One of the great tasks for any training programme is keeping it simple. Over complication seems to obey the law of entropy; increased chaos over time is inevitable, unless you reign it in.
Strength and Conditioning seems to look at the basic motions of the human body; push, pull, rotate, hinge etc and build exercises around that.
Two of the most beneficial upper body basic motions I’ve been playing with have been hanging and handstands. Not only do they complement each other in terms of opposite forces but they seem to allow nature, gravity more specifically, to act on the body and work its magic.
The latest addition to Locker 27 has been the infamous Bachar Ladder. Created by free solo climbing legend, John Bachar, this ladder system is as simple as it gets. Which is what makes it so hard. Sequential pulling movements are possible, so combined with a pull-up bar, you can turn yourself into a weapon in no time.
Decent pulling mechanics are an important prerequesite before getting on the Bachar Ladder, something that can be refined and practiced on a fixed pull-up bar first.
“Few people are really capable of doing a real Pull Up – using complete Lat recruitment.
Most will pull towards the bar, only reaching over it with their chins.
Some will be able to touch their chest to the bar, but will do so with rounded shoulders at the top – relying on their subscapularis – a habit that will eventually lead to shoulder issues.
Many do not fully depress shoulder blades nor do they retract it before pulling up – a habit that will lead to injury.
The real pull up is very difficult to master:
1. Start in a slightly wider than shoulder width grip. From a complete hang with shoulder blades elevated, while maintaining locked elbows, depress shoulder blades down and retract them together. Your head should elevate between your shoulders as the lats and scap retractors will ‘engage’.
2. From the position achieved in stage 1 start to pull up by thinking of bringing elbows to your sides. Do not concentrate on the upper arms. You should also avoid concentrating on the load – as research shows one should concentrate on the working muscles in order to achieve optimal activation, even if you are not interested in body building – this is an essential cue for you: concentrate on your lats.
3. Pull all the way up until your lower chest hits the bar with shoulder blades retracted backwards and shoulder rolled behind. The triceps of both arms should make contact with the lats and there should be a slight pause at this position for 1-3 sec. The come down will reverse the process, going down at least in 4 sec to complete hang.
4. Repeat for the required amount of reps.
Note: Beginners, most females and generally weak people should concentrate on lat activation work first or will forever rely on their upper arms, Teres Major and Subscap for the Pull Ups and will neglect their Lat development.” – Via Ido Portal Facebook
I harp on about handstands all the time. So instead I’ll leave you this bit of Bachar Ladder inspiration. Happy Hanging.