Awesome Moves on Bars

It’s amazing how creative you can be with training on low bars.

Sven and Alex showed a variety of workouts in this video, including a good lead-up drill for those trying to achieve their first pull-up (at 0:17), push-ups on a bar (0:34), assisted pistols followed by pistols on a bar (2:20) and many other exercises, most of which require great strength, balance skills and endurance.

They say they only do regular and weighted Calisthenics, without weightlifting.

If you are just starting with bodyweight training, you might want to check out my Beginner’s Handstand System and gain some strength before moving to advanced bodyweight training workouts. 

 

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America’s Got Talent Hand Balancing

Last night on the popular show, America’s Got Talent, was featured a hand balancer (again).

Christian Stoinev is a fifth generation circus performer and pulls off some spectacular tricks including a one finger handstand. (This style of hand balancing is covered in The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing). He also does some other one hand balancing stunts like jumping from one hand to the other.

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Straddle Press Handstand Drill #7

Another lead-up drill for Straddle Press Handstand is One Leg Press Handstand, a drill #7.

As you can see, in this drill you’ll kick-up into a freestanding handstand while lowering only one leg and keeping the other one in the air. By staying in that balanced position, you’ll increase your dynamic flexibility. Initially, you’ll only be able to lower one of your legs just a bit before coming back up. After a certain amount of practice you’ll succeed in touching the ground with that leg and come back up without the kick-up.

As you can see in the video, that bottom range of motion is still a bit difficult for me and I had to use little momentum in order to come back up. Even though I only started practicing this drill recently, it’s a great one. By using only one leg, you’re basically learning to control your entire bodyweight in that dynamic manner, which is essential for performing the straddle press handstand.

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Handstand Push Ups – Guest Post by Al Kavadlo

You can train every muscle in your body without ever going to a gym or lifting weights, you just have to be creative!

The overhead press is one of the most fundamental strength training techniques out there – and for good reason. Overhead pressing is a great way to build upper-body strength as well as a strong core. Barbells and kettlebells are great for pressing, but no matter how strong you are, handstand push-ups are a unique challenge and must be treated as such. Get ready to flip the classic overhead press on its head – literally!

Pike Press
If you aren’t strong enough to do a handstand push-up yet, the pike press is a great way to ease in. Pike presses allow you to train the movement pattern without having to bear your entire body weight.

Rest your toes on a bench or step and get down in a push-up position. From here, walk your hands back toward the bench while you pike your hips up in the air over your shoulders. You will wind up looking like an upside-down letter L, with your body bent in half from the waist. Try to keep your back straight by taking the stretch in your hamstrings. You can bend your knees a little if you need to in order to keep your hips up over your shoulders. Lower yourself down until the top of your head touches the ground and then push yourself back up – that’s one rep.

Wall Assisted Handstand Push-up

Once you can do ten consecutive pike presses without too much trouble, you’re ready to try a full handstand push-up against a wall. Kick up into a handstand with your back slightly arched and your fingers spread out. Engage your core muscles and keep your body tight as you lower yourself down and press yourself up. Make sure you touch your head to the ground on every rep to ensure a full range of motion. You can also try touching your nose to the floor instead of the top of your head to allow yourself to go a bit lower.

Handstand Push-ups on Parallettes

If you want a bigger range of motion for your handstand press, you’ve got a couple options. You could use a set of parallettes or you could set up two benches (or other sturdy objects) alongside each other with enough room for your head to fit in between. Any method that allows you to drop your head below your hands will add a new challenge to your handstand push-ups.

Freestanding Handstand Push-up

The freestanding handstand is a tricky move to get the hang of on its own, adding a push-up to it takes things to a whole other level!

The freestanding handstand push-up requires tremendous strength, balance and total body control, so before you think about training for this move, I suggest getting to the point where you can do at least ten wall assisted handstand push-ups and hold a freestanding handstand for a minimum of thirty seconds.

When performing handstand holds, I’ve often found it helpful to look in between my hands. With the freestanding handstand push-up however, I’ve found it better to look a few inches in front of my hands. Since the balance changes throughout the range of motion, I recommend practicing static holds at the bottom and middle positions of the range of motion to help train for this feat.

The One Arm Handstand Push-up

Often discussed, though never actually executed, the one arm handstand push-up is the holy grail of bodyweight strength training. In theory, the one arm handstand push-up is the ultimate calisthenics exercise. However, a full, clean rep has never been documented as far as I know. I have no doubt that someone will eventually perform one (and get it on video), but in the meantime the rest of us will just continue to train hard and keep the dream alive.

