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Old 08-30-2008, 05:20 PM   #1
Chadron Edwards
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Rings Hybrid: Training for Gymnastics Rings Competition

I'm attempting to train to compete a gymnastics rings routine sometime in February or March with a University Club team. I've been on Crossfit programming for around a year and a half, but have decided that if I'm going to reach this goal, I will need to modify the programming somewhat. I've done quite a bit of reading other hybrid programs and have tried to integrate what I've learned into my programming as well.

This is my first go at departing from the main page workouts, so I would appreciate any feedback on my plans.

My workout blog and plans are at www.cpteddie.blogspot.com, and I'm also attaching a copy of my programming concept below. Any and all constructive criticism would be much appreciated.

***

The current goal is to put together a competition-ready rings routine for club-level competition. There are a number of meets in the first few months of 2009 where this will be possible.

I am developing my own programming, but am actively seeking out assistance with this. I have drawn guidance from Crossfit, Performance Menu, Gym Jones, postings on various message boards, and numerous other fitness blogs. My thanks for making their information public, I hope to continue in this same spirit with my own experiment.

The plan is for a 2/1/3/1 schedule. The reason for this is that the gymnastics gym is going to only be available Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. The equipment available there is far superior to that available elsewhere, both for skills and strength work.

Here’s the main idea of the programming:

Saturday: Ring Strength, MetCon
Sunday: Lifting
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Ring Technique, Ring Strength, MetCon
Wednesday: Ring Technique, Ring Strength
Thursday: Ring Technique, Ring Strength, MetCon
Friday: Rest

Lifting

Once a week perform Olympic lifts and their component parts, as well as other activities using the big muscle groups. Go heavy on these days, but also use the time to make sure that technical proficiency on these lifts does not backslide during this period of stepping out of normal programming.

MetCon

Two or three times per week, perform a short, intense workout, generally a combination of multiple exercises. The workout should last between three and ten minutes, and should be done at a very high level of intensity. Combinations of different movements, not necessarily all ring-focused are favored.

Ring Strength

This is the main portion of the programming geared exclusively to reach the goal of building and perfecting a routine. Inspired by Catalyst Athletics / The Performance Menu, the idea here is going to be to program in 4-week intervals.

The odd-numbered four week cycles focus on building strength for the individual components of the routine while improving technical proficiency throughout. For elements already learned, this means repeating them, sometimes with weight added, with an emphasis on holding correct form. For elements which have yet to be learned, this cycle will focus on developing the correct form and technique, which means more assistance and repetition, and repeating the same exercises more often through the week. Expect a great deal of work with elastic bands and harnesses as well as work with weights and other exercises off the rings.

The even-numbered four week cycles focus on developing the entire routine, connecting elements together, and increasing the ability to train elements at or near maximum exertion on a frequent basis. For elements already learned, this will mean connecting all of them together in a single effort to practice execution of a competition-length routine. For elements which have yet to be learned, training will be low in quantity but performed at a maximum level of execution, preferably with a spotter rather than bands or a harness.

Ring Technique

Practice the more technical elements of the rings routine in large quantity. Focus on swinging, balance, and dismount elements, repeating them at great quantity, limited generally by fatigue preventing proper execution technique.

Other Elements of Programming

In addition to this schedule, at least twice a week, do other activities such as swimming, running, or playing any sort of other sport. Keep lose and keep sane. Make sure that at least one of these activities is some sort of outlet in which performance is not tightly tracked and measured and is instead done just for the fun of it. For me, that’s playing volleyball or going hiking. The concept is to retain sanity and prevent burnout; although that does not mean that this part is less important than any other component of the programming.

Additionally, and somewhat conversely, do a mental workout once every few weeks. These are workouts that, while not necessarily physically draining, they are mentally demanding. Examples serve more for definition than anything else: 10x25 meter underwater swim on 1:00 intervals; muddy trail run during a rain storm with belly-crawl component; or a mile sand bag carry.

