#5 Best Parallette Exercise for Fighters
Parallettes are a very useful apparatus in that they allow you to develop grip strength while working hand balancing exercises. I liken parallette exercises developing strength from the core to the hands while simultaneously developing strength from the hands to the core… much like grappling. Geeks call it irradiation. Works for me.
One of my favorite parallette exercises develops “suspension tension.” In the top game of grappling, proficient fighters “surf” over their opponents’ guard. But in addition to the technical and tactical content of this combination of floating and smearing the opponent to the mat, there is a trainable attribute that contributes to top game fighting performance.
My variation on the shoulder stand is not performed for hold duration like in gymnastics, but for volume (repetitions) and speed. The pump of the exercise allows the core to activate throughout: the tighter the core - the lighter the body. But unlike high-tension exercises like deadlifts which are great for developing general strength, the shoulder stand pump selectively increases core tension without limiting mobility. Although it’s a sport-specific exercise, athletes from other sports can benefit as well.
There are remedial exercises that I’ve found help my fighters quickly develop this skill. Although some people have local muscular deficits in the shoulders and arms that may require some catch-up, the main problem for all fighters learning to perform this exercise is core activation. The catch-22 is that you have to have had the experience of firing the core in the right way in order to perform the exercise, but need to perform the exercise in order to know what that firing pattern and strength is. So, these two exercises - the rocca pushup and the bent-arm tuck-planche - will help you do that. In the video below, I demonstrate the motor sequence of developing the core-activation from rocca to tuck-plance to shoulder stand. This specific motor development gives you the experience of core firing before you can do the shoulder stand, and once you do, you’ll get the full exercise.
** Make sure that you keep the elbows buried to the lats. Try and keep your elbows from flaring outwards, but avoid drawing them inward into an elbow lever.
** Tuck the tailbone slightly and contract the glutes. This will make your body start to lighten.
** If you point your toes and flex your calves you’ll be able to contract your thighs… and you’ll begin to float.
** Co-contract your biceps and triceps and grip the bars as tightly as possible.
** Practice by slightly turning your head to the side in case you pitch forwards on the first few times.
Since the shoulder stand pump is performed for volume and speed, you can include it in metabolic conditioning programs such as the Charlie-Sierra-Tango energy-specific series I put Alberto Crane through with amazing results, or you can practice it for set/rep schemes for general conditioning. The longer you hold the legs extended, the greater you work on strength, and the faster you perform the repetitions the more you work on strength-endurance.