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Gavin Harrison
06-23-2008, 08:03 PM
First, I guess I should state my goals and equipment.. my goals are to increase my upper body strength significantly, particularly in my shoulders and arms. The equipment I have available to me at the moment are my body and two parallettes made out of PVC pipe (crossfit journal article). Possible future equipment, an adjustable kettlebell (1-2 pood, usa kettlebell), and if I'm really lucky, rings.

Me: 6' tall, 160 lb, 20 year old, male.

Goals: planche, freestanding handstand / hspu, l-sit, maybe press to handstand.

Current ability: I can support myself with my knees to my chest for a good amount of time (not sure exactly how long), a low l-sit for a few seconds at most, and a (not horizontal yet) ball planche for maybe 5-10 seconds. My best handstand hold is ~5 seconds (not strict form). Not even close to a handstand pushup.

Previous stuff: For a while, I was doing Barbell training, but since moving back to college at the conclusion of a long internship, I don't have a convenient place or time to travel to a gym. Stats were (as of 3 months ago):
Back squat 5rm: 200#
Bench press 5rm: 165#
Standing press 5rm: 85#
DL 5RM: 265#

Current Problem: I've read a lot of gymnastic articles and things by Coach Sommer, Drills and Skills, etc, but I haven't found a place that tells you how to program for gymnastics very much.

The Question: How should I program any sort of training for gymnastics? I can workout monday-friday, and even saturday/sunday (minus equipment, in general), but I have no idea how to structure it, or how to avoid things like possible muscle imbalances. Would ever day be the same? How many sets and reps and variations of things like push ups, sit ups should I be doing? etc.

Thank you in advance for any advice :)

Steven Low
06-23-2008, 10:45 PM
Read this especially the two CF links I provided in the Strength/Power section.

http://www.powerathletesmag.com/wforum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1037

Your goals suffer from a lack of good pulling exercises but otherwise are fine. Need to have pulling to prevent imbalances, heh.

What exactly are you doing for lower body?


Programming for gymnastics is EXACTLY like programming for weightlifting (IMO) except bodyweight skills generally need progressions rather than weight. Once you figure out what you want to do it's fairly easy to construct a routine around it.

Allen Yeh
06-24-2008, 04:52 AM
Wow, that is a lot of writing. I'll have to take the time to look through it when I get a chance today.

Gavin Harrison
06-24-2008, 05:57 AM
Read this especially the two CF links I provided in the Strength/Power section.

http://www.powerathletesmag.com/wforum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1037

Your goals suffer from a lack of good pulling exercises but otherwise are fine. Need to have pulling to prevent imbalances, heh.

What exactly are you doing for lower body?

Programming for gymnastics is EXACTLY like programming for weightlifting (IMO) except bodyweight skills generally need progressions rather than weight. Once you figure out what you want to do it's fairly easy to construct a routine around it.

Thank you for the reply, and the links :) Sounds lame (maybe), but at the moment I don't really exercise my legs outside of biking to and from school. I know I'm missing a good pulling exercise, I wish I had a bar or something to do pull ups or front lever progressions on, maybe soon. Perhaps if I get a kettlebell I can use that to do some legs/pulling exercises (TGU, rows, pistols). I'll read the article when I get a chance today and try to put something together for myself :D

Garrett Smith
06-24-2008, 08:09 AM
Look to the parallette training article (beginner) at www.american-gymnast.com, you'll need to register to get access.

Steven Low
06-24-2008, 09:55 AM
Wow, that is a lot of writing. I'll have to take the time to look through it when I get a chance today.
It's basically the same one I wrote a year ago (which you might have read before).... albeit with some modifications as it's getting an overhaul.


Oh yeah, before I forget the MOST important thing you should do first is acquire or make your own rings and parallettes if you don't have any so far. These will become your best friend and pretty much 90% or more of your work will be done on them if you really want to do something gymnastics based. After that would be finding a good place to mount your rings such that you can lower them to waist height or above ~7-8 feet so you can do hanging work if possibly. Parallettes.. find a good wall or place to crash like a mattress.

Garrett Smith
06-24-2008, 10:15 AM
I second Steven's suggestions...maybe even do the "bucket circle" setup from the CFJ if you are ambitious.

I have an old baby crib mattress for under my rings, they hang from my 8' garage ceiling.

Rings and parallettes...the basics of gymnastics work at home. Pulling, pushing, supports.

Gavin Harrison
06-26-2008, 08:37 AM
Thanks everyone for the advice, I've only got parallettes for now (as said), but hoping to get an adjustable kettlebell and set of rings (birthday ;) ) saturday-ish :D

Anyway, I read steve's article on programming and I tried this yesterday...

1. warm up.. move around, get the blood flowing..
2. "tuck sit" on parallettes (60s total)
3. tuck planche on parallettes (to the best of my ability, back isn't exactly parallel to the floor.. or very close, but pressing as hard as possible towards that goal with locked arms) (60s total)
4. 3x10 V-Ups
5. 3x5 pseudo-planche push-ups
6. 5x1 headstand pushup negatives
7. weighted standing pike stretch (as per coach sommer's response on how to get better hamstring flexibility) 2x30s

I think one thing preventing me from being able to hold L-sit is my hamstring flexibility, so, I'll work on that with the weighted standing pike stretches until I'm happy with my flexibility then work on maintaining. Those stretches made my hamstrings feel good...

How does it look? I know it's a little narrow, but it should improve when more equipment is acquired :)

Steven Low
06-26-2008, 01:57 PM
1. "Core" work always goes at the end. Along with stretching.

2. You don't have any pulling exercises.... I don't want to talk about imbalances and pain but.. it can happen if you're not careful. I've gotten a pretty big imbalance before but thankfully no pain others I know are not so fortunate. You NEED at least 2-3 types with something like that routine above.

3. Need some lower back and legs work.

Blair Lowe
06-26-2008, 10:18 PM
If you don't have anything to hang on to do pulling exercises simply hang underneath a table by the edges and practice horizontal/diagonal pullups. You'll like silly, but who cares. This can also be done with a strong broomstick and a few chairs. Find a tree limb or clothes hanging pole.

Two milk jugs and sand or water = home made KB/DB.

Sumo Deadlift High Pull or Bent over rows.

Numero Uno importante skill before just the tuck sits and ball planche is wall handstand mixed with handstand on the wall or kick to handstand if you're ready for it. I'm not seeing it in there besides the headstand pushup negatives. Personally, I don't think much of these compared to dips and elevated decline pushups or bridge pushups. By all means keep working the tuck and L sits and tuck planche but if you want a free HSPU and press to HS, you need to lock down your HS work.