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Capoeira: Music, Skills, and Martial Arts

I’m going to say that I’ve been excited about Capoeira for a while. It involves alot of my favorite things; music, rhythm, martial arts, acrobatics, and of course hand balancing. Today I’m going to be giving you a primer on the Subject. In all honesty I’ll probably be doing a few posts on Capoeira. The reason being that I’m excited at the fact of introducing it in my own little training studio. I’ve found an instructor with similar goals, so these are exciting times!

Back to the subject. What is Capoeira?

Truthfully there isn’t much written record of Capoeira. But we do know that it was created in Brazil by African Slaves. It’s a Martial Art that was taught in secret by the slaves for self protection and was delivered through traditional music, singing, dancing.

Combining Rhythm, movement, and music; Capoeira is a very engrossing system that will help to build up body skills. Take a look at this video to get a better idea about what it is!

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

Stay Inverted!

-Jonathan Magno

PS If you want a full system on hand balancing, check out the Secrets of the Handstand Bundle!

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A Legendary Expansion

 

If you’ve been a part of this community for a while, you’ll know that it was started by the gentleman above, Logan Christopher. A true renaissance man; he was able to reinvigorate and expand the hand balancing community with a nothing but a keyboard.

Over the years, he moved into different facets of fitness and life in general. One of the biggest steps he made was transitioning over Legendary Strength. Hence now I’m becoming the main voice for LAOHB. As we grow and push forward in life, new opportunities arise.

Once such opportunity happened to Logan recently as he was able to purchase his first house. With that good fortune comes many other benefits. One being that there is a Legendary Strength Training Home and second that more videos will be coming your way!

The last benefit is that Logan is offering 50% his Legendary Strength Courses, which you can pick up here!

Take Advantage of this while you can because the sale is only on for 24 more hours and as always… Stay Inverted!

-Jonathan Magno

Ultimate Guide to Handstand Pushups
Ultimate Guide to Handstand Pushups on Amazon
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Stressing Over a Skill and 3 Ways To Overcoming Obstacles

 

Training is a huge part of my life. Its fun, tests my limits, and is a HUGE stress reliever. But what happens when something key to that chill factor adds to the stress. Living in Silicon Valley, stress is a very common thing. Fear, anxiousness, and doubt are always just around the corner. With the pressures of being around some of the most intelligent people, helping to move the world around, this anxiety and doubt can creep into the oddest places.

Once such occasion happened to me just yesterday. I was training in Tricking. If you don’t know what that is, its all those cool martