Static Holds for Increased Strength and Stability
By: Cole Gruber
Most of our time at the gym is spent trying to do more reps, move faster, or lift more weight. Moving more weight or doing more reps is how we measure improvements in strength. However, the argument could be made that your strength and stability of your joints is measured by how much you don’t move. Take an overhead squat or turkish get-up for instance. These movements get stronger when you can stabilize the weight overhead and keep it still while you move through full range of motion. Listed below are a few of my favorite ways to improve overall strength and stability. Implement and master these and you will feel more confident under heavy load or stress and will likely decrease your chance for injury. Try adding one these in for 3 or 4 weeks after your workout or during open gym. They don’t take much time and they have tremendous benefit. You’ll know you’re stronger and more stable when things stop moving.
1) Hollow Holds
These are extremely simple and effective. The hollow position is the position you should be in during most of our gymnastics movements. To perform a hollow hold, lay flat on your back with your arms overhead and legs together. Make your body as long as possible and slowly raise your arms, shoulders, upper back, and legs off the ground. Your body should be slightly concave with only your lower back on the ground. Start with 3 sets of 20 seconds and work towards 3 sets of 1 minute. To make it harder, try rocking on your back while maintaining your hollow position.
Click here for a Video of Hollow Rocks
2) Ring Support Hold
Grab a pair of rings and set them up so that when you are at the top of a dip your feet don’t touch the ground. Jump up onto the rings to the top of a dip and get your body into the hollow position you have now mastered. Press your body as far away from the rings as possible and turn your hands out slightly so that the rings point at 11 and 1. Hold as still as possible for as long as possible. As soon as your hands turn in or your shoulders roll forward, hop down and rest. Begin with short sets of a few seconds and work toward a full minute with no shaking. This can be scaled down by lowering the rings and performing the hold in the push-up position. To make this more difficult, perform one dip or push-up every 5 seconds and see how long you can go.
Click here for a Video of a Ring Support Hold
3) Pause Squats
It doesn’t get much simpler than this. If you want to improve the bottom position of your squat then you need to spend some time down there. Perform your squats as you normally would, but hold for a full 3 seconds at the bottom before standing. As you sit in the bottom focus on the position of your knees and chest. Actively push your knees out over your toes and lift your chest up. Nothing should be relaxed and you should stay perfectly still and very active. When 3 seconds have passed, stand up. Make sure your knees stay out and your chest stays up. For people who are weak at the bottom of the squat, 3 reps at 65% will be very tough. Use this with any squat variation. Front and overhead squats are extra difficult.
Click here for a video of Pause Squats