5 Ways To Incorporate Conditioning Into Your Calisthenics Routine

5 Ways To Incorporate Conditioning Into Your Calisthenics Routine

Being strong is great, but not at the expense of diminished athleticism and getting injured. We’ve all seen the big guy who can bench the house yet gets gassed playing pickup football with a bunch of dudes from the office.Or the middle-aged fella who pulls a hamstring when working up to a sprint on the track trying to show his kids Daddy’s still got it after all these years. That ain’t athletic.That’s sad. And certainly not what we’re after.

Here are 5 ways for improving athleticism and staving off injuries for anyone involved in sports…

1) Jump

Every athlete should include some type of jumping in their training program.Begin with easier variations such as box and vertical jumps, while also adding single-leg jumps like lateral bounds and hurdle hops in your workouts.Over time you can move on to advanced movements like depth jumps.The key with all jump exercises is to keep reps low and rest periods long enough for proper recovery.

While certain exercise methodologies advocate pummeling yourself into oblivion with depth landings from 50″ boxes followed by 20 reps of box jumps, you need to be smarter than that if you want to train for increased power and stay healthy.

Do 3-6 sets of 3-5 reps per exercise, two or three times per week.

improving athleticism

Try incorporating jumping into your calisthenics routine. 

Source: Dougtjaden

2) Sprint

Although sprinting is a great way to get faster and leaner, most adults should stay away from emulating top level sprinters they see chasing world records on TV. Huh – whadda ya mean? Lemme explain…

If you’re a regular dude with an office job whose last exposure to running sprints dates back to PE class in junior high, starting your quest to get back in shape with 200 m dashes on the track at full speed will soon have you sidelined with an injury as your body can’t yet withstand the muscular stress generated by such a demanding physical activity. Welcome groin and hamstring pulls. Goodbye getting faster and shedding body fat.

The solution?

Use shorter distances. With short distances, you’re spending considerably more time in the acceleration phase, which places less stress on lower body muscles and leads to less injuries as opposed to the max speed phase taking place after it.

For some of you that might mean starting with 10 meter sprints, then adding another 5-10 meters to it every two weeks or so. After a couple months, you’d be running 30-50 meters with significantly decreased injury risk as your body will be better prepared to handle the muscular stress caused by higher running speeds.

For longer distance sprinting, run hills. The incline of a hill forces you to run below your true maximal running speed (which is when the majority of injuries occur) and makes hamstring pulls a lot less likely. Perform one flat ground and one hill sprint workout for a total of two weekly sprinting sessions.

3) Change Directions

Sports is random and chaotic by nature. The best athletes – whether we’re talking about football, hockey, tennis or basketball – go from moving in one direction to exploding the other way as a new play develops in the blink of an eye.

Sprinting only in a straight line will not cut it if you want to gain the quickness and agility to dominate the opposition on the pitch or in the rink.

You need to add some exercises with braking and cutting into your training for that.

These can be as simple as setting up two cones anywhere between 5-10 meters apart and sprinting from one to the other a few times. Or you can perform more advanced variations with forward, backward, lateral and diagonal direction changes. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination. Include some sort of short change-of-direction drill in every warm-up before sports practice and train them more extensively once or twice per week.

4) Load Single-Leg Exercises

Single-leg exercises have long been an undervalued part of strength training – but they’re extremely important for athletes in improving performance and staying healthy.Not everyone can handle the wear and tear accumulated over years of subjecting your joints and tendons to heavy bilateral squatting and deadlifting.

Incidences of low back and knee pain increase the longer you’ve been in the Iron Game. However, few people will display those same problems when we squat or deadlift on one leg at a time. Many gym-goers regard single-leg training as an afterthought, something you can throw in at the end of a workout for high reps with light weight – if performed at all.

I’m telling you to work those unilateral lower body movements just like you would heavy squats and deads from now on. Get stronger in the 3-8 rep range on dumbbell and barbell split squats, reverse lunges and rear-foot elevated split squats. You can still keep the heavy bilateral lifts in your program if they don’t beat you up.

