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Bodyweight OAPU and Pistol form check

Oscar

Level 7 Valued Member
Hi all!

I have been doing NW for a while and I am now. The other day I tested and to my surprise... I was able to do a OAPU with my right arm.

Pistols progressed faster at the beginning, but I have now somewhat stalled. If planets align, I can do a pistol with either leg. I would appreciate if you could give me some feedback on my form for both exercises. I was able to do a pistol with my left and a OAPU with my right, but I failed the two other lifts.

OAPU right arm:



OAPU left arm:


Pistols (I just noticed I cut half the video for my right side pistol. Long story short: I fell on my butt):





Thanks all!
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
The failed OAPU looks good to me. Just limit your depth for a while so that you can build up a little volume of successful attempts - you're not far.

For your pistol, I would focus more on hollow at the top, complete with reaching your arms forward. I'd also look more forward than you are - you seem to be looking down. And really work on an active lowering in your pistol, much like you would/should in a one-legged deadlift, pulling your hips back as you reach forward - the combination can really generate a lot of tension that you want at the bottom. Lastly, try some ankle mobility work and hamstring stretches before your pistols, rest about a minute, then do them, and rest more between the two sides.

-S-
 

Mark Limbaga

Level 7 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
One drill I'd have you work on which has a huge carryover for both is the single leg deadlift.. By learning to load the good properly, that will allow you to produce more for in the OAP and for the pistol, allow you more control on the descent..

Have you tried pistols with a counterbalance?
 

Oscar

Level 7 Valued Member
@Steve Freides , @Kyle Kowalczuk , @Mark Limbaga many thanks for your suggestions!

Steve, I´m gonna give your suggestions a try and report back in a few weeks.

One drill I'd have you work on which has a huge carryover for both is the single leg deadlift.. By learning to load the good properly, that will allow you to produce more for in the OAP and for the pistol, allow you more control on the descent..

Have you tried pistols with a counterbalance?
Mark, the single leg deadlift is something I´ve been mixing in my practice the last few weeks as my quadriceps tendon started bothering me after so many pistols. I replaced some pistols by the single leg deadlift to give the tendon a break. I hold the kettlebell with the opposite hand and it makes it very hard.

I have been doing pistols with counterbalance mostly, using a 2.5 kg plate. With this weight I can do a pretty decent pistol consistently. As I´ve been greasing the groove, I dont do much warm up or stretching. I can do a weighted pistol with 16 kg, so it appears that strength is not my limitation but mobility is. So maybe switching from GTG to practice sessions 3/week might be a good idea, with proper warm up and mobility before the practice. What do you think?

Thanks!
Oscar
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
@Oscar, when I got my first bw-only pistols, I worked down in weight. After successfully completing a pistol with a 5 lb plate in each hand (about the same as 2.5 kg), I bought "Barbie" dumbbells in 4, 3, 2 and 1 lbs. I still have them sitting on a shelf here. There is a workout format I'd used for other things, 5-4-3-2-1 with increasing weights, that I applied here. I first worked up to 5 pistols each side with 5 lb plates, then adding as I was able, I ended up with this:

4 lb x 4, 3 lb x 3, 2 lb x 2, 1 lb x 1

IOW, I'd do 5 x 5 lb each side, then add a single rep w/ 4 lbs, work up to both of those sets in full, then add 1 rep w/ 3 lbs each side, and so on. And when I finally could do all of that, it was just a matter of playing with the numbers more, e.g.,

5 x 4 lb, 4 x 3 lb, 3 x 2 lb, 2 x 1 lb, 1 x bw-only.

Hope this is helpful to you or someone else reading along.

-S-
 

Mark Limbaga

Level 7 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
@Steve Freides , @Kyle Kowalczuk , @Mark Limbaga many thanks for your suggestions!

Steve, I´m gonna give your suggestions a try and report back in a few weeks.


Mark, the single leg deadlift is something I´ve been mixing in my practice the last few weeks as my quadriceps tendon started bothering me after so many pistols. I replaced some pistols by the single leg deadlift to give the tendon a break. I hold the kettlebell with the opposite hand and it makes it very hard.

I have been doing pistols with counterbalance mostly, using a 2.5 kg plate. With this weight I can do a pretty decent pistol consistently. As I´ve been greasing the groove, I dont do much warm up or stretching. I can do a weighted pistol with 16 kg, so it appears that strength is not my limitation but mobility is. So maybe switching from GTG to practice sessions 3/week might be a good idea, with proper warm up and mobility before the practice. What do you think?

Thanks!
Oscar
I'd keep the counterbalance if it helps until you can do 3-4 reps per leg then see how the unloaded pistol feels.

You can also work your one arm pushups on an elevation that allows you 5 reps so you can do 1,2,3 ladders
 

Oscar

Level 7 Valued Member
@Steve Freides @Mark Limbaga, I can do a good, strict pistol holding a 2kg dumbbell in each hand. Maybe with even less weight. I thought about some sort of double progression where I build up to 5 reps, then reduce the counterweight, then build up to 5 reps, and so on, similar to the idea by Steve above. That sounds like a great plan. The problem I´m having now is that my quadriceps tendons are bothering me a little. Nothing serious, but I dont want to push it. I was thinking on doing pistol singles and then build up the volume with single leg deadlifts? what do you think?

About the one arm push up, it has been progressing smoothly and pretty fast doing GTG at an elevation. I think its just a matter of time before I can do it on both sides. I´ve been doing sets of 2-5 reps depending on the elevation.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
@Oscar, I think if you can keep the leg in front straight on both sides, and really drive through your heel, it will help.

-S-
 

Karen Smith

Level 6 Valued Member
Master Certified Instructor
Iron Maiden
The failed OAPU attempt was caused by loss of tension from the beginning. Watch the video back and look at the far ankle and how it drops in. This will cause loss of glute tension then it works its way up the chain. Push the heel out and meet glute engaged.
 

Oscar

Level 7 Valued Member
The failed OAPU attempt was caused by loss of tension from the beginning. Watch the video back and look at the far ankle and how it drops in. This will cause loss of glute tension then it works its way up the chain. Push the heel out and meet glute engaged.
Thanks Karen, I hadnt noticed that. I´ll work on that and post another video in a few weeks to see if I have progressed. Thanks!
 

sizzlefuzz

Level 6 Valued Member
Glad I stumbled upon this thread yesterday. I have been working with "Bottoms up" pistols, mostly but seeing this had me trying a few counterweighted pistols with 16kg.... the road of going from 16 to freestanding bodyweight seems long. Do you have any recommendations for ankle mobility work @Oscar?
 

Oscar

Level 7 Valued Member
Glad I stumbled upon this thread yesterday. I have been working with "Bottoms up" pistols, mostly but seeing this had me trying a few counterweighted pistols with 16kg.... the road of going from 16 to freestanding bodyweight seems long. Do you have any recommendations for ankle mobility work @Oscar?
Thats a great question. I have been stuck at counterweighted pistols for a long time, its indeed a long road.

To be honest, I havent made great progress, so I dont know if I´m in a position to share a method. That said, a few things that have helped me are:

  • Heavy goblet squats, staying at the bottom and using the weight to force dorsiflexion. I put the elbows mostly on top of the knees, so the kettlebell weight is transferred directly to the lower leg to force the dorsiflexion. I move from side to side working one leg at a time.
  • I do a forward lunge and put a 32 on top of the knee to force dorsiflexion.
  • I dont have access to barbells lately, but Id love to try the drill used by weightlifters:
  • 1609949271282.png
  • Spending time in the lego squat position. A kettlebell can be placed on the knee to force dorsiflexion.

In spite that dorsiflexion seems to play an important part, I sometimes wonder if its not a matter of coordination, losing tension, and also some hip mobility. This is where the progression proposed by @Steve Freides would help, I think.

I have been doing mostly GTG, but since my limitations seem to be related with mobility, I wonder if a dedicated session instead of GTG would work better, with dedicated mobility, stretching, original strength, etc.

How have you been training for it?
 

sizzlefuzz

Level 6 Valued Member
How have you been training for it?
TBH, I was working on it using the ACE (artificially controlled environment) pistols by using rings to support or holding on to a post in the basement. I got frustrated and went away from it, doing more swing/getup focused stuff. Over time, I revisited NW more recently and started back with "bottoms up" pistols as my primary. The most useful mobility drill I have used thus far is this:


I just googled the Lego Squat and I will plan to try it out.

I may put a low block near my workstation to GTG while working from home, although I admit I get distracted. Perhaps I should do more dorsiflexion during conference calls where I am just listening?
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
I have been doing mostly GTG, but since my limitations seem to be related with mobility, I wonder if a dedicated session instead of GTG would work better, with dedicated mobility, stretching, original strength, etc.
I think one should GTG with a movement one can do pretty well already. If that's not the case for your pistol, then I'd stick with a dedicated session 3x/week.

I just watched your videos, Oscar - I still think you need to straighten your right leg more, so consider the following: stretch your right hamstring before you do your left side pistol; do your left side first.

-S-
 
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