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Need help developing routine with convict conditioning
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rapaz12 Offline
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Need help developing routine with convict conditioning
I'm reading the book convict conditioning that roosh mentioned on his program since I'm trying to save cash.

The issue I'm having is that it's so large that I can't figure out what I need to do routine wise. Like, if I never exercise, what exercises do I need to do and how many sets should I do? How many times a day should I do these exercises?

It's just not very clearly stated.
10-21-2015 02:49 AM
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Hannibal Offline
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RE: Need help developing routine with convict conditioning
Coach Paul Wade is going to jerk you around a lot with weird fitness advice, like "keeping reps in the bank", only adding one rep every two weeks (or month), don't go to failure, only do two sets of each exercise once or twice a week. The chapter on program design isn't bad, but the volume is way, way too low.

The fact is, with bodyweight exercises, you can push a lot harder a lot more frequently than you can with weights. It also tends to be easier on the joints and it lends itself to higher reps (because you can't just add 5 lbs).

My guess with that is because most bodyweight exercises are not as "full body" as they claim to be. When you pick up 300 lbs, that weight is distributed all over your body. Everything takes a beating. When you do a chinup, most of your body is hanging free in the air, all the "weight" is in your hands, rear delts, scaps, lats, biceps, and forearms. The weight is very localized.

There's some other goofy shit in there but I won't go into too much detail.

As far as working out with calisthenics, I find that hitting that shit hard for 20-30 minutes a day at least 4 days a week yields some good results. Also, go to failure. It doesn't have to be "oh fuck I can't feel my arms they're going to fall off" kind of failure, just a momentary failure where you can't complete a full rep.

If you're wondering about building a routine, it's not hard and a good general layout would be this.

Workout 1
Push
Pull

Workout 2
Legs
Abs

CC's rep ranges are fucking weird. I don't recommend following Paul Wade's advice on rep ranges. Trying to get up to 40 reps by 2 sets is an exercise in extreme patience, especially when you only have once a week to do it. Most folks who do don't get anywhere for months and months.

If you want to know how to build the most amount of muscle with a particular resistance, look no further than bodybuilders. 12-15 reps by 5 sets is a fairly standard range (1 to 2 minutes between sets would be fine). Really, 10+reps by 3 sets would be great.

This is the sort of approach I prefer for exercises that are not easily adjustable or you don't really know how heavy they are. Pick a total volume, time how long it takes to complete it, then the next time you do it, try to beat your previous time. When the exercise gets too easy, go to the next step, rinse and repeat.

Workout 1
Pushups 50 total reps
Inverted Rows 50 total reps
5 handstands to failure

Workout 2
Bodyweight Squats 100 total reps
Lying down leg raises 50 total reps
Bridges 10 total reps

So lets say for the 50 pushups one, you might get 18 your first set, then 12, then 8, then you might be grinding out sets of 5. You get the idea, do pushups until you hit a total number of 50. Once you can hit a certain rep goal (like you get over 20 reps in the first set) or you feel that the exercises have become too easy, go up a level, set a total volume range, and do it again. There are many different ways to progress. This isn't rocket surgery.


Your weekly schedule could look something like this

Monday / Workout 1
Tuesday / Workout 2
Thursday / Workout 1
Friday / Workout 2

“I have a very simple rule when it comes to management: hire the best people from your competitors, pay them more than they were earning, and give them bonuses and incentives based on their performance. That’s how you build a first-class operation.”
― Donald J. Trump

If you want some PDF's on bodyweight exercise with little to no equipment, send me a PM and I'll get back to you as soon as possible.
(This post was last modified: 10-21-2015 04:18 AM by Hannibal.)
10-21-2015 03:55 AM
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Hades Offline
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RE: Need help developing routine with convict conditioning
Flip to the chapter called routines. Give veterano a shot.
10-21-2015 03:55 AM
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H1N1 Offline
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RE: Need help developing routine with convict conditioning
Solid advice from Hannibal (I seem to be following you around today dude!).

