Moving Into Stillness

This is not a blog about zen meditation although that is a good idea. This is about training. I discovered a weakness in my training and decided to share it with you as well as a simple strategy on how to strengthen it.

I am just finishing up the 30 Day Hanging Challenge from Ido Portal. The challenge is simple: spend 7 minutes every day hanging. Hang from a pull-up bar, rings, tree branch, door frame, etc. I started doing this and realized it was much harder than it sounds. Although I have a relatively strong grip, I have rather limited endurance in my grip strength and I actually struggle with being able to hang one-handed. Doing this challenge has made me stronger and reignited my interest in doing some other static work.

It turns out that isometric holds are a useful tool for strength development and positional awareness. They are a great tool for beginner and advanced athletes and are infinitely scalable.

As a coach I try to simplify complex movements. I look for the weak links in my athletes and try to strengthen them so that they can perform at their best and before those weaknesses lead to injuries. When I look at movement I look at the starting position, the finish position and the movement from one to the other. With that in mind, doing some isometric work on the basic start and finish positions can lead to better and safer movement.

Try to hold each of the following positions for a minute or more and see how strong you are. Please keep your body in a strong organized position the entire time. If that is too easy, try an L-hold where possible or try them one-handed where possible.

Hollow body
Arch body
Top of push-up (plank)
Bottom of push-up
Top of the ring dip (Support)
Bottom of the ring dip
Bottom of the pull-up
Top of the pull-up (chin over bar)
Top of the chin-up (supinated grip)
Top of the Chest to Bar pull-up
Top of the false grip ring pull-up
Headstand (bottom of the HSPU)

Some of these are far more difficult than others. Do not let that dissuade you. Go try each of these positions and see where you stand. Progress comes slowly but it’s worth it. Mastery of these basic positions will help you build strength and help with basic positioning as you fatigue during workouts.

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