As many a regular trainer can tell you, boosting the numbers on your gymnastic exercises (pull ups, dips, muscle ups etc.) can be tough. Progress seems to come to a screeching halt in just a few months, dampening even the highest of spirits. Solutions?
Often with gymnastics exercises, once a week just isn’t enough. Gymnastics exercises tend to respond better to volume, so we’ve got to find a way to sneak them in more frequently.
Pretraining or warm ups are good for a set or two every second day. You could also try and get four or five sets of, say, push ups at home or in the local park, away from your normal training times.
How Many Gymnastics Exercises at Once?
I would say no more than two, and as you advance as an athlete, cut that down to one. Reason is that trying to practice everything at once leads both to fatigue and, in the long term, overtraining. Keep in mind that most of you are already lifting regularly and doing plenty of metabolic conditioning! For some reason, the neural system responds best to more practice of less skills (and the neural system is a BIG determinant of strength!)
Why I suggested incorporating gymnastics practice early in your workout and/or away from regular workout times is to maximise your practice while as fresh as possible. This allows you to put more intensity into the skill you want to develop most.
Give it four to six weeks, retest the exercise (maximum reps or maximum weight added) and move on to another exercise.
An Example: The Pull Up
- Once per week in your program (your “normal” amount: 3-5 sets of 5-10). – At least twice per week, add them to your warm up. Don’t kill yourself on these ones(2-3 sets of 5). – Once per week, add in a dedicated pull ups session. Don’t do any pull ups on the day before or after this session. Five sets of maximum effort, with at least 3min rest between sets (more is better!).
Try it out!