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Rings of Power by Mike GIllette

Rings of Power by Mike Gillette Cool new book from Mike Gillette about Ring Training for all fitness levels. Being on this shoot with Mike was like working with a real live action hero! (And I got to put a cinderblock on him too!) Mike knows his stuff and shares everything you need to know for his versatile go-anywhere ring training.  Full progressions of every exercise, workout plans, and all the know-how to take the training as far as you wish. Good stuff, and yes, that's me on the left side of the cover  :)

Pull-ups, Pull-up grip variations, PLUS Shoulder and Thoracic Spine (Upper Back) Mobility

Since pull-ups and shoulder mobility are inextricably linked, intertwined, and occasionally even inhibit each other, I thought it might be a good idea to have these two videos (and link to Senior RKC Paul Britt's awesome blog post too... keep reading) together.

One Hand Pullup

First things first...

For people who can do a comfortable 3-5 pull-ups, it can be a fun challenge to (I got this idea from Zach Even-Esh, author of The Encyclopedia of Underground Strength and Conditioning) mix up the grip on your pull ups and chin ups on each set.  For example, let's say you're doing the following random example circuit:

  • 5 pull-ups
  • 10 jump squats
  • 10 push ups
  • 40 yard sprint

Each time you'd come to the pull-ups, you'd use some type of grip variation.  May the first round was overhand and no thumb, 2nd round was parallel grip, 3rd round underhand, 4th round one hand overhand, one hand underhand, 5th round one hand underhand one hand overhand.

More advanced challenges could include similarly short sets of archer pull-ups, the towel variations in my video, and even one handed varieties... the imagination and physical abilities are the only limits.  And of course all of this can also apply to bodyweight rows on a straight bar aka "Aussie pull-ups". Really any of the variations along the way in Convict Conditioning can be used... :)

Speaking of towel-grip pull-up variations.. have you ever gone to a commercial gym, hotel gym etc and found that there's no straight bar for pull-ups? There's probably a thing with handles, and if you're like me, the handles are all in the wrong places. While that can be it's own fun challenge on occasion, it's frustrating if you're wanting to actually get in a bunch of quality reps. Towel grip variations are absolutely not for beginners, and in my personal opinion shouldn't be seriously attempted until someone can comfortably and confidently do 6-10 pull-ups. That means the last rep isn't some kind of crazy strain... right???? For people who have been practicing dead hangs (which are great for the grip always) and who feel very confident and comfortable especially with one arm hangs, doing a one hand on the bar and one hand on the towel hang can prove to be a worthy and surprisingly difficult challenge.

Fair warning, if you do these in a conventional gym, you may make time stop and/or draw a small crowd. Don't ask me know I know...

Here's a video about switching up the pull-up grip, towel grip pull-ups, and some of my favorite tips for the infamously difficult LOOKING (but not so bad if you're ready for it, and can do a good solid set of 6-10 no-drama pullups ) one-hand pull-up. I had waaay too much fun at this most recent NYC PCC teaching a friend and fellow RKC that she was not only strong enough to do one-hand pullups, but that she could do them for reps.  That's what I'm talking about. I love teaching people to do moves that others have labeled as "intimidating".

What I liked most about Senior RKC Paul Britt's article outlining three powerful shoulder and upper back mobility moves was how he worked them into a warmup superset.  Most people who have learned or seen these exercises know their value if they've tried them, but find that they can sometimes be difficult to add to a workout - especially for groups. Paul solves that problem completely with his powerful sequence. While they work best for kettlebells, I'm sure if you were desperate and stuck in that same conventional gym you could still get good value from them with a dumbbell.

Here's Paul's video, but be sure to also click through to the post and descriptions.


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