Pull Ups, Muscle Ups, Dips, L sits, Levers & Olympic Rings!

Bodyweight Workshop

Today I have got a major case of DOMS in my upper body. I love that feeling.

This weekend I went along to the second bodyweight workshop in a series of three that Strength Ambassadors are running with guest coach Fi Silk. Fi is a UK bar champion athlete and she’s fast becoming one of my favourite role models who inspires me.

Strength Ambassadors is founded by Sally Moss, weight lifting coach and Personal Trainer who has been voted one of the ten most influential women in the Strength & Conditioning world. I really love Sally’s workshops because she’s incredibly passionate about what she does, is very knowledgeable and also really encouraging. The people who go to her workshops are also very friendly and I really enjoy training with them and hearing about what type of training they do and their goals.

After the first bodyweight workshop with Fi and Sally back in April I had plans to start incorporating the progressions that we had learnt but unfortunately I picked up a few injuries from my martial arts training and so had to take a little time off. One of the injuries I had picked up was a shoulder strain but thankfully my time off had allowed it to heal and so I was good to go!

After our warm up we were taken through the scapular retraction technique which we learnt in the first workshop. It involves hanging from the bar with an overhand grip and pulling yourself up slightly whilst retracting your shoulder blades together so that you engage your back muscles. I was glad to see that I found them less difficult than the first time round, I will continue to keep doing these as I need to strengthen my back muscles so I can progress to being able to do unassisted pull ups. We then went into 5 negative holds, each one having a five second count down. These are also something I need to work on as my form goes after the first two and instead of lowering myself down slowly I have a tendency to just drop like a sack of potatoes. After the pull up drills we then did tempo pull ups with four second counts on the descent.

Once we had our fun on the pull ups Fi then showed us how to do muscle up progressions using the Olympic rings. Unfortunately I was absolutely rubbish at these. I don’t have the strength or the confidence to be able to hold myself up on the rings yet, as soon as I feel the rings give way I start to look like a frog in a blender. For the muscle up progressions we were shown how to do a false grip which is required so that you can move your hands into the transition to the muscle up. You have both palms facing you with the ring held between your thumb and first finger and then you slide the rings down so your wrists are over the rings whilst you’re still holding them. I couldn’t actually get the grip right so Sally very patiently showed me a few times. There are a few different ways to do muscle up progressions, my training partner and I started off with standing on the floor with our knees bent whilst holding the rings and then standing up whilst changing our hand grip with the aim of being able to hold our bodyweight on the rings. I found this really difficult, I will make sure I practise this at my gym as they have two sets of Olympic rings available. I want to look less like a frog in a blender and more like a calisthenics badass. 🙂

We also did some press up variations in the session. We started off with normal press ups, then went into knuckle press ups (which brought back memories of my Kung Fu days when we used to have to do them on concrete floors, the matted floor of the CrossFit gym was a huge luxury!) and then a press up variation called a dive bomber which I really liked in a slightly sadistic way. I will definitely be incorporating those into my training. Next up were the parallel bar dips, we were allowed to use the resistance bands if needed which I hadn’t thought of using before which was a great idea as that will help me develop the strength and technique to work towards full unassisted dips. The first part of the workshop ended with a tempo pull ups and dips circuit working with a partner which I really enjoyed.

After a break we then spent the last part of the workshop doing some crocodile walks, core drills, bar L sits and learning how to do floor levers and frog stands. Yet more homework for me to do as I struggled with the levers and frog stands. I can’t wait for the day I will be able to do these, I really need to build up the strength in my wrists and core. Fi and Sally make them look so effortless.

We started off with legs at a 45 degree angle and then slowly lowered them to a hold position

We started off with legs at a 45 degree angle and then slowly lowered them to a hold position

The workshop ended with a creativity challenge. In our pairs we had to invent burpees variations that everyone would do in sets of five. Burpees? Aarrrrgggggghhh! Regular burpees are horrible enough, but having to do pimped up versions of them? That’s just cruel! Despite my hatred of burpees I actually enjoyed doing all the variations, we were throwing in some cheeky side jumps, plank jacks, side twists, 360 walk overs, box jumps, side planks, dive bomber press ups, scorpion press ups, jump squats and pull ups (but only if you were hardcore, if you couldn’t do them then a jump was allowed).

Before we knew it the workshop had finished, time certainly flies when you’re having fun. I find training with Fi and Sally really inspirational and motivational. I also love training with other people as it makes for a fun session. I have a lot of work to do over the next few weeks until I go to the last bodyweight workshop, hopefully I won’t get side tracked by injuries.

Thanks to Fi and Sally for another fantastic workshop. My DOMS today has been totally worth it. I can’t wait to train with them again! 🙂

To find out more information about Fi’s super hero abilities you can check out her website.

A fantastic training session coached by Fi Silk (2nd from top left & Sally Moss (2nd from bottom right)

A fantastic training session coached by Fi Silk (3rd from top left) & Sally Moss (2nd from bottom right)

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