STRENGTH AS THE PATH TO AESTHETICS
42 FUERZA: A FEMALE’S GUIDE TO STRENGTH & PHYSIQUE CALISTHENICS The day I stepped foot into a weight room I left behind my gymnastics roots and really immersed myself into lifting. Instagram introduced me to people like Frank Medrano and Progressive Calisthenics; they’ve popularized Urban/Street Calisthenics, which is a combination of classic calisthenics (standard pull-ups) and gymnastics (360 bar spins), and it looked like a lot of fun. I mean what’s the point of being strong if you can’t move your own bodyweight? I also really missed feeling like I was athletic. I started incorporating bodyweight movements after my main powerlifting work (mainly on upper days since calisthenics tends to be more upper body intensive in my opinion) and only when I’m in a hypertrophy or strength block. As I get closer to a meet and into my peaking block, where more specificity is required, I stop doing the explosive floor and bar work. Calisthenics is a whole different rush than lifting weights because it’s freestyle and requires a lot more imagination. You’d be surprised how hard it is to move your own bodyweight around, especially to music. It’s a pretty badass feeling to still be capable of doing things I did as a 10-year-old gymnast--and let’s not forget the social media world loves a good push-up or pull-up flow.
43 Getting that first-pull up and other quick tips: • Pull-ups require back strength, mainly in the lats, therefore doing more exercises that will increase strength in this area is essential--Lat Pulldowns, DB rows, Straight arm pull- downs, etc. Make sure you’re incorporating these on EVERY upper day. Remember, women can train the upper body with more frequency since these smaller muscles recover much faster. • Dead hangs- A big part of being able to do a pull-up is having the grip strength to hang from the bar. You want to be able to hang with packed shoulders and not feel like your arms are going to detach-- 5-10 second dead hangs after doing lat pull downs is a good way to start increasing your grip strength for that first pull-up. • Hanging Scapular retraction- Once you feel good about your dead hangs adding in this retraction movement will teach you to engage those lats. From the dead hang position your shoulders will be up by your ears. With your arms straight you want to pull your shoulders down-think about creating distance between your shoulders and ears and keep your chest up-- 3 sets of 8-10 reps after your weight work is ideal. • Partial Pull-ups- now that you know how to properly engage the lats- from the hanging scapular retraction position just try pulling yourself up towards the bar and don’t worry about how far up you can go--even an inch is progress. You’ll want to control the negative and repeat. Doing these for a few sets and reps will help you in the bottom portion of the pull-up (which often feels like the hardest part and where CALISTHENICS
44 FUERZA: A FEMALE’S GUIDE TO STRENGTH & PHYSIQUE people give up).
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- Spring '18
- The Land, Weight training, powerlifting, Bench press