Though also including some single-leg stuff certainly wouldn’t hurt. A decent number to shoot for on any of those single-leg squat variations mentioned above is 1.5x BW of external load for 5 reps. If you could bump that up to 2x BW for 5 over the next few years, you’d be an extremely strong individual. Add at least two heavy single-leg exercises – one a squat, the other a deadlift pattern – in your training program each week.

improving athleticism

Try adding one leg exercises into your daily calisthenics routine.

Source: Howstuffworks

5) Master Your Bodyweight

Male gymnasts possess unparalleled mastery in moving their own bodyweight through space, which is a great way to build upper body strength and overall athleticism.Think about it… how much fat, out of shape people can perform loaded chin-ups? What about ring push-ups? Or climbing rope? Practically None. That’s because demonstrating any level of decent athleticism and being able to handle your own bodyweight go hand in hand.

When you see a fella at the park, kicking and flailing to climb the invisible ladder in front of his 10-year-old son to show Junior how to do chin-ups, you may think “man, what a dope”, but  when you come across a guy at the gym chinning effortlessly with a pile of plates attached to his waist? Now that is dope.

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Yunus Barisik, CSCS, is the owner and head trainer at Next Level Athletics in Helsinki, Finland. He has worked with hundreds of clients from all walks of life – from business owners and office workers to junior and high school hockey players all the way to the collegiate and pro levels.

Combining old school training methods with the latest research, Yunus helps his clients get stronger, faster, leaner and more awesome in general as fast as humanly possible through proper strength training and nutrition prescription.

For more information, please visit www.next-level-athletics.com or you can e-mail Yunus anytime at yunus@next-level-athletics.com.

6 Simple Tips to Avoid Shoulder Injury

6 Simple Tips to Avoid Shoulder Injury

I wish there had been a resource on keeping shoulders healthy when I first got into barbell strength training, because I certainly could have used it.

Or maybe there was but I was too thick-skinned to listen. Injuries are for old guys and pussies, I always thought.

avoid shoulder pain

avoid shoulder pain

Boy, was I wrong.

While I’m by no means a “shoulder expert”, my own shoulder problems have led me to modify and find safer ways of training over the years.

Plus, I have seen my fair share of guys with shoulder issues training hockey players – a sport where shoulder injuries are about as commonplace as Big Macs on a fat kid’s dinner plate.

6 simple tips to avoid shoulder injury

1. Use a Thick Bar or Fat Gripz for Pressing

Few people realize this but a larger diameter bar is actually less stressful on the joints than a regular one.

Plus, you can’t go as heavy with a thicker bar. So you still get a great training effect with lighter loads, which is safer.

avoid shoulder pain

avoid shoulder pain

Get a pair of these. You can thank me later.

2. Avoid Explosive Overhead Work

Snatches and jerks can wreak havoc on the shoulders, especially if your shoulder and thoracic mobility suck. For some guys even a clean can become problematic, causing pain in the catch position.

For an easy fix, replace those movements with kettlebell swings – performed no higher than shoulder height (arms parallel to floor) – and various medicine ball throws.

You’ll still be able to train for increased power without the risk of being sidelined due to injury.

avoid shoulder pain

avoid shoulder pain

Most non-Olympic lifters lack the mobility to perform overhead exercises safely

And don’t worry about what some die-hard Olympic lifting fanatic said about the necessity of snatching, jerking and cleaning for improved athleticism on some training forum.

You can’t train when injured. Stick with what’s comfortable.

If you absolutely insist on Olympic lifting regardless of the risks involved, focus on pull variations and perform snatches with a clean grip.

3. Scale Back on Overhead Pressing

Overhead presses have gained the unwarranted reputation of destroying guys’ shoulders.

They don’t. But they can definitely aggravate existing ones.

Know the difference.

Behind-the-neck presses will likely go out the window if you’ve had shoulder problems and wish to keep them healthy in the long run. Regular military presses perhaps as well.

Your best bet would then be to perform a standing overhead press with leg drive or what most people know as a ”push press” – this helps in overcoming the bottom part of the lift which is more stressful than after the barbell clears the sticking point, and where most shoulder injuries occur.

But even then, the stress on the joints may be too much when using a straight bar.

If that’s the case, 1 arm dumbbell push presses, thick bar push presses and log presses (with a neutral grip) should be your top choices for direct overhead work.

