We love hearing from you!

Hey Everyone!

Coach Jon here. Every now and then we’ll receive an email about what you have been able to do while utilizing our programs. Needless to say, we love hearing from you and want to know how your progress is going! We might even give a pointer or two. This week we got an email from Matt telling us a bit about his journey!

 

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While I havent managed a free standing handstand it has really helped me improve my base skills and build the foundations. Also managed finger tip crow pose and 4 finger no thumb Plank, thumb and two finger plank and 2 finger headstands.

Great stuff especially being free,  I also have hand balancing made easy and have had a lot of fun with that and it’s sped up progress where coming from the wall I managed a 10 second handstand. Also the the headstand stuff is great I’ve always had alot fun doing headstand and it was nice to have a bunch of new variations to learn.

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…While the freestanding handstand is a big goal for me I must admit headstands are where it’s at for me. Well headstands and increasing my digit strength,  feel like I can do holds that would have snapped my fingers previously

handstand pushup variation

If you like what you hear and want to check out one of our programs, why not start out with the Hand Balancing Made Easy eBook that Matt was talking about above! Click here to have a look.

Stay Inverted!

-Coach Jon

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Ask the Tapps! Weights vs Bodyweight

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Hey Everybody!

Last week I told you we’d be getting some great instruction and tips on body movement from the parkour experts, the Tapp Brothers.  Today they are going to break down athleticism and how weightlifting or bodyweight training comes into play toward reaching your athletic goals. They’ve broken down these pieces into the 5 categories below!

Coordination

The ability to control your body to perform a task.

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Strength

The ability to generate force with your muscles.

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Speed

The ability to move rapidly.

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Endurance

Your body’s ability to resist fatigue.

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Flexibility

The ability to reach your full range of motion with body joints.

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Watch the video below to see how these pieces work together to build your athleticism!

If you loved the information from this video and want to learn how to be in shape and move like the Tapp Brothers, check out their new program Rapid Primal Fitness!

Stay Inverted!
-Coach Jon

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Return of the Tapp Brothers!

If you guys don’t know the Tapp Brothers. They’ve been a mainstay in Online Parkour Instruction for a number of years now. Whether you want to wall run, work on your tumbling skills, or get better at your aerial kicks; they are definitely a resource. We have been long time supporters of their work and wanted to showcase some some of their tips! Expect to see some great parkour and fitness tips from them in the future.

Wall Running

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Climbing

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Tricking

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Tumbling

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If you’re wondering what they can do, check this out!

If you want to learn how to be in shape and move like the Tapp Brothers, check out their new program Rapid Primal Fitness!

Stay Inverted!
-Coach Jon

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How To Do Thumb Pushups

I did it. I did five thumb pushups, and so can you.

I never thought I’d reach this goal, the kind of strength that only cartoon and comic book characters can flaunt.

The kind of strength that Bruce Lee inspired within me.

Bruce Lee doing a two thumb suspension on the set of Game of Death

Bruce Lee doing a two thumb suspension on the set of Game of Death

 

I first saw this picture of Bruce Lee when I began delving into my isometric training. I’d seen the one inch punch, the two finger pushup, and all manner of strength and training feats from Bruce Lee…but somehow this one had slipped under my radar, and caught my interest more than any others.

I mean, I had seen others perform two finger pushups, and I had achieved some myself after training, but…

I had NEVER seen anyone balancing on their thumbs.

So I looked more into the feat. Apparently, a two thumb suspension was only the tip of the iceberg.

In 1980, Jim Arvanitis, the founder of Neo-Pankration, went on the Guinness Game World Records Show and performed a feat unmatched to this day. He performed 61 thumb pushups in 47 seconds.

A thumb suspension was certainly no walk in the park, but a thumb pushup was a whole new territory that I had previously never thought of exploring.

The flame was lit within me, and no matter what obstacles presented themselves, I was determined to achieve the thumb pushup.