I'm not a massive fan of convict conditioning, it seems mostly like a marketing ploy to me. If you're serious about calisthenics, I'd check out the gymnastic bodies forum, or get your hands on Never Gymless by Ross Enemait.

I've been doing a gymnastics based training program for months now, and it has transformed my body. I have made far better gains aesthetically, and far faster strength progress than I ever did with weights.If you hit it hard and push yourself to progress, then you can still see great results. Hannibal's idea of:

A - push/pull
B - Legs/Abs

is a good one. Throw in a load of handstand work (4x/week) and lower back work (workout B days), and you'd be amazed how quickly you progress. I'd try to do a vertical push and pull and a horizontal push and pull on 'A' day. If you do a bit of reading up, don't underestimate the effectiveness of straight arm isometric work for building strength and muscle. Pseudo-planche leans and proper (scapula shrugged, traps squeezed) handstands, as a 196lb bloke, have had a significant effect on my physique.
10-21-2015 08:33 AM
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heavy Offline
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RE: Need help developing routine with convict conditioning
First, and this is all that matters...whatever works for you to lift, do that. I said here how I bounced around a few plans before finding what I liked.

Jim Stoppani, Arnold, cross fit, gym classes, your own free style 20 minute workouts...whatever works, do that. But you have to do something to figure out what works.

What I did?
- Got used to the gym. I went to the gym for a year consistently (1-4 x per week) and lifted. I didn't beat myself up for missing a week. I didn't worry if I went in and hit the steam room and showered. I got to know the gym and the people, the layout. This prevents the fear of just going.
- Started a workout routine. I knew most lifts and most reps and speed, etc. But...I hadn't worked them naturally into my workouts. Just like learning guitar, forcing myself to *do* different exercises and mixing speed and intensity only *now* allows me to play it by ear in the gym. Now I naturally build these in (5 count, 28 method, slow vs high speed, high reps low reps).
- My intensity only picked up when I did a high intensity workout routine (Arnold's workout plan). Now I do higher intense days and lower intense days...but before doing Arnold's plan, I didn't really know what a high intensity even looked like.
- Planning lifts. I don't do this as much now, as stated before, I don't need to. But doing a plan caused me to plan my lifts, which I can now without thinking.ever actually used them. Now I throw them in whenever I feel like it.

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
10-21-2015 09:05 AM
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RE: Need help developing routine with convict conditioning
If you're new to bodyweight workouts I'd say just follow the Convict Conditioning progressions to a tee, until you get to at least Step 5 for each exercise. I didn't get bored with the Step 1 exercises mainly because I bought into the idea that I was preparing my joints for harder exercises later, and I like the idea of injury proofing. I think his rep listings are fine for beginners, and you will get stronger if you follow the time under tension guidelines (if I recall correctly it is 2 seconds, pause, 2 seconds). As for adding reps, start off each Step doing as many as you can. Make sure you add at least 1 rep each time you do the exercise in the future. As you progress, you will find this impossible (eg. you can't easily add a rep to your pull ups... there is a lot of plateauing). If you really want to progress faster, do his "grease the groove" method, and find one exercise in which you are lagging, and add some extra volume of that exercise on off days, until you get beyond your plateau. Or break up the reps to meet the volume (say it calls for 2 sets of 5 reps of pullups, you could do 1st set of 5, 2nd set of 3, 3rd set of 2 to meet your volume, but always with the goal in mind of eventually doing 2 sets of 5). Basically the program should be flexible to where you are at.

Here was my beginner routine. Again, keep in mind this was not built for fast results, but mainly so I could get in the habit of lifetime fitness, slow increased functional strength, and injury-proofing.