4. Do Landmine or Incline Bench Presses

For those of you experiencing pain/discomfort every time you attempt any direct overhead work, your next option is to switch to incline benching.

Any barbell or dumbbell variation will get the job done, just make sure the bench is set up at a 15-30 degree angle. I’ve found this to be a better choice than a flat bench for trainees with existing shoulder problems while you still get to go heavy here.

Another, even safer pressing movement is the landmine press, which can be done standing or from a half-kneeling position, just like Tony Gentilcore does in the video below. I prefer half-kneeling for beginners since it teaches you how to properly lock in the abs and squeeze the glutes, avoiding compensation from the lower back with overhead exercises.

5. Don’t Go Full Range of Motion

That means leaving a couple centimeters of space between chest and bar in the bottom position of any bench press variation.

And, as I have already mentioned in the past, performing pulls and high pulls on cleans and snatches.

When barbell pressing overhead, you’d start the movement at about chin level, not off the upper chest.

On dips, your upper arm should go no lower than parallel to the floor. The bottom portion of the dip contributes very little to additional strength gains but is a lot more stressful on the shoulders than with the upper arm at and above 90 degrees.

On chins, especially if done on a fixed bar, leave a slight, barely noticeable bend in the elbows at the bottom. This will keep all the tension and stress on the muscles instead of the joints.

6. Avoid Failure and Locking Out at the Top

Another way to make things even safer is to never go near failure, grinding and locking out those ugly-looking reps that take you five seconds to complete. All reps should be done in a piston-like fashion – smooth, good bar speed, just shy of full range of motion both at the bottom and at the top.

So if you were incline benching the 40 kg dumbbells, you’d bring the DB’s down to within a few centimeters of touching the chest at the bottom and within a few centimeters of locking out at the top. This ensures that your upper body muscles bear the brunt of the physical stress – not the wrists, elbows and shoulders.

Once you start getting close to that territory where lifting speed slows down, having to take a couple seconds between each rep with the dumbbells held at the top with straight elbows, terminate the set.

Here’s Ronnie Coleman demonstrating exactly what I mean on the dumbbell bench press:

While you won’t be able to use as much weight and perform as many reps as you normally would when locking out at the top, you’ll stay in the game far longer into the future.

And that’s all that matters.

7. Use Gymnastic Rings

Gymnastic rings are special in that they allow for natural movement of the joints to occur.

Some people experience shoulder pain when performing dips or chin-ups on straight bars even without any external load. Since the bar is fixed, you can’t move freely and that could lead to joint problems down the road.

With chins on rings, for example, you can start with your palms facing away and finish with your palms facing you or you can keep a neutral grip the entire time.

It’s up to you and can be dictated by what feels safest and most natural for your body, as demonstrated by Ben Bruno below.

So now you know how to avoid shoulder pain.

To finish off, here are my TOP 5 safest, most effective upper body pressing movements for those suffering from shoulder issues, in no particular order…

  1. Thick bar or Fat Gripz floor press
  2. 1 arm DB push press (neutral grip if necessary)
  3. 1/2 kneeling landmine or kettlebell press
  4. Log clean & push press
  5. Ring push-up

You can still train hard and heavy while injured. But you gotta train smart. See other tips on staying off the injury for calisthenics athletes.

And of course, the best way to protect your shoulder is to train naturally through calisthenics. See how you can replace weight training with bodyweight and calisthenics exercises here. 

That means ditching the exercises that cause pain. And replacing them with safer options.

Follow these recommendations and keep getting stronger without grinding your shoulders into dust.

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Yunus Barisik, CSCS, is the owner and head trainer at Next Level Athletics in Helsinki, Finland. He has worked with hundreds of clients from all walks of life – from business owners and office workers to junior and high school hockey players all the way to the collegiate and pro levels.

Combining old school training methods with the latest research, Yunus helps his clients get stronger, faster, leaner and more awesome in general as fast as humanly possible through proper strength training and nutrition prescription.

For more information, please visit www.next-level-athletics.com or you can e-mail Yunus anytime at yunus@next-level-athletics.com.

5 Ways to Improve Performance and Stay Healthy for Athletes

Being strong is great.

