The Monkey Stall and your first freestanding handstand!

First off you’re probably wondering what a monkey is. Well its a foundational movement pattern from the folks at GMB or Gold Medal Bodies.

If you’ve been following LAOHB, you know two things.

  1. I like to joke around.
  2. I’m a big fan of their style of training.

So lets get back to the subject at handy. The monkey and your first freestanding handstand.

Usually when a person attempts their first handstand they place their hands on the ground and drive their legs up with the hope that they stay inverted. This can be scary for most people and can be a bit difficult to control when you are starting out. The reason being that you’re utilizing your strong posterior muscle groups to drive and then change to stabilize with hopes that you don’t fall on your back or on your face.

By a mix of training clients, personal training, and utilizing the GMB Method; I think I might have found an easier way to get up into the handstand without so much fear.

This is where the monkey comes in.

While the monkey is a locomotive pattern, its focus is on lateral movement. So while you are moving laterally, you can use your stronger muscle groups to focus on stabilizing. Its a simple answer to a scary question.

To illustrate I have another funny video below. I hope you like it and gain something new to play with!

To learn more about the monkey and the GMB Method, check out the GMB Elements Program

Stay Inverted!
-Jonathan Magno

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Mini-Handbalancing Work for a Mini-Holiday

Usually I am able to send out a post from my studio space in Sunnyvale, California; but today I’m sending out good vibes from Sunny Los Angeles while taking a mini getaway vacation. A couple of fun things involved checking out the KTOWN Night Market and today its all about hanging and training at Santa Monica Beach!

Which brings me to my next point. How do you make yourself work on your skills or even skill development while away?

Finding time to work on your skills in an unfamiliar place can be a difficult.

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Luckily for me, my morning routine is pretty much set internally whether I’m surrounded by familiarity  or by new and epic experiences.

Although, just like any trip, preparation can be key and obviously we’re here to help!

So here are a few tips to get you going!

  1. We all know that you probably have a set list of things that you want to do while you’re away. So make sure you add a block of time for your training when you know you’ll get it done without distractions. If you think forward, you’ll be better prepped.
  2. Add a fitness tracker app to your phone. There are a lot of good ones out there that will keep you accountable, even when you’re not on a normal schedule.
  3. Final tip, check out the local parks. Likelihood is that there will be a good one a mile or two away from you if you’re in a city. This sets you up for a nice warm up run and cool down for your session,

BONUS TIP!!!

Some of you might be away from everything. Out in the middle of nowhere. If you are, then this is the perfect time to perfect your skillwork like your precision jumps or even the handstand pushup!

I hope these tips help you get a headstart to being healthy and active on your downtime. If you need some help on what skill to develop, check out logan performing the Handstand Pushup below!

Stay Inverted!
-Jonathan Magno

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Super-Stabilization for your inverted work!

Have you ever tried to do a handstand and held it for a second only to fall once again? Maybe you got into the movement only to immediately fall back into the ground. The key to staying up doesn’t just involve your strength but also your motor control. You should feel aligned and be confident in your stabilization.

This can be a tricky thing. especially when your goal is to both lengthen certain parts of your body while at the same time shorten other parts.

So what can you do? Well I’ve got an exercise that can help you understand and walk that fine line.

Ultimate Guide to Handstand Pushups
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The One-Armed Superman Plank.

Here are a couple of key points to think about.

Lengthening is important in this exercise, so make sure that you are outstretching your extended arm as much as possible.

Another key point is your alignment. So work hard to keep the outstretched bicep next to the ear and try your best to keep your hips parallel to the floor.

I know its going to be hard, but you can do this.

Finally, to really dig in, check the video below!

If you want to gain an in-depth approach to your handstands, check out the Secrets of the Handstand Quickstart System Now!

Stay Inverted!
-Jonathan Magno

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Breathing While Inverted

Today I’m going to be going over some points to help you with your  breathing. Whats funny is that these tips can help you even if you’re right side up.

Tip 1
Let yourself in the space that you are going to breathe naturally. Starting off in the right framework is a great way to initiate your instinctive nature to do whats needed.

The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing
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Tips 2 and 3
Second, take a look at your alignment. Is your spine and neck straight? You can align your spine by keeping your biceps by your ears and also relieve possible tension on your neck by looking straight ahead and not down.

Tip 4
The final tip is to not overthink your breathing. If you’re too focused on it, you might unconsciously hold your breath. So to combat this, try talking to somebody or even singing!

This post involved some pretty quick tips. To illustrate the information, I’m trying out a new way of delivering the information in a more cinematic fashion.  Check it out in the video below!

If you want to gain an in-depth approach to your handstands, check out the Secrets of the Handstand Quickstart System Now!

Stay Inverted!
-Jonathan Magno

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The Cossack or Side to Side Squat

In continuing with the theme of the squats, here is a nice variation that you’ve probably seen and utilized although without really digging down deep into the benefits that come along with utilizing this exercise. The skill I’m referring to is the Cossack Squat.

