Compulsory Strength Part 3 – “Variety is the Spice to a Successful Strength Plan”

In an era where Xbox and Play Station seemingly rule the day with today’s youth, it is important if you are trying to develop a strength training program in the manner which I have been describing  to have flexibility, variety and randomness.
Don’t get to focused on it, but YES! I did say “randomness” and fully know that the up most important fundamental to developing strength is to be consistent, so why would I say you need to have randomness in your plan?
The answer is, as I wrote parts 1 and 2 in this series and got really great feedback, I began to understand even more that, most people but even more interestingly that most coaches, don’t know how to build a plan that incorporates all of the 5 fundamentals I gave while keeping strength fun, engaging and productive. So because of that feedback, I rearranged and changed this 3rd installment to give more details and 3 COMPLETE FREE EXAMPLES of how to create and develop a program using flexibility, variety and randomness.
With all of that said in my longer than usual introduction, how do you and more importantly why would you want to add flexibility, variety and randomness to your strength plan?
The reason is quite simple, to keep it fun, engaging and productive. Let me put this into a bit of perspective from my experiences. What many people don’t know about body building is that it is so rigid, so regimented in both the workout formats, design and the nutritional aspects. So much so, that respectfully only a very few people have the discipline to really excel in that sport. Now many dabble and pretend, but to truly be competitive your focus and rigid commitment to the very regimented plans is an absolute must that takes an extraordinarly disciplined mindset and personality that is few an far between. Taking the understanding and knowledge of that mindset, I looked at what it takes in our sport, Men’s gymnastics, to successfully compete especially for the younger lower level athletes. Our sport, especially at the upper levels shares many commonalities with the rigidness and regimentation of body building. So with strength development being a basic fundamental to developing the skills of gymnastics, especially on the men’s side of the sport, how we go about creating the plan for that development where we can inspire, educate and serve the kiddo and the parent and not turn them off to our sport by being overly regimented. Follow? Regimented, but not OVERLY regimented…
No, I don’t think or feel that everyone can do or should compete in our sport. I do however feel that there are a larger number of kiddos and parents that get introduced to the sport and due to poor or non-existent planning within segments of the program get turned off and leave prematurely. Could you agree with that? gatstrength3gatstrength1
Let’s be real for a minute, the reason I love coaching gymnastics is the same reason that I loved body building and loved training people in body building. Understanding, that I truly love, appreciate and respect the rigid commitment and strict regimentation of planning and training it takes, especially at the upper levels of these and other sports to create a top level competitor. My goal with sharing this is so that MORE people that also appreciate and love sports, particularly in this case Men’s Gymnastics like I do, will have additional tools so they can make sure introductory lower levels of the sport have more fun, be more engaged while still being productive without having them get turned of and leave prematurely.
So how can we accomplish this? Here are 3 ways that I feel it can be done in a fashion where you can keep things flexible, add variety and throw in a kind of randomness that will spice things up to keep it fun, engaging and productive.
  1. Use the content in these 3 blogs to create a well rounded written plan for your entire program
  2. Understand that basic gymnastics skills can be turned into a part or segment of the strength plan
  3. Don’t fear throwing a curve ball strength regimen into the mix at specific intervals and doing something completely different, even utilizing aspects from a different sport.
#3 should answer the question to why I am promoting and suggesting the usage of “randomness” in your plan. See if you have taken the time to derive a true plan, you can selectively pick times of the session, season or year to throw in a game, a “one off” strength assignment, or a basic skills challenge. This is random to them, it is flexible to the program and it adds variety to break up the monotony that often comes by having set strength assignments that run for weeks at a time. However, YOU need to have it IN THE PLAN… random to them, planned by you!
As promised here are 3 complete strength plans that you can randomly throw into the mix.
Plan 1 – Paralletes
***I got a large part of this parallette workout from Jr. National Coaching Staff Member Gene Watson. Note: Gene likes to do these 2-3x per week either as a part, in addition to or for the strength assignment. It is part of his plan ;-)***
  1. 6x 6 seconds – best attempt at held “V”
  2. 6 press H.S. from straddle L – test them, go one at a time. If they make  3 they have to do 3 to finish, if less they do 6 more from a straddle stand on back of parallett’s.
  3. Sitting on floor in front of parallett’s in pike sit – right leg lift & hold for 10, Left for 10, both for 10 repeat
  4. On parallett’s – 6x 6 second tuck or straddle planche
  5. 6x 6 ½ press lower into straddle L (Level 6 routine bonus)
  6. On floor sitting in straddle hand near knees – 15 leg raises, then counted as a group – 10 second hold. Slide hands even with knees – repeat. Slide hands slightly past knees – repeat.
  7. 6x 6 second L holds
  8. 3x “Inside/outs” starting in Straddle L or L hold
  9. 1 attempt – 1 press on 1 parallett – right hand in front/left hand infront/supinated/pronated
  10. H. S. Hold contest – winner gets to put up parallets and take a break
Parallettes are done as a group. NO WATER/NO BATHROOM duing parallett’s.
Plan 2 – The Presentation Workout
  1. 6x 6, held for 6 seconds each – basic arm positions
  2. 6x 6 each leg – kick jump to stick -hold stick for 3 count, finish and hold for 3 count
  3. 6x 6 each leg – kick jump ½ turn to stick – hold for 3 count, finish and hold for 3 count
  4. 6x 6 each jump – straddle, pike, tuck, ½ turn each finishing by stick, hold for 3 count, finish hold for 3 count
  5. 6x Sissone to step turn, finish hold for 3 count
  6. 6x Assemble to stick, hold for 3 count, finish hold for 3 count
Plan 3 – The Ring Workout 
  1. 6x 10 seconds – General support – straight legs, pointed toes, rings turn out with locked arms
  2. 6x 10 seconds – “Push-up position support hold – hollow locked out position, rings turned out
  3. 6x 6 each direction each arm – push-up support position ring circles
  4. 6x 10 seconds L holds on rings – locked arms, rings tuned out
  5. 6x 10 XBR L holds – locked arms, XBR at 45 degree turned out angle, locked arms
  6. 6x 3 second tuck planche hold – arms locked, rings turned out
  7. 6x 3 second tuck planche hold – arms locked, 45 degree angle XBR turnout
You could also put together 6-10 basics tumbling skills, divide into two or three groups depending on the size of your team and have a “Basic Skills Challenge” for points and prizes… Remember, make it fun, engaging and productive. The key to success is PUTTING ALL OF THIS INTO A WELL THOUGHT OUT, CLEARLY DEFINED, WRITTEN PLAN…
I am Bryan Kiser, I live BOLD using my expertise and experience to help as many people as I can to be better now than they were a minute ago and even better tomorrow than they are today. The sets of life’s waves are coming in clean and big…. gotta go

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