Workout Three (55mins): Valsalva

Trainers’ tip

The Valsalva Maneuver is a breath-holding technique commonly used by powerlifters and Olympic weightlifters. It involves holding your breath for a short period of time. There are two reasons for this; building intra-abdominal pressure which stabilizes the spine, and is hypothesized to provide extra support during structural exercises like deadlifts and squats (not really relevant to calisthenics) and the neuromuscular reflex which is a theory suggesting that holding your breath can amplify force production.

While we normally steer clear from anecdotes, when exerting maximal efforts, you will typically see people ‘naturally’ hold their breath. In this workout, try and hold your breath throughout the entire rep (or at least the concentric part of the exercise) and see if you feel like the added stability in your trunk makes you feel stronger.

Workout summary

1a. Tuck front lever rows
1b. Single leg hip bridge
2a. Chin-up
2b. Squat jumps
3. Advanced tuck front lever negatives31.5min
4a. Feet elevated row
4b. Dips
5a. ISO chin-up hold
5b. Hollow body hold

1a. Tuck rows

Keep knees tucked to chest, shoulders packed and arms straight.
Place a band underneath your lower back to make it easier.

1b. Single leg hip bridge

Place one foot on the floor & opposite knee above your hip.
Raise hips by pushing your heel into the floor.

Perform this superset 4 times w/2min 1.5min rest

Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4
1a. Tuck rows5678
1b. Single leg bridge12ea12ea12ea12ea

2a. Chin-ups

Start with arms straight and legs extended.
Drive elbows to the floor and touch collarbones to bar.

2b. Squat jumps

Start with heels hip-width, toes pointed out and chest spread.
Lower until thighs are parallel, then jump as high as you can (land soft!)

Perform this superset 4 times w/2min rest

Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4
2a. Chin-ups78910
2b. Squat jumps10101010

Tuck front lever negatives

Start with your shin/s touching the bar and arms fully extended.
Slowly lower to the floor maintaining the lever shape.

Perform this exercise 3 times w/1.5min rest

Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4
3. Lever negatives x35sec6sec7sec8sec

4a. Feet elevated row

Start with legs straight and core engaged.
Drive elbows to the floor and touch chest to the bar.

4b. Dips

Start with arms fully extended.
Lower until your shoulders are lower than your elbows.

Perform this superset 3 times w/1.5min rest

Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4
4a. Elevated rows9101112
4b. Dips6789

5a. ISO chin-up hold

Start with collarbones touching the bar and don’t move.

5b. Hollow body hold

Perform this superset 3 times w/1min rest

Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4
1a. ISO chin-up hold20sec25sec30sec35sec
1b. Hollow body hold30sec35sec40sec45sec

Workout recap

Efficiency is about using the least amount of energy. You’ve learned that inefficiency is a strength training strategy to maximize the effectiveness of every repetition. You squeeze the bar (irritation), perform reps explosively (force production) and hold your breath (valsalva).

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