Yet another summary of Training Talk!

This episode we discuss an interesting topic: mastering your ability to lift your own weight!

I feel that being proficient at lifting your own bodyweight crucial regardless if you are an elite athlete or a working professional.

The reason being:

1, It allows you to be more athletic; you are more nimble and agile, which helps you to perform physical tasks (daily household chores to moving around in combat load during reservist) more easily.

2, Sets a solid foundation for you for further strength development – your ligaments and joints will be stronger after a period of bodyweight work and thus allow you to move on to lifting heavier loads with lesser risks of injury.

3, OF COURSE, LAST BUT NOT LEAST, perform fancy bar skills and increases obstacle immunity during Obstacle Course Races (OCR)!

In this episode, we focus on how to go about mastering your own bodyweight in order to achieve the third benefit. We specifically focus on three skills which I thought would be of interest to you guys:

1, Getting your first muscle up

2, Clearing the monkey bar

3, Clearing the multi-rig

There are 2 huge concepts towards training in order to help you achieve these 3 feats which demonstrate feats of bodyweight mastery: Physical training and technical training.

Physical training prepares your body to handle the rigors of technical training, allowing you to practice technical drills safely and is the foundation strength builder for these 3 movements.

Technical training grooves the motor pattern of these movements via drills and thus allowing you to pick up the skills gradually.

1, Physical Training

This refers to the development of strength specific to the muscles, tendons and ligaments required to perform these movements. This concept applies to mastering any other intermediate-advanced bodyweight movements.

The Muscle Up

There are 3 primary movements in the muscle up: the pull, the transition and the dip.

The pull and the dip are the primary physical movements that we need to get really strong at before we are ready to handle the technical drills of muscle ups.

I always recommend my clients to be able to first perform 15 pull ups  and 15 bar dips before attempting technical training for the muscle up. I am sure some can pick up this skill with 10 of each, however, it is not safe to do so. I remembered how I injured my rotator cuff through technical training of the muscle up and that is when I was able to do 20+ pull ups and 30+ dips. If you don’t have adequate strength, the movement drills that you

If you don’t have adequate strength, you will not have deliberate control over the movement drills that you practice. You are just “trying your luck”. There is no deliberate and purposeful practice of the drills and it can lead to injuries.

Even when you are able to do 15 pull ups and dips, don’t stop there –  the better you are at your basics, the better you will get at the more advanced movements; after picking up weighted pull ups and dips + some explosive pulling work, my ability to perform the muscle up improved dramatically – all these with little technical work and thus I firmly believe in the development of your foundation movements to build up performance for more advanced movements.

Multi-Rig and Monkey Bars

Primary movements for monkey bars and multi-rigs are the ability to shift your bodyweight from one arm to another while hanging in mid-air. Thus, it is crucial to first develop your grip endurance. This can be done by:

1, Hanging on the bar (or different handholds such as globe balls, fat grips, cliffhangers, etc), first with both arm, then subsequently 1 arm.

2, Performing loads of pull ups

2, Technical Training

Technical training gets you smooth in the movement itself. Therefore for the case of the muscle ups, here are some drills which can be performed in order to groove in the necessary movement pattern:

1, muscle up negatives

2, banded muscle ups

3, other muscle up progressions

Some drills for practicing the multi-rigs and monkey bars (getting used to shifting weight from one arm to another):

1, monkey bar traverse (monkey swing/ single rung method; bent elbows/straight arms)

2, gymnastic ring traverse (with differing height and handholds)

3, switching grip pull ups

As you can see, technical training for multi-rigs and monkey bars are quite straightforward, whereas for the muscle ups it can get a little more technical. This all depends on the complexity of the movements. The muscle up is definitely more technical than the monkey bars/multi-rigs but I firmly believe that with proper strength development via physical training will definitely expedite the learning process in the technical phase of training.

So before you try out any fanciful bodyweight skills, always ask yourself this question:

Do I have the adequate strength to perform the movements?

If no, it is better to work on developing the basics (e.g. pull ups, dips, push ups, hollow hold) first before moving on to practice technical aspect of the movement.

If you have any queries or need a customised plan to build you up towards achieving your first muscle up, clearing the multi-rig or monkey bar, feel free to drop me an email, or DM me on Instagram or Facebook!

Goodluck and Train Hard!!