Jim Arvanitis performing one of his famous thumb pushups, which he can also do with one thumb

Jim Arvanitis performing one of his famous thumb pushups, which he can also do with one thumb

 

Thus began my training journey, arduous and rather unique in its goals. Coupling some fingertip pushup variations with high intensity isometric training laid the foundation for my fingertip strength.

How To Do Thumb Pushups

 

Fingertip Pushup Variations

 

 

Fingertip pushup variations will be your best friends when it comes to having the strength to do a thumb pushup. Practice doing pushups on all your fingertips, removing a finger as your overall hand strength increases. I started with a 5-4-3-2-1 drill where I’d pushup with all my fingers, remove the pinkies, then the ring finger, etc. until I could hold the position on my thumbs at the 1.

Take it slow, because this is a skill that can easily cause injury if you try to speed through it. If you don’t feel safe removing fingers, continue to practice with all of your fingers, and progress slowly.

  • When you’re ready to take these progressions to the next level, elevate your feet on a chair and try the 5-4-3-2-1 pushup variations and hold the two thumb suspension at the 1

Grip Training

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Having a strong grip will do no wrong when it comes to preparing for any fingertip pushup variation. Train as many facets of your grip as you can. Your flexors and extensors should be trained equally, so exercises that involve an intense crush grip and powerful extension. Personally, isometric grip exercises are optimal when it comes to the overall ability to skyrocket grip strength in a short time, and ensure that the tendons in your fingers are strong enough to support you.

Especially when it comes to hand balancing, strengthening the tendons of your fingers are just as critical as strengthening the muscles of your forearms, so steady and progressive balancing training and isometric exercises with high intensity will make your training progress consistent and enduring.

One thing that I’d do often, as in the photo above, is grip a thick railing or table, thumbs on top, and squeeze my thumbs into the surface as hard as I can for 7-12 seconds, and repeat 8 times. Time under tension is an important factor of the exercise, so try to rest as little as you can between the 7-12 second reps, if at all.

 

Visualization

Logan Christopher often speaks on the importance of mental training to achieve your fitness goals, and it really applies for the thumb pushups. You will likely be ready for the pushups physically before you are ready for them mentally, at least that’s how it was for me.

The idea of doing such a feat was daunting to me, even when I believed I could achieve it.

Honestly, the first few weeks I tried, even after the training preparation, I still didn’t get it done.

Although I got the two thumb suspension down.

Although I got the two thumb suspension down.

 

But I sat down one time before training, I breathed deeply and steadily, and visualized the feat. I mentally felt the floor under my thumbs, felt the blood and tension running through my tendons, felt the cry of victory resonating in my chest after I finally achieved my goal.

I could see, hear, practically taste what that moment would feel like to finally do a thumb pushup.

And instead…I did five.

 

 

It’s no Jim Arvanitis feat, but it was a foundation that I was more than happy to start building from.

Frankly, I look forward to all of you building your foundations too.

 

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The Lucky Front Lever

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Today is Friday the 13th, universally heralded as one of the unluckiest days in history.

(Though it can still be a lucky day for you if you take advantage of Logan Christopher’s 31st birthday sale that ends today!)

When I think about my personal hand balancing training, I try to remove luck from the equation. After all, training should be about the strength and technique you develop from continued progression. Luck isn’t something you can replicate, it just happens.

But sometimes luck is just what you need. It’s what I needed for my first front lever.

I was in the North dorm at UConn (University of Connecticut) and I was using the hallways as a gym of sorts. I would do pullups on the top lip of my door and handstand walks down the hallways.

On this occasion, as I was doing pullups, I heard a few friends of mine talking in the stairwell at normal volume, and then suddenly get quiet, which was rarely a good sign.

Call it a Spidey-Sense, but I just had the strong feeling that they were preparing to tackle me mid-pullup.

Just as I had the thought (mid-pullup, go figure) I heard sprinting sneakers preparing for a bull rush into my back.

