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All members want to get better or more efficient at gymnastics movements. Whether it’s pull-ups, handstand push ups or muscles ups, everyone is looking to improve in this area. One of the most overlooked factor to all these movements is building the strict strength. Yes, kipping in some cases is easier to pickup than the strict movement and it may even make the WOD easier, but does it actually make you stronger? Learning to do the strict version of these movements can be beneficial in the long run. Here are just a few benefits:

  1. Strict movements build strength. There is no momentum involved, and therefore you must rely on your muscles and how much they can move under load (i.e. your body weight)
  2. Strict movements prepare your small muscles for kipping. These small muscle groups are essential to keeping your shoulder supported and mobile.
  3. Strict movements prevent a “crazy kip”. With strict strength the kip will now come easy. Building the shoulder strength will allow you to have a smaller and tighter base which will most importantly prevent injury, but also allow you to now do these movements faster.


Now all you have to do is decide which movement do you want to improve first. Below is a program for strict hand stand push ups and a program for strict pull-ups. Choose one and focus on it for 4 weeks. Add it as an accessory at the end of your workouts.


Strict HSPU

*Repeat this cycle for 4 weeks*




  1. Plate Progression: 3 sets to failure

**How to do it:  Stack 10-15lb plates and place an abmat on top of them. Perform a normal hspu, lowering your head to the abmat. The number of plates you use will depend on your current strength level (the more plates, the easier the movement). The goal each week will be to use less plates!


  1. Top-Half Strict Press: 3 sets of 5 reps @ 90% of your 1rm Strict press.

**How to do it: The first rep will be a push press (the weight will be heavier than you can typically strict press for reps) Once you have the bar overhead, lower the barbell down to your forehead and then press it back up. The goal each week is to add 5-10lbs!


  1. Hand Stand Hold: 1 set to failure

**How to do it: Kick up to the wall and hold the handstand for as long as possible. The goal is to try and hold this position 10-15 seconds longer each week!




  1. Plate Progression: 1 set to failure **beat your first set from Monday**


  1. Dumbbell shoulder press: 3 sets of 8 reps. Heavy but with a focus on perfect form.

**How to do it: Start with dumbbells resting on shoulder. Keeping your core tight, press the dumbbells overhead.


  1. Handstand Hold: 1 set to failure




  1. Plate Progression: 5 sets x your highest set of the week minus 2 reps.


  1. Top-Half Strict Press: 2 sets of 3 reps (add 5lbs from Monday)


  1. Handstand Hold: 1 set to failure (try to beat Wednesdays time)



Strict Pull-Up

*Repeat this cycle for 4 Weeks by increasing a rep each day*

Each day you will do 5 sets. The goal is to increase 1 rep each day. Start by doing 5 sets of 1 rep. If this is too easy start at 5 sets of 3 reps. If you do not yet have  a strict pull up you can do this cycle by doing strict negatives.


Strict Negatives:


How to do it: Using a box jump up to the bar, and hold yourself (chin above bar) for 3-5 seconds, then slowly lower yourself back down to the box.


Day 1: 1-1-1-1-1

Day 2: 2-1-1-1-1

Day 3: 2-2-1-1-1

Day 4: 2-2-2-1-1

Day 5: 2-2-2-2-1

Day 6: 2-2-2-2-2

Day 7: 3-2-2-2-2

Day 8: 3-3-2-2-2

Day 9: 3-3-3-2-2

Day 10: 3-3-3-3-2

Day 11: 3-3-3-3-3

Day 12: 4-3-3-3-3

* continue adding 1 rep each day for 4 weeks.