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Do you Roll Forward or Reverse Engineer it?

Rolling on the floor. It seems like a simple task. But many people seem to have a tough time with it. The simplest reason why is because they dive straight into it without the right body feel.

When somebody is  initially taught the roll, they start off in a kneeling position, and the first point of contact tends to be their shoulder. Following the contact with the shoulder the next point of contact tends to be the lower back or rump. This is usually exemplified by a large thump or possible yell.

So why does this occur? The two culprits are body kinesthetic and flexibility. When a person is rolling they need to be able to feel the connection of their back to the floor. On top of that, they need to be flexible enough to round out their back to create the shape necessary to roll.

Where does a person start to gain the tools necessary. They should begin at the point of contact that most of the issues occur. That point would be the mid-back. Build the right body feel and flexibility in that area and the roll will be an easy task.

A great example on building this body feel comes from Ryan Hurst of GMB Fitness.  Below, he demonstrates a set of progressions that you can use to develop the right feel to easily develop your rolling skills.

If you found this tutorial useful. Check out the GMB Vitamin Course to gain more skills similar to the roll.

Trampoline Handbook
Trampoline Handbook on Amazon

Stay Inverted!
-Jonathan Magno

 

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Swinging for Primal Harmony

Reclaim your origins

Reclaim your origins

I know you feel it.

The blood flowing through your veins, calling, begging your body to return to the glory that was intended for it at birth. You can look at yourself and see the beauty of your own design: hands made not only for intricate processes like tool use and development, but for incredible pinching and crushing strength. Shoulders that can stabilize as well as they mobilize, attached to scapulae with 17 different tendons connected to transfer muscle power very efficiently. Your body was made for the beauty of brachiation, and it’s only fair that you reclaim your birthright.

What Is Brachiation?

Even without knowing much about the character, if I say “Tarzan”, you likely think of a wild man pounding his chest and swinging from vines. Well brachiating is just that: having the ability to swing on vines, branches, and whatever our hands can manage.

Swinging may not be something you recognize as a birthright as you would, say, bipedal movement, but if you think about it, jungle gyms and playgrounds almost always have an element that allows kids to do what they naturally enjoy: swinging. (They aren’t called monkey bars for nothing)

Swinging is critical to overall shoulder health. Gymnasts and traceurs swing often in their training, and you never hear of them suffering from a frozen shoulder joint, yet that problem plagues numerous trainees in the fitness industry. We often try to substitute by doing supplementary exercises to ease into mobility, but there are so few exercises that can encompass the benefits of the whole body dynamic nature of swinging

This is simple enough: find a bar, rope, or some other hanging element that you’re comfortable grabbing, and simply practice swinging back and forth, 20 swings forward and back. Doing this simple thing daily will start to make an incredible change in your mobility and grip strength in as little as a month. As you progress, practice swinging with only one arm, then practice reducing fingers and so on.

Shoulder Dislocates

Okay, this isn’t as painful as it sounds. No, the key to reconnecting with your original movement pattern is not forcefully popping your shoulder out of its socket.

However, the kind of mobility and strength toward both hand balancing and bar workouts that you get from training controlled shoulder dislocates is phenomenal. I’d argue that any and everyone seeking true movement mastery should add this one exercises to their repertoire.

Cue the video instruction, courtesy of our friends at GMB.

 

Tumbling Illustrated
Tumbling Illustrated on Amazon

This can also be done with a towel. If you have the mobility to bring the towel or broomstick all the way down to your lower back, do so, but don’t rush or force the process. Your body has been programmed by years of immobile practices, so truly recovering your full mobility will be a progressive but worthy process.

 

In other words: reclaim the primal, primate strength that you deserve, and swing, baby, swing.

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Irradiate Your Path to Handstand Mastery

If you’ve ever been inside a gym, I’m sure you’ve seen it: the classic gym bro doing bicep curls, perhaps easily at first, but soon devolves into using practically his entire body to curl the weight.

Although personally, when I see a weight, curling it isn't my preference...

Although personally, when I see a weight, curling it isn’t my preference…

 

What you’re actually watching is the law of irradiation, one of the Sherrington laws. What it means, in essence, is that you can contract other muscles in your body to strengthen the one you’re applying force with. If you’d like to experiment with this, try tensing your glutes the next time you shake someone’s hand; you’ll find that your hands can actually apply more force with the handshake.

Let’s review the curling gym bro again. As he continues to do the bicep curls, his biceps get tired and lose their strength of contraction. To compensate, his abs, forearms, lats, glutes, and even feet start contracting in order to provide enough force to lift the weight — it’s an unconscious response.

