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Taking a Step Back… To Take Two Steps Forward

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The holidays are behind us. It’s a new year, and typically that means we’re feeling very motivated to get back on the fitness wagon with a vengeance! Motivation is at an all-time high as we get ourselves into the gym, intent on crushing every workout in our path. Muscle ups? This is your year! Handstand pushups? Consider those done! We’re ready to hit those fitness milestones and keep moving forward without a second thought.

In light of this, I’m going to suggest something radical. Take a step back.

This may seem like crazy talk to many of you who pride yourselves on “only going RX” in pursuit of those gains. Hear me out- Whether it’s ego or lack of understanding, many athletes never look back once they’ve “achieved” a fitness goal like strict pull ups, muscle ups or handstand push ups. However, the truth is that by never again performing the modified, or “scaled” versions of those movements, you’re leaving huge gains on the table.

Take handstand pushups for instance. You’re comfortable being upside down, but still need 3 abmats stacked up (which is not the proper scale by the way… you should be doing pike push-ups if you need more than 1 abmat) underneath you to perform the kipping version. It’s great to practice the movement upside down, and you should. But I’m here to tell you that you will never progress in that movement until you also continue working on your strict handstand push ups. This may mean that sometimes you do them with your feet on a box, or do seated dumbbell presses, so that you are building strength in the full range of motion. Generally speaking, full ROM is better for building your overall strength and capacity to do the movement, and has the added benefit of helping to prevent injury. And you may find that those “scaled” versions are in fact harder than your modified version of “RX.”

The same goes for pull ups. Even if you have a few strict pull ups, use a band sometimes and work on strict chest-to-bar pull ups! You’ll develop a fuller ROM and better pulling strength, which will lead to

better pull ups overall, no matter what kind you’re doing.

So don’t be afraid to take a step back every once in a while. Variety is the spice of life! Mix it up! Every movement we do can be broken down into these “scaled” pieces, and there are tons of drills that can be applied to every part of those movements. If you need help figuring out what to do, just ask a coach. We’d be more than happy to help you.

And trust me, sometimes your best #gainz lie behind you!

 

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