Has Tiger just made my year?

The retailer Tiger, may just have made my year. At Crossfit London, everyone needs pull ups ( both strict and kipping). As  a famous trainer, I’m always setting pull ups as a target,

Im often writing about them. I frequently ask, “What if you have no pull ups, surely no one will want to marry you”.

But often people say, I don’t want to smash my flat up by bolting a pull up bar to the wall  or the ceiling, or Im renting, or I have a nervous cat… sometimes, they say, they are too expensive.

So, it was a delight to see that Tiger has produced a pull up bar for £10. And its one you slot in and pack away. Easy to make, £10, easy to slot into a door of between 61 and 81cm, and , so the box says , will take up to 120 kg person. Obviously not for kipping, so its “just” for strict pull ups.  But strict pull ups are great.

Im not sure they are in every store: they were in Westfield East, but I couldn’t see them at the Stratford Shopping Centre store ( when I looked today).

Starting the straddle

The move that most people hate is the straddle. Some call this the middle split, others the side splits, others, names that cannot be published.

It is one of the key positions in gymnastics (along with others).

Just as a test, Im going to trial several types of Straddle development .

Before I start, for a matter of record  on the floor with my legs wide apart , my straddle angle was 145 ( 31st January 2014)

35 Degrees to go.

The 1st thing I did was to lie on the floor with my bottom against the wall and let my legs open. After 2 sets of 30 seconds, I re-measured the angle and it was 160.

For the next  30 days ,  Im going to do 3 x floor holds of 1 minute trying to keep my heels down and edging my hips forward, and 3 sets of wall straddle. Static stretching (like this)  is very unpopular in therapy circles.

so over the next 3 weeks, I laid on the floor, with my bum against the wall, and pulled my legs down.

UPDATE!!

On the 18th of February , after warming up and doing  several 3 step run ups to a front tuck, my adductor popped. The damage was deep into its attachment to my pelvis. It was so painful that it took  6 days for the  bruising to appear. Im still hobbling

adductor bruise

So, stretching, especially if you are old, needs to be gentle…..

Diagnosing my round-off issues

Here is the grim truth. Apart from my lunge problems, I have a “where my hands go” problem. Green is where my hands should be, blue is where they go.

So 1st port of call when fixing your round off is to draw around your feet and try a round off with your hands covered in chalk.

It gives you grim feedback. If your ego can cope!

You can then take a video clip and watch the disaster in “SLOMO”

This, is surely, partly to do with shoulder flexibility

So here is how to begin to fix it.

1) Position specific work

hold the position against the wall
IMG_1631

Try this yoga type exercise
IMG_1634

2) generic Shoulder flexibility work

I’ll add a link once Ive finished the video

Round-off: failure to land in a lunge

This is a major problem for me and other adult (learner)  gymnasts. In order to round-off , the  leading leg needs to be able to support a deepish lunge position that allows the energy to be transferred forward. Quickly. Then snapped straight, to drive the leg up to catch the other one up.

Its  a problem frequently overlooked and seems to haunt those who have done “proper” exercise. A “proper” exercise lunge ( or the split jerk in Olympic Weightlifting) will demand an upright torso, and probably the heel down on the leading leg.

It is aimed at keeping energy centred, not “rolling it” forward.

You need to be able to direct the lunge forward with a knee bend and not prematurely straighten it.

For now, start building a bit of static “round off lunge” position into your life. It is true that you will never hold the position as the energy is going forward, but when I started to correct this position with my coach, I found that I could not hold this position. I’ll blame a dodgy adductor muscle for now, but the reality is, if I couldn’t hold it, why would I be able to jump into it? The front foot is more on the ball of the foot than the heel, and my shoulders are forward, Neutrali(ish) spin.

Add this to your practice. Once you have it you can begin to turn your upper body away in “proper” preparation of the round off.