As coaches and athletes, we have heard and given an insane amount of cues - everything from ‘squeeze your butt’ to ‘Armpits forward’. 'Proud chest' to 'Land like a ninja'. Most of the time, our athletes, aka you guys, do exactly what we ask and you end up in the position that we want you to be in, doing the movement that we want to see you do. Aces.
When you hear our cues, do you ever take a second to ask yourself WHY we're telling you to do these things?? Well, now’s your chance to find out! Welcome to the first of our blog series explaining why we tell you to do certain things. And guess what we’re starting with… YOUR THUMBS!
Soooo.... Why do we tell you to wrap your thumbs around and get your pinky knuckle on top of the bar/rig (thus forward known as 'The Good Grip'?)
When you pull open a door or when you go to deadlift a new 1 RM, you wouldn’t think twice about grabbing the bar or the door handle with all your digits. Why, when you’re pulling your own bodyweight, would you not want to use all these digits as well, including your strongest finger, your thumb?!
Wrapping our thumb around the bar buys us a small safety net if, for whatever reason, we suddenly lose our grip. We have seen so many athletes with their thumbs on top of, instead of around, the bar get into the back of their kipping swing, lose their grip, fly off the rig and land flat on their back. Not a pretty picture.
The 'Good Grip' acts as a pseudo hook (as in your olympic lifting) and false (as in your muscle ups) grip. Not only does it provide a secure latch to the rig, it also shortens the distance we have to pull, even if only by a few millimetres. Trust us, when you’re doing 100+ pull ups in a workout, every millimetre helps!
IMPROVED OVERHEAD POSITION
'The Good Grip' creates a more ‘active’ (read: stable) overhead position when hanging from the rig. Check these photos….
Which looks stronger? Which looks more in control? Which looks sloppy?
'The Good Grip' creates torque and thus potential force through the shoulder, giving you more power to do more pull ups, better.
GRIP STRENGTH = LESS FRICTION ON YOUR MITTS
And the final reason, this grip significantly decreases the likelihood that your poor mitts will rip. The pseudo hook grip means your hand will slide less on the bar. Less sliding means less friction, less friction means less tearing!
WORKOUT OF THE DAY
A) Gymnastics Skills: Kipping pull ups
Thrusters (42.5/30 kg)