Straight Arm Strength (SAS) is the strength gained when various exercises are performed with straight and locked arms.
It might be a strange concept for most people, as they mostly use Bend Arm Strength when working out.
And you can’t blame them… It takes a lot of training time and effort in order to develop Straight Arm Strength, as it implements greater stress on your tendons and joints.
But straight arm strength is really important for Calisthenics and a requirement for a lot bodyweight exercises… From simpler ones like the inverted hang and L-sit to advanced ones such as the Planche, Front lever, Back lever, Human flag or even the handstand.
Lets see why it is so important and how it helps in practising these skills.
improves stabiliser muscles
When working on movements with straight – locked arms, many other muscles like the shoulders, back and abs have to work overtime, in order for you to hold the position you’re working on and won’t get thrown off balance.
This is because, when you keep your arms locked during exercise, biceps and triceps can’t support you as they used to.
So, consistently working with straight arms, improves those stabiliser muscles and has great impact in your balance and overall performance.
New and Unique Form of Stimulation
Since Straight Arm Strength isn’t often trained, the adaptations caused by this training can really help make further muscle gains.
Imagine the new potential gains from implementing gymnastic rings exercises into your workout, for example.
improves joints and CONNECTIVE tisue
Usually these areas don’t get equivalent work. Muscles around them become stronger and bigger, challenging you to lift more weight. But your joints and connective tissue can’t handle the stress.
This is when injuries occur…
SO, by implementing Straight Arm Strength to your training, you are improving your general strength and reducing risks of joint related injury.
works your muscle’s weakest points
At the locked arm position, your bicep is at it’s weakest point.
In this very unusual position, the muscle tries to adapt to the additional stress and as a result becomes stronger.
You are essentially strengthening the weakest part of your bicep, which is very rarely accessed during other form of exercise.
more Advanced Moves
Besides helping in general training related movements and improving handling heavier loads, Straight Arm Strength training could help you unlock more advanced bodyweight moves.
At some point in your Calisthenics journey you will, probably, end up at a dead end, where you’re too strong for basic movements and need something else to challenge you.
Your joints need to be really strong and healthy in order to unlock those skills.
Stronger connective tissue and joints can, also, lead to more strength overall.
If the structures holding your body together are stronger, you can perform more challenging exercises which will bring more strength and hypertrophy, with fewer injuries.
The stability benefits mentioned earlier will, also, let you perform harder exercises, which can allow you to further improve form and strength.
This can also help you get bigger, if that’s something you’re after.
Straight Arm Strength benefits are remarkable.
They come from targeting and improving other fundamental, but overlooked aspects of the body which can have the benefits mentions above.
You can get good Straight Arm Strength without having to work on advance movements. Their progressions and other easier movements can still provide these benefits.
You do not have to train advanced moves to reap the rewards of Straight Arm Strength, but you will need to train Straight Arm Strength to achieve advanced movements.