For time:
Run 1 mile with a 20-lb. medicine ball
Then, 8 rounds of:
  10 wall-ball shots
  1 rope ascent
Run 800 meters with a 20-lb. medicine ball
Then, 4 rounds of:
  10 wall-ball shots
  1 rope ascent
Run 400 meters with a 20-lb. medicine ball
Then, 2 rounds of:
  10 wall-ball shots
  1 rope ascent
Friendly Reminder!: We would like to take a moment to remind everyone that, just like every other workout at Roots, we will scale this as needed. So come on in for some medball fun!
Yesterday during the handstand push-up workout an athlete asked me, “Hey, how come you don’t let us use Abmats to scale our handstand push-ups?”
It was a good question because it’s something we’ve never formally addressed.
The individual was referring to using Abmats under their head when doing a handstand push-up. The athlete will kick up to the wall and lower down to 1-3 Abmats shortening the range of motion, but making it possible to do them upside-down on the wall.
Here are the reasons why we don’t utilize them in workouts:
Full Range of Motion
By placing Abmats under the head we are shortening the full range of motion of the joint. We aim to train all of our movements through the full range of the joint as it keeps the joints healthy, strengthens them throughout their use pattern, and because it makes you a better person. If we apply the same logic to a pull-up, we would not let folks scale their pull-ups to chin just below the bar as a standard in the workout.
Control, Not Crash Pad
When trained properly, like anything, the handstand push-up develops incredible pressing strength. But it also puts the head and neck in a precarious position if the athlete does not have the proper musculature control to lower to the bottom of the movement. When athletes use Abmats under their head it gives them an added dose of guts. It allows them to lower to the ground, and fall to the bottom on the last 2-3 inches, with less consequence, as there’s a big crash pad under their head. But the head and neck are still taking the impact. By eliminating the Abmats it promotes the athlete to develop control through the entire movement as most people don’t feel comfortable dropping on their head to the gym mats.
Each workout is written with an awareness of the total reps, the goal of the workout, and the desired intensity. By shortening the travel distance in the handstand push-up, athletes are able to get a lot more reps at a partial range of motion, compared to what they would be able to get traveling through the entire range. This can open the door for a rep total that is not in line with the athlete’s current level of fitness or abilities.
When is it OK?
The Abmat can be a helpful tool in developing the strength to do a handstand push-up in the format of skill work, outside the intensity of the workout. This is all done with a careful eye on using the number of Abmats that allows the athlete to control their body all the way to the ground.