Saturday, August 15, 2009

Exercise of the Week: RING PUSHUPS

I picked RING PUSHUPS (RPUs) as this week's exercise. If you do not have a set of gym rings, here are some other suspension options. Also, the CrossFit message board has a homemade ring thread with some ingenious posters' ideas and instructions. Suspension training in a nutshell: using straps/ropes with handles to create instability or a "frictionless plane" for exercises requiring extra effort, coordination, and balance.

I pirated three different videos that work through the various progressions. Here's are some general rules:
  • Beginner: keep feet on ground, and hang rings high off the floor (waist or knee height).
  • Intermediate: lower the rings until a few inches off the floor.
  • Advanced: raise the feet off the ground.
  • Elite: ring handstand pushups anyone? (abbreviated RHSPU)
The other variations such as archer ring pushups, the crescents, and jackknives should NOT be included in MetCon or circuit-style workouts. These are meant to be done under the most perfect of form. I relate them to my parallette skill work and Turkish GetUps....not to be done for speed. How about adding to a WU routine? Keep in mind that simple is sometimes better. Basic ring pushups can be the staple RPU exercise to supplement other pushing movements, whether it be bench press, standard floor pushups, or plyometric pushups (clapping or box). The variants should be listed under your skill work...NOT power building sessions.

Be sure you are working through a full Range of Motion. You can go "deeper" into the bottom phase than traditional pushups since your hands are elevated off the floor or ground. Recall that we are weakest at these maximums of ROM. Work through these weaknesses by going as deep as possible. Warm up and stretch first; this is where injury and strain is born.

Note about "pushing" with regards to Aaberg's Seven Fundamental Human Movement Patterns: PUSHING can be further broken down into different planes of movement. Take a dip for example. This is pushing down. An overhead press or handstand pushup (HSPU) is pushing up. A bench press, pushup, or MB chest pass are all pushing out. There are obviously no absolutes in this. Varying in-between degrees of angle give limitless planes of movement. RPUs allow for some serious range of motion within those in-between planes by simply changing the height of the rings and/or feet.

Experiment and see what works for you.

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