Day 1: Pushups & Leg Raises (Abs)
Day 2: Pullups & Squats
Day 3: Handstands (Shoulders) & Bridges
Day 4: same as day 1
Day 5: same as day 2
Day 6: same as day 3
Day 7: rest

Each day included a light warm-up of some jogging in place, some jumping jacks, and some very soft versions of whatever exercises I was doing that day (after you move beyond step 1 of each exercise, pump out a few reps of step 1 exercises as a warm up, to prepare your muscles for the more complex movements they will be doing in just a moment). Rest around 1-2 minutes between each set (find out what works best for you). This should yield a total workout time of about 20 minutes per day, and this is super simple to do at home. All you need to get is a chin up bar for your doorway, and have some chairs and tables around. Also the basketball is handy for later exercises.
***

All that said, yes, there are more effective workouts once you reach an intermediate level (this is where you are pretty happy with your strength, diet, and overall physique, but you could vastly improve your size, speed, and aesthetics). This is where Never Gymless by Ross Enemait comes in. Here is what my current routine looks like:

All exercises are 5 sets of 5 reps, as slow as possible. I am still doing progressions to make each exercise harder over time, and occasionally adding weight via backpack or whatever).
Day 1: Push (Pushups, Dips, Handstand Pushups, 1-Arm Pushups)
Day 2: Pull (Pullup, Dip Bar Row, Bridges)
Day 3: Legs (Pistols, 1 Leg Bridge Curls, Hanging Leg Raises)
Day 4: HIIT/Plyo (little routine of my own design) + Extremities (Calf Raises, Fingertip Pushups, Hangs)
Day 5: rest

I don't work on a weekly cycle anymore, I just do 4 days of workout, rest, then begin again. I also mix in long walks, some hikes, and competitive sports (tennis). Each workout ends with stretching specific muscle groups. Each evening ends with the Trifecta Stretches from Convict Conditioning 2 (really the best thing in the CC series; these stretches are awesome and will make you feel so great... they are absolutely worth progressing through and sticking to).
10-21-2015 12:38 PM
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RE: Need help developing routine with convict conditioning
(10-21-2015 08:33 AM)H1N1 Wrote:  Solid advice from Hannibal (I seem to be following you around today dude!).

I'm not a massive fan of convict conditioning, it seems mostly like a marketing ploy to me. If you're serious about calisthenics, I'd check out the gymnastic bodies forum, or get your hands on Never Gymless by Ross Enemait.

I've been doing a gymnastics based training program for months now, and it has transformed my body. I have made far better gains aesthetically, and far faster strength progress than I ever did with weights.If you hit it hard and push yourself to progress, then you can still see great results.

I second H1N1's advice. Convict Conditioning, although full of good information, is basically two things: a workout program with very minimal equipment (no excuses!) and a whole lot of propaganda for bodyweight exercise. It's a good introduction, but if you want to make some serious gains with it, I recommend checking out how barstarzz or gymnasts train and adapting your approach that way. TooFineaPoint has a good CC routine outlined, as well.

I know this is a lot of information, but it's better that you know now what kind of work it's going to take than to do CC to the letter for three months, get nowhere, and quit in frustration. You cannot expect your gains to be linear, your body is not going to grow by 1 rep a week/month/whatever, and you're only fucking yourself over if you do wall pushups for four months straight starting at the beginner standard when you could have easily tested out of it and worked up to full pushups.

If you want to do CC, I recommend trying to pass the progression standard right now, and if you can't then work on the exercise. If you can, there's no point in undertraining yourself. Do not be scared to push yourself forward..

I have always been skeptical of Paul Wade because no one knows what he looks like and there isn't a community of huge, jacked motherfuckers who did CC to the letter. It's been out for 6 years. Everyone who does do it and has had success has their own routine, and surprise surprise, they hit each lift at least twice a week for more than 2 sets.

[Image: tumblr_n561ygPJFn1qenyljo1_1280.jpg]
The reason why I bring up barstarzz is because they don't have much of a plan, they just have a desire to succeed. You said you wanted to save money for a gym member ship and if it's aesthetics without having to think too hard, this is a good way to go.

As you can tell from the picture, they have an enviable physique compared to your average gymbro and they don't even have a gym membership. Most barstarzz don't have a set workout program either, they literally go to the park and mess around on the monkey bars for an hour a day.

Basic general advice is to do as many pushups, pullups and dips in a workout as you possibly can. You can do this however you want, what I said earlier works too if you want more structure. There's lots of good advice in this thread already.

