A "New" Way of Assisting Pullups

The other day, one of our interns, Tadashi, was messing around with the bands and came up with quite a useful way to assist chinups. As soon as I saw it, I had one of those Why didn't I think of that?! moments. Wrap the band just around your thumbs as shown in the video below and perform as follows (you can use it for any grip choice...pronated, supinated, or neutral):

Why I like this variation:

1. Simply put, it provides a bit less assistance than traditional *BA variations, but it still provides just enough help for those that aren't quite comfortable with chins/pullups yet. It's essentially one more step on the learning curve ladder toward performing a full-range, bodyweight chinup.

2. It completely unloads at the top of the movement, which is perfect for performing isometric holds at the top - for those who are a bit stronger and even closer to getting over that "one-rep hump."

3. With traditional BA chinups, it's fairly difficult to prevent oneself from "swaying" back and forth due to the pull of the band. I find that this variation keeps it much easier to maintain a rigid body alignment.

See the video below for how we have done BA chinups in the past (3 different progressions):

All of those are still awesome, and should be used for those in the beginning phases of conquering the bodyweight chinup. This is simply another tool in the toolbox, if you will.


Friday Musings: SAPT Heavy Planks, Matrix-Reloaded Med Ball Throws, Time-Out Apps, and More

1. As Ryan noted in an excellent post recently, we love weighted planks here at SAPT. Once you know to properly plank (here's a hint: if you're not shaking from creating total body tension, you're probably not doing it right), it's time to make them more challenging. One way to do this is adding external load, holding for :20 or so to improve maximal isometric strength of the trunk region. Here is Carson nailing a 265lb weighted plank in preparation for an upcoming powerlifting meet. I'm not positive, but think I saw his spleen shoot across the room halfway through the set.

2. Kieran has been doing Recoiled MB Overhead Throws as part of his most recent program. However, he took the "deliberately move through the thoracic rotation portion" coaching cue a bit too literally, to the point where he looks like Neo from the Matrix dodging bullets.

I then challenged him to see if he could "rainbow" the ball up straight into the throw. Needless to say, he pulled it off with style:


3. Recently I've been working to improve my jump roping skills. Unfortunately, I never really did too much jump roping growing up, so I decided to hone in on it as of late. I also wanted to see how well my HD camera would pick up fast-moving objects, so I filmed a recent jump rope session of mine.

Check it out below, as it turned out pretty well. I realize I may appear slightly akin to Ross (of RossTraining), but I think that's just the lighting messing with things.

Okay, maybe I was slightly fabricating the story. I actually did jump rope growing up.

Alright, seriously this time....how sick is Ross? I'm continually amazed by his ability to master multiple physical qualities.

4. Another thing we love at SAPT are challenging pullup variations. Recently, Ryan Walls (the handy man of SAPT) put together a set of "Smitty Ball" pullup implements. Needless to say, they are simultaneously awesome and brutal. These will slowly be making their way into the programs for those I want to make hate life help improve both grip strength and, well, pullup strength. I also love the way they feel on the elbows as your wrists are allowed to rotate freely throughout the movement.

5. Working at a computer while sitting in chair is arguably the worst thing you can do for your body. Well, it's a toss-up between that and watching Jersey Shore, but you get my point.

Anyway, I recently downloaded an phenomenal app - via recommendation of Mike Robertson - called Time Out. This this is awesome! You set it to pop up at a specified interval (every 15 minutes, 50 minutes, etc.) to essentially remind yourself to stop killing yourself. Every time it pops up I reset my posture (pull my shoulders back, get out of forward head posture, etc.), get on the ground to do a few spidermans, or anything else that will help me to "open up." Here is a screen shot I just took of my computer:

I'm done. Have a great weekend everyone.