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Bodyweight OAPU GTG - When am I done?!

ChrisC

Level 2 Valued Member
I've read NW and love the difference pistols and OAPUs have made to my strength. I've been doing GTG for both for the past 6 weeks and have reached a comfortable 2x5 (each leg) on pistols and can do a single set of 4 on OPAUs.
My max on OPAUs is probably a single set of 5. I've been upping the GTG volume each week (ie sets of 1 for 3 weeks, sets of 2 for 1 week, then sets of 3 and so on) but GTG sets of 4 through the day are beginning to get a little tiring (total daily volume tends to be around 25 to 40+)!
My question is what is the end goal for OPAUs?! I can't really see one in NW and I don't plan to do GTG for the rest of my life! I heard mention of 5x5 as the point when you really 'own' the exercise which may well be the case (!) but that feels a long way off and to get there will need a lot of volume and some severe stress on the hip flexors. I'm 48 and 190lbs (around 13% body fat so there's a limit to how much lighter I can be).
Suggestions/advice please on what should be my goal for 'owning' the OAPU and what's the route?
 

Gerd Specht

Level 1 Valued Member
I've read NW and love the difference pistols and OAPUs have made to my strength. I've been doing GTG for both for the past 6 weeks and have reached a comfortable 2x5 (each leg) on pistols and can do a single set of 4 on OPAUs.
My max on OPAUs is probably a single set of 5. I've been upping the GTG volume each week (ie sets of 1 for 3 weeks, sets of 2 for 1 week, then sets of 3 and so on) but GTG sets of 4 through the day are beginning to get a little tiring (total daily volume tends to be around 25 to 40+)!
My question is what is the end goal for OPAUs?! I can't really see one in NW and I don't plan to do GTG for the rest of my life! I heard mention of 5x5 as the point when you really 'own' the exercise which may well be the case (!) but that feels a long way off and to get there will need a lot of volume and some severe stress on the hip flexors. I'm 48 and 190lbs (around 13% body fat so there's a limit to how much lighter I can be).
Suggestions/advice please on what should be my goal for 'owning' the OAPU and what's the route?
I dont think there is realy an end for the OAP. I would use autoregulation. If it feels wrong (Volume, Intensety, Movement) it maybe is wrong. Instead of upp the Reps per GTG Set spread more lower reps over the day, this upp the Workload but not the intensety per set. If you reach a point wehre you can´t handle it. Switch to an other training style. Maybe Strenght Aerobics is a good thing to think about. This shorten the Time of training, increas the intensety of each season but let enough volume to call it practice. As to get use to that kind of training i would not start with 1:1 Work:Rest probably more like 1:2 or 1:3 to stay fresh and as you grow shorten the rest step by step to 1:1 Work : Rest.
 

Torin

Level 4 Valued Member
Suggestions/advice please on what should be my goal for 'owning' the OAPU and what's the route?
The next step is One-Arm-One-Leg-Pushups.
These pushups are far more demanding than regular OAPUs, and would be the calisthenics equivalent of adding weight to an exercise.

Here are some of Strongfirst's recommended ways to proceed:

Or you could increase the workload at the current intensity like @Gerd Specht suggested above.

Here is the program he was suggesting:

And here is one where you incorporate the pistol and OAPU into your cardio training:
 

Pete L

Level 5 Valued Member
I've read NW and love the difference pistols and OAPUs have made to my strength. I've been doing GTG for both for the past 6 weeks and have reached a comfortable 2x5 (each leg) on pistols and can do a single set of 4 on OPAUs.
My max on OPAUs is probably a single set of 5. I've been upping the GTG volume each week (ie sets of 1 for 3 weeks, sets of 2 for 1 week, then sets of 3 and so on) but GTG sets of 4 through the day are beginning to get a little tiring (total daily volume tends to be around 25 to 40+)!
My question is what is the end goal for OPAUs?! I can't really see one in NW and I don't plan to do GTG for the rest of my life! I heard mention of 5x5 as the point when you really 'own' the exercise which may well be the case (!) but that feels a long way off and to get there will need a lot of volume and some severe stress on the hip flexors. I'm 48 and 190lbs (around 13% body fat so there's a limit to how much lighter I can be).
Suggestions/advice please on what should be my goal for 'owning' the OAPU and what's the route?
4 reps with a 5RM sounds higher than the 1/3 to 2/3 range I've seen quoted here on the forum.
@Bauer was the recent source I think.
 

Bauer

Level 7 Valued Member
My max on OPAUs is probably a single set of 5. I've been upping the GTG volume each week (ie sets of 1 for 3 weeks, sets of 2 for 1 week, then sets of 3 and so on) but GTG sets of 4 through the day are beginning to get a little tiring (total daily volume tends to be around 25 to 40+)!
4 reps with a 5RM sounds higher than the 1/3 to 2/3 range I've seen quoted here on the forum.
@Bauer was the recent source I think.
Yes, the rough guideline from NW is to do half the reps you are capable to do, with a variation that is at least a 10RM. The recent pushup challenge plan used fixed sets per day (9) but varied the reps per set (1/3 to 2/3 range).

The overall principle is to “do as much work as possible while being as fresh as possible.” (Zatiorsky)

ChrisC, you have approached it with a more linear and planned progression, leaning more into fatigue.

Anyway, the stuff @Torin posted is probably the way to go. Another variation would be to this plan by Fabio Zonin and use the OAP for the heavy day:
 

ChrisC

Level 2 Valued Member
Thanks for these replies and the pointers. I particularly like the Simple Strength (even though the rep scheme etc. looks surpringly complicated!) and the Strength Aerobics which I think I will give a go esepcially as I'm training close-grip pull ups anyway.
I guess what I was also looking for is some idea how long before one 'owns' the OAPU as a movement? Your answer may well be 'it depends' but how long did it take you guys? I'm really trying to manage expectations (my own, I mean).
 

ChrisC

Level 2 Valued Member
Without being insincere here, the end goal is when you are happy with the results and want to move forward and try something else. You can then drop the volume to maintain your gains
It's not insincere, that's exactly what I'm aiming at but 'happy...move forward' to me means that a OAPU is at a level where I will not have to relearn it again in the future, even if the (for example) the 5x5 is out of reach. My idea is to go well past where I want to settle in terms of competence and strength, as it were. My question is really about how long should I expect to get there from where I am.
 

Mark Limbaga

Level 8 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
When you can figure out what you wanna go next, that tell you what step to take..

When I was GTGing one arm pushups back then, it was to build the requisite strength for my SFGII press.
 

wespom9

Level 6 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
It's not insincere, that's exactly what I'm aiming at but 'happy...move forward' to me means that a OAPU is at a level where I will not have to relearn it again in the future, even if the (for example) the 5x5 is out of reach. My idea is to go well past where I want to settle in terms of competence and strength, as it were. My question is really about how long should I expect to get there from where I am.

For what it's worth, and I don't know if this answers your questions, when I did my SFB I practiced for ~2 months prior and could not do the OAOLPU. After the cert, the teaching got me to it within 3 weeks. I didn't maintain it at all; on any given day, a OAPU was about a 1-2 RM for me. So I was strong/skilled, but not greatly. When I did my SFB recert, that prior practice had me back to the OAOLPU in 13 days. I imagine if you have a 4-5 RM, you can practice it a few times a week and easily maintain it.
 

ali

Level 6 Valued Member
I'm not doing one arms GTG as my current lifestyle doesn't provide....but I am doing 5x5.
I thought the goal of NW is one arm one leg for each side but dunno maybe that's sfg standard?
That's my goal anyway

So using a 5x5 progression to get there and a long way off yet and I'm doing it in a light, medium, heavy fashion in a bi weekly format mixed with kb doubles. I know, not a strict programme at all. My lifestyle has chucked me some hurdles so generally on the moderate side, waved and I gauge how I am.....in other words, not as a comparison. And it's not a goal to achieve by x time just whenever and if, easy come easy go sort of style at the moment.

5x5 is great though. My fave thing. Once 5x5 is achieved at a certain intensity/load/leverage, consolidate and do it again with notched up intensity and build back up to 5x5 again.

Now I dunno but 5x5 strict one arms is quite a thing isn't it? Like, a lofty goal. Out there. Going some. Isn't it?
 

ChrisC

Level 2 Valued Member
Wes, Ali,
Yes, that helps a lot and does clarify things for me. I guess where I want to be is a OAOLPU; if you can do one of those, you own the OAPU and maybe in such a case the reps don't matter. Through circumstances, I'm stuck with a strict OAPU and can't do any easier progressions on boxes or anything. But that's fine.
Mark,
This is reassuring and I think I read an article by you on how the OAPU helped your overhead press. Because that was a bit of problem for me, especially early on; pistols and OAPUs are so taxing that anything else (apart from swings and sprints which I do) just get in the way. I'm more used to the load now but still feel nailing pistols and OAPUs restrict one in some ways (FOMO?!) while absolutely acknowledging that both are superb full-body exercises that have loads of all-over body effects. Anybody else ever find it was their lats that were sore after OAPUs? Those and a small spot at the front of the shoulders early on which goes after a while? It's interesting where and when the pressure comes on during the different phases of an OAPU rep.
 

Neuro-Bob

Level 9 Valued Member
Yes, the more you dive into it the OA pushup and OAOL pushup are a huge lat exercise. Similar concept as the military press.

I highly recommend starting to add OAOL planks into your routine. Start with the top position. When you feel ready, do those planks in the bottom position. Those are one of the main things I found important to achieve the OAOL pushup, or to maintain it.

@Torin had an excellent and complete answer if the OAOL pushup really is where you’re headed. You can get there!
 

ChrisC

Level 2 Valued Member
Yes, the more you dive into it the OA pushup and OAOL pushup are a huge lat exercise. Similar concept as the military press.

I highly recommend starting to add OAOL planks into your routine. Start with the top position. When you feel ready, do those planks in the bottom position. Those are one of the main things I found important to achieve the OAOL pushup, or to maintain it.

@Torin had an excellent and complete answer if the OAOL pushup really is where you’re headed. You can get there!
By 'bottom position' do you mean with a flexed arm (ie bottom position of a push up) or resting on forearms, as in low plank?
 

Neuro-Bob

Level 9 Valued Member
By 'bottom position' do you mean with a flexed arm (ie bottom position of a push up) or resting on forearms, as in low plank?
Good clarification. I meant the flexed arm / bottom position of a pushup.

I believe NW mentions that as a technique (because there’s no way I’d think of it on my own).
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Sinister
I can tell you what NOT to do, haha. I did my OAPU for SFB in April 2019 and then quit doing just about all pushing exercises, including push-ups and bench press. I still press overhead, and press is strong... but that doesn't help me with OAPU. Now I have to get ready for recertification in April 2022 and I have a long way to go to rebuild it.

For you, I like the suggestions to move on to working on your OAOLPU for even more strength and skill gains. Or move on to other goals, and maintain your OAPU by including it in your training at least once a week or so.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Suggestions/advice please on what should be my goal for 'owning' the OAPU and what's the route?
I wouldn't try to own it - this is where long-term cycling and long-term planning comes in. I recommend you move on to another goal, do some OAPU as a "variety day" activity now and then if you wish. Down the road in a few months or a few years, do another cycle where you work back to your 5 reps of OAPU.

My experience has been that I retain about 3/4 of what I could once do, by which I mean that if I had been able to do 5 OAPU, if I gave myself a week or two to work back into the skill, I'd be able to do 3 or 4 again. Consider the Bob Dylan lyric, "He who isn't busy being born is busy dying." There's really no such thing as maintaining a peak performance, anyway. It's my belief that this kind of long-term cycling is beneficial to us in many ways. Find something else to work on for a while. Again, from my personal experience, returning to previous levels of performance on a skill one has been away from is very satisfying - the results return more quickly than they took to achieve the first time.

-S-
 

Period

Level 6 Valued Member
I can tell you what NOT to do, haha. I did my OAPU for SFB in April 2019 and then quit doing just about all pushing exercises, including push-ups and bench press. I still press overhead, and press is strong... but that doesn't help me with OAPU. Now I have to get ready for recertification in April 2022 and I have a long way to go to rebuild it.
What strategy/strategies are you intending to employ for that? Incline (on a table/chair etc), assisted, partial reps...?
 

Period

Level 6 Valued Member
Now I dunno but 5x5 strict one arms is quite a thing isn't it? Like, a lofty goal. Out there. Going some. Isn't it?
Depends on your definition of "strict", for one - legs together, zero bend in the hips, arm tucked in - yes, that's fairly rare air (since to the best of my knowledge, nobody has yet demonstrated a single "perfect" CC-style OAPU). Going down from there, it depends on your definition of "lofty goal". Personally, I'd say 5x5 in the OAOLPU is pretty solid, but then again, I got my standard OAPU very easily at age 16 or so and always kind of struggled to see why people thought that was hard. But then again, it's one of those things that will get a lot harder the bigger of a person you are.
 
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Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Sinister
What strategy/strategies are you intending to employ for that? Incline (on a table/chair etc), assisted, partial reps...?
Yes, all of those. I used incline, assisted, and isometric holds to get it the first time. This time, I first had to find a way to do any push-ups pain free (see thread Other/Mixed - Painful push-ups - front delts) but I'm currently doing pretty well with the Shenaboard and letting the elbows come out towards 45 degrees. I also started physical therapy last week; the diagnosis is tight/weak/inflamed rotator cuff muscles so treatment is 4 each stretches and strengthening exercises for infraspinatus, supraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis. So we'll see how it goes from here.
 
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