2 full circles and hold.
      • 3 full circles and hold.
Want More Movements? Check this out: http://gymnasticswod.com/library
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