A gymnastic routine tends to focus moreso on progressively making exercises harder through a disadvantage in leverage. The difference between a pushup and a pseudoplanche pushup is a good example. Gymnasts get pretty fucking strong. A double bodyweight bench press is not uncommon for a high level gymnast and they don't even bench. Gymnastics is what I recommend if it's strength your'e looking for. If you want to do it on a budget send me a PM.

[Image: PlanchePushup.png?itok=GMaUleMM]

The best part about calisthenics is that it's all about relative strength. You can go on a cut and lose absolute strength, but if your pullups went from 10 reps to 12 (because you dropped 6 lbs), you got stronger. This keeps motivation high and encourages "lean bulking". You might not build as much muscle as fast, but it's a great approach to stay fucking ripped year round.

The takeaway message here is this: There are many, many different ways to develop a fitness routine. What's more important is your consistency over time. Don't be scared to try something new, but absolutely commit to a program and give it your all for at least six weeks, if not twelve. Pick something and stick with it. Increase your reps, your sets (or total volume), the difficulty of the exercise, or some combination of the three. Simple works.

@H1N1
Are you doing Foundation 1 + Handstand 1? I did Foundation 1 for about eight months and yeah, I have nothing but good things to say about it. Integrated mobility is fucking brilliant. The rep ranges are also very intelligently put together (he starts you off with higher rep ranges to build muscle, then lowers it to 5x5 to build muscle and strength with the harder exercise variants).

@TooFineaPoint
You should check out CC3. He came out with an explosive calisthenics book. It's actually pretty good. The majority of your explosive work is plyo pushups and plyo jumps, but there's some other cool shit in there.

“I have a very simple rule when it comes to management: hire the best people from your competitors, pay them more than they were earning, and give them bonuses and incentives based on their performance. That’s how you build a first-class operation.”
― Donald J. Trump

If you want some PDF's on bodyweight exercise with little to no equipment, send me a PM and I'll get back to you as soon as possible.
(This post was last modified: 10-21-2015 03:57 PM by Hannibal.)
10-21-2015 03:04 PM
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RE: Need help developing routine with convict conditioning
(10-21-2015 03:04 PM)Hannibal Wrote:  @H1N1
Are you doing Foundation 1 + Handstand 1? I did Foundation 1 for about eight months and yeah, I have nothing but good things to say about it. Integrated mobility is fucking brilliant. The rep ranges are also very intelligently put together (he starts you off with higher rep ranges to build muscle, then lowers it to 5x5 to build muscle and strength with the harder exercise variants).

Sort of mate, ye. I don't actually have Handstand 1, I have Handstand 2 but can't do a 30s freestanding handstand yet, so I'm working my way up to that. I'm doing Foundation 1 and 2, since for bent arm strength I'm a bit further ahead than I am for straight arm strength.

My routine at the moment is:

A:
Strength: Hollow body straddle hold
Mobility: Table rocks

Strength: Single straight bar dips
Mobility: Static cat

Strength: Pseudo-planche leans
Mobility: Prone half straddle planche hold

Strength: L-sit chinups
Mobility: Twist bent pull


B:

Strength: Straddle up
Mobility: Jefferson Curls and Windmills

Strength: Curl up
Mobility: Weighted Oblique stretch

Strength: Static single leg squat
Mobility: Single leg bridge curl


Then static handstand work against the wall 4 or 5 times each week.

I also typically throw in some high rep sets of pushups and chinups after some sessions, and am working towards a one arm pushup, so I throw in some of those during the day.

It's been pretty humbling so far, since my gym lifts are decent. I'm shocked at how little strength transfer there has been. I got onto this type of training because after years of weight training, I'm bored of trying to hit the next number for the sake of it. I've always been much more interested in being able to do awesome stuff with my body, and my biggest regret having started this program, is that I didn't make the switch sooner.

I'd be really interested to hear more about your experience with the 'Foundation' programs, and 'Handstand' ones too, as I'm in new territory for me here.