The problem is that the form of the curl itself begins to look incredibly sloppy as he’s unconsciously recruiting other muscles.

Ultimate Guide to Handstand Pushups
Ultimate Guide to Handstand Pushups on Amazon

Now, what does this mean for handstand training?

The Law of Irradiation for Handstands


Here’s a great video of Otto Arco doing hand balancing and muscle control (which is key for the LOI)

Well, the handstand is an exercise that largely focuses on the shoulders, triceps, lats, forearms, traps, scapular muscles, and your core. However, fully body tension is really needed to maintain proper handstand form. Part of the reason is that having relaxed muscles can throw off your balance with the exercises, but the other factor is that recruiting other muscle groups like your glutes, neck, calves etc. into the handstand will help the required muscles to contract stronger.

“But you said that contracting extra muscles ruined the curler’s form…” Therein lies the difference, unconscious muscle recruitment vs. conscious muscle recruitment.

See, if that bicep curler had muscle control, and could consciously choose to flex other muscles to compensate, he could do so without affecting his form. That way, he wouldn’t lose the benefit on his biceps, and would also increase the benefit to other muscle groups and his overall muscle control.

The same goes for handstand training. If you’re able to consciously recruit different muscles to develop your overall strength in the handstand, you can help to both maintain your form and develop muscle control. Sig Klein, Otto Arco, and Maxick, who are all legendary hand balancers, knew the importance of muscle control and the law of irradiation in training, and used both to their advantages.

Try it out: develop your muscle control, and boost your progress with the law of irradiation.

Then, if you want to try more advanced moves like the handstand pushup, you’ll be more prepared.

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Handstand Pushup Variations

handstand pushup variations

Handstand pushup demonstrated by Logan Christopher of Lost Art of Hand Balancing

 

The handstand pushup is an advanced hand balancing skill that demonstrates shoulder strength, scapular mobility, and a proper challenge to those who are willing. But let’s say, for the sake of argument, that you’ve already achieved the handstand pushup, and are looking for something a bit more thrilling…some handstand pushup variations.

(Note: these handstand pushup variations aren’t only for the advanced trainees. In fact, variation 2 and 3 helped me to achieve my first HSPU, so don’t be afraid to try something new!)

 


Variation 1 : Lateral Handstand Pushup

Well first, what would be the benefit of exploring different handstand pushup variations? Without the variations, there is still sufficient opportunity to progressively improve the intensity of the HSPU and get stronger with each turn. With the variations, however, comes the opportunity to increase all-angle strength in your training.

For instance, while the basic HSPU does a lot to strengthen your shoulders, traps, and scapular elevation, this lateral HSPU variation trains scapular protraction, retraction, and upward rotation. In addition, as your mobility increases, you can slow down and exaggerate the lateral movement to emphasize your one arm handstand balancing skill.

 


Variation 2: (Elevated) Backbend Pushup

Furthermore, your posterior deltoid has a critical role in your handstand stability, as it is the primary shoulder hyperextensor. One of my favorite handstand pushup variations to train for developing that strength is the back bend pushup.

The back bend alone is a powerful stability exercise that, with isometric tension, can provide incredible strength. The integrated strength, posterior deltoid strength, and scapular mobility that you can build from the back bend pushup will do wonders to strengthen your HSPU. To increase the difficulty of this exercise, elevated your feet by putting them onto a wall.

How to do the One Hand Handstand by Professor Orlick
ow to do the One Hand Handstand on Amazon

As I said, this exercise was a huge part of the reason I was able to develop the strength and range of motion for the HSPU.

 


Variation 3: Handstand Walking

Often times as kids, we have an easier time walking in a handstand than we do holding a stable handstand. However, having the strength to walk in a handstand position without compromising the integrity of your form can develop your technique, strength, and mobility fairly quickly.

This is one of my favorite handstand pushup variations to couple with the lateral HSPU, because it does the same work to progressively improve balancing strength on one arm, but has a much sharper focus on the shoulders and triceps because…well, you’re walking.

When you’re searching to advance not just in strength but also in skill, especially with hand balancing, be sure to add some fun and variation to your training, and you’ll be sure to see some results. Be sure to let us know in the comments how these variations help you, or if you’ve tried them before. Finally, if these do improve your training skill, be sure to share!

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Some Inspiration from 47 year old Freerunner

Hey guys! If you don’t know much about me, know that I started in on movement training at a later age. I’ve always done the martial arts and have trained in combat sports, but working on tying it together into a cohesive art of self expression didn’t happen till later. I’ve still got a long way to go, but its great to see what others have accomplished even later in life!

