Monday, November 02, 2009

Hardcore gymanstics book

"Gymnastics for ironheads" sums up the spirit of the book. The goal is the same as in weight training - to develop strong and functional muscles. But it only uses bodyweight exercises from gymnastic tradition.

Gymnasts are famous for superhuman acrobatic feats where they fly from pole to pole or do multiple cartwheels and aerials on a narrow beam, but this book is nothing like that. It deals with dips, pull-ups, headstands, handstands and other strength exercises. The main claim is that gymnasts who start by systematically developing a strong body will also find acrobatic movements easier.

I ordered it based on this article, and got what I wanted. My old weight training book classifies exercise to 8 categories for different parts of body. A good program covers all categories to achieve balanced development. This new book has bodyweight exercises for all the categories. (The categories are knee dominat, hip dominant, core, vertical/horizontal push/pull, and explosive force.)

So if pig flu strikes, I can stop going to gym and get full exercise with my bodyweight using just walls, mats, a pull-up bar and rings.

The funny thing is that the author is a coach for a national team of young gymnasts. So all the pictures are about 9 - 15 years old boys. It also classifies the moves with 5 stars. I can currently only do 1/2 star movements and hope to progress some day to 1-star moves. Luckily, it lists much more exercises in the easy end. It ends with a motivational story about the benefits of strength training for gymansts.

A gymnastics based workout of the day
After a four hour workout and completing their ring strength training, the general physical preparation assignment was to complete, in 15 minutes, as many rounds as possible of the following: 10 muscle-ups followed by 20 pause-jump squats. The winner would be the one who completed most rounds in 15 minutes.
The pause-jump squats were simply a jumping squat with a 2-3 second pause at the bottom with hips parallel or slightly below the knees. I placed these here primarily to provide a break for their upper body before the next set of muscle-ups. (As a side note, towards the end of the workout, one of my athletes became bored with the pause-jump squats and began adding a back flip to the jump portion.)

The results were as follows: Chris and Greg chased each other throughout the entire fifteen minutes, completing 12 rounds each and were begining a 13th round when the clock ran out. Chris was crowned champion as he finished his 12th round of muscle-ups one rep ahead of Greg. Greg was, needless to say, quite annoyed to have been defeated by one rep. ... They were not extremely fatigued and would have been fine had I extended the time of the general physical preparation to twenty minutes.

Allan and Zach were tied for third with 10 rounds apiece for 100 single bar muscle-ups and 200 jump-squats. As an interesting aside, Allan ... had only recently turned 9 years old that March.

We finished off our workout with 50 flairs on the pommel horse. ...

So if you want to be able to do 100 pull-ups in 15 minutes once you reach the age of 9 years, this book tells you how!

No comments: