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Bodyweight Strong 2.0 – Old School Strength

There are numerous bodyweight training programs that litter the fitness industry, but many of them target calorie burning with no attention to strength development. After all, the hand balancers of the past didn’t seek calorie programs — they sought strength, and they achieved it through bodyweight training.

For a man weighing 240lbs to do a one arm handstand, you need more than just a calorie burning program

For a man weighing 240lbs to do a one arm handstand, you need more than just a calorie burning program

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After all, physical culture was loaded with men of incredible strength, so why create a program that wouldn’t allow the men of that time to match up to their counterparts? These were men who understood the importance of proper progression, so sought to increase, for instance, the difficulty of their pushups rather than how many they could do. If they could manage 100 pushups, they would elevate themselves or do one arm pushups to increase the difficulty, rather than just shooting for 200.

Furthermore, very few physical culturists emphasized training to failure. “Whoa, hold on, I was always taught for weightlifting to train to failure for the most gains.” Well let me tell you that Sig Klein, one of the most renowed weightlifters and bodyweight trainers in history, as well as Maxick, a master muscle controller with incredible lifting feats, never advocated training to failure.

Sig Klein is the kind of man you'd want to listen to about training

Sig Klein is the kind of man you’d want to listen to about training

When it comes to bodyweight training, you want your nervous system to be fresh and gain energy from workout to workout, rather than have it depleted. Thus, they focused on consistent, daily training, which would overly tax your nervous system if you trained to failure each time. In fact, the more you advance in bodyweight skill, the less you’ll want to train to failure to improve skill and prevent injury. Failing during, for instance, a handstand pushup wouldn’t quite have a Cinderella ending.

One of the main reasons that people have trouble doing a handstand is that they simply haven’t trained it enough. If your goal with a single handstand session is to feel the burn in your shoulders until they’re essentially numb, you’ll have a much more difficult time progressing with a handstand than if you practiced daily with consistent progression.

Body Weight Strong 2.0

Bodyweight training balances you as an athlete, and introduces you at a skill level that anyone can begin with — their own weight. If you can learn to truly master your own weight, your strength can skyrocket. In addition, you may not take your weight set everywhere, but you take your body everywhere, so the training convenience is bar none.

These legendary physical culturists knew the proper way to train bodyweight, and Forest Vance is the kind of man who understands old school bodyweight strength. Luckily for you, he has created a program with a contemporary understanding on classic strength philosophy. Plus, there’s thorough video instruction for you to follow every step of the way.

In basic terms, Body Weight Strong 2.0 can evolve your strength to reach incredible levels just as true bodyweight training should do.

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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…

 

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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.

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.

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.

 

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

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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AcroYoga Beginner Tutorial – Therapeutic Flying

Hey Everyone! You know that there have been quite a few posts on Acroyoga this month. With it being Valentines (and Deadpool for those of you who caught my Saturday email) month we felt it would be great to showcase a different type of hand balancing with a partner. In today’s post, Noga is going to go over a more therapeutic side of acroyoga involving thai massage!

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The first position has the base posting on the hips and shoulders of the flyer. They then bend their knees independently or together to open up the flyer’s hips. The flyer should stay relaxed the entire time.

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Up next are flyer circles. The base will take the flyer into forward and back circular pattern to open up the shoulder and hips with increasing leverage.

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In the next position, Noga runs her flyer through a spinal twist to gain an inverted thoracic stretch.

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Another stretch is to have the flyer elongate their spine while the base lengthens their position from the ground,

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Noga goes through many more positions in the video that you can catch below!

One last thing! Flexibility and core stabilization is key for both the flyer and the base. So don’t forget that Logan and I have a special February deal for the advanced bridging course. Increase your core strength and mobility by going here!

Stay Inverted!
-Coach Jon

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AcroYoga Beginner Tutorial – AcroYoga poses (with instructions)

In today’s post, Noga goes over a few different Acro poses that you can do with your partner. Its going to take a lot of coordination, flexibility, and stabilization to put them together so make sure you have a comfortable foundation before you get started!

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The first Pose is the Bird to Full Bow.  As you are going through the pose, be sure to keep your arms extended in case your flyer loses balance during the transition.

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Next up is the Throne to Mermaid Pose.

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You can also get more detailed info on these as well as catch the other poses Nataraj and High Flying Whale by watching the clip below!

Don’t forget guys, we’ve got a great deal on the advanced bridging program this month. If you’re looking to really increase your flexibility, check it out here!

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

Stay Inverted!
-Coach Jon

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AcroYoga Beginner Tutorial – Straddle Bat

Ok guys! In today’s post, we’ll be jumping once again into the AcroYoga series with Noga. Today Noga will be working with the Straddle Bat or Back to Bat Position.

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She starts out by placing having her flyer rest their glutes on her feet. The flyer leans back and clasps the hands of the base.

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Next the flyer releases the hands of the base and stabilizes on the feet.

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

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The flyer slowly leans back and the base creates a new post on the flyers shoulders.

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Finally the Flyer becomes inverted into the straddle position. (Note the change in foot placement.)

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To get the full tutorial with tips, watch the video below!

Allright guys! As you can see flexibility on the part of the flyer is important for this position. If you want to build a strong back with mobility and stability check out our Advanced Bridging Course here!

Stay Inverted!
-Coach Jon

P.S.  Stay tuned for Friday as we’ll be unveiling our new set of 1 min tips that will help you build a strong foundational base for your acrobatic skills!

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AcroYoga Beginner Tutorial – Throne

In today’s post. We’ll be revisiting Beginner AcroYoga with the The Throne Tutorial. Noga runs you through four different variations as well as spotting tips.

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1) The first position is the Basic Mount.

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2) Next Noga runs you through the Straddle Throne position.

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3) Followed by it’s opposite, the Reverse Throne.

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4) Finally, she takes you through your first transition with the  Bird to Throne position.

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

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Take a look at the full video below!

If you want to get better at hand balancing with a systematic approach, check out our Handstand Mastery Course!

Stay Inverted!
-Coach Jon

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AcroYoga Beginner Tutorial – Front Bird

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For today’s post, we’ll be looking at the Front Bird Tutorial. Noga goes over quite a few tips involve safety and balance. Be sure that you are ready we the base, the flyer, and the spotter. Watch the video below to learn your first move!

Increase your flexibility and stabilization with the Tiger Bend.

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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?

 

Ultimate Guide to Handstand Pushups
Ultimate Guide to Handstand Pushups on Amazon
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How to Keep Your Hand-to-Hand Grip Strong

Hand to hand acro acts are among the most popular ones on talent shows such as America’s Got Talent, but acrobatic gymnastics is also a legit gymnastic discipline with several ongoing campaigns to include it in the Olympics.

How to do the One Hand Handstand by Professor Orlick
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One of the keys to successful hand to hand acts lies in a strong grip. To get it right, follow the steps described in the video.

Some of the tips given in the video can also be useful for hand balancing. If you don’t have a training partner yet, practicing on hand balancing stands can help you prepare for hand-to-hand balancing.

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