Ask the Tapps! 2 Tricks To Increase Muscle Size and Strength

In today’s installment of Ask the Tapps, Jonathan Tapp goes over 2 tricks that you can use to increase your muscle size and strength. Whats excellent about this tutorial is that its geared toward the bodyweight enthusiast.

07_15_01

The 2 tricks are:

  • Eccentric Contractions – Lengthening of the muscles or negatives
  • Increase Resistance – Engaging the correct muscle fibers and increasing the load on them

Jonathan goes over these tricks in much more detail in the video below!

Download your FREE Eccentric Bodyweight workout here!

The Tapp Brothers have more great information to give in their new program Rapid Primal Fitness!

Stay Inverted!
-Coach Jon

Comments { 0 }

Bodyweight Strong 2.0 – Old School Strength

There are numerous bodyweight training programs that litter the fitness industry, but many of them target calorie burning with no attention to strength development. After all, the hand balancers of the past didn’t seek calorie programs — they sought strength, and they achieved it through bodyweight training.

For a man weighing 240lbs to do a one arm handstand, you need more than just a calorie burning program

For a man weighing 240lbs to do a one arm handstand, you need more than just a calorie burning program

 

After all, physical culture was loaded with men of incredible strength, so why create a program that wouldn’t allow the men of that time to match up to their counterparts? These were men who understood the importance of proper progression, so sought to increase, for instance, the difficulty of their pushups rather than how many they could do. If they could manage 100 pushups, they would elevate themselves or do one arm pushups to increase the difficulty, rather than just shooting for 200.

Furthermore, very few physical culturists emphasized training to failure. “Whoa, hold on, I was always taught for weightlifting to train to failure for the most gains.” Well let me tell you that Sig Klein, one of the most renowed weightlifters and bodyweight trainers in history, as well as Maxick, a master muscle controller with incredible lifting feats, never advocated training to failure.

Sig Klein is the kind of man you'd want to listen to about training

Sig Klein is the kind of man you’d want to listen to about training

When it comes to bodyweight training, you want your nervous system to be fresh and gain energy from workout to workout, rather than have it depleted. Thus, they focused on consistent, daily training, which would overly tax your nervous system if you trained to failure each time. In fact, the more you advance in bodyweight skill, the less you’ll want to train to failure to improve skill and prevent injury. Failing during, for instance, a handstand pushup wouldn’t quite have a Cinderella ending.

One of the main reasons that people have trouble doing a handstand is that they simply haven’t trained it enough. If your goal with a single handstand session is to feel the burn in your shoulders until they’re essentially numb, you’ll have a much more difficult time progressing with a handstand than if you practiced daily with consistent progression.

Body Weight Strong 2.0

Bodyweight training balances you as an athlete, and introduces you at a skill level that anyone can begin with — their own weight. If you can learn to truly master your own weight, your strength can skyrocket. In addition, you may not take your weight set everywhere, but you take your body everywhere, so the training convenience is bar none.

These legendary physical culturists knew the proper way to train bodyweight, and Forest Vance is the kind of man who understands old school bodyweight strength. Luckily for you, he has created a program with a contemporary understanding on classic strength philosophy. Plus, there’s thorough video instruction for you to follow every step of the way.

In basic terms, Body Weight Strong 2.0 can evolve your strength to reach incredible levels just as true bodyweight training should do.

Comments { 0 }

Irradiate Your Path to Handstand Mastery

If you’ve ever been inside a gym, I’m sure you’ve seen it: the classic gym bro doing bicep curls, perhaps easily at first, but soon devolves into using practically his entire body to curl the weight.

Although personally, when I see a weight, curling it isn't my preference...

Although personally, when I see a weight, curling it isn’t my preference…

 

What you’re actually watching is the law of irradiation, one of the Sherrington laws. What it means, in essence, is that you can contract other muscles in your body to strengthen the one you’re applying force with. If you’d like to experiment with this, try tensing your glutes the next time you shake someone’s hand; you’ll find that your hands can actually apply more force with the handshake.

Let’s review the curling gym bro again. As he continues to do the bicep curls, his biceps get tired and lose their strength of contraction. To compensate, his abs, forearms, lats, glutes, and even feet start contracting in order to provide enough force to lift the weight — it’s an unconscious response.

The problem is that the form of the curl itself begins to look incredibly sloppy as he’s unconsciously recruiting other muscles.

Now, what does this mean for handstand training?