Edit: And yes, completely agree with you that the integrated mobility is awesome. I had no idea what a difference it would make. My whole body feels better for doing this program.
(This post was last modified: 10-22-2015 05:45 AM by H1N1.)
10-22-2015 05:43 AM
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RE: Need help developing routine with convict conditioning
(10-21-2015 08:33 AM)H1N1 Wrote:  I've been doing a gymnastics based training program for months now, and it has transformed my body. I have made far better gains aesthetically

H1N1, I'm curious about this.

To me, a good physique mainly means well developed delts, lats, upper back and upper chest.
How do you think bodyweight training has the advantage over weights here?
Were you doing powerlifting type training, centred around the squat and the bench press, which obviously does not develop these muscle groups as much?
Or were you hitting it hard on overhead and back work and do you simply feel that handstand push-ups are superior to overhead presses when it comes to muscle gains for instance?
10-22-2015 12:39 PM
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RE: Need help developing routine with convict conditioning
(10-22-2015 12:39 PM)PhDre Wrote:  
(10-21-2015 08:33 AM)H1N1 Wrote:  I've been doing a gymnastics based training program for months now, and it has transformed my body. I have made far better gains aesthetically

H1N1, I'm curious about this.

To me, a good physique mainly means well developed delts, lats, upper back and upper chest.
How do you think bodyweight training has the advantage over weights here?
Were you doing powerlifting type training, centred around the squat and the bench press, which obviously does not develop these muscle groups as much?
Or were you hitting it hard on overhead and back work and do you simply feel that handstand push-ups are superior to overhead presses when it comes to muscle gains for instance?

I don't think it has an 'advantage' or is 'better', per se. I simply believe that it has been better for me. If that seems trite, hopefully the following explanation will make what I mean a little clearer.

Yes, I did strong man training previously, and gained a lot of strength, and some muscle. I had a 500lb deadlift, 460lbs squat, and a bodyweight pushpress (~195lbs). I also found it very easy to put on fat with this kind of training. Although I got quite strong at certain movements, I never really felt that I made very good gains aesthetically. Nor was I ever able to really hit 'target muscles' very effectively to maximise hypertrophy. Basically, I got pretty strong, and looked pretty good, without ever looking as strong or as good as I possibly should have relative to my performance levels and my attention to my eating.

By contrast, for me personally, gymnastics seems to suit my muscles better. Whether that's an insertion point thing or what, I don't know. I don't doubt that with an experienced coach to help me I could achieve the same aesthetic effects with free weights. However, I don't have that level of experience, or honestly the motivation to train primarily for aesthetics, even if that seems to be a contradiction based on the above.

Gymnastics seems to really suit my body, in that for some reason it is melting the last remnants of fat off me, and in the process my muscles are also rounding out nicely, I'm making rapid strength gains/adaptions, and I'm just plain enjoying it more.
10-22-2015 04:39 PM
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RE: Need help developing routine with convict conditioning
^Thanks for the explanation.

It is true that weight training rewards you for getting fat (your lifts go up) while bodyweight training punishes you for it.

I asked you because in my case, when I do a (assisted) handstand I really feel my delts working whereas the overhead press mainly stresses my traps, triceps and abs. I could be technique, it could be insertions, or neuromuscular activation.

According to Chad Waterbury, bodyweight training is also less stressful to the central nervous system because it doesn't compress your spine. If I remember correctly, nowadays he recommends callisthenics/gymnastics training with one day a week of heavy compound lifts.
10-23-2015 09:21 AM
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RE: Need help developing routine with convict conditioning
(10-23-2015 09:21 AM)PhDre Wrote:  ^Thanks for the explanation.

It is true that weight training rewards you for getting fat (your lifts go up) while bodyweight training punishes you for it.

I asked you because in my case, when I do a (assisted) handstand I really feel my delts working whereas the overhead press mainly stresses my traps, triceps and abs. I could be technique, it could be insertions, or neuromuscular activation.

According to Chad Waterbury, bodyweight training is also less stressful to the central nervous system because it doesn't compress your spine. If I remember correctly, nowadays he recommends callisthenics/gymnastics training with one day a week of heavy compound lifts.