Watch the video below for more:

For more from Al Kavadlo check out his website here. He is the author of several books Pushing the Limits!, Raising the Bar and his newest book Stretching Your Boundaries, as well as the head instructor of the Progressive Calisthenics Certification.

 

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Free Soloing 2,500 feet

There is the regular rock climbing…And then there is free solo climbing. It’s a form of free climbing without any sort of gear, where the climber relies only on his strength, skill and chalk.

Alex Honnold became known around the world for an extraordinary feat when he solo-climbed 2,500 feet El Portrero Chico, Mexico in just about three hours. This is the best footage of the climb I’ve been able to find and it’s a sweaty hands material, for sure.

An octocopter system controlled by two persons was used to film the climb itself, which allowed the crew to capture some amazing footage. On the other hand, imagine this thing (in a picture below) flying near you while climbing without ropes!

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Straddle Press Handstand Drill #5

I’ve been working on various drills lately in order to achieve the straddle press to handstand and one of them is drill #5 explained in this video.

I start with the straddle position against the ground, which shares similarities with a regular straddle press, without being upside down. I put my back against a pillar to prevent leaning back in order to increase dynamic flexibility, which is the main goal of this drill. From there, just put your fingertips on the ground between thighs and lift your legs above the ground.

You may get some cramps in this position initially, but this move will help you increase that strength-dynamic flexibility which is the main thing you’ll need to perform the press handstand.

As you gradually increase your strength and flexibility, eventually you’ll be able to lift your legs with your hands between your feet and then soon you’ll be able to achieve that press handstand. You can do this drill for reps or time, whichever suits you the best. The results will be the same.

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Human Flag on a Human

The human flag is usually performed on a pole or some sturdy structure and it’s a tough move even for those in great shape. But when you try to do it with a partner instead of a pole, it adds whole another level of difficulty. Or two.

In this video Al Kavadlo and his brother Danny gave it a try. Al went for Danny’s ankle and forearm for support and he actually managed to hold it for several seconds in this position. It certainly requires an immense amount of strength, coordination and balance to perform such a feat.

In case you are still trying to achieve a regular Human Flag, check out this great course by Thomas Tapp.

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How to Hold a Handstand Longer

When it comes to holding a handstand, there are many factors to consider. Here you can see the most important ones explained by a very skilled guy named Chris Silcox.

To start practicing, do a handstand against the wall and slowly take one leg off at a time while finding a balance. When you find your “sweet spot”, pay particular attention to your fingers which pretty much act as feet while you are upside down. Much like toes, fingers are engaging and releasing in order to keep us in balance. Another good tip is to learn to manipulate your shoulders and elbows to prevent going off balance.

You may also want to start the other way around, with your face facing the wall without arching your back. Try to get your fingers as close as possible to the wall and start balancing. Go for one leg at a time like before and make sure to use your fingers to prevent falling to the other side. You can also move your shoulders to the wall to avoid the same problem. If you don’t have a spotter, the best way to come out of this position is to walk your feet down slowly.

Have fun!

P.S. Check out Hand Balancing Made Easy for all information you’ll need to learn how to balance on your hands.

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Unreal Back Handsprings

I stumbled upon this guy performing back handsprings at a VERY face pace. It looked so unreal that I just had to find evidence that it wasn’t fake.

So I found an extended version of previous video, where you can see people walking in the background in the first part of the clip. So I guess the video is legit.

The back handspring is one of the most difficult basic tumbling moves and this guy just took it to another level. I don’t remember ever seeing someone performing so many back handspring at that pace.

If you want to learn how to perform a Back Flip in 31 Days, click here.

 

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Handstand Evolution

An interesting video by Dave Durante where he explains his take on a proper handstand form.

Dave begins the handstand with slightly bent arms and knees bent at 90 degrees, which should represent the worst handstand form.

Instead, the feet should be together with arms and knees locked out, which really is a classic curved handstand. It’s worth mentioning that Dave consider this form to be less stable than a straight handstand, which is debatable and depends on other factors. To go from the curved to the straight handstand, press your toes up, open up the shoulders and find your “sweet spot” for balancing.

Going from the first handstand position, to the curved handstand and finally to the straight handstand does require a lot of practice, so it’s definitely not for beginners.

If you are looking for a way to perform your first handstand as fast as possible, check this out.

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