Friday, October 17, 2008

Unexpected results

It's been a long time since I've done weight-lifting strength training. The vast majority of my strength training has been bodyweight exercises over the past 2 years. I have done the occasional squat or deadlift, and dabbled with weighted dips and pull ups, but that's about the extent of the actual "weight" lifting I've done in the past couple of years. I'll probably start ramping up the squats and deadlifts at some point since I find it a little difficult to find similarly challenging bodyweight equivalent for those exercises.

Anyhow, what has all this bodyweight training gotten me? Well, it's given me a good amount of strength gains. I can actually do certain weighted exercises better (like weighted dips and pull ups) just because doing the rings has given me a lot of strength gains. I've also gained a good bit of functional strength so that I can do some exercises that give would make the regular gym goer wimper in pain. Dragon flags are a good example of such an exercise. Even most dedicated weight lifters simply don't have the core strength and neuromuscular control to pull off that exercise. And now, I can flaunt in the gym with clapping pullups. After banging out 40 pull ups in a day without a problem, I wondered if I had enough explosive power to clear my hands above the bar to clap. To my surprise, I could. Lots of hanging exercises are the reason I have enough strength (and acceleration) for clapping pull ups.

My least expected and most welcome result from the ring training and other gymnastic skills training has been the increase in my bicep size. I know it's a vanity muscle that meatheads in the gym work way too much, but I think I've earned the right to revel in my vanity a little. I read that straight arm gymnastic skills required strong biceps to stabilize the elbows. I didn't actually expect to develop noticeable guns though. My biceps never looked this good from dumbbell curls. I should have started the rings earlier.

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