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Fitness Questions From Instagram (November 2020)

The next step after 45-60 second wall facing handstand holds, the carryover between one arm pull up and muscle up training & advice for corporate gym personal trainers looking to build their own empire……….

I’ve recently been taking your advice on using the handstand to help open the shoulders up overhead and have built up to consistent 45-60 second holds – what do you think I should start doing next as I want to keep this journey going and have already seen benefits?

Glad the wall work seems to have helped. The wall facing handstand is great for drilling line and overhead strength/mobility! As far as I’m concerned, if you’re able to repeat these holds for 3 sets or more that’s plenty (assuming your line is decent). I would now look at balance drills as well as working on the wall facing tuck in the form of tuck holds and tuck slides.

Toe pulls and heel pulls would be my go to as they teach saving underbalance and overbalance respectively. Learning toe pulls wall facing will stop you getting in terrible habits of being banana’d and not stacked; with the fact you’ve got restricted overhead mobility (like me), this will be more likely, alas.

As for tucks, these will feel like you’ve got an elephant on your back at first and you won’t be able to tuck very deep but don’t be fooled………a ‘shallow’ tuck still counts. Just pull the knees down as far as you can while keeping the shoulders flexed and elbows locked. Over time you can work the knees lower as your strength increases along with your mobility.

My goal is a one arm pull/chin up and while I’ve done a muscle up before, it’s FAR from clean. Do you think if I were to get a one arm pull up by say, Christmas, I could get a better muscle up as a byproduct?

Hmmmm good question! In theory these two should crossover. In practicality though, I’m not sure. Let me explain………

Because the bar muscle up is an explosive, arc-like move, it’s quite a bit different from the one arm chin/pull up. Don’t get me wrong, the one arm pulling takes power too but it’s more rotational and takes good ability to grind through stick points. Whereas the muscle up is a quick, powerful move that’s over very fast indeed.

I do agree though that the muscles are similar but the movement pattern isn’t. I have 10+ strict bar muscle ups in me and have done a bar muscle up with 20 kg added to me, yet only once have I done a one arm pull up on each arm and couldn’t do it now I’m pretty sure *cries*.

The problem is both moves are quite technical as well as power dependent. And whenever there’s a technical demand, this reduces the likelihood of getting the move just by brute force alone.

The best approach here would be to work on both together. A heavy one arm chin up session once per week and a muscle up session once per week, where you work on typwriter, archer or full negative one arm chin ups and then train the high explosive pulls or even lightly banded muscle ups in the other session.

Having recently landed my first job in a gym as a personal trainer, I must say I’m finding it rougher than I thought I would! It seems after the cut the gym takes I make very little money and the clientele aren’t the easiest to work with, either. Do you have any advice on how to make this job the rewarding and enjoyable job it’s sold as??

Oh boy, I’ve been there before! The problem is the big chain gyms have it set up so they make all the money and the PT goes hungry. Even if you go down the self employed route you’ll still have to pay unnecessarily high rental fees each month for the gyms to not even really put much work your way. We all have to start somewhere though so I did this for my first couple of years and my income wasn’t great, but also, relatively speaking, wasn’t terrible for the amount of hours I was doing either.

My step by step process to more freedom as a personal trainer would be:

  • Build up a regular client base at the current gym/ESTABLISH YOURSELF
  • Begin niching yourself. For me this was the movement/calisthenics realm
  • Keep exploring your options alongside your current job; there are many places that will let you pay per client instead of a ridiculous monthly rental fee
  • Start offering outdoor training in groups and one to one. This way you’re taking the client away from the gym and having them become loyal to you and not the establishment. Remember: they are with you for how you can help them
  • Explore the online market alongside your offline work. Create some products online you can sell that link to your online coaching services. This is fast becoming a lucrative market! Capitalising on this has led many to stopping offline work altogether as it’s just not worth their time anymore

This is a long process but well worth it. Nothing is forever. Keep learning. Keep showing what you’re learning. Stay passionate. Don’t let these corporate managers steal your mojo for the job you know you’re good at. It might take years but it’ll slowly happen. As Charles Poliquin once said: ‘it took me 38 years to become an overnight success’.

If you’d like a question touched upon direct message me on Instagram (@straight_talking_fitness) or email me: and I’ll be happy to touch on any topics!

Thanks for reading.

JR @ Straight-Talking-Fitness View All

The 'brains' behind StraightTalkingFitness, a site all about discovery that leads to strength in all formats; fitness, mental, emotional and spiritual. Everything starts from within and projects outwards. Master the body, master anything and everything.

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