But not at the expense of diminished athleticism and getting injured.

We’ve all seen the big guy who can bench the house yet gets gassed playing pickup football with a bunch of dudes from the office.

Or the middle-aged fella who pulls a hamstring when working up to a sprint on the track trying to show his kids Daddy’s still got it after all these years.

That ain’t athletic.

That’s sad.

And certainly not what we’re after.

Here are 5 ways for improving athleticism and staying off injuries for anyone involved in sports…

1) Jump

Every athlete should include some type of jumping in their training program.

Begin with easier variations such as box and vertical jumps, while also adding single-leg jumps like lateral bounds and hurdle hops in your workouts.

Over time you can move on to advanced movements like depth jumps.

The key with all jump exercises is to keep reps low and rest periods long enough for proper recovery.

improve performance

improve performance with workouts

While certain exercise methodologies advocate pummeling yourself into oblivion with depth landings from 50″ boxes followed by 20 reps of box jumps, you need to be smarter than that if you want to train for increased power and stay healthy.

Do 3-6 sets of 3-5 reps per exercise, two or three times per week.

2) Sprint

Although sprinting is a great way to get faster and leaner, most adults should stay away from emulating top level sprinters they see chasing world records on TV.

Huh – whadda ya mean?

Lemme explain…

If you’re a regular dude with an office job whose last exposure to running sprints dates back to PE class in junior high, starting your quest to get back in shape with 200 m dashes on the track at full speed will soon have you sidelined with an injury as your body can’t yet withstand the muscular stress generated by such a demanding physical activity.

Welcome groin and hamstring pulls. Goodbye getting faster and shedding body fat.

The solution?

Use shorter distances. With short distances, you’re spending considerably more time in the acceleration phase, which places less stress on lower body muscles and leads to less injuries as opposed to the max speed phase taking place after it.

For some of you that might mean starting with 10 meter sprints, then adding another 5-10 meters to it every two weeks or so. After a couple months, you’d be running 30-50 meters with significantly decreased injury risk as your body will be better prepared to handle the muscular stress caused by higher running speeds.

improve performance

improve performance with workouts

For longer distance sprinting, run hills. The incline of a hill forces you to run below your true maximal running speed (which is when the majority of injuries occur) and makes hamstring pulls a lot less likely.

Perform one flat ground and one hill sprint workout for a total of two weekly sprinting sessions.

3) Change Directions

Sports is random and chaotic by nature. The best athletes – whether we’re talking about football, hockey, tennis or basketball – go from moving in one direction to exploding the other way as a new play develops in the blink of an eye.

Sprinting only in a straight line will not cut it if you want to gain the quickness and agility to dominate the opposition on the pitch or in the rink.

You need to add some exercises with braking and cutting into your training for that.

improve performance with workout

improve performance with workout

These can be as simple as setting up two cones anywhere between 5-10 meters apart and sprinting from one to the other a few times.

Or you can perform more advanced variations with forward, backward, lateral and diagonal direction changes. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

Include some sort of short change-of-direction drill in every warm-up before sports practice and train them more extensively once or twice per week.

4) Load Single-Leg Exercises

Single-leg exercises have long been an undervalued part of strength training – but they’re extremely important for athletes in improving performance and staying healthy.

Not everyone can handle the wear and tear accumulated over years of subjecting your joints and tendons to heavy bilateral squatting and deadlifting. Incidences of low back and knee pain increase the longer you’ve been in the Iron Game.

However, few people will display those same problems when we squat or deadlift on one leg at a time.

Many gym-goers regard single-leg training as an afterthought, something you can throw in at the end of a workout for high reps with light weight – if performed at all.

I’m telling you to work those unilateral lower body movements just like you would heavy squats and deads from now on. Get stronger in the 3-8 rep range on dumbbell and barbell split squats, reverse lunges and rear-foot elevated split squats.

You can still keep the heavy bilateral lifts in your program if they don’t beat you up. Though also including some single-leg stuff certainly wouldn’t hurt.

A decent number to shoot for on any of those single-leg squat variations mentioned above is 1.5x BW of external load for 5 reps. If you could bump that up to 2x BW for 5 over the next few years, you’d be an extremely strong individual.