If I got hit while I was pulling up, I would’ve gotten ripped off the door frame and maybe hit my head.

But if I let go, I’d still give them the satisfaction of tackling me, and I couldn’t have that.

In that moment, somehow, I tightened my lats, depressed and retracted my scapula, and executed a front lever in just enough time for my buddy to crash headlong into my desk.

I hadn’t trained the front lever with any consistency, and my progress up to that point had been spotty at best.

So I suppose I just got lucky. I needed that luck though, because I never forgot how my body felt when I performed a front lever, and it helped my progress thereafter.

Plus, it showed some creative practicality of hand balancing skill.

Still, the levers (front and back) are difficult skills that should be trained with focus and progression, and if you want progressions that will give you steady progress, look no further than the Front and Back Lever Training DVD.

Although I hope your motivation involves more personal progress and less tackles.

 

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A Mini-Series on Flexibility Part 3: Full Bridge for Spinal Flexibility

Ok everyone, we are headed into the  final installment of the Flexibility Mini-Series from Gold Medal Bodies! Jarlo and Keira went through many iterations to prep you for the final movement. In today’s post, you’ll be focusing on none other than the full bridge.

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The full bridge is an excellent way to increase your shoulder mobility, thoracic extension and rotations, your hip flexors, wrists, and the list goes on and on. While preforming this movement, you basically get a chance to work on the muscles that you never get a chance to. Muscle balance and mindful movement gives you the understanding of what your body can do as well as allow you to delve into those crazy acrobatics. Lets first take a look at the initial bridge demonstrated by Keira.

 

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After getting into the initial bridge, she starts by correcting her curvature and form. She lowers her arms slightly, opens up her chest, and walks her feet closer to her hips.

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Once gotten into a more balanced position, she extends her arms and drives up her chest and hips.

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In order to achieve a cleaner curve with her bridge, she extends her chest towards the wall she’s facing and her hips to the opposing wall.

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To get a full breakdown from Jarlo, watch the video below!

One more thing guys!The GMB special will be ending this Saturday April 30, 2016 and you will lose out your chance to get the program with the NEW BONUSES for $75. After Saturday the price shoots up to $95. Be sure to grab GMB Focused Flexibility Plus program  here: http://www.lostartofhandbalancing.com/go/focusedflexibility/

 

Stay Inverted,
Coach Jon

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How Parkour Can Restore Your Harmony

(pt. 2 of interview with Curron Gajadhar, a.k.a. Aspernaut)

curron_trees

 

You see, parkour is not about competition, but about expressing wildness, being liberated on a primal level, and allowing you to re-establish your relationship with the Earth around you. Methode Naturalle was so influential that the French military adopted it as a full system of training, which expanded and developed as parcours du combattant, (so you can guess where the name parkour came from.) But Georges Hebert’s goal with the natural method was not preparation against anyone, but training for yourself, your spirit, and your moral integrity.

 

More so than the strength and technique you develop, a sense of nomadic comfort washes over the soul like a warm wind when you can put your feet to the ground and move through your environment the way you were meant to. 

 

curron_madeofstars

 

Curron, currently living in Atlanta, GA, has been doing parkour for about 6 years and isn’t slowing down anytime soon. In his view on parkour, movement is a lifestyle. Viewing indigenous peoples around the world with phenomenal strength, Curron realized how they had no specific “workout” or “training” time because they were moving so often throughout the day. So he started moving. He’d climb trees, run around, crawl, and move as freely as his body would allow. “Parkour helps express wildness; I need to be feeling my animality,” Curron noted.

 

Curron’s tips for anyone looking to express their wildness through parkour? “Move. If you’re a beginner, even if you workout, you’re probably mostly sedentary. You do an hour in the gym, then you sit for the rest of the day. Go do a mud race, go climb for your life, go Spartan race, get out of your comfort zone. We’re not doing sets, we’re doing ‘we have to make it there by nightfall.’”

