Why Do I STILL Not Have Pull ups, Chin ups, Push ups, Dips, Muscle ups……?
- Not Strong Enough.
Plain and simple, strict strength is paramount to being able to perform these movements. Just like any barbell movement, you need to take the time and build up a foundation of strength through volume (sets and reps). Tons of volume should be built up with light intensity, then as time passes, move towards less volume and more intensity. But don’t confuse intensity as only being the weight applied. Just changing a movement to something easier, ie. Changing push ups to push ups off of an elevated pull up bar, gives you the ability to perform a lot of quality reps in strong good positions. Then as time passes keep lowering the bar until you can perform solid, strong, QUALITY reps on the floor. This process should be applied to all movements.
- Scapular strength.
Scapular strength is your ability to keep your scapula in position as you go through movement. Think of it this way, your scaps are the foundation of your shoulder and arm. We want those scaps to stay put in position to transfer force into our arms. How do you expect to transfer any sort of force through the shoulders and arms if your foundation is floating around the whole time? A skyscraper can’t be built in the sand it needs a strong foundation.
- Trying to kip before strict is achieved.
In every gymnastics manual you can read, and any gymnastics gym you could walk into, you will always see a theme of developing strict movements before the kipping variants are learned. The reason for this is due to the two reasons you just read; strength and scapular strength, which could be combined and labeled as foundational strength, and also shoulder/rotator cuff health and strength. I cannot say this enough; if you are flailing yourself around on the pull up bar trying to kip a pull up or chin up you are just begging for an injury. It is not a short cut, it is a tool used to push endurance of a movement. It will not build strength.
- Poor mobility.
It may seem like beating a dead horse, but mobility is crucial for any movement, and crucial for injury prevention. If you can’t actively move yourself into a certain position, do you really think that using momentum and slamming yourself into that position is good or healthy? You need to loosen up those tissues that are limiting your movement. Stop adding load to movements if you cannot get into them without load.
- Too heavy.
This may be a hard pill to swallow, but you may just be too heavy for your strength ability at this point in time to perform a movement. Look hard at where you are, if you need to drop some lb’s then get your nutrition in order and make it happen, as you drop the excess weight and keep getting stronger you will get to your goal that much quicker. Burn the candle from both ends as they say.
- Inability to keep positions.
Notice the athletes in the gym who are really good at push ups, dips, pull ups, muscle ups, handstand push ups; they hold good positions. I’m not talking about those athletes who can perform these movements; I’m referring to those athletes who are REALLY good at them. Those that bust out big sets without blinking and can move a lot of extra weight in the strict movement. Those athletes also do that while holding good positions. Every muscle is tensed, their midline is stable in a good postured position, and they move fluidly. If you can’t keep your back from looking like a 500lb cowboy just hopped off you during your push ups, how do you expect to perform a more complex movement like dips or handstand push ups?
- Rushing ahead.
There are steps and prerequisites that need to be attained before other things can happen. You can’t just expect to be able to do everything perfectly from day one. Think of it this way; you can’t get through college and graduate with a degree without going through the proper prerequisites in the correct order. Everything builds off each other. Sure some people can come in with some preexisting credits and skip a few classes, but that is just due to their personal background. You can’t become a Doctor without passing anatomy, you can’t squat 400#’s without squatting 300#, and you can’t do a muscle up if you can’t perform solid pull ups and dips.