Thursday: Progress

Thursday: Progress

Thursday: Progress

Today we’re talking Progress. Today we’re talking the Monster Dan Blog!

One of the WODs we did while training for Regionals this past spring involved 25 muscle-ups for time.  It was only part of the training that day and shouldn’t have been a significant issue.  I was a training partner that day with Robocop and Murillo who both blew threw it in around 3 minutes.   They then encouraged me as I chipped away one at a time in around 12 minutes.  I’ve struggled for a long time with muscle-ups and took a year and a half to nail my first one so it was still a big accomplishment for me.  Funny thing happened a couple of days later when we had muscle-ups again in a WOD…I couldn’t do them anymore.

So what happened?  Why would I all of the sudden not be able to do something that I previously could?  I had even helped train others to get their first muscle-ups using my own techniques that I had developed from trial and error.  This problem had happened once before with my double unders and the issue at that time was that I had altered my technique to improve efficiency and essentially had to re-learn them from scratch the right way.  That wasn’t the case here since I had not changed anything but maybe it was just a symptom of a poor technique that had reached its limit.  Time to start over…again…ugh.

I decided the best thing to do was to just walk away from muscle-ups for a while and it just so happened to coincide with the beginning of a new training cycle that Tim was implementing.  Beginning in June we began about a month of programming that involved lifting at tempo.  It’s basically the first part of a 4 part training cycle that involves: strength strength/speed speed/strength and finally speed.

During that month of the tempo lifting strength cycle all of us were forced to slow down to a sometimes excruciatingly slow pace with our lifts and gymnastics movements.  I’ll be honest that at first I was a little surprised and upset to see no real skill work in our WODs at all.  No handstand push-ups no pistols and no muscle-ups!  What was Tim thinking and why were we neglecting some of the very skills that are so vital to our gym and athletes staying competitive?  I didn’t have all the answers but I knew enough to trust in the training.

Needless to say my strength vastly improved.  My strength improved so much that I was able to hit or exceed most of my PRs by the end of that month and this time at tempo.  I quickly realized that the major reason why was that by being forced to slow down all of my movements it allowed me to become hyper aware of HOW I was moving.  At that pace I could literally make adjustments on the fly in the middle of the movement and feel my body work more efficiently as I adjusted my form and positioning.  All of the muscular deficiencies that had previously held me back were now systematically being exposed and corrected.  I was learning how to move all over again and making the muscular adjustments and neurological pathways necessary to move…the right way.

So what does this have to do with my muscle-ups?  I didn’t try again until almost 2 months later but this time I was stronger than before.  Strength was never the issue though with my muscle-ups since I had literally ‘muscled them’ up to make up for my poor form and lack of efficiency in movement.  What I had in my arsenal now was much more important: an understanding of how to utilize the proper mechanics to achieve maximum power with minimal effort…gee sounds like the definition of efficiency!  I adjusted my technique accordingly and I’m happy to say now that my muscle-ups are smoother easier and much better (and a little less scary).  Who knew all that could happen from power lifting really slow!?!  Trust in the training.


A1. Muscle Up x6 reps
A2. Rope Climb AMRAP in 40 sec
A3. Turkish Get Ups x3 Each Arm

B. Max Aerobic Power
6 min on 2 min off x 3 stations – start at a challenging station – not all at the same spot.

1. 6x Toes to Bar
6x Slam Ball

2. 7x Hand Release Push Ups
7x Box Jump

3. 8x KB Swings
8m Shuttle Run (out & back)

Skillz; Ax3:
A1. 5x Pull Ups ADAP (muscle ups down to working on kipping or strict pull ups)
A2. Rope Climb: 30 Second AMRAP : Beginners focus on positioning & rope pulls from ground.
A3. L-Sit 20 sec cumulative

B. 6 min on 2 min off 3x stations
1. 6x Toes to bar/Knee Raises/Sit Ups
6x Slam Ball

2. 7x Hand Release Push Ups
7x Box Jump + Step Down

3. 8x KB Swings
8x Shuttle run (5m = out back out back out back out back)

Pre-Skill Structural: Rope Climb instruction & positioning –
Skill: Kipping Pull Up Progressions – work on a few sets of them depending on how much they can do.

WOD: 5 min amrap; 3 min rest x 3 sets

1. 5x Ring Rows or Jumping Pull Ups
5x hand Release Push Ups

2. 6x Slam Ball
6x box Step Up

3. 7x KB SWing
8x Shuttle Run – 5m  (out back =2)