Hydra Movement: Strength is just the beginning!
Gymnasts are one of the most impressive athletes, you will ever see perform, especially with respect to strength, flexibility, body shape......you name it!
What separates gymnasts from other athletes is the years they spend developing their skills and from a very early age, its utterly strength biased. It helps them develop their musculature to such an extent that they can move freely without bias to almost any position, whether on the floor, parallel bars, uneven bars, pommel horses or rings.
Rings are a truly and brutally the most effective upper-body training tool, the world has seen - no matter what you're personal trainer will tell you about TRX, Rip60 etc. Don't get me wrong, its not that these other tools do no work, but if you are targeting an upper body strength that can rival that of a gymnast, you would not be playing with kid's toys. You can also argue that Kettlebells (then you want this guy) and Olympic lifting are superior training tools for the upper body and you can see the physiques of these athletes, but is it as comprehensive as training in the rings, possibly not! (I discuss the benefits of Olympic Lifting a bit later here)
Lets look at it like this ,for e.g. we take a gymnast (of a decent level) and hand him a barbell or kettlebell, he will be able to manoeuvre himself fairly well around some pretty decent poundages, regardless of technique. Now, if we reverse the situation and we get a decent oly-lifter and put him on the rings, it will definitely take him a fair bit of time to work his way into a simple ring routine. I say this from personal and professional experience. I am no great shakes with a barbell but when i took to the rings, its complexities, the strength needed to complete some pretty simple looking manoeuvres had me dumbfounded and pretty humbled. I then started working with my coach and mentor, Ido Portal, and I can now complete a simple routine with some ease. However, by no means have I even begun scratching the surface of what is required to be a good gymnast on the rings.
I recently witnessed some amazing ring skills at Ido Portal's Movement X in Melbourne (plugging in Crossfit U-West) by Victor Gathing, one of Ido's 3 henchmen, and it was beauty in motion. The strength, control and flexibility shown by this young man of 44 was amazing and really makes you appreciate the, very simply put, brutally hard work put in by him over the last 30 odd years.
So this is how I would like to convince you to give up your dream of doing 100 pull ups in a row, aim for something better, aim for something harder, aim for something that might seem unachievable and then go achieve it.
As my mum always told me, aim for the stars and you'll get to the top of the coconut tree!
Move Today so you can Move Tomorrow!
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Anurag Gill is the Head Coach at HYDRA Movement in Moonee Ponds.