 

curron_drop  curron_highjump

 

After all, the root of movement training is not in any specific technique or style, but in a group of people who moved to survive. One of my favorite videos that I’ve seen is one that compares the movement of traceurs through a city to the movement of monkeys through the jungle. If nothing else, the video shows how natural those movements are, and how movement training allows us to reclaim that mobility.

 

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Survival is not comfortable, so step into your discomfort zone and move. Crawl, sprawl, tumble and roll, whatever will increase your rate of movement. The way Curron views it, parkour is a great way of escaping the mold of sets and reps that is such foundational part of most workouts. “Parkour,” he says, “negates the destructive process of stripping and processing fitness, and lets you become your own coach, rebuild that relationship with your body, and start over.”

 

Find an open field of grass, and empty parking lot, or just a new space for you to move in, and start over. Feel the Earth beneath bare feet (Curron suggests Onitsuka Tigers if not bare…lightweight with a consistent heel pattern and a flat sole), and move. Run, crawl, apply dynamic tension in some aspects, apply no tension in others, but move. Day by day, you’ll start to chip more at the “you” weighed down by the burdens of inactivity, and start to uncover the original “you” made to walk to Earth freely in harmony. Curron sees parkour as a ritual itself to “corner off [his] ancient land.”

Think about it. Each building and road you see was once filled with trees and stone formations to move about. Yet, from one jungle to another, you still have a world before you prepared to help you reverse the destructive process of a sessile lifestyle. Even fitness itself, with sets, reps, and regimented movements, is often catered to accommodate a sedentary life of sitting, eating, sitting some more, and sleeping.

With parkour, there are no sets or reps. There is just movement. There is just freedom. There is just harmony.

 

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A Mini-Series on Flexibility Part 2: Back Bend Preparation for Spinal Flexibility

Welcome to Part 2 of the Spinal Flexibility Series! In yesterday’s post we discussed the Forward Bend. As the Back Bend is a bit more extensive, its been broken up into two parts. Today’s portion will be focused on the prep work. Pay special attention to the thoracic extensions and rotations as they will directly affect your handbalancing!

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The first movement we will be working on is the thoracic extension. While working this movement situate your chest up and hold your shoulders into place.

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The next movement pattern in your back bend prep is to work a thoracic rotation. If you have good shoulder mobility, you can keep a locked arm position as seen below. If your mobility is lower, try the position with wrist and elbow behind the back which is viewable in the full video!

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The next movement is the first pre-back bending pattern we’ll dive into. In the Kneeling Back Bend, start in a tall kneeling position and drive the hips forward. Lift your chest up and look backwards. A key point is to relax your glutes during this movement.

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The next pattern is a deep lunge sequence. The main take away from this movement is to rotate towards the lead hip.

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The Camel Stretch is the next pattern. Its a similar movement to the Kneeling Back Bend except that you stay on the balls of your feet and grab your heels to increase difficulty.

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Up next is the Quadricep Stretch. Focus on keeping your body between your heels. Another key point to work towards a posterior tilt while in this position to decrease the lower back arch and flatten the back as much as possible.

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The final movement pattern is the Shoulder Bridge. In this movement your are going to grab your ankles and push through your quads. Be sure to keep your ankles in line with your hips and relax your glutes do allow your hips to drive up!

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There is a lot of information in this post so be sure to check out the full video here for all of the info!

If you like this information and thought it was useful in your flexibility, GMB has a special going on that will end this Saturday April 30, 2016 where you could get the program with the NEW BONUSES for $75. Afterwards the price shoots up to $95. Be sure to grab GMB Focused Flexibility program here: http://www.lostartofhandbalancing.com/go/focusedflexibility/

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A Mini-Series on Flexibility Part 1: Forward Bending Sequence for Spinal Flexibility

Flexibility and Acrobatics. The two go hand in hand. Yes its true that people need more flexibility in their lives. But for the Acrobatic enthusiast, flexibility takes a stronger hold as you’re going to need much more of it in order to pull off the different maneuver’s and be in tune with your own body. In today’s post, we’ll be looking at a great sequence on spinal flexibility from our friends at Gold Medal Bodies. If you’ve ever wanted to do a back handspring, work on your rolling, or even make your handstands more dynamic, pay attention to this sequence!