The Cossack Squat or Side to side squat has a range of benefits that aren’t attainable with the normal bodyweight squat. First of all, its a multi-planar movement pattern. When you move through the side to side squat you run through flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, internal, and external rotation of the hips. You’re pretty much targeting both the sagittal and frontal planes with this power packed excercise. Needless to say, that’s a whole bunch going on with one exercise and personally for me, it brings nostalgia involving the old martial arts days.

The hips and shoulders are of the most mobile joints that we have in our bodies. Being able to move through full range of motion in the joint capsule helps improve you functional range but might also deter you from some aches and pains down the road.

The types of pains that you could be saving yourself could be the lower back, knees, and even the hips themselves.

I suggest you test out the variation of the squat and see for yourself why its an important movement exercise.

 

Don’t forget, we still have The Ultimate Guide to Bodyweight Bodyweight Squats and Pistols for you to build out on your squatting skills!

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Stay Inverted!
-Jonathan Magno

P.S. Do yourself a favor and look up Cossack Dance in google if you want to see where this move originates from.

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3 Mistakes You Might be Doing with your Bodyweight Squat

I’m going to start off by saying that there are many sources out in the world that will teach you correct form with your squats. Even we have a book called The Ultimate Guide to Bodyweight Bodyweight Squats and Pistols.

I’m going to take a different tact today and give you 3 mistakes you might be doing with your bodyweight squat.

Mistake #1 Rounding or Arching your Back

When I end up working with clients and have them do a squat , which is one of the key go-to bodyweight exercises that i give my clients with multitudes of variations, I will usually see one of these two things happen. A person will either be stuck in flexion of the back and become overly arching or have posterior tilt, although without engaging some of the other stabilizers like the abdominals or lats. Rarely do I see somebody with strong technique on the first go. A good test is to see where you land by having a profile view of yourself near a mirror completing the squat.

Mistake #2 Knee Position

I’m going to give you two knee placements that could be hurting your squat. The first is to have your knee extend past your toes. This can cause an excess load on your joints and is usually when I have somebody tell me their knee strains while they squat and asks for variations. The second knee position to look out for is when they collapse or pull towards each other. When this happens, you’ll tend to feel more load on your ankles or a bit of over-stabilization on your lower back.

Mistake #3 Foot Placement

Foot placement is important as well because you are working from a closed kinetic chain. Basically your foot is stationary and practically glued to the floor and everything else that is connected in proximity; knees, ankles, and hips have to move around your foot as a base point. If your foot is in an imbalanced position, it can thoroughly effect your squat as your other muscles have to compensate for that imbalance.

There you go! 3 possible mistakes with your squat. One final note. The human body was created with a buffer for variance. As long as you stay within a safety range of movement, you’ll be fine. Also don’t forget to listen to your body. If something hurts; remember there is a difference between pain and the burning sensation from working a muscle, analyze your body mechanics and see if you might be doing one of the 3 mistakes above.

If you want to learn more or even master your bodyweight squat, get The Ultimate Guide to Bodyweight Bodyweight Squats and Pistols.

Stay Inverted!
-Jonathan Magno

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Surgery, a Pit Crew, and Lateral Thinking

Quite often I like to take part in what a friend and I have dubbed jokingly as “Lift and Learn.” This occurs when I end up expanding my mind and knowledge while doing a task that is repetitive and labor intensive. For me this means listening to an audio book to increase my knowledge base unless I really need to get moving with music.

During one of my Lift and Learn sessions, I was listening to a book called Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success, by Shane Snow. This is a great book that is full of case studies on hacking and lateral thinking. One of the chapters that really hit home involved a team of Surgeons at a children’s hospital in London and their percentage of success during their handovers between the operating room and the intensive care unit.

I’m not going to go into great detail about what was discussed during this chapter in the book, but I will give you the basics.

During a session of lengthy surgeries, two tired cardiac surgeons, Martin Elliot and Allan Goldman sat down at the television for a break. On their rest period, Formula 1® came on the television, and as they continued watching, one car pulled over to the side of the circuit for a pit stop. In that moment they came to a realization. While observing the pit crew get to work, they were astonished at how they were able to accomplish a set of tasks in 11 seconds that were pretty identical in concept to what they do in handover.

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With this realization in place, a series of events occured that had the doctors learn the process of what the pit crew was able to achieve in coordination with heavier tools and an equally small space. From how their spacing from eachother, to the repetition placed into the tasks, and even involving a person overseeing the cohesion as a secondary duty. As they began to learn more, the doctors even hired a dance choreography to make sure that their movements were seamless in the operating room.

With all that hard work and the addition of lateral thinking, the team was able to decrease their handover errors by 66%. When you consider that these could involve serious or at worst life or death situations, that is a pretty staggering change.

The importance of the story is that you always have an option or choice to push through a seemingly impossible task. Sometimes you just need fresh eyes or a fresh perspective in order to clear out the cobwebs and continue on your journey. This doesn’t change even while you are training or learning skills. If you find yourself stuck or in a plateau, find something that in close proximity to the skill but with enough variance that its fresh. You might be surprised to realize that it will add to your development in the skill that was giving you trouble.

