Fitness Questions From Instagram! (June 2021)
Progressing shrimp squats, frequency of stretching & healing torn hands from training!
Do you think it’s possible to do shrimp squats completely upright? And what would you say is the general progression ladder for them?
Interesting question! I think it would but whether you could get completely upright or not would depend on individual proportions, I would imagine.
To stay more upright, the knee would need to go forward even more than it already does while the torso leans over the working leg. To do this you would need the heel to lift quite a bit. In fact, many of the super advanced versions involve a big lift of the heel!
As for progressions, I like the following order:
- No hands with back knee to yoga block/elevated surface
- No hands with back knee to floor
- Same side single hand hold on back leg to floor
- No hands with working leg on elevated surface/block (DEFICIT)
- Same side single hand hold on back leg with working leg elevated (DEFICIT)
- Double handed hold of back leg to low elevated surface
- Double handed hold of back leg to floor
- Double handed hold of back leg with working leg on elevated surface (DEFICIT)
There are obviously plenty of mini progressions within those but that simple roadmap will stand you in good stead. The ultimate question is though: what’s harder, Pistol squats or shrimps?
How often do you personally stretch to be able to do things like over-pancakes, splits etc?
As we speak right now, once per week. I train the lower body once per week and everytime I do, I work on either front splits or side splits. The side split session includes pancake work too. So these positions actually get hit once fortnightly!
I think for fastest progress I would endorse every 5th day. That approach got me the results I’ve had throughout 2020 and into early 2021. It’s time tested.
The only reason I do it this way at the moment is because of my schedule. But now the weather is picking up (fucking praying) I plan on hitting both sessions once per week within one heavier leg day and another ‘touch up’, lighter leg day. I’ll report my findings in due course!
I noticed when you tore your hands open doing that SHIT LOAD of pull ups, you seemed to get them to heal pretty damn quick! Any tips? My hands are really bad right now 🙁
Yeah they were making everyone who saw them feel sick and cringe – both at the same time! They did indeed heal well and I put that down to a few things:
- Good hormonal health (sounds crazy but wound healing and general recovery are quite closely linked, I’ve found)
- Careful use of hand creams (moisturisers, healing ointments etc)
- NOT PICKING AT THEM (aka the impossible challenge! As the hands heal, the layers of dead and dried out skin start to crack and peel, and the urge to pull at them is STRONG. You’re best off gently cutting around them and waiting it out)
- Epsom salt baths (for 20 mins at least)
- Avoid offending exercises requiring grip and hand strength (annoying but CRUCIAL. Anytime you try pulling or hanging too soon, you risk opening up the wound and setting back your recovery)
Above all it’s a time thing assuming you’re healthy. What is also interesting is why some people like us tear our mittens up and others don’t………
At first glance you may assume it’s a lack of hand conditioning but upon much deep thinking and consulting with others, the most acceptable theory I have is the grip is tighter/stronger in those that tear their skin.
This makes good sense when you stop and process the idea. And when I did the RIDICULOUS and completely unrecommended 800 pull up challenge, I was using a very firm grip – a grip not a million miles away from my default muscle up grip!
In general though, I’d advise avoiding the point at which your skin is ripping from training. Purely because when it rips you can’t train for around a week or more properly (assuming you’re a fast healer), and less training means less results, generally.
(RELATED READING: Handling Calluses & Torn Skin When Training)
Thanks to everyone who asked this month’s questions!
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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.
Are you saying you only focus on flexibility once a week? Like when you do an lower body workout that’s when you work on flexibility. Or do you stretch everyday?
Yeah, once per week hit hard and pretty heavy (active drills) but I use the ranges somewhat throughout the week (coaching flexibility classes & in my warm ups), so I don’t ‘tighten up’ easily. Although I’m not going right into splits or full pancakes in these classes/warm ups.
It’s strange, less is more with flexibility development. If you hit it right once per week/every 5th day is all you need. Limbering each day is an option but can sometimes be counterproductive if you’re sore or stiff from heavy flexibility work the day before. In cases like those you’re better off resting.
This is amazing. I’ve never heard this strategy before. I’ll have to try it out. Thanks!
When you think about it, it’s just strength training really! It’s the same kind of approach/frequency you’d use if you were trying to push your lifts up or power markers up. On the face of it it sounds slow but when you think about spinning your wheels for months on end stretching all the time, versus this approach where you will go notably forward over a 4-6 week period, it’s a no brainer really!
Happy to help 🙂 And thanks for commenting. Make sure you update me with how it works for you as well!
Will do, thanks for taking the time to reply.