With these, I am focusing on maintaining the hollow-body gymnast position. I think there was something mentioned about this in a recent article, but I’ve been doing it for a while. It definitely turns the pull-up into more of a full-body experience. I don’t really have a goal for pull-ups, other than to develop more “mastery” over the movement. I feel like the work I’m doing probably helps give my arms and forearms a more solid look. It definitely taxes the CV system in a unique way. It also helps protect my lower back, because of the strength I’m building in the abs and pelvis and the way it helps counter my natural anterior pelvic tilt.
I choose the grip that puts the least amount of stress on my forearms. This seems to be key to unlocking progress for me, because when I use grips that don’t match my natural mechanical groves, forearm pain is usually what limits me.
My grip of choice is palms facing each-other a little narrower than shoulder-width apart.
I will occasionally throw in some holds with a very wide grip, but the further I get from caring about physique-competitor aesthetics, the less I care about doing work with that grip. The return isn’t worth the investment or risk.
After about 10 minutes of pull-up work:
Standing 1-arm DB work:
Today, I used a 20lb dumbbell for the straight-arm lateral and front raise focus. I also used it for some isolation squeeze/hold work for the upper back. Bent front-raises, bent flies, that kind of stuff.
Then I picked up the 35lb DB and did some curl-press-overhead tricep work. 35 is obviously very light for a good leveraged 1-arm overhead press, so I move the dumbbell away from me laterally to find a groove that is very challenging.
35 is also light for even curls and overhead tricep extensions, but that’s how I roll. I had just put enough strain on biceps and forearms during the pull-up work, so today’s DB work didn’t need to be very heavy…not that it ever really does.
After DB work…
Breakdancing, jump rope, acro yoga/capoeira moves, handstand work. Some more DB work (robot moves with a 25 lb DB).
TOTAL SESSION: 60 minutes, 525 calories burned. AVG HR 130. MAX HR 175.
The max HR was reached twice - once during a very intense jump rope set, and again during a long series of breakdancing moves that ended with a super clean windmill (aka helicopter) for what seemed like 15 revolutions.
Oh, and I made a very important discovery with my handstand work today. I’ve been working on pushing up to a handstand using zero momentum, like the gymnasts do in their floor routines. It’s not going to be easy and I’m probably many months away.
Anyway, today I learned that if I focus on my pelvis tilting/rotating my body in a very tight arc, I can get into position with even less momentum. I believe this is going to be the key step in my progress, because the difference is like night and day.
Before, I think I was feeling the start of the motion way out away from the center of rotation - more in the hands on the floor and my feet. Now that I understand the sensation of generating everything from the very center of the pelvis, I think I’ll be able to rely much less on balance, forearm, and shoulder strength. I will simply just kind of jack-knife myself up with a movement that starts in the center.
INTAKE YESTERDAY: 3000 calories. 150g F, 180g C, 160g P.
Those are actually GREAT numbers. My wife and I had a celebratory dinner last night, which included some short ribs, meatballs, grilled octopus, a few stouts. Enjoying a meal like that and still staying within about 400 calories of the calorie goal is very solid.
A more typical approach would have been to have bread and oil before dinner, dessert after, and maybe another drink or two. Oh, and maybe since I knew I wasn’t going to hit my number that day, I may have thrown the entire day out the window and called it an official “refeed” day and gone up to 4500 calories. You multiply that by the number of times I have special-occasion dinners, and the choices add up and can really be a big difference-maker.
This is also where a combination of CONTROL and FLEXIBILITY over my diet comes in handy. I can make a slight tweak to the first half of my day today by cutting out the fat completely from my first few meals and making it a low-fat day overall. This allows me to let the elevated fat-processing enzymes from yesterday dig into some body fat today.
On the other hand, if I have a day where I’ve tended to go too high on the carbs, I can cut those for the first few meals of the next day.
I would call this approach REACTIVE MACRO CYCLING (RMC). Playing around with fat and carb intake while consistently (mostly) staying within the calorie goal and eating the foods that work for me, but adjusting based on what life throws my way.
As a side note, the biggest threat to successfully RMCing is alcohol. The reactive shift after a night of >3 or so drinks should likely be to cut back on BOTH fat and carbs for the first few meals, but the appetite in the morning craves eggs and bacon and toast and hash browns.
That is another reason that a top priority in any dietary approach should be to find a way to keep the alcohol consumption as low as possible. As much as it hurts me to type those words, I think it’s true. Beck’s Light for President!