Add at least two heavy single-leg exercises – one a squat, the other a deadlift pattern – in your training program each week.

5) Master Your Bodyweight

Male gymnasts possess unparalleled mastery in moving their own bodyweight through space, which is a great way to build upper body strength and overall athleticism.

Think about it… how many fat, out of shape people can perform loaded chin-ups? What about ring push-ups? Or climbing rope?

Practically none.

That’s because demonstrating any level of decent athleticism and being able to handle your own bodyweight go hand in hand.

When you see a fella at the park, kicking and flailing to climb the invisible ladder in front of his 10-year-old son to show Junior how to do chin-ups, you may think “man, what a dope”.

But when you come across a guy at the gym chinning effortlessly with a pile of plates attached to his waist?

Now that is dope.

blank
Yunus Barisik, CSCS, is the owner and head trainer at Next Level Athletics in Helsinki, Finland. He has worked with hundreds of clients from all walks of life – from business owners and office workers to junior and high school hockey players all the way to the collegiate and pro levels.

Combining old school training methods with the latest research, Yunus helps his clients get stronger, faster, leaner and more awesome in general as fast as humanly possible through proper strength training and nutrition prescription.

For more information, please visit www.next-level-athletics.com or you can e-mail Yunus anytime at yunus@next-level-athletics.com.

How to Go From Zero to 15 pistol squats in 90 Days

How to Go From Zero to 15 pistol squats in 90 Days

Getting my hands on Convict Conditioning led to my first foray into advanced bodyweight training back in the spring of 2012.
At the time, I was feeling beat up from all the heavy barbell training I’d put my body through over the previous couple of years, and welcomed the idea of using nothing but the resistance of my own body [tweet_box design=”box_09″]when training on a chin-up bar and a pair of gymnastic rings at a local park over the entire summer.[/tweet_box]

Flipping through Convict Conditioning, I came across the [tweet_box design=”box_09″]one-leg squat a.k.a. pistol squat that the author dubbed “the ultimate lower body exercise”.[/tweet_box]

Being a huge fan of loaded barbell and dumbbell lower body exercises, and having barbell squatted double bodyweight just a few months prior, I couldn’t fathom how this innocuous-looking, unloaded movement could ever provide enough challenge for anyone but the weak and deconditioned.

Pistol Squat

Pistol Squat

As I soon found out, it most definitely could.

The first time I tried to do a pistol squat, I got duly embarrassed.

I was flailing and falling over from the get-go, never even able to break parallel, let alone sink all the way down into a full 1-leg squat.

After the third try I was frustrated with myself, and on the brink of giving up:

“Damn! How do those ghetto street workout guys on Youtube make this stuff look so easy?”

Getting my ass handed to me by a single-leg squat got me mad and determined at the same time – I vowed to myself I would find a way to master this simple yet deceivingly hard exercise, no matter what it took.

By the end of that summer, I hit a personal best of 15 pistol squats in a row.

[tweet_box design=”box_09″]The key to mastering any advanced bodyweight movement lies in breaking the movement down into smaller,[/tweet_box] more easily attainable regressions that over time build up towards the skill you’re looking to attain.

It’s the only way to see progress from week to week and keep you motivated.

Below are the progressions I personally found effective going from zero to hitting pistols for reps with ease within a couple months.

Progression #1 – 1-Leg Box Squat

The first thing to check off the list on your way to a full pistol is to get your muscles, joints and tendons strong enough to withstand gravity over an increased range of active motion. This is best done with 1-leg box squats and by gradually working with a lower box as you gain ROM.

Progression #2 – Assisted Pistol Squat

Once you’ve built some decent range of motion with the 1-leg box squat, the next step involves sinking into the bottom of the movement, hamstring to calf, by using a pole, door handle, TRX or whatever you have available as assistance.

Progression #3 – Assisted Concentric Pistol Squat

Assisted concentric pistol squats are simply a continuation of the previous step. This time you descend under control on your own, then use a pole or something similar to get back up.

Progression #4 – Elevated Pistol Squat

Here you’re using full ROM without assistance but standing on an elevated platform will give more room for the non-working leg to tag along, making it somewhat easier than 1-leg squatting on the ground.