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Listen to Jarlo as he keys Keira in to the sequence. Keira starts off with some prep work by going in a deep squat with her heels up and feet close together. Her goal here is to open up her hips by rocking back and forth. After working the position for a bit, she kicks back and goes into upward facing dog.

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Once she’s warmed up, she goes into the first sequence. In the Standing Forward Bend her focus is on flexion and rotation. She begins in a deep squat with her hands placed onto the floor to her side. She then drives up her hips and pulls back on her hamstrings while focusing on keeping her heels to the ground. She works the position on both sides. Jarlo gives more detail and another variation in the video.

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The Final sequence is the Seated Forward Bend. This sequence is completed at a 45 degree angle. Keira keeps her chest up and extends with her shoulders.

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Check out the full video here!

I want you all to stay tuned because we have more spinal flexibility tips from our friends at Gold Medal Bodies. For those of you who took advantage of  the Focused Flexibility program about a month back, you should be reaping the rewards as well as the new update that just came out! If you haven’t, GMB has a special going on that will end this Saturday April 30, 2016 where you could get the program with the NEW BONUSES for $75. Afterwards the price shoots up to $95. Be sure to grab GMB Focused Flexibility program here: http://www.lostartofhandbalancing.com/go/focusedflexibility/

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How To Meditate Through Movement pt. 1

 

(From an interview with traceur Curron Gajadhar, a.k.a. Aspernaut)

curron_pose

Movement is not simply something you do, but a part of what you are. It is in our structure, our very DNA, to move with strength and efficiency. We have drifted from our original nature with our sedentary lifestyles, and try to compromise by going to the gym for an hour or so a day. Natural movement was never limited to sets and reps; the set was survival, and each rep was the course of a day. If you look at the natural world, the solution to sedentary life presents itself; nature itself is movement.

curron_inair

Parkour is one fantastic expression of the art of movement, and Curron Gajadhar, a.k.a. Aspernaut, is an avid parkour enthusiast who channels himself through the paved lots, railings, rooftops, fences, and general environment of Atlanta, GA. Curron learned about parkour in 2005, but his exploration of the history truly began in 2010, when he learned about the Yamakazi group started by parkour expert David Belle from a Ripley’s Believe It Or Not special; furthermore, the documentaries “Jump London” and its sequel “Jump Britain” (you can find Jump London 2003 full on YouTube).

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The movement skill and art of the Yamakazi group is what really helped parkour to be called a non-combative martial art. But David Belle’s new expression of movement was in fact very old; Raymond Belle, David’s father, studied Georges Hebert’s methode naturalle.

 

This, the Natural Method, is what truly embodies the spirit that Curron expresses as a traceur. Hebert developed the natural method from his observation of well physically developed indigenous people in Africa, and wrote, “Their bodies were splendid, flexible, nimble, skillful, enduring, resistant and yet they had no other tutor in gymnastics but their lives in nature.” Movement itself, as Hebert presented it, is both a training and a meditation.  In Curron’s own words, “Parkour has been a reintroduction to being competent with my body.” No tree can grow without roots, and learning to reconnect with one’s body through movement across the Earth will allow the tree of might and physical mobility to truly grow.

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You see, parkour is not about competition, but about expressing wildness, being liberated on a primal level, and allowing you to re-establish your relationship with the Earth around you. Methode Naturalle was so influential that the French military adopted it as a full system of training, which expanded and developed as parcours du combattant, (so you can guess where the name parkour came from.)

(To be continued…)

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