The Law of Irradiation for Handstands


Here’s a great video of Otto Arco doing hand balancing and muscle control (which is key for the LOI)

Well, the handstand is an exercise that largely focuses on the shoulders, triceps, lats, forearms, traps, scapular muscles, and your core. However, fully body tension is really needed to maintain proper handstand form. Part of the reason is that having relaxed muscles can throw off your balance with the exercises, but the other factor is that recruiting other muscle groups like your glutes, neck, calves etc. into the handstand will help the required muscles to contract stronger.

“But you said that contracting extra muscles ruined the curler’s form…” Therein lies the difference, unconscious muscle recruitment vs. conscious muscle recruitment.

See, if that bicep curler had muscle control, and could consciously choose to flex other muscles to compensate, he could do so without affecting his form. That way, he wouldn’t lose the benefit on his biceps, and would also increase the benefit to other muscle groups and his overall muscle control.

The same goes for handstand training. If you’re able to consciously recruit different muscles to develop your overall strength in the handstand, you can help to both maintain your form and develop muscle control. Sig Klein, Otto Arco, and Maxick, who are all legendary hand balancers, knew the importance of muscle control and the law of irradiation in training, and used both to their advantages.

Try it out: develop your muscle control, and boost your progress with the law of irradiation.

Then, if you want to try more advanced moves like the handstand pushup, you’ll be more prepared.

Comments { 0 }

GMB Vitamin Feature: Coach Jon Flipping and Falling!?

Hey Everyone!

As you probably now we have lots of friends in the fitness and movement community that we work with in order to bring you the information you need to develop yourselves into excellent hand balancers and movement mechanics. This is a style of fitness that we don’t just talk about, but we also live the lifestyle as well.

One of the things I’ve been working on lately is my physical autonomy and being able to adapt my body in different situations. Our buddies at GMB featured one of my videos on their feeds and I’m super stoked!

You can watch the full video here!

Finally! If you liked the moves I was playing with in this video and want to develop a stronger sense for your own body, check out the GMB Vitamin Program here!

 

Stay Inverted,
Coach Jon

Comments { 0 }

Ask the Tapps! How Often Should I Train?? 1 Secret For Rapid Strength Gains

I hope that everyone enjoyed the last installment from the Tapp Brothers. Did you guys make a choice on which direction you’re headed towards. Either way, your going to have to zero in on how you’re going to go about that training. In this video The dynamic duo while give you more insight by helping you figure out what the frequency of training should be for you!

Just to let you know. There aren’t going to be any snapshots in this post because, there isn’t much to show visually. But take a second to listen to the knowledge that’s about to be dropped!

Few Key Points to pay attention to!

  • What are you training for?
  • Weekend Warrior vs. Athlete
  • The number 1 secret to getting gains

Watch the video below to increase your training knowledge!

Try out one of the Tapp Brothers Primal Workouts Below:

http://learnmoreparkour.com/download-eccentric-bodyweight-workout-is/

And just in case you loved the information from this video and want to learn how to be in shape and move like the Tapp Brothers, check out their new program Rapid Primal Fitness!

Stay Inverted!
-Coach Jon

Comments { 0 }

How A Handstand Can Maximize Your Muscle

Using 100% of Your Muscle

What does it mean to maximize your muscle? Well, when you witness incredible strength from someone with the average man’s amount of muscle, how is it explained?

Let’s take, for instance, Bruce Lee. Bruce Lee is probably the most recognizable figure for a lean man whose strength far surpassed the sum of his parts. He was and is heralded for having sinewy strength, or powerful tendons and ligaments, which boosted the strength of his muscle.

bruce lee handstand

Even Bruce Lee knew the benefits of handstand training

 

Now Dennis Rogers is known as the Grandmaster Strongman in the physical culture world, and is pound for pound one of the strongest men on the planet.

After displaying his incredible strength on Stan Lee’s Superhumans, despite weighing about 150lbs and possessing overall average muscle mass, the researchers determined that he was able to activate more of his muscle strength than most of the population; they came to the same conclusion for Chad Netherland, the man with more Guinness World Records in martial arts than anyone else in the world.

Finally, Shifu Yan Lei is a 34th generation Shaolin monk who opened a training facility in the UK. Compared to many of the other rather lean monks, Shifu Yan Lei appears muscular, albeit well into his 30’s. The power of his Iron Shirt technique (which allows his body to absorb powerful blows with minimal damage) was tested by researchers, and the results were quite interesting: although he had roughly the same muscle mass as an Olympic rower, his muscle had much more elasticity than the rower’s muscles.

Knowing this, I can’t help but relate his technique to that of Maxick (145lbs), a 20th century strongman and hand balancer who would have 200+lbs men climb a 7ft ladder and jump onto his abs. Court Saldo, who trained with Maxick and wrote a muscle control course with him, said of jumping onto his abs: “I bounced as if jumping on solid rubber!”