Progression #5 – Pistol Squat

Having achieved the elevated pistol squat, full ROM pistols should be in the bag shortly after.

Progression #6 – Weighted Pistol Squat

As always with bodyweight exercises, you want to make things harder over time by either moving on to a more difficult progression or adding external load.

The same goes for pistols. Once you get proficient at the bodyweight version of the movement, increase resistance by wearing a weight vest, or hold a weight plate in your hands or a kettlebell overhead.

Start applying these progression steps today and you, too, can be hitting pistols in a few weeks’ time.

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments section below.

If you enjoyed this article, please do a brother a  favor by liking, commenting and sharing it with others who might dig it as well.

Thanks!

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Yunus Barisik, CSCS, is the owner and head trainer at Next Level Athletics in Helsinki, Finland. He has worked with hundreds of clients from all walks of life – from business owners and office workers to junior and high school hockey players all the way to the collegiate and pro levels.

Combining old school training methods with the latest research, Yunus helps his clients get stronger, faster, leaner and more awesome in general as fast as humanly possible through proper strength training and nutrition prescription.

For more information, please visit www.next-level-athletics.com or you can e-mail Yunus anytime at yunus@next-level-athletics.com.

6 Reasons Why You MUST train with Gymnastic Rings

6 Reasons Why You MUST train with Gymnastic Rings

According to Christopher Sommer, a well-known gymnastics coach, rings are the single greatest tool ever made for developing upper body strength. I include them in every training program I write for clients.

Even though they may look like a relatively simple training tool, I need to stress the fact that you shouldn’t underestimate the usefulness and difficulty of training with gymnastic rings.

gymnastic ring training

Push-ups on the ground, dips on bars or L-sits on parallettes are no comparison to performing these exercises on rings.

In fact, they’re not even in the same ballpark.

A guy could easily be able to do 20 bodyweight dips on a dip station, yet not be able to perform a single good rep on rings. They’re that hard.

If you haven’t already experienced the great training stimulus that gymnastic rings can offer, here are 6 reasons why you should include them in your strength training program.

Reason #1 – Great Upper Body Strength & Size Gains

While professional gymnasts make advanced ring movements look like child’s play, they’re anything but.

The strength and body control they’ve built over the years is absolutely insane and utterly underappreciated. The general public has no point of reference for how hard controlling the rings really is.

Don’t believe me?

Set up on the rings in the “support position” – with your body straight from head to toe, elbows locked straight and shoulders externally rotated so that your thumbs are pointing to 11 and 1 o’clock. Now time yourself maintaining that position for as long as you can without letting the elbows bend or rings turn in.

Most people new to ring training can’t hold that stance for 10 seconds – even though it’s the most basic position out there and involves no movement!

Now think about the fact that pro level ring routines include several extremely high-skill movements while lasting up to a minute or slightly longer.

I hope you’re starting to really appreciate what these superb athletes are capable of.

When it comes to putting some quality muscle on your frame, the rings can also help.

Take a look at the upper-body development of a ring specialist like Yuri van Gelder (pictured below) or Chen Yibing. Apart from some light pump work with weights to keep the joints healthy, all they do is practice their gymnastics routines, and their upper-bodies are jacked.

gymnastic ring training

So if anyone tells you that you can’t build great strength or an impressive physique from bodyweight training alone, they obviously don’t know what they’re talking about.

Reason #2 – Excellent Abdominal Development

If you’re after sick abdominal strength and aesthetics, advanced bodyweight movements on gymnastic rings will help more than any crunch or sit-up variation ever could.

When people ask me for the best abdominal exercises for “six-pack abs”, I tell them:

– ring push-up 60 kg for reps

– ring chin-up 20 kg for reps

– ring L-sit 10+ seconds

That definitely draws some blank stares.

But the fact remains that when you perform ring push-ups and chin-ups properly, your abs will get a lot stronger since they have to work much harder to stabilize the body as opposed to a push-up on the floor or a chin-up on a fixed bar.

L-sits are a fairly low-level ring skill that just about anyone should be able to achieve over time.

Doing those exercises (and their harder variations) will give your abs a whole new level of definition – as long as nutrition is on point.