The idea is to push yourself toward a goal that you know you can physically do, but may or may not be able to push through mentally. You have to keep your mind sharp and will yourself to finish the workout. Once you’ve gone through this type of thing to reach your goal, you will be less likely to drop out of the program. You’re quite literally hazing yourself.


That is the programming schedule in a nutshell. I am very much open to feedback on this: it’s the primary reason I started this blog in the first place.

***


-Chadron
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Old 08-31-2008, 02:41 PM   #2
Chadron Edwards
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Re: Rings Hybrid: Training for Gymnastics Rings Competition

To give a better idea of the programming Iíve got in mind (a schedule can really only explain so much) I have updated the blog with the planned workouts for the coming week at www.cpteddie.blogspot.com.

On some advice Iíve received, Iím putting in some horizontal pulling exercises to help rehabilitate a winging scapula and have upped the volume on strength work for the week.

Also, my background in gymnastics is not very extensive; Iíve only been doing it for about a year and a half. I was in a bet last February that I couldnít train an Iron Cross if I trained for a year. I won that bet and found that I really enjoy training for this sport. Upon the realization that this is going to be my last year to be eligible to compete, Iíve decided to do what needs to be done to prepare a routine.

Thanks very much for the help Iíve received thus far!
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Old 08-31-2008, 10:00 PM   #3
Derek Weaver
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Re: Rings Hybrid: Training for Gymnastics Rings Competition

Do you have an adults gymnastics class you can attend? Odds are it's just going to have a "teacher" who's more of a supervisor, but they may be able to point you in the right direction of someone who could help out.

Maybe Roger H. will see this thread and chime in...
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Old 09-01-2008, 12:14 AM   #4
Blair Robert Lowe
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Re: Rings Hybrid: Training for Gymnastics Rings Competition

It sounds a decent enough program. While you don't go into your nutrition regimen or recovery, make sure that is dialed in so can you really gain strength. Plenty of sleep and food, and get some jacuzzi or massage (foam roller work) if possible.

I have only a vague idea of your current strength level. While I see the strength elements in your routine, it goes into nothing as far as swinging elements ( giants, uprises, in/dis-locates, or anything like flips inside the rings ). I'm not sure how far along are you with some of the stuff you are training spotted, but it seems that you did say that you attained a cross in february.
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Old 09-01-2008, 01:30 PM   #5
Chadron Edwards
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Re: Rings Hybrid: Training for Gymnastics Rings Competition

The workouts in the middle of week are at a gymnastics facility and we have a coach there who generally supervises but is extremely knowledgeable and a good spotter. I'll be consulting with him regarding drills, and will put those up on the blog as they are developed.

I am 6'0" at 167lbs. In the well circulated Crossfit standards guides, I generally fit between the intermediate and advanced levels. That said, I had Salmonella in July which robbed me of 12lbs and left me with a winging scapula from the hospital bed. The scapula is recovering and I've regained about half of the weight.

Regarding nutrition, I avoid starches and have been eating a lot of everything else. Plenty of meat, eggs, and milk are in the mix along with fruits, vegetables, and nuts. I tend to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night and have been doing a pretty serious stretching session every day.
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Old 09-01-2008, 05:21 PM   #6
Blair Robert Lowe
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Re: Rings Hybrid: Training for Gymnastics Rings Competition

Cool, cool. I'll be watching with some interest.
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Old 09-02-2008, 09:50 PM   #7
Chadron Edwards
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Re: Rings Hybrid: Training for Gymnastics Rings Competition

Today was the first day on the rings at the gymnastics gym and I took it out pretty hard (workout is here).

Right now, in terms of figuring out the programming, I have the idea down that I need to be doing quite a bit of work during this 4-week strength cycle, but I am having difficulty doing much more than an educated guess regarding the matching of sets, reps, and particular exercises.

