Wednesday 26 October 2011

Upper body progression

I've been focused purely on progressing my upper body lately. Having an injured wrist for most of my time training until recently, I have a very weak base to start from, but hopefully that means I'll have the early stage gains quickly giving me the feeling of progress, and whilst my knee recovers it gives me more of an upper body focus to work with.

I've been working on my muscle ups, aiming to have a couple of sessions a week where I'm practicing them on a pull-up bar in a local park. I'm finally able to perform muscle ups with both arms together instead of always having to lock out one arm first and then struggle to get the other up above the bar.

The main way this has happened has been through technique, attempting to get up to the top of the bar "gymnast style" which is almost purely done through swinging, pushing out the chest and kicking high, so the swing takes you to the top of the bar and much less strength is required. Right now I'm completely unable to do this! The motion of kicking up with both of my legs seems unnatural to me so I always perform the motion of attempting a standard muscle up, but it has taught me to utilise the pushing out my chest as part of the initial swing and allows me to finally perform clean muscle ups, so I'm pleased with that. I've also in the last few weeks been able to do multiple reps in a single set which is much more a test of strength and technique so my training going forward will be performing multiple reps each time.

The other area that I'd like to progress in is gaining the ability to hold a handstand. Before last month I could count the number of sessions that I'd attempted handstands on one hand, and having my injured wrist means I'd never had the motivation to try and potentially hurt myself (it's fine for handstand now, even turning on that wrist to get out of the handstand when I go too far over).

The main way I've been practicing is by trying to go straight into a free handstand from squat and jumping up into position, hoping to hold position. I've definitely made progress but it's still very rare that I reach the balance point and hold it for even a second, though occasionally I'm there for a good few seconds. I've decided to definitely change strategy and will start working on my frog stands, developing the instinct to counterbalance and regain control primarily using my hands, pushing from my fingertips or my palm, and generally get used to the motion and position of balancing on my hands, and hope the understanding I gain will transfer well into my handstand practice. This is also something I can practice at home in the tiny space that I have which would not permit handstands at all, so that's also reserved for the local park.

Other news is that on my first attempt to go up into handstand position whilst holding onto my pushups bars (having taken them outside) ended with me tipping, landing on one of the bars and breaking it; not the best first attempt!

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