T Nation

Question for Coach Sommer

Coach Sommer,
I’ve been doing the planche progressions and front lever progressions that you prescribed in your article on Dragondoor.com. Here’s my question, I love the planches but i’m not sure if im doing the front levers correctly, i feel it mostly in my core and I don’t feel it too hard in my Lats. Does this sound right?

John Gill performing a front lever while in College in the 50s

Oso9050,

Depending on your individual strengths, yes it is quite common for front levers to completely trash your core. Remember that you are supporting the entire weight of your legs and mid-section with an extremely disadvantaged lever.

In both instances of either core or shoulder/girdle failure, the feet will sink down towards the ground. The primary difference is that when the core fails, you will unable to maintain a flat back (straight body) position resulting in either an arched back or pike in the hips. In the case of shoulder girdle/lats failure, you will be able to remain straight & flat but unable to keep your feet elevated.

Yours in Fitness,
Coach Sommer

Coach Sommer,

I’ve been interested in either purchasing or building a set of parrallettes. Problem is the ones I’ve seen aren’t made for people over 180 lbs, at least not the PVC ones, and the others are really expensive. Do you know if I can use thicker PVC or fill them in order to use them for my weight. approx 200lbs thanks,

rappan

Rappan,

There are several good choices available; which is the most appropriate will depend upon your training goals.

First of all, it is possible to make your own out of PVC as you mentioned. Just be sure to use the thick PVC and keep the length short (12"-14"). Also glue the joints unless you enjoy occasional sudden surprises. There is a thread below in which details of their construction are available.

If you prefer ready made and are only going to train handstands occasionally, American Gymnast has a nice 24" model made out of 1.5" maple for $70.

If you are concerned about the parallet’s strength and need something very durable, Torque Athletic makes a 24" model for $105 which is constructed out of solid steel and looks to be extremely rugged.

If you are planning on eventually training advanced handstand elements, you will need parallets of greater length. American Gymnast offers a 48" parallet out of 1.5" maple for $90 (This is a very good price, I paid over $150 for mine nearly 10 years ago.)

Finally, the finest parallets that I know of are manufactured by GymNova. These are however rather expensive (close to $300 I believe) and, as they have to be imported, can take up to several months to arrive.

Yours in Fitness,
Coach Sommer

http://t-nation.com/readTopic.do;jsessionid=0E400E72665A007FE66CBA80EC99EF20.ba13-1?id=516769

Coach Sommer,

Thanks for the reply,
For Handstand training why do you need a set so much longer? I wanted to pick up a set, specifically to work on the planche progression, and to use american gymnasts workouts. I’ve always wanted to get into gymnastics, but growing up my parents didn’t have money, my college has no mens team either. Thanks,

rappan

rappan,

There are some advanced handstand variations (single bar handstands, multiple twisting handstands etc.) where the longer rail is very convenient.

For basic handstand work, ab work, planche training, press handstands and the American-gymnast parallet training guide; the 24" length should be fine.

Yours in Fitness,
Coach Sommer