One bodyweight skill to rule them all?

guardian7

Level 6 Valued Member
What one bodyweight skill do you think gives the most bang for the buck as far as overall benefits to work towards for the older, intermediate person, even if it takes a year or so with regressions, or you never achieve it. It should also be the gateway to other skills/mobility benefits. Here is my shortlist. I am going to choose one this summer to work on just a few min a day. What would you choose? Older men in particular. And suggestions for intermediate skills or regressions for these that are not well known also welcome. I took the SF bodyweight course. I have a copy of Convict Conditioning and flexible steel. I tend to neglect mobility work.

Current choices: L-sit or full backbridge,

Others I considered: unsupported handstand, muscleup, onearm pushup, pistol, spiderman crawl.

Could I work on more than one. Of course, but I always get best results with minimal goals that I cycle through over the year. I can't do one good rep for any of these yet. This is for the summer. Working on improving snatch right now. Finished a barbell program, so thinking more about mobility goals, and rebuilding a routine after lockdown than strength gains but would be interested to hear what others would choose.
 

offwidth

Level 9 Valued Member
I mean not something just to improve but a really challenging stretch goal that is currently something you can't do. Something where getting one rep would feel like an achievement.
I included variations ... can you do a one finger one arm pull-up? (I know guys that can)
 

pet'

Level 8 Valued Member
Hello,

In my humble opnion, as far as bodyweight goes, I do not think there is "only one" skill. I tend to think we are made to push, pull and lift, but also being agile.

Based on that, I'd say that we "need":
- Squat variation (from regular to pistol)
- Push up (from regular to OAOL)
- Pull up
- Single leg deadlift
- Full back bridge
- Twisting

The first 4 moves teach full body tension but also require mobility (especially the squat if we do it very deep).

The full back bridge and twisting teach how to be smooth

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

CraigW

Level 5 Valued Member
Brachiation/Hanging, for ab work and grip work.

or

Burpees, Iron Wolf style.
They include a standing plank, a hip hinge, a level change, a deep squat, a push-up and a jump.
 

bluejeff

Level 5 Valued Member
If it's for older folks and is to be practiced just a bit each day I'd say some kind of low crawl. I would work towards low lizard crawls. That way you get shoulder mobility and strength, as well as hip mobility and rotation through the torso.

If we're talking in general I would say: 90-degree pushup (multi-planar pushing plus back strength to dynamically stabilize the body), legless rope climb (for the grip!) or muscle up, and single leg squat

You could use the "modified divebomber pushup" he demonstrates here towards the end of the video for a good up[er body push:
 

305pelusa

Level 6 Valued Member
What one bodyweight skill do you think gives the most bang for the buck as far as overall benefits to work towards for the older, intermediate person, even if it takes a year or so with regressions, or you never achieve it. It should also be the gateway to other skills/mobility benefits. Here is my shortlist. I am going to choose one this summer to work on just a few min a day. What would you choose? Older men in particular. And suggestions for intermediate skills or regressions for these that are not well known also welcome. I took the SF bodyweight course. I have a copy of Convict Conditioning and flexible steel. I tend to neglect mobility work.

Current choices: L-sit or full backbridge,

Others I considered: unsupported handstand, muscleup, onearm pushup, pistol, spiderman crawl.

Could I work on more than one. Of course, but I always get best results with minimal goals that I cycle through over the year. I can't do one good rep for any of these yet. This is for the summer. Working on improving snatch right now. Finished a barbell program, so thinking more about mobility goals, and rebuilding a routine after lockdown than strength gains but would be interested to hear what others would choose.
The 360 Pull on rings is probably the most complete Bodyweight skill. It trains shoulder flexion and extension through a full ROM. It loads the scapula in all 4 directions. It trains both abdominals/hip flexors and the lower back/glutes. And the straight-arm position loads the biceps and triceps in both shortened and lengthened positions, so there's plenty of arm stimulation as well. It also can be regressed very easily with body position.


Muscle-ups are a distant second perhaps but it doesn't provide much of a core stimulus, and it doesn't build the mobility that the 360 Pull builds in the bottom of the back lever.

The problem with some of your suggestions (L-sits, Handstand, OAPUs, crawl, etc) is that they leave a lot of muscles underworked, don't have high mobility requirements, are not progressive enough, etc. They're fantastic exercises but I would not just do one only for being concerned of imbalances developing.
 

bluejeff

Level 5 Valued Member
Muscle-ups are a distant second perhaps but it doesn't provide much of a core stimulus, and it doesn't build the mobility that the 360 Pull builds in the bottom of the back lever.
Good choice! Though one could argue that you need pretty good shoulder extension for the transition in a clean, strict muscle up, and you would get a stretch into flexion at the bottom of the hang. I think I've seen clips of Ido Portal doing a "360-push" (my name for it); basically starting in a victorian and moving all the way through a 90-degree pushup. Super advanced though.
 

Chrisdavisjr

Level 6 Valued Member
I might be tempted to go for the classic push-up, performed with complete focus and intent, tight from the shoulders down to the toes. It's simple but it seems to work across numerous ability levels and, while primarily hitting the chest, arms and shoulders, does work the whole body to some extent if you really work on the 'plank' aspect of it.

I might suggest raising the hands on blocks for a greater range of motion but I could end up getting lost in a sea of variations. It's always been a favourite of mine because you can do it virtually any time, anywhere and it kept me healthy even when I was doing very little else in terms of exercise.
 

xagunos

Level 6 Valued Member
In terms of sheer carryover to other exercises, it's hard to beat the planche push-up. With those, press HSs, HSPUs, rings will be much more if not completely doable. Plus they pair nicely with a deadlift variation hence making it a nice classic two-exercise combo.
 

xagunos

Level 6 Valued Member
Good choice! Though one could argue that you need pretty good shoulder extension for the transition in a clean, strict muscle up, and you would get a stretch into flexion at the bottom of the hang. I think I've seen clips of Ido Portal doing a "360-push" (my name for it); basically starting in a victorian and moving all the way through a 90-degree pushup. Super advanced though.
Where have you seen that video? I've seen Ido perform 180-degree pushups but never 360.
 

watchnerd

Level 5 Valued Member
In terms of sheer carryover to other exercises, it's hard to beat the planche push-up. With those, press HSs, HSPUs, rings will be much more if not completely doable. Plus they pair nicely with a deadlift variation hence making it a nice classic two-exercise combo.
+1, with the caveat that one must also work in bodyline drills (hollow holds, arch holds).
 

guardian7

Level 6 Valued Member
If it's for older folks and is to be practiced just a bit each day I'd say some kind of low crawl. I would work towards low lizard crawls. That way you get shoulder mobility and strength, as well as hip mobility and rotation through the torso.

If we're talking in general I would say: 90-degree pushup (multi-planar pushing plus back strength to dynamically stabilize the body), legless rope climb (for the grip!) or muscle up, and single leg squat

You could use the "modified divebomber pushup" he demonstrates here towards the end of the video for a good up[er body push:
That is phenomenal. I discovered pike pushups, which are great.
 

guardian7

Level 6 Valued Member
The 360 Pull on rings is probably the most complete Bodyweight skill. It trains shoulder flexion and extension through a full ROM. It loads the scapula in all 4 directions. It trains both abdominals/hip flexors and the lower back/glutes. And the straight-arm position loads the biceps and triceps in both shortened and lengthened positions, so there's plenty of arm stimulation as well. It also can be regressed very easily with body position.


Muscle-ups are a distant second perhaps but it doesn't provide much of a core stimulus, and it doesn't build the mobility that the 360 Pull builds in the bottom of the back lever.

The problem with some of your suggestions (L-sits, Handstand, OAPUs, crawl, etc) is that they leave a lot of muscles underworked, don't have high mobility requirements, are not progressive enough, etc. They're fantastic exercises but I would not just do one only for being concerned of imbalances developing.
I don't have the setup for that but I can see its value. I guess people could hold the positions and use a tuck for a regression.
 
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