This is the kind of definition that proper hand balancing can help you develop

This is the kind of definition that proper hand balancing can help you develop

 

Handstand Training to Maximize Muscle

Sinewy strength, muscle activation, and elasticity. Maximizing your muscle means accomplishing these three things in your training. Accomplishing these three things means having muscle control.

So addressing the main point, how will a handstand increase muscle control? Let’s break down the anatomy of a handstand: it involves your hands and wrists, forearms, triceps, shoulders, scapulae, chest, upper back, traps, neck, lower back, lats, core, and even your legs.

In order to maintain the handstand, all of these muscles have to be tense. Static contraction will progressively increase your muscle control, as will daily training, so to maximize your muscle strength with handstands:

  1. Daily Training: you will need to dedicate a bit of practice to your handstand training daily. Sinewy strength doesn’t develop as quickly as muscle strength, as the blood flow to your tendons and ligaments is smaller than the blood flow to your muscles. If you want to truly develop the strength of your sinews, you’ll need to train the handstand progressively and daily.
  2. Static contraction: You will need to focus in order to contract your entire body as you are training your handstands. A good way to build up to flexing your whole body is training progressions with dynamic tension. For instance, practice doing pike presses while flexing your shoulders, abs, traps, upper back, and chest. Flexing through the movement will not only increase the speed of your myelination (muscle memory), but also improve your muscle control for those groups.
  3. Elasticity: Maxick was a strong advocate of having elastic muscle, saying that even a flexed muscle should be somewhat rubbery. That will come with developed muscle control in your handstands. What is just as important as learning how to tense your whole body is also learning how and when to relax your muscles. The greater and deeper relaxation of your muscles will boost their true strength when the time comes to fully tense them.

Logan Christopher is a big advocate of handstand training, and as a strongman he personally knows the benefits of handstand training for overall strength, which is why he wrote a fantastic guide on learning to do handstand pushups for overall strength.

Check it out and watch as your strength reaches new heights!

 

Comments { 0 }

We love hearing from you!

Hey Everyone!

Coach Jon here. Every now and then we’ll receive an email about what you have been able to do while utilizing our programs. Needless to say, we love hearing from you and want to know how your progress is going! We might even give a pointer or two. This week we got an email from Matt telling us a bit about his journey!

 

01_08_01

While I haven’t managed a free standing handstand it has really helped me improve my base skills and build the foundations. Also managed finger tip crow pose and 4 finger no thumb Plank, thumb and two finger plank and 2 finger headstands.

Great stuff especially being free,  I also have hand balancing made easy and have had a lot of fun with that and it’s sped up progress where coming from the wall I managed a 10 second handstand. Also the the headstand stuff is great I’ve always had alot fun doing headstand and it was nice to have a bunch of new variations to learn.

01_11_0102_12_01

…While the freestanding handstand is a big goal for me I must admit headstands are where it’s at for me. Well headstands and increasing my digit strength,  feel like I can do holds that would have snapped my fingers previously

handstand pushup variation

If you like what you hear and want to check out one of our programs, why not start out with the Hand Balancing Made Easy eBook that Matt was talking about above! Click here to have a look.

Stay Inverted!

-Coach Jon

Comments { 0 }

Ask the Tapps! Weights vs Bodyweight

06_27_01

Hey Everybody!

Last week I told you we’d be getting some great instruction and tips on body movement from the parkour experts, the Tapp Brothers.  Today they are going to break down athleticism and how weightlifting or bodyweight training comes into play toward reaching your athletic goals. They’ve broken down these pieces into the 5 categories below!

Coordination

The ability to control your body to perform a task.

06_21_04

Strength

The ability to generate force with your muscles.

03_28_05

Speed

The ability to move rapidly.

06_21_01

Endurance

Your body’s ability to resist fatigue.

03_28_02

Flexibility

The ability to reach your full range of motion with body joints.

04_28_05

Watch the video below to see how these pieces work together to build your athleticism!

If you loved the information from this video and want to learn how to be in shape and move like the Tapp Brothers, check out their new program Rapid Primal Fitness!

Stay Inverted!
-Coach Jon

Comments { 0 }

Return of the Tapp Brothers!

If you guys don’t know the Tapp Brothers. They’ve been a mainstay in Online Parkour Instruction for a number of years now. Whether you want to wall run, work on your tumbling skills, or get better at your aerial kicks; they are definitely a resource. We have been long time supporters of their work and wanted to showcase some some of their tips! Expect to see some great parkour and fitness tips from them in the future.

