How To Front Leaning Rest [FLR] – With Athletes & James Fitzgerald


This is an FLR (front leaning rest) on rings. It’s used to improve upper body pushing It’s a Level 1 because it’s a straight arm upper body pushing activity. I’m going to instruct a number of these folks (athletes/clients) to improve their positions. I like using multiple different folks because they all have different body types, different body weights, different arm lengths, I’d like you to see the variation. Here’s big Danny (Nichols) with long arms and a massive upper body weight ratio vs lower body. He had already done some body pushing that day: a 20-minute piece with some heavy deadlifts and some strict handstand push ups, so it’s (FLR) a good challenge for him, but even he’s a good example of what I want to show you. He’s done a lot of FLR on rings, but finding control on it takes good cueing for him. A couple things you have to think about: 1. The classification – the exercise is a straight arm pushing activity that’s also unstable, so it’s not a closed kinetic chained activity. If you want to progress people from a straight arm pushing activity in different ways, whether it’s structural work or anaerobic anaerobic work, I prefer you go from the floor to do it with great positioning of the scapula and spine. It’s just like our push-up test, an FLR in level 1, we’re looking at 2 main things: right to left instability or differences in the scapula, and lumbar extension, but I’d want you to gain stability first in the closed kinetic chain from the floor, maybe even doing some upper body pushing activities in an open kinetic chain with dumbbells before you get to this unstable position unless they can show, like Kurt is, a great position of those 2 things (right to left stability and lumbar extension). Remember, it’s an anti-lumbar extension exercise and an anti-retraction (scapula) exercise, where the humerus wants to get pushed up into the joint, and basically what you want to do is activate those stabilizers and joint movers around the joint to push that humerus down towards the floor, and that means the body’s gonna rise. In different people, you’ll see different positions for what they need to be challenged on. For Danny, its core control around the pelvis and rib cage because he likes to lumbar extend. Not in Kurt’s position You can see with him (Kurt), he has no problem with lumbar extension, and it’s not necessarily body weight ratio. You’re looking for 2 main things: really solid packing position in the shoulders, and right-to-left balance on each side. You want a little bit of external rotation,
if possible, in the hands. I’m okay with the internal rotation from the start to get people controlled, but you want to have that great alignment from pelvis into ribs and pelvis to knee and to pack that. Here’s Amanda, a gymnast, you can see with their neural control she’ll get into the correct position right away. Even through her mid upper back, with control of the movement, she does a lot of that control through her
midsection where she can lever that out relative to her body weight. She has great control around her midsection because of her history in gymnastics. It’s pretty much the position you’re looking for, so model it IF you can because then you’re trying to look for
that exact position when you get into it. That’s the whole thing around it, if you’re training to do it, I’m putting Gabby into it now because she used to do it poorly, but Amanda’s cueing her bum because she wants belly up and in, so I’m cueing core control for the thoracic lumbar fascia, and that’s going to tighten in with serratus and in lats around the shoulders and also the glutes are gonna tighten up and straight out those hips For her (Gabby), she used to get into a lot of lumbar extension with movements, she’s got a lot better control of that over time, so good learning on her part even for someone who’s been training for a number of years. You’ll see with Carrie as well, that they just jump into that position when people want to load up through their ribs and back and forget to create control. Danny’s done a pretty good job of it after a number of cues. He said he learned a few things today. I also did an above view on Danny. He has a hyperactive right trap on that right side. You can see it splay out a bit. If I watch from behind, you can see what happens when people have that overactive right trap that’s coming into play as a stabilizer on the right side. You get them loading up one side more than the other. That’s what you can see just in that movement. If you want to pair the FLR, the front leaning rest for accumulation is best done at the back end of workouts because it’s generally low CNS (central nervous system) fatigue, it has a low dependent piece to it. You can do opposing pulling actions with it, so if you wanted to pair it at the back end of structural work like with a C1, C2, then the front leaning rest with a prone row or retraction activity such as supine pulling (ring row perhaps) would be a great idea because their opposing actions you can do it for metabolic efficiency, but also to ensure correct motor control from each of the opposing muscles. I also love putting FLR at the back end of workouts because it could be a core exercise, like with Carrie here. For her, it’s a mainly a core exercise, but for others it can be an upper body push. See how she extends through the back to gain control? We make her walk back a little further so her arms are almost perpendicular to the floor. It’ll challenge that interior recruitment a little bit better. She did a little bit of a glute cue that made it a little bit better. That’s a much better position than when she started You can put FLR in the back end of the workouts and just say “FLR accumulate 3, 4, or 5 minutes.” You can create progressive linear loading based on that in time sequences. I love putting these into constant tension
aerobic pieces: 12 minutes of work – 30 sec FLR, 50m Farmer Carry, Jump Rope 30 sec…just keep people moving. I think it’s a great way to do
constant tension aerobic work. I also love challenging people in aerobic
pieces such as in a 60 sec pretty challenging row and then going into an FLR and then going back and forth. It makes people control their breathing through the diaphragm to control that pelvis, ribs, and core. I think that’s really important for fitness (athletes) especially, people lose that control when they get under tension. So, you can put the FLR either by itself at the letter D or E (in their program design) in their weight training or you can put the FLR into aerobic sessions like MAP (maximal aerobic power) 7, MAP 6, constant tension pieces, and then you can put them into high cyclical pieces like an AirDyne (AirBike) or row on the front end and then finish with an FLR, rest a minute, and go again. because it makes people work on their breathing with that control. Just remember, it’s an unstable situation, so we aren’t going to put rookies right into this. Closed kinetic chain situations prior to unstable environments like the FLR on rings. And, just remember how it’s paired with other exercises and you’ll do well in practice. And, in all cases, practice it yourself first
before you you have other people do it. And, 2 things we’re looking for:
scap control and a good spinal alignment. Enjoy!

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