25 of Everything

Last night’s workout was demanding, with emphasis on correct form as well as strength.
25 overhead squats with PVC pipe
25 handstand push-ups (spotted if needed)
25 pull-ups
max sessions of L-sits on parallettes
25 hip pullovers
Some quantity of heavy back squats was listed on the board too, but my group never did these. I’m not sure if this was omitted by the coaches’ intention or by mistake. Tom’s group did them.
First we warmed up with lots of different medicine-ball throws, many involving whipping around to throw behind yourself via an upper-body rotation that required tensing the stomach. These were exciting for the partner doing the catching, as it’s harder to prepare to catch a ball coming from somebody who has his back to you. The medicine balls are only about 6 to 12 pounds (the ones I use, anyway) and are big and squishy on the outside so that it’s pretty safe to catch one that was thrown hard.
We practiced the overhead squats together for several sets of 5 reps to make sure everybody understood the form, then we all did the 25 together and took turns counting out 5. Even with a light piece of PVC, that move is so tiring after 25 reps that you feel like the weight was heavier. The idea is to keep the arms locked and pulling outward on the bar and to keep the bar directly overhead all the way down into the squat. Most people, including myself, don’t have that much back flexibility, and the bar comes forward as you descend.
The handstand push-ups were fun. We didn’t use a wall. Instead everybody got two spotters, one to pull up on each leg. We took turns doing sets of 5 until everybody had done 25. The two assistant coaches in our group (male and female) both finished their last set not just with deep push-ups, but with little jumps where their hands came off the floor—impressive! We also had a new guy who was there for the first time. Instead of doing handstand push-ups, the spotters (coaches) just had him hold the handstand for 10 seconds at a time. You could appreciate how hard handstands are when you haven’t done one in years, if ever, or are a bit heavier. He did a great job of maintaining even though he was tired. It’s harder to give up when you have two coaches holding up your legs and counting down from ten.
The pull-ups were absolutely barbaric because assistant coach Michael made sure we maximized the strength-gaining aspects. We didn’t use the rubberband for assistance. Instead somebody would stand behind you and push up on your ribcage while you pulled. Then you’d let yourself down slowly, trying to keep good form with the elbows close to the body and using the back muscles more than the arms. And, as if this wasn’t difficult enough, we had to do a set of five with a weight attached to a belt. Those of us whose goal is to do one or more muscle-ups this year apparently need to build up stronger pull-ups by weighting them. Yikes!
Our group did our L-sits as a team, taking turns holding an L-sit on the parallel bars as long as we could until our total was six minutes. It felt like an eternity. I like attempting L-sits on the parallel bars much better than on the parallettes because my legs can sag a little without hitting the floor.
The hip pullovers were the craziest and most fun thing. They were actually a substitution for 25 muscle-ups, which almost no one can do. For a hip pullover, you hang from the bar and pull up while lifting the legs up over the bar. You end up balanced over the bar with it at hip level, then let yourself down to the hanging position again (or roll forward over the bar). I couldn’t do a hip pullover until somebody spotted me a few times and I started to get the hang of not swinging my legs up, but lifting them while bending my arms as for a pull-up.
This was counterintuitive because of all the recent practice on the kip move, which uses the momentum of a swing and does not allow bending of the arms. I never did get a complete hip pullover on my own, but I was close enough that I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to do it after one or two more practice sessions. With spotting I did four or five of them (not 25!).

1 thought on “25 of Everything”

  1. It’s amazing to read your workouts. Please don’t change a thing. They give me such a strong sense of being there, especially from the amount of effort involved. Whoa.

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