When you reach (and exceed) the numbers I’ve listed above, your abs will be significantly stronger and visually more appealing than from all the hundreds of crunch variations you’ve been performing at the end of a workout.

 gymnastic ring training

Tired of doing hundreds of crunches? Try some L-sits on the rings!

Reason #3 – Safety

Another benefit of training with rings is that they allow for natural movement of the joints.

Some people experience shoulder pain when performing dips or chin-ups on straight bars even without any external load. Since the bar is fixed, you can’t move freely and that could lead to joint problems down the road.

With chin-ups on rings, for example, you can start with your palms facing away and finish with your palms facing you or you can keep a neutral gymnastic grip the entire time (learn about different types of gymnastics grips here). It’s up to you and can be dictated by what feels safest and most natural for your body.

Reason #4 – Strength Transference

Gymnastics coach Christopher Sommer has mentioned that typical weight training methods involving barbells and dumbbells are not conducive to excelling at gymnastic strength training, yet the opposite tends to be true – gymnastic strength training has great transference to most physical activities in the weight room.

As an example, I once hear him say that his young gymnasts can jerk 1.5x body weight without ever having touched a barbell strictly as a result of training for their sport.

In another interview, he stated:

 gymnastic ring training

Probably wouldn’t struggle with a body weight bench press

Mastering your own body brings about huge proprioceptive and neural increases, which never hurt even if your goal is lifting big weights.

Reason #5 – Freedom

I don’t know about you but when I’m traveling, the last thing I want is having to look for a decent training facility to get a training session in.

That’s because most public gyms simply suck.

They’ve got dumbbells running only up to 30 kg, crappy pop songs playing in the background, more Smith machines than squat racks, and ban the use of chalk.

How does anyone serious about their training get strong in that environment?

They don’t.

That’s why I carry my rings with me whenever I go abroad.

With the rings, all you need is a bar to hang them somewhere and you’re set. You can do that in pretty much any public space that sports a straight bar the width of your shoulders – most parks and beaches tend to have at least one of those.

 gymnastic ring training

Had some great training sessions at the legendary Tompkins Square Park while visiting NYC

You’ll get some fresh air coupled with challenging bodyweight movements and exposure to some much-needed vitamin D under the scorching summer sun.

What could be better than that?

Reason #6 – Fun

Anyone I’ve ever introduced to ring training has deemed them a fun activity (after they’ve been utterly humbled by the unforeseen difficulty of a basic ring push-up or dip, that is).

You basically have an unlimited variety of movements for the upper body in your arsenal, and since people usually progress quickly in the beginning, it’s easy to understand why people get hooked on ring training.

When you enjoy doing a physical activity, you’ll be that much more likely to stick with it for the long haul – something that cannot be said for the typical, endless cardio workouts people engage in because the treadmill is where awesomeness goes to die.

Now you know why you can’t afford to skip training on the gymnastic rings any longer.

So what are you waiting for? Grab a pair of rings and get to work.

Let me know if I can help with your training, or if you have any questions in the comments section below!

If you enjoyed this article, please do a brother a favor by liking, commenting and sharing it with others who might like it as well.

Thanks!

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BUILD STRENGTH, MUSCLE MASS AND LOSE FAT WITH PROGRESSIVE CALISTHENICS- The most effective bodyweight strength training on earth:

  • Over 170 detailed exercises progressions with over 20 steps each to guide you through
  • Downloadable workout schedule, including detailed guidance on warm up, skills work, strength work and conditioning
  • 7 different workout routines for whatever is your goal and lifestyle (strength, fat loss, endurance, skills etc)
  • and everything you need in one place to get you started regardless your fitness level.
  • YOUR TIME IS NOW!
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Yunus Barisik, CSCS, is the owner and head trainer at Next Level Athletics in Helsinki, Finland. He has worked with hundreds of clients from all walks of life – from business owners and office workers to junior and high school hockey players all the way to the collegiate and pro levels.

Combining old school training methods with the latest research, Yunus helps his clients get stronger, faster, leaner and more awesome in general as fast as humanly possible through proper strength training and nutrition prescription.

For more information, please visit www.next-level-athletics.com or you can e-mail Yunus anytime at yunus@next-level-athletics.com.