I Cannot Do a Rollup Because My Toes Are Too Heavy

When you want something really bad, training can be overwhelming in part because there is no “right way” to do a skill. There are plenty of inefficient ones, ones likely to produce injury in most bodies, but generally training is a series of experiments with a machine we shockingly know little about. “When I rotate my arm at this time, X happens. When I don’t, Y happens.” “When I engage my X muscles, my shoulder doesn’t hurt. When I don’t, it does.” And on and on and on.

As a coach, I’m looking at a student and using my decade of experience with these experiments and choosing the instructions and cues most likely to produce the desired result on your machine. I’m pretty good at it and that’s the value of 1-on-1 coaching. You save time and energy, and are less likely to risk injury by having expert eyes on you. There’s no replacement for that.

But here I am sharing online tutorials. It’s not the optimal approach but it can be really valuable nonetheless if used like an experiment. I am giving you the cues that a majority of students need, but they might not be the right ones for you. So with that in mind, how should you approach training the skills in these tutorials?

1. Watch the full video to see your roadmap.

2. Re-watch the first progression.

3. Try the progression on each side, using it to provide you with information.

4. If you succeeded, do you feel strong in that progression as described in the video? If so, move on to the next progression.

5. If not, pick one cue from the video and focus on it for 10 reps. Ask yourself if you feel strong in the progression now. If so, move on to the next progression.

6. If not, pick another cue to focus on for 10 reps. Repeat this structure until you’re where you want to be. If you run out of cues, cycle back to the first ones or reach out for more!

Your body probably cannot implement 50 corrections at once. And if you try, how do you know which one helped you achieve your goal? Be purposeful and disciplined in your practice to find out what works best for your body.

P.S.A. Long heavy legs make single coil rollups harder, which can be overcome by back flexibility. But I like to blame my toes. That’s not scientific.

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