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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 11-23-2005, 09:44 AM   #1
Chris Longley
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I might be a little over ambitious here, but I've decided to build up to the Iron Cross using Tyler's rings.

I'm making some good progress.

I've mainly been training GTG style at the moment using Iron Cross pulls where you basically start in a support on top of the rings and then lower as far as you can into the Iron Cross without failing and then returning to the start position - been doing 3 -5 reps of this at a time.

I suppose my question is - what's the best way to train for this? reps, frequency etc? Also I can really feel this in my forearms and elbow tendons - how long do they normally take to adapt to the stress?

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Old 11-23-2005, 10:06 AM   #2
Ryan Atkins
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Hi Chris,

Options might include wrapping the straps around your arms. Start out close to your shoulders and gradually work away towards your wrists. Disadvantage to this is that it's hard to quantify your progress.

Stretch bands can be used in a couple of ways. You can use them under your feet to add some 'lift' making it possible to hold some of the deeper positions. Also, you can loop the bands over a bar, grab the ends and pull down with your arms straight out to the sides. Once you have enough bands to where your feet start lifting off the ground, you're ready for the real thing.

Have you checked out this article at all?:

Might give you some ideas.
Here's another one (where I got one of the ideas regarding the bands):

Hope this helps,

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Old 11-23-2005, 12:31 PM   #3
Ben Kaminski
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Hanging upside down by your knees and holding your BW in dumbbells is a feat in and of itself, and sounds harder than an iron cross. I would take that advice with a grain of salt and stick to what works.

I don't have the cross, but I am close and have been close for some time. I use several things for my cross training. My favorite is the "crossover machine" in many gyms, that has two pull-down handles that people use to build their pecs. I do the pulldowns with straight arms, and measure my progress with how much weight I use. I can get about 80%BW so far, and I get a really nice bicep soreness. Doing it on the crossover allows one to build the straight-arm strength without straining your elbows.

I also use these hanging ab straps that hang from a pullup bar. I can place the straps at various places along my arms and support a cross. This reduces the elbow stress but still requires the right core tension.

Finally, there are the rings. I tie bands to the rings and slip my feet into them. I started with 2 bands on each ring, now I can support a cross with one McMaster 1" pallet band (on a good day).

Warming up for cross practice is pretty important. If I'm not warmed up, it hurts my elbows a lot more and I can't support as much weight. I have found the best warm-up for cross work is long farmer's walks and some pullups/dips. Farmer's walks wake up your upper back like nothing else, which lets you get the maximum tension when you're lowering into a cross.

Hopefully these ideas are helpful, they have been helping me for some time.
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Old 11-23-2005, 01:45 PM   #4
Roger Harrell
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Other things to work.

Lower to cross hold for 3 pull out with a spot. Your spot is responsible for giving you as little assistance as possible.

Place a block or other object about 1 foot in front of the rings at about the height of your knees when you are in a support. Put your feet on the block. Lower to cross and pull out supporting some weight on the block. Pike as you lower to keep your torso vertical.

Find a Total Gym and weight the crap out of the thing.

Stretch bands are great because done correctly you can increment progress very well.
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Old 11-24-2005, 03:14 AM   #5
Graham Hayes
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Roger's second suggestion can be done with chairs and an unbalanced squat (ie you would fall backwards if you weren't holding the cross). Works quite well very low tech and can be done anywhere there are chairs.
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Old 11-24-2005, 07:07 AM   #6
Chris Longley
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Awesome. Thanks guys. I'll keep you posted.

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Old 11-25-2005, 04:43 PM   #7
Steven Low
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As it turns out, I've been working on the cross as well. I recently wrote something in my training log on powerathletesmag forum that you might wanna take a look at:

"Getting close to the cross.

Last fall I took up iron cross training which lead to getting some pec/lat development. I started at approximately being able to go out 75 degrees from horizontal and worked it down to about 45 degrees in 3 months. All during this time I was working lowering down with therabands, just plain bodyweight pullouts and chicken dips. Then I quit after my elbows started hurting. My forearms and biceps were definitely not strong enough to help stabilize the elbow so it took a HUGE amount of the pressure.

This fall after working out my forearms and a little biceps mainly throughout the year, I took up the cross training again. As you may know, I have been doing lots of planches (which have since tapered off), cross flys (bodyweight flys with the rings), iron cross pullout drills and the occasional front lever drill for about 2 months. I've since worked down from the 45 degrees to about 15 degrees from horizontal.

So the summary is this:

1. Progressed about 30 degrees in a 3 month span with therabands (on the rings), chicken dips and plain lowering bodyweight pullouts.
2. Progressed another 30 degrees in a 2 month span with mainly cross flys, planche drills and block assisted iron cross pullouts.

Thus, I believe that the second method is VASTLY more effective than using therabands and just lowering and coming back up. Not only have I improved MUCH more in a shorter span of time, but since the cross strength increases exponentially as it approaches horizontal, I have gained MUCH more strength than just "30 degrees" and another "30 degrees. If you want to train the cross, I recommend working bodyweight flys (helps develop biceps, forearms, shoulder and chest), planche drills (biceps, upper chest, shoulders), front lever drills (core, chest, lats) and cross pullouts with a block as well as possibly widegrip pullups for the lats. Theoretically, I'd say the average person should be able to get it in under 8-10 months (as I had no pecs/lat in the beginning and am very close now. Plus, my genetics aren't that great for gaining muscle).

Notes: Strengthening the biceps and forearms are a must to sustain the elbow from hurting too much. This was developed in conjunction with rice bucket to develop the forearms and the flys (with straight arms starting with knees on the blocks since I wasn't strong enough to do it from toes) as well as planche drills to help develop the bicep as it is at the increased lever angle."

And here's a picture of what I was doing mainly to develop the strength:

edit: Yeah, I saw Roger as well as a few others recommend this... I still think it is better to have the block up higher than the L-seat position (when lowered) when doing these. This is because it basically prevents the person from cheating any of their reps by using their legs.. with this, they basically have to do the reps on their own or fail.

Also, for anyone who is attempting to get the cross make sure you are keeping your arms straight and doing other support/supplementary exercises like the flys in conjunction with the cross, otherwise your elbows will give out. Need strong biceps/forearms/shoulders/etc. You can also control how hard the exercise is by shortening the lever angle (your legs on the block). :happy:

(Message edited by braindx on November 25, 2005)
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Old 11-28-2005, 05:28 AM   #8
Chris Longley
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Thanks again steve.

Ace pictures as well :happy:
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