Wall Running

06_21_01

Climbing

06_21_02

Tricking

06_21_04

Tumbling

06_21_03

If you’re wondering what they can do, check this out!

If you want to learn how to be in shape and move like the Tapp Brothers, check out their new program Rapid Primal Fitness!

Stay Inverted!
-Coach Jon

Comments { 0 }

How To Do Thumb Pushups

I did it. I did five thumb pushups, and so can you.

I never thought I’d reach this goal, the kind of strength that only cartoon and comic book characters can flaunt.

The kind of strength that Bruce Lee inspired within me.

Bruce Lee doing a two thumb suspension on the set of Game of Death

Bruce Lee doing a two thumb suspension on the set of Game of Death

 

I first saw this picture of Bruce Lee when I began delving into my isometric training. I’d seen the one inch punch, the two finger pushup, and all manner of strength and training feats from Bruce Lee…but somehow this one had slipped under my radar, and caught my interest more than any others.

I mean, I had seen others perform two finger pushups, and I had achieved some myself after training, but…

I had NEVER seen anyone balancing on their thumbs.

So I looked more into the feat. Apparently, a two thumb suspension was only the tip of the iceberg.

In 1980, Jim Arvanitis, the founder of Neo-Pankration, went on the Guinness Game World Records Show and performed a feat unmatched to this day. He performed 61 thumb pushups in 47 seconds.

A thumb suspension was certainly no walk in the park, but a thumb pushup was a whole new territory that I had previously never thought of exploring.

The flame was lit within me, and no matter what obstacles presented themselves, I was determined to achieve the thumb pushup.

Jim Arvanitis performing one of his famous thumb pushups, which he can also do with one thumb

Jim Arvanitis performing one of his famous thumb pushups, which he can also do with one thumb

 

Thus began my training journey, arduous and rather unique in its goals. Coupling some fingertip pushup variations with high intensity isometric training laid the foundation for my fingertip strength.

How To Do Thumb Pushups

 

Fingertip Pushup Variations

 

 

Fingertip pushup variations will be your best friends when it comes to having the strength to do a thumb pushup. Practice doing pushups on all your fingertips, removing a finger as your overall hand strength increases. I started with a 5-4-3-2-1 drill where I’d pushup with all my fingers, remove the pinkies, then the ring finger, etc. until I could hold the position on my thumbs at the 1.

Take it slow, because this is a skill that can easily cause injury if you try to speed through it. If you don’t feel safe removing fingers, continue to practice with all of your fingers, and progress slowly.

  • When you’re ready to take these progressions to the next level, elevate your feet on a chair and try the 5-4-3-2-1 pushup variations and hold the two thumb suspension at the 1

Grip Training

isometricgrip

Having a strong grip will do no wrong when it comes to preparing for any fingertip pushup variation. Train as many facets of your grip as you can. Your flexors and extensors should be trained equally, so exercises that involve an intense crush grip and powerful extension. Personally, isometric grip exercises are optimal when it comes to the overall ability to skyrocket grip strength in a short time, and ensure that the tendons in your fingers are strong enough to support you.

Especially when it comes to hand balancing, strengthening the tendons of your fingers are just as critical as strengthening the muscles of your forearms, so steady and progressive balancing training and isometric exercises with high intensity will make your training progress consistent and enduring.

One thing that I’d do often, as in the photo above, is grip a thick railing or table, thumbs on top, and squeeze my thumbs into the surface as hard as I can for 7-12 seconds, and repeat 8 times. Time under tension is an important factor of the exercise, so try to rest as little as you can between the 7-12 second reps, if at all.

 

Visualization

Logan Christopher often speaks on the importance of mental training to achieve your fitness goals, and it really applies for the thumb pushups. You will likely be ready for the pushups physically before you are ready for them mentally, at least that’s how it was for me.

The idea of doing such a feat was daunting to me, even when I believed I could achieve it.

Honestly, the first few weeks I tried, even after the training preparation, I still didn’t get it done.

Although I got the two thumb suspension down.

Although I got the two thumb suspension down.

 

But I sat down one time before training, I breathed deeply and steadily, and visualized the feat. I mentally felt the floor under my thumbs, felt the blood and tension running through my tendons, felt the cry of victory resonating in my chest after I finally achieved my goal.

I could see, hear, practically taste what that moment would feel like to finally do a thumb pushup.

And instead…I did five.

 

 

It’s no Jim Arvanitis feat, but it was a foundation that I was more than happy to start building from.

Frankly, I look forward to all of you building your foundations too.

 

Comments { 1 }