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Unformatted text preview: Overcoming Gravity: A Systematic Approach to Gymnastics and Bodyweight Strength Second Edition Copyright © 2016 by Steven Low All rights reserved. Supervising Editor: Jared Stump Associate Editor: M.M. DeVoe Additional Editing: Christopher Matthias Cover Concept: Sigur Ros Additional Cover Design: Kathrine Tripp and Katherine Lloyd Interior Design and Typeset: Katherine Lloyd Illustrations: Ryan Cousins, Mike Kash, and Seiji Tanaka One-Arm Handstand Section of Chapter 24: Yuri Marmerstein Published in Houston, Texas, by Battle Ground Creative Battle Ground Creative is a publishing company with an emphasis on helping first-time authors find their voice. Named after an obscure city in Washington State, we currently operate offices in Houston, Texas and Princeton, New Jersey. For a complete title list and bulk order information, please visit The websites and references listed in this book are intended to serve as a resource, with no guarantee expressed or implied as to the accuracy of their content. ISBN-10: 0-9908738-5-4 ISBN-13: 978-0-9908738-5-3 HEATH & FITNESS / Exercise Printed in the United States of America DISCLAIMER By using Overcoming Gravity: A Systematic Approach to Gymnastics and Bodyweight Strength (hereafter referred to as the book), you (hereafter referred to as the user), signify your agreement to the following terms and conditions. If you do not agree to the terms and conditions outlined on this page, do not use this book! • The user’s usage of any and all content provided within the book is at the user’s own risk. This includes suggested workouts, exercise routines, nutritional information, and all other information. • In no case shall the author, illustrators, editors, publisher, suppliers, or any other third party referenced be liable for any damages (both now and in the future) including, but not limited to: physical injuries to any part of the body or multiple parts of the body, non-physical damages such as emotional pain and financial loss, muscle strains or tears, illness and disease, heart attack, death; however caused, occurring during or after the user’s altering of their habits, actions, diet, exercise, and/or lifestyle based upon usage of the content provided by the book. • Material contained in the book is for educational purposes only. The author, publisher, and other agents of the book assume no responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of content obtained from the book. • User understands that any and all advice and suggested programs pertaining to exercise and fitness should be performed after consulting with the appropriate medical professionals, under the guidance of a qualified trainer. • User understands nutritional advice is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, and/or treatment, and has been advised to seek medical advice from a physician before altering a diet or beginning an exercise program. CONTENTS Introduction PART ONE – FUNDAMENTAL KNOWLEDGE BASE Chapter 1: PRINCIPLES OF BODYWEIGHT TRAINING SAID Principle and Progressive Overload Leverage Common Training Concepts The Repetition Continuum Chapter 2: PHYSIOLOGY OF STRENGTH AND HYPERTROPHY What is Strength? The Central Nervous System, Motor Units, and Muscle Fiber Types Neural Adaptations for Strength The Role of the Central Nervous System Mechanisms of Hypertrophy Open and Closed Chain Exercises Chapter 3: PROGRESSION CHARTS AND GOAL SETTING Progression Charts and How to Use Them The Level System Classification of Differences in the Level System Setting and Achieving Goals Selecting Goals Goals and Exercise Selection Commitment to Achievement Chapter 4: STRUCTURAL BALANCE CONSIDERATIONS Overview of Shoulder Health Maintaining Structural Balance The Why of Structural Balance General Recommendations Chapter 5: INTRO TO PROGRAMMING, ATTRIBUTES, AND THE HIERARCHY OF A ROUTINE Intra-Workout Programming and Linear Progression Stress, Adaptation, Supercompensation, Fitness, and