To an extent it depends how efficient you are, but I would say, as someone with strong traps, that doing a proper assisted handstand FRIES my traps, as you're essentially doing an isometric bodyweight shrug hold for 60s+ at a time. Of course it hits other muscles too, like the delts as you say, as well as most of the muscles involved in an OHP. I do personally think that bodyweight training has more athletic advantages than weight training, although I'm not proficient enough at it to speak with much authority yet. I do believe it requires greater coordination and focus on how the body fits together as a chain, although I don't doubt that serious high level lifters have similar conscious focus.

I think Chad Waterbury's idea of doing all bodyweight with a single compound weight day is actually an excellent one. I intend to do something similar once I'm more settled into my calisthenics, where I'll probably do one short session with 1/4 squats, blockpulls, and OHPs for lowish reps.
10-23-2015 09:41 AM
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RE: Need help developing routine with convict conditioning
Bodyweight training, especially ground based stuff, greatly increases proprioception. That is the body's ability to know where it is. This is the result of spending years swinging around on the rings, doing handstands, performing isometric exercises, and simply moving around a lot. Proprioception is essential for sports.

The biggest problem with bodyweight exercise is that it doesn't lend itself well to strengthening the posterior chain. You need to pick heavy shit up off the ground to make that happen. Upper body pulling, explosive squat variations, and mass ab work do build a great base to develop the posterior chain, though.

“I have a very simple rule when it comes to management: hire the best people from your competitors, pay them more than they were earning, and give them bonuses and incentives based on their performance. That’s how you build a first-class operation.”
― Donald J. Trump

If you want some PDF's on bodyweight exercise with little to no equipment, send me a PM and I'll get back to you as soon as possible.
10-23-2015 06:25 PM
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RE: Need help developing routine with convict conditioning
^Agree, deadlifts are an essential addition to bodyweight training.
10-24-2015 03:20 AM
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RE: Need help developing routine with convict conditioning
I would respectfully dissent from the opinion that deadlifts are essential with bodyweight training, and that bodyweight training doesn't build up the posterior chain effectively. For example, Christopher Sommers who coaches the US gymnastics team had a gymnast pull a 3x BW deadlift on his first attempt, allegedly. My understanding is that this is not 'uncommon' amongst high level gymnasts. They may not have the same absolute numbers as powerlifters, or strongmen, but their posterior chain strength is none-the-less objectively strong.
10-25-2015 05:35 PM
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RE: Need help developing routine with convict conditioning
^Can you share any tips on how to train your posterior chain using bodyweight?
I can understand that you can get very strong abs, spinal erectors and upper back through bodyweight training, but I do not see how you can train your hamstrings and glutes hard enough.
Yes you can do nordic curls and single leg hip thrusts, but the amount of strength they build is limited. Do you progress to single leg nordic curls?
10-26-2015 02:30 AM
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RE: Need help developing routine with convict conditioning
(10-26-2015 02:30 AM)PhDre Wrote:  ^Can you share any tips on how to train your posterior chain using bodyweight?
I can understand that you can get very strong abs, spinal erectors and upper back through bodyweight training, but I do not see how you can train your hamstrings and glutes hard enough.
Yes you can do nordic curls and single leg hip thrusts, but the amount of strength they build is limited. Do you progress to single leg nordic curls?

I am no expert, as I've said, as I'm relatively new to gymnastics training. That said, Nordic Curls/GH raises are good, and a weighted vest would allow for progression. Same with pistols. On top of this, gymnasts do a lot of tumbling work, which requires a decent amount of dynamic training for the legs. It's a lot of jumps and explosive work.

Beyond that, training for the planches and levers cannot help but to build a strong posterior chain. You may look at a picture of a guy doing a front lever and think he must have a strong back (not just upper back), but it is hard to underestimate just how much hip strength, and muscle activation is required, and how long you have to hold that contraction for. If strength is, in part, a function of CNS efficiency, there are few more efficient than gymnasts, as many of the more advanced moves require incredible ability to fire your nervous system. I suspect that the ability to hold a full planche and a full front lever would translate extremely effectively to your deadlifting ability.
10-26-2015 05:19 AM
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