I've read a few theories on this matter (e.g., 5x5 is generally not as helpful as 7x1) but could really use some input if anyone has an idea, or even a general principle they would recommend following, regarding the type of programming I am developing.

That said, I am extremely glad that I worked out all summer doing the Crossfit WODs at the Black Box (CrossfitNYC). Without having done much rings work over the summer, I can safely say that I have retained what I had. In fact, I do not think I could have made it though this workout nearly as well as I could have four months ago: a testament to the Crossfit system.
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Old 09-03-2008, 01:42 AM   #8
Blair Robert Lowe
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Re: Rings Hybrid: Training for Gymnastics Rings Competition

Chadron, I've come to think one of the easiest ways to program lately is something similar to what I did last season for time management. Actually, that was more complicated, but basically I wrote down everything I had to get done in 7 and a half hours of training per week for them ( not me ). Then I split it into warmup and stretching time, snack break time, how many events and how many times per week and how long for each events. From there, I could give a little more here or take a little more here.

For you, I'd do the same after you figure out how much time you have or want to give towards your training per day. Take away warmup and stretching time and then see how much time you have for event time.

Honestly, if I were you, I'd spend a little time on trampoline so you could develop some flipping for a dismount. Learning a back tuck dismount wouldn't take anytime at all, but if you want to get a front off dismount or layout dismount or some twisting dismount ( or maybe a double back ), you need to allot some time for tramp work.

Then you can allot how much time you have to develop your swinging skills and how time to do specific ring strength or any general conditioning/metcon if you're going to do that while there.

It's of my opinion that you learn at least an inlocate and uprise before you do your routine to make it somewhat presentable and club worthy. As strong as you seem to be, learning a back uprise and kip shouldn't take long. I'm not sure how you're swing is but you have less than 6 months to develop some swing, if you're gonna bother. Doing ring strength and no swing would look a bit weird, off, incomplete.

Hopefully, your swing is decent already, or I don't see the point in grips besides saving your hands. If your swing is bad, being in grips can possibly be dangerous for your shoulders if it allows bigger swings with crappier technique. Not good for your shoulders.

I think you just work swing work and kips for 20-30m on rings and then focus on working general ring strength. Or you could do a swing series, hop off and try a few kips or a press to HS, MU, B/F lever, cross, block maltese off an on for an hour. Then once you're done swinging, work only rings strength.
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Old 09-25-2008, 07:36 PM   #9
Blair Robert Lowe
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Re: Rings Hybrid: Training for Gymnastics Rings Competition

So how's the skills coming? I saw you were working Invert Cross press to HS. Was that on straps or without?

Were you doing backward rolls with straight arms like an Azarian ( front lever through back lever and maltese to cross )?
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Old 09-26-2008, 10:29 AM   #10
Chadron Edwards
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Re: Rings Hybrid: Training for Gymnastics Rings Competition

Let's see . . .

I'm 4 weeks in now and definitely getting stronger. It's a little hard to quantify though, because I've done a lot of work with a spotter. My swing is definitely improving, although I need to get higher. I’m starting to get the feel of flyaway dismount, but I need to still get higher and more laid out.

Doing the invert cross to handstand has been done with a counterweight harness, I cheat a little on the straps to keep balanced.

I'd love to develop the backwards roll to an Azarian, but right now it's just tucked to support. I've had better luck getting it from a slight swing. For some reason they're really putting a lot of strain on the forearms, but it’s getting better.

The next three weeks will be more technique oriented, trying to find the gymnastics equal of the Bulgarian cycle from Performance Menu, so I'll be doing fewer repetitions of moves with less spotting support, practicing the transition moves with short (sometimes spotted) practice routines, and doing a lot more technique work.

So far I think the program is working well. I’m getting lower with my unspotted cross and with considerably better form than I have had in the past. The maltese is coming along as well. I don’t know if it’s normal to feel this way, but for me they seem more like a balance rather than a strength problem.
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