Fatigue Basic Periodization and Inter-Workout Structure Attribute Training The Basic Hierarchy of a Routine Chapter 6: POPULATION CONSIDERATIONS Understanding Populations Sedentary vs. Active Young vs. Old Sport-Specific vs. Recreational Training Uninjured vs. Injured PART TWO – CONSTRUCTING YOUR ROUTINE Chapter 7: CONSTRUCTING YOUR WORKOUT ROUTINE Frequency in Full-Body Routines and Split Routines Four Types of Splits Chapter 8: WARM-UP AND SKILL WORK Classification of Warm-Up Exercises and Descriptions Skill Work: Time of Skill Work, Type of Skill Work, and Qualities Chapter 9: STRENGTH WORK Types of Exercises and Exercise Notation Concentric Repetitions Assisted Concentric Exercises Isometric Holds Eccentric Cluster Repetitions (Chaining) Examples of Repetition in Workout Routines Sets Exercise Order Incorporating Rest Times Paired Sets of Exercises Tempo General Strength and Isometrics Core Work Performance and Termination of Workouts Chapter 10: METHODS OF PROGRESSION Simple Intra-Exercise Progression Simple Inter-Exercise Progression Complex Methods of Progression (Periodization) Chapter 11: PREHABILITATION, ISOLATION, FLEXIBILITY, AND COOL DOWN Prehabilitation Work Isolation Work Combining Prehabilitation and Isolation Work Flexibility Work and Cool Down Flexibility Through Static Stretching Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation Loaded Stretching Maintaining Flexibility Gains with Mobility and Flexibility Work Common Areas That Need Prehabilitation and Flexibility Work Chapter 12: MESOCYCLE PLANNING Intra-Mesocycle factors Beginner Level: Exercises and Recommendations, Weekly Scheduling, Ending a Cycle Intermediate Level: Exercises and Recommendations, Weekly Scheduling, Ending a Cycle Advanced Level: Exercises and Recommendations, Weekly Scheduling, Ending a Cycle Inter-Mesocycle Factors Deloading Maximal Strength Testing Workout Restructuring Elite Strength Programming Additional Programming and Mesocycle Considerations PART THREE – FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE TRAINING Chapter 13: ENDURANCE, CARDIO, CROSS TRAINING, HYBRID TEMPLATES, AND ROUTINES Endurance and Cardio Cross Training Hybrid Templates Routines Chapter 14: OVERREACHING AND OVERTRAINING Overreaching Overtraining Rate of Perceived Exertion and Training Logs Chapter 15: HEALTH AND INJURY MANAGEMENT Addressing “the Burn,” Pain, and Soreness Factors that Affect Propensity for Injuries Goal Setting in Rehabilitation RICE vs. MEAT Working Around Injuries Finding a Good Medical Professional Good/Bad Exercises and How to Think Critically Chapter 16: LIFESTYLE FACTORS Sleep Quality Nutrition Working Out While Sick PART FOUR – PROGRAM IMPLEMENTATION Chapter 17: UNTRAINED BEGINNER: ROUTINE CONSTRUCTION AND PROGRESSION Untrained Beginner: Routine Construction Untrained Beginner: Routine Progression Chapter 18: TRAINED BEGINNER: ROUTINE CONSTRUCTION AND PROGRESSION Trained Beginner: Routine Construction Trained Beginner: Routine Progression Chapter 19: INTERMEDIATE: ROUTINE CONSTRUCTION AND PROGRESSION Intermediate: Routine Construction Intermediate: Routine Progression Chapter 20: ADVANCED: ROUTINE CONSTRUCTION AND PROGRESSION Advanced: Routine Construction Advanced: Routine Progression PART FIVE – INJURY/PREHABILITATION RESOURCES AND BODYWEIGHT EXERCISES Chapter 21: COMMON BODYWEIGHT TRAINING INJURIES Tendonitis Muscle Strains Tension Headaches Costochondritis (Tietze Syndrome) Thoracic Spine/Scapula/Ribs Lower Back Anterior Instability Shoulder Impingement Acromioclavicular (AC) Joint Issues Radiculopathy of the Arm / Radiating Pain Wrist Issues and Forearm Splints Joint Cracking, Popping, Clicking, Snapping, and Crunching Muscle Cramping Chapter 22: PREHABILITATION, MOBILITY, AND FLEXIBILITY RESOURCES General Imbalance Posture Hips Back Shoulders Elbows Wrists Contrast Baths and Contrast Showers Calluses and Rips Chapter 23: EXERCISE TECHNIQUE, DESCRIPTIONS, AND TIPS Recommended Equipment Basic Positioning, Important