Before I sign off I want you to think about your handstands. The beginning stages have you working solely on the ground, but having a variance in elevation can open up the possibilities and freshness in your training. If you want to move laterally , pick up one of our handbalancing stands!

Stay Inverted!
-Jonathan Magno

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Lateral Thinking to Break Plateaus

Plateaus are an inevitable. Whenever we make a decision to move in a certain direction or train in a certain manner, we are bound to hit a roadblock. The real question then presents itself.

What do you do when you hit a plateau?

Although the obstacle might some daunting, there are a couple of ways around this.

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The first thing that you can do is simply to just keep moving forward. Quite often if you just take a small breath and continue to push, you’ll be able to see the new level present itself. It’s kind of a an easy answer, but there are definitely times when pure simplicity just works.

The other option is a bit more refined. It involves lateral thinking. Which basically revolves around taking a step back, throwing a wrench in the system, and allowing your body to gain some feedback so you can continue to grow.

You can achieve this by utilizing different approaches to your training.

You can change when you train, how long you train, and of course how you train.

Then how you train can be broken into further groups ready for change. The skills you are working on. The sets, rep, or time on the exercises. Focusing on similar but different exercises and more.

If you training is feeling stale (not to be confused with boredom, but that’s another problem all together) you should implement one or more of these changes.

Even if your training is going good, a change for the better can supercharge your gains.

Which training method you choose exactly and what to do is going to depend on you and your goals. And in every case what you should do will be different.

You may be the kind of person who loves to figure out your own program. Or you may want someone to hand you a template for you to work from. The choice is once again yours. Another thing to add to this before I close for today is to gain inspiration from unlikely sources. I’ll delve into this more in my next installment.

But before I forget, if you are looking for a template on building the skills of your own body, take advantage of our ebook, The Ultimate Guide to Bodyweight Bodyweight Squats and Pistols.

Stay Inverted!
-Jonathan Magno

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Loading the hips and the Squat!

Loading the hips and the bodyweight squat. In order to achieve this you’re going to need flexibility, strength and coordination. But in all honesty, why should that even matter to you? You’ve probably read tons of info online about how to do a squat, yet it doesn’t hold much significance unless you understand the benefits that go along with it.

If you remember from my last post, we discussed bodyweight exercise and its enhanced role inhelpying you develop your “skill” in utilizing your own body. Not that you can’t do the same with weights, but how easy is it to focus on correct muscle activation when you’re running through a movement while under a “heavy” load. Also, it increases the possible chance of strain or injuring depending on what you’re doing.

Which brings us back to the bodyweight squat. Understanding how to perform it will help you understand the sequence of muscles you should be using and in what order.

Here’s a few examples to fuel your thought processes:

How far do you pull your hips down? What direction should your knees be pointing?(i.e. knee valgus) When do your abdominals come into play?  These are all things you should have locked in before you work the squat.

Now this brings us to our next question. Why does all this matter? Wouldn’t you be able to complete the reps and sets and sets your trainer gave you and be done with it so that you can get that beach body you’ve always wanted? Yes you can  but you would be missing out on two different pieces. The first is that understanding which muscle to load as the primary, secondary, etc. will give you the opportunity to increase your performance and do more. The second is to avoid possible injuries in the future. You can look up things like exhaustive-adaptive response if you’re wondering what I’m hinting at.

Now I’ll give you a real world example of how understanding the squat can affect your movement. Say you’re going for a run. Utilizing your hips and glutes are more important to this movement pattern than you may think. If you can’t engage your hips and glutes while running, you lose out on some strong stabilizers and shock absorbers. They help to lift you away from the ground, thereby reducing shock and once engaged can take stress away from the knees, shins, and ankles. Which tend to be common injuries for people who take on running.

So, I’m going to close off with this as just being a quick intro to the squat. I’m going to be delving more into the squat in future entries, but if you want more than just a primer, pick up The Ultimate Guide to Bodyweight Bodyweight Squats and Pistols.

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Stay Inverted!
-Jonathan Magno

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Why Do We Train Bodyweight?

 

This is an interesting question that I’m sure you have asked yourself in the past at one point or another. I know that I have with myself; although luckily only once or twice.

Here is a little food for thought.

As individuals who engage in fitness activities, we could easily gain results with our bodies from just running and hitting the weights. Look good in the mirror, impress those that we care to impress, and be done with it.

But if you’re like me, there’s something alluring about bodyweight training. It’s not just the ability to be stronger or faster but in the internalized fact that you have the skill to go along with it. Skill is simply the ability to do something well; no rocket science necessary in that thought process.

In terms of bodyweight training, that skill revolves around learning to gain the correct motor control in your body whether you’re going for strength, power, or speed(quickness included). A couple of my favorite examples would be the hollow body hold and the squat thrust. Although these seem like normal “tough” exercises, they teach you different aspects of stabilization and coordination that could help you in other types of physical endeavors.

Starting soon I’ll begin delving into other types of baseline bodyweight skill development outside of the acrobatic world of the handbalancing.

Stay Inverted!
-Jonathan Magno

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