Learn How to Back Flip in 31 Days
Learn How to Back Flip in 31 Days on Amazon

P.S. No highlights in this one. Just watch the video as it is, you won’t regret it!

Only a couple of days left to pick up the Advanced Bridging Course. You’ve heard us talking about over the past month and you can get it by clicking here!

Stay Inverted!
-Coach Jon

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Acrobatic Attributes: A GMB Elements Review

So, we’ve been talking a lot about foundation recently. Especially on how to get your body accustomed to all types of 3d movement. It can be scary, I won’t lie. Its a constant cycle, but after the initial work gets easier like the progress from walking, to running, to sprinting. Take myself for example, when I started on this journey of movement I was just like how most of you probably were in the beginning. NO IDEA what to do or which direction to take. Even with all the quick info out there, its hard to pull everything together in an easy to follow manner. Luckily you’ve got people like Logan who’ve done the hard work and can help you reach that level that you want to achieve.

The work is consistent but its a gratifying journey. The reason I’m talking about this is because i want to open you up to a way of making this body skill passion easier. As you know, our friends over at Gold Medal Bodies have been at the body skill game for multiple years. In their big pot of experience and talents, they’ve narrowed down the necessary attributes needed to develop any acrobatic skill. This information is compiled together in their Elements Program. Which we use of inspiration for our evolving outlook on handstand and hand balancing development.

I’ve always been a person about simplicity and the Elements Program accomplishes this by having you focus on 3 movement patterns in a progressive fashion over the course of 7 weeks. Even after a few days, I began to understand the value of the information. Although not just myself; my own clients have benefited with their own hip mobility and stabilization, which for some of them has been 2 years of work. Every piece of information is meticulously detailed and compliments each other.

As I said, the program is broken down into 7 weeks with 6 days of training. The main goal is to build necessary strength and conditioning, but more importantly to understand your body. As the weeks go by, Ryan and the GMB team start adding more tweaks as well as give you the guidance to work on your own free flow floor work.

If you’ve never been inverted or have never tried any acrobatic feat, be sure to pick up the GMB Elements Program. I can’t recommend it enough!

The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing
The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing on Amazon

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Stay Inverted!
-Coach Jon

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Great Tricks To Try

Skills like hand balancing, hand spins, tumbling, flexibility tricks are serious tricks that can only be achieved through continuous training and practice. Hand spins and flexibility tricks are good way to keep your body in shape even when doing a solo act. While advanced hand balancing and flexibility skills are nicer when done in pair or with a group.

Dan had been practicing some of these skills for the past 2 years, at least. Do you think you can do better in a shorter training time?

 

Hand Balancing Made EasyHandBalancingMadeEasy_on_Amazon
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Creative Moves by Gravity & Other Myths

Today’s video comes from a bunch of people who look like they’re on a vacation, but still manage to pull out some amazing moves in combination of free running, hand balancing and other amazing stuff – like playing a piano with a hand balancer on top of you!

The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing
The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing on Amazon

This uplifting video comes from Gravity & Other Myths, a well-known Australian acrobatics ensemble.

Are you interested in any of my training programs or books? Then make sure to sign-up to my newsletter here TODAY and you’ll receive a special coupon code tomorrow (5/13/2015) for 30% off on my products!

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Incredible Training Compilation by Daniel Tsinis

Here’s an awesome video compilation of various hand balancing moves from an ex-gymnast who just recently changed the focus of his training to hand balancing. Lots of presses, one arm hand balancing, handstands…

Weather you’re a fan of hand balancing, tumbling, breakdancing or gymnastics in general, I promise you’ll enjoy this video by Daniel Tsinis.

Click here to start your hand balancing training today.

Hand Balancing Made EasyHandBalancingMadeEasy_on_Amazon
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How to Perform Backroll to Handstand

Performing back roll to a handstand is a pretty cool exercise by itself, but it’s also very beneficial for those looking to improve their back handsprings. Make sure to learn how to perform a handstand first and master basic rolls before you attempt this move.

  1. Get use to doing regular forward and back rolls. Tumbling and Acrobatics Starter Package contains everything you need to learn these basic moves.
  2. Move up to higher rolls and get comfortable with them. You’ll know you’re ready for the next step once you start using your legs to kick up, instead of relying on arms strength.
  3. Push-up harder with your arms while rolling back while trying to gain control, but do not attempt to get into a handstand yet.
  4. Instead of going straight for the rollback to handstand, roll forward OUT of the handstand and then practice rolling back to the handstand
  5. The last step is to master syhronizing kick-up with the pushing up of the arms.

Have fun!

Learn How to Back Flip in 31 Days
Learn How to Back Flip in 31 Days on Amazon
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