Exercises, and Common Faults Common Abbreviations Chapter 24: HANDSTAND VARIATIONS Handstands Progression Introduction Wall Handstand – Levels 1-4 Headstand Level N/A Freestanding Handstand – Level 5 Freestanding Handstand with One-Arm Support – Levels 6-9 Freestanding Handstand Shoulder Taps – Level N/A Handstand Walking – Level N/A Hands-Close-Together Handstand – Level N/A One-Arm Handstand – Level 10 Rings Handstands Rings Shoulder Stand – Level 5 Rings Strap Handstand – Level 6 Rings Handstand – Level 7 Handstand Pushups Pike Headstand Pushup – Level 1 Box Headstand Pushup – Level 2 Wall Headstand Pushup Eccentric – Level 3 Wall Headstand Pushup – Level 4 Wall Handstand Pushup – Level 5 Freestanding Headstand Pushup – Level 6 Freestanding Handstand Pushup – Level 7 Rings Handstand Pushups Rings Wide Handstand Pushup – Level 7 Rings Strap Handstand Pushup (with Elbows In) – Level 8 Rings Freestanding Handstand Pushup – Level 9 Press / Overhead Press / Military Press Bent-Arm Press to Handstands Bent-Arm, Bent-Body Press to Handstand – Level 5 L-Sit Bent-Arm, Bent-Body Press to Handstand – Level 6 Chest Roll, Straight-Body Press to Handstand – Level 7 Bent-Arm, Straight-Body Press to Handstand – Level 8 Handstand to Elbow Lever to Handstand – Level 9 Parallel Bar Dip, Straight-Body Press to Handstand – Level 10 Rings Bent-Arm Press to Handstands Chair Handstand – Level 6 Illusion Chair Handstand – Level 7 Rings Bent-Arm, Bent-Body Press to Handstand – Level 8 Rings Dip to Handstand – Level 9 Rings Bent-Arm, Straight-Body Press to Handstand – Level 10 Rings Handstand to Elbow Lever to Handstand – Level 11 Rings Dip, Straight-Body Press to Handstand – Level 12 Straight-Arm Press to Handstands Wall Straddle Press to Handstand Eccentrics – Level 5 Elevated Straddle Stand, Straddle Press to Handstand – Level 6 Straddle or Pike Stand, Press to Handstand – Level 7 L-Sit / Straddle-L, Straddle Press to Handstand – Level 8 L-Sit / Straddle-L Pike Press to Handstand – Level 9 Rings Straight-Arm, L-Sit, Straddle Press to Handstand – Level 10 Rings Straight-Arm, Straddle-L, Straddle Press to Handstand – Level 11 Rings Straight-Arm, Pike Press to Handstand – Level 12 Chapter 25: PULLING EXERCISES L-Sit / Straddle-L / V-Sits / Manna Tuck L-Sit – Level 1 One-Leg-Bent L-Sit – Level 2 L-Sit – Level 3 Straddle L-Sit – Level 4 Rings-Turned-Out L-Sit – Level 5 Training Toward the V-Sit and Manna Back Lever German Hang – Level 1 Skin the Cat – Level 2 Tuck Back Lever – Level 3 Advanced Tuck Back Lever – Level 4 Straddle Back Lever – Level 5 Half Layout / One-Leg-Out Back Lever – Level 6 Full Back Lever – Level 7 Back Lever Pullout – Level 8 German Hang Pullout – Level 9 Bent-Arm Pull-up to Back Lever – Level 10 Handstand Lower to Back Lever – Level 11 Front Lever Tuck Front Lever – Level 4 Advanced Tuck Front Lever – Level 5 Straddle Front Lever – Level 6 Half Layout / One-Leg-Out Front Lever – Level 7 Full Front Lever – Level 8 Front Lever Pull to Inverted Hang – Level 9 Hang Pull to Inverted Hang – Level 10 Circle Front Levers – Level 11 Front Lever Rows Tuck Front Lever Rows – Level 5 Advanced Tuck Front Lever Rows – Level 6 Straddle Front Lever Rows – Level 8 Hang to Front Lever Row – Level 9 Full Front Lever Rows – Level 10 Rope Climb Front Lever Rows Rowing Ring Row Eccentrics – Level 1 Ring Rows – Level 2 Wide Ring Rows – Level 3 Archer Ring Rows – Level 4 Archer-Arm-In Ring Rows – Level 5 Straddle One-Arm Rows – Level 6 One-Arm Rows – Level 7 Pull-ups Jumping Pull-ups – Level 1 Bar Pull-up Eccentrics – Level 2 Bar Pull-ups – Level 3 L-Sit Pull-ups – Level 4 Pullover – Level 5 Ring Pull-ups + One-Arm Chin-ups Rings L-Sit Pull-ups – Level 4 Rings Wide Grip Pull-ups – Level 5 Rings Wide Grip L-Sit Pull-ups – Level 6 Rings Archer Pull-ups – Level 7 One-Arm Chin-up / Pull-up Eccentrics – Level 8 One-Arm Chin-up – Level 9 One-Arm Chin-up +15 lbs. – Level 10 One-Arm Chin-up +25 lbs. – Level 11 Weighted Pull-ups Explosive Pull-ups Kipping Pull-ups – Level 2 Bar Pull-ups – Level 3 Kipping Clapping Pull-ups – Level 4 Non-Kipping Clapping Pull-ups – Level 5 L-Sit Clapping Pull-ups – Level 6 Kipping, Behind-the-Back Clapping Pull-ups – Level 7 L-Sit, Slap-the-Abdominals Pull-ups – Level 8 L-Sit, Slap-the-Thighs Pull-ups – Level 9 Straight-Body, Slap-the-Thighs Pull-ups – Level 10 Non-Kipping, Behind-the-Back Clapping Pull-ups – Level 11 Iron Cross Iron Cross Progressions – Level 9 Hold Iron Cross – Level 10 Iron Cross to Back Lever – Level 11 Iron Cross Pullouts – Level 13 Hang Pull to Back Lever – Level 14 Butterfly Mount – Level 15 Support Hold to Hang to Iron Cross – Level 16 Chapter 26: PUSHING VARIATIONS Planche – Parallel Bars and Floor Frog Stand – Level 3 Straight-Arm Frog Stand – Level 4 Tuck Planche – Level 5 Advanced Tuck Planche – Level 6 Pseudo Planche Pushups Band-Assisted Planche Straddle Planche – Level 8 Half Layout / One-Leg-Out Planche – Level 9 Full Planche – Level 11 Straight-Arm Straddle Planche to Handstand – Level 12 Rings Straight-Arm Straddle Planche to Handstand – Level 14 Straight-Arm, Straight-Body from Planche to Handstand – Level 15 Rings Straight-Arm, Straight-Body Press to Handstand – Level 16 Rings Straight-Arm, Straight-Body from Planche to Handstand – Level 16 Rings Planche Rings Frog Stand – Level 4 Rings Straight-Arm Frog Stand – Level 5 Rings Tuck Planche – Level 6 Rings Advanced Tuck Planche – Level 8 Rings Straddle Planche – Level 10 Rings Half Layout / One-Leg-Out Planche – Level 12 Rings Full Planche – Level 14 Planche Pushups – Parallel Bars and Floor Tuck Planche Pushups – Level 6 Advanced Tuck Planche Pushups – Level 8 Straddle Planche Pushups – Level 10 Half Layout / One-Leg-Out Planche Pushups – Level 12 Full Planche Pushups – Level 14 Rings Planche Pushups Rings Tuck Planche Pushups – Level 8 Rings Advanced Tuck Planche Pushups – Level 10 Rings Straddle Planche Pushups – Level 12 Rings Half Layout / One-Leg-Out Planche Pushups – Level 14 Rings Full Planche Pushups – Level 16 Pushups Standard Pushups – Level 1 Diamond Pushups – Level 2 Rings Wide Pushups – Level 3 Rings Pushups – Level 4 Rings-Turned-Out Pushups – Level 5 Rings-Turned-Out Archer Pushups – Level 6 Rings-Turned-Out, 40-Degree-Lean Pseudo Planche Pushups – Level 7 Rings-Turned-Out, 60-Degree-Lean Pseudo Planche Pushups – Level 8 Rings-Turned-Out Maltese Pushups – Level 9 Wall Pseudo Planche Pushups – Level 10 Rings Wall Pseudo Planche Pushups – Level 11 Wall Maltese Pushups – Level 12 Rings Wall Maltese Pushups – Level 13 Clapping Pushup Variations – Level N/A One-Arm Pushups Hands-Elevated, One-Arm Pushup – Level 5 Straddle One-Arm Pushup – Level 6 Rings Straddle One-Arm Pushup – Level 7 Straight-Body, One-Arm Pushup – Level 8 Rings Straight-Body, One-Arm Pushup – Level 9 Dips Parallel Bar Jumping Dips – Level 1 Parallel Bar Dip Eccentrics – Level 2 Parallel Bar Dips – Level 3 L-Sit Dips – Level 4 45-Degree Forward-Lean Dips – Level 5 One-Arm Dip – Levels 8 & 9 Rings Dips Support Hold – Level 1 Rings-Turned-Out Support Hold – Level 2 Rings Dip Eccentrics – Level 3 Rings Dips – Level 4 Rings L-Sit Dips – Level 5 Rings Wide Dips – Level 6 Rings-Turned-Out Dip Variations Maltese Hold – Level 17 Weighted Dips Chapter 27: MULTI-PLANE EXERCISES, CORE, AND LEGS Muscle-ups and Inverted Muscle-ups Muscle-up Negatives – Level 3 Kipping Muscle-ups – Level 4 Muscle-ups – Level 5 Wide / No-False-Grip Muscle-ups – Level 6 Strict Bar Muscle-Ups – Level 7 Straddle Front Lever to Muscle-up to Advanced Tuck Planche – Level 8 L-Sit Muscle-up – Level 8 One-Arm-Straight Muscle-up – Level 9 Felge Backward, Straight-Body to Support – Level 10 Front Lever Muscle-up to Straddle Planche – Level 11 Felge Backward, Straight-Body to Handstand – Level 12 Straight-Body Rotation to Handstand – Level 14 Butterfly Mount – Level 15 Elevator / Inverted Muscle-up to Handstand – Level 17 Elbow Levers Two-Arm Elbow Lever – Level 5 Rings Two-Arm Elbow Lever Level 6 One-Arm Straddle Elbow Lever – Level 7 One-Arm, Straight-Body Elbow Lever – Level 8 Flags Ab Wheel 25s Plank – Level 2 60s Plank – Level 3 One-Arm, One-Leg Plank – Level 4 The Plank Position Knees Ab Wheel – Level 5 Ramp Ab Wheel – Level 6 Ab Wheel Eccentrics – Level 7 Full Ab Wheel – Level 8 Ab Wheel + 20 lbs. – Level 9 One-Arm Ab Wheel – Level 10 Specific Rings Elements Rings Statics Rings-Turned-Out L-Sit – Level 5 Rings-Turned-Out Straddle L-Sit – Level 6 Back Lever – Level 7 Front Lever – Level 8 Rings 90-Degree V-Sit – Level 9 Iron Cross / Straddle Planche – Level 10 Full Planche – Level 14 Inverted Cross – Level 16 Rings Kipping Skills Kip to Support – Level 6 Back Kip to Support – Level 7 Straight-Arm Kip to L-Sit – Level 9 Straight-Arm Back Kip to Support – Level 10 Back Kip to Handstand – Level 11 Straight-Arm Kip to V-Sit / Kip to Cross or L-Sit Cross – Level 13 Back Kip to Cross or L-Sit Cross – Level 14 Back Kip to Straddle Planche – Level 15 Rings Felge Skills Felge Forward to Support (Piked Body) – Level 6 Felge Backward to Support (Piked Body) – Level 7 Felge Forward to Support (Straight Body) – Level 9 Felge Backward to Support (Straight Body) – Level 10 Felge Backward to Handstand (Straight Body) – Level 12 Felge Forward to Cross (Straight-Arm, Bent Body) – Level 13 Felge Forward to Straddle Planche (Straight-Arm) – Level 14 Felge Forward to Handstand (Straight-Arm, StraightBody) – Level 15 Squats Asian Squat – Level N/A Parallel Squat – Level 1 Full Squat – Level 2 Side-to-Side Squat – Level 3 Pistols (Single-Leg Squats) – Level 4 Weighted Pistols – Levels 5+ Other Leg Exercises Miscellaneous Exercises Resources About the Author INTRODUCTION I never imagined that The Fundamentals of Bodyweight Strength Training, the article I wrote for Eat. Move. Improve. in March of 2010 would become so popular. After publishing my first book, Overcoming Gravity: A Systematic Approach to Gymnastics and Bodyweight Strength in November of 2011, I was overwhelmed by how much support it received. I knew I had to release a second edition, because the first edition did not fully accomplish what I had set out to accomplish. My primary goal for the first edition was to create a comprehensive resource for beginners to learn how the human body works, and to aid the reader as they construct their own workout routines. You have certainly heard the axiom “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime.” I wanted to build the information base to feed the aspiring athlete for a lifetime. As is often the way with a work, once published, use of the book brought about many helpful questions. I published several articles on Eat. Move. Improve. to clarify content from the book. This edition—not unlike strength training—is built on examination of the successes and the aspects in need of focused work. Since the release of the first edition, I have learned a lot about simplicity and teaching methods. I hope this second edition will guide you toward learning all you need to meet your own goals. Mastering your body requires a lot of hard work and persistence, but the potential for overall results is astounding. Bodyweight exercises can be performed almost anywhere with minimal equipment, are fun to play around with, and it doesn’t hurt that they can be visually impressive. Strength levels acquired from proper bodyweight training transfers over to all other forms of strength, including weight training. Bodyweight strength training is thus extremely rewarding. Nothing worthwhile comes without hard work and a fair share of frustration. Bodyweight strength training is no exception. Unlike with barbells there are very few gauges for progress. Athletes may become stuck on certain strength progressions for weeks or even months at a time with little clue how to push beyond plateaus. Stagnation is a very real problem, but with good programming we can fight this tendency. Programming is all about planning, and a good plan will help minimize the plateaus and keep us moving to our individual pi...
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