Hanging and Handstands : Simplicity can be Complex | The Cloudfoot Diaries #64

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.


Franco Columbo, the tank.

Franco Columbo, the tank.


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.

Harry Cloudfoot is an explorer of movement, writer and van dweller. You can follow his exposed practice on Instagram, verbiage on Twitter and everything in between on Facebook.

10 Realisations for Combining Weightlifting with Gymnastics; Months 4-8 | The Cloudfoot Diaries #63

8 months in to my Weightlifting journey and I’ve come away with some valuable lessons and realisations as to how to combine weightlifting with gymnastics training – a self-experiment that I’ve been delving into, despite there being not a lot of info out there.

Without futher ado…

Wife material.

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September Slackline Workshops @ Boulder Brighton

septemberslacklineBBIt’s been a super busy summer – catch me at the tail end of our seasonal fun in the sun, this weekend at Boulder Brighton Climbing Centre’s Climbing Festival teaching 30 minute slacklining workshops, all abilities welcome!



Rest in Peace Dean Potter, you Wildman.


5 years ago I was sat behind a computer surfing YouTube for whatever life-inspiring, risk taking madness I could find to ease my lack of direction in life. It’s a process one finds oneself in sporadically when motivation is low, senses dulled. I was in New Zealand at the time. I had the shared house to myself, leaving me to plugin to the web, searching for answers. That’s when I stumbled upon a 5 part documentary called ‘SkyWalker’.

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Combining Weightlifting with Gymnastics; Weeks 5-12 | The Cloudfoot Diaries #62

fitnessweightsThe second block of combining weightlifting with gymnastics is in full effect. Some changes had to be made; the tendons were getting spicy from too much work and the neural fatigue was setting in. Time for a reconfiguration. And if you’re wondering what the above picture has to do with any of this? It doesn’t.

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Taking 5-HTP and Melatonin for sleep | The Cloudfoot Diaries #61

Since noticing a significant reduction in sleep quality from pushing my training limits a little further than normal, I did a bit of scouting on the internet to see which drugs were out there that would fall under both the legal umbrella and the sleep inducing one.

5-HTP and Melatonin were the two culprits that came to surface and I managed to get hold of them far easier than I had originally anticipated.


In terms of dosage;
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Praise Shiva, it’s DeLoad week | The Cloudfoot Diaries #60

After burying myself at the end of week 3 with a good old dose of overreaching, I couldn’t have felt more relieved to begin seven days of deloading nirvana.


Now’s the time to start the recovery process….

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Week 3 of 12 – Everything Hurts | The Cloudfoot Diaries #59

Only 3 weeks in and I’m now in a lot of pain. My joints are aching. My tendons nagging. And my energy levels nowhere to be seen.


Hints towards the flavour of overreaching are present. My appetite has decreased significantly and I’ve resorted to behaviour matching that of an insomniac when in bed. To be honest, it’s been a rough week. Time to reassess the programme some more. Training used to be fun!

A quick rundown of week 3;

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Combining Gymnastics with Weightlifting; Week 2 of 12 in review | The Cloudfoot Diaries #58

The second of the twelve week, gymnastics and weightlifting combo-experiment is complete. Rather than post each day separately, I’ve compiled the training log and lessons learnt in to one post.


I had the privilege to sit down with master stuntman and all-round nice guy, Mr Kai Martin  (click the link and check his showreel..Holy Shit!) at the beginning of the week, to pick his brains on programming and the like. If there’s a goal I’m trying to achieve, relating to strength, hypertrophy or some for of gymnastic skill acquisition, Kai has probably done it – it’s his job to get in shape to match the actor that he’s doubling, and they include famous actors of all shapes and sizes.

Here’s what he had to say relating to my programme…

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From Weakness to Strength – New Snatch PB! | The Cloudfoot Diaries #57

Day 6 of 6 has been and gone for week 1. Here’s me harping on how weak I am towards the tail end of the first week and yet today saw me hit a new PB on the Snatch – 70kg, the very weight I missed on my third lift at my first weightlifting comp.

Then my coach suggested 73kg, followed by 75kg. Well, I was pretty shocked and surprised from hitting 70, and my CNS felt pretty fried so I didn’t hit 73kg as shown below…

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