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Old Forum One Arm Pull ups

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Matt

Level 3 Valued Member
I had a go at hanging one-armed the other day and had the whole twist thing happening big time.  Both hands.  I was a bit fatigued (just dead-hung for 2mins stretching) to keep experimenting, but even now standing, palms up I can feel a slight resistance to having a would-be underhand grip if chinning (ie palms horizontal).  I've only ever done pullups, not chins for a start.  And haven't done a curl of sorts for about 5 years.

Wondering if there are a few simple things to strengthen that movement if I was to get more serious with OACs.  I am not sure if it is a weakness or dominance with a bicep head, forearm, wrist,  shoulder or what.  Arnold curls perhaps ? (not sure their proper name but back in the days I remember reading he curled then gave a twist to add a peak to the bicep - bodybuilders!!?).   Don't know.
 

Journeyman

Level 6 Valued Member
Start your hang with a neutral grip (so that bar is roughly perpendicular to your shoulders--the exact angle will probably differ for the individual); and pull straight up. About halfway through, turn your body towards the bar by pushing your elbow down towards your navel and bringing your forearm across your torso. So you should finish with your fist under your chin and the bar more or less parallel to your shoulders. Your static holds should reflect this. Bottom (or just above it)--neutral grip. Halfway point--same. Top position--supinated.

As for weaknesses, your shoulder girdle will probably be your weak point. Heavy chins will take care of your overall lat and bicep strength necessary. Static holds and eventually partials will help with your specific skill to do the OAC. Your weak point will probably be in your shoulder. Do more rear delt and rotator cuff work, and stretching (OAC is all internal rotation). Elbow prehab is a must, too.

After OAC work I generally do 3-5 sets of RC exercises (any one will do), a set of 30-50 rear delts with bands ('front chest pull', if you're into strandpulling), and some light curls. I prioritize hammer and pinwheel curls for the brachialis work, but curls supinated all the way can be good too. Do them slowly, go to full extension at the bottom, and stay very light. Remember that this is prehab/feeder work, not 'bicep training'. Just stretch the muscle and get some blood into it. Heavy curls can have carryover to the OAC, but I believe it would be very demanding on the elbows to do both in the same routine.

I'll do another blog article soon going into some of this stuff in more detail, the original is here: http://affectinggravity.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-first-one-arm-chin.html
 

Matt

Level 3 Valued Member
Thanks aris,

 

Heaps of good info in your post and the affectinggravity blog article.  I like it.

I am a little unsure what you mean in your first paragraph about my static holds grip being neutral and the bottom, middle then supinated at the top.  Can't visualise that yet...

I was thinking shoulder first thing when I tried it yesterday.  Because if I tried I feel I could rotate myself using my shoulder.  I have been doing a lot of kayaking lately which is tough on my elbows (rough water making paddling all over the place) yet may be giving my real delts a bit of a high-rep workout.  Yet both would be on the fatigued side of things due to this.

I've never really rated OAC's, but reading your blogs I can see what a killer 'lift'/movement it would be.  Congratulations too on setting your goal and then getting so good at it.  I started off with pullups like you - from zero to gradually work up to some heavier weighted, yet did a little bit daily at first (bodyweight) then weekly and it all came together.  Will do the same with these.

Thanks again.
 

Matt

Level 3 Valued Member
Actually, I understood what you meant, but can't imagine having much strength to do it.  Will try it out anyway.  It's going to be elbow intensive like you say...
 

Journeyman

Level 6 Valued Member
Yeah, don't start OAC training until you're ready. 20 strict pullups and/or preferably a weighted chin +2/3 or 3/4 bodyweight is good, like I said.

And, if you want to start the one arm 'lockoffs', static holds, and don't feel ready for it even after that, do two-arm static holds until you can hold any angle for a minute, then your joints should be ready. For a while before startic OAC specific work I'd do 3-5x3-5 weighted chins, and then pullup holds at the top or middle positions for 1 set trying to get close to a minute each.

As for a rating, by the gymnastics rating system there is no official rating but I've heard people theorize as low as 'A' (equivalent to a front lever or handstand on rings, I think) or as high as 'C' (iron cross on rings). That said, it's tough to calculate--some people are biased towards one skill or another, and of course, you aren't likely to get something like an iron cross without specific training, though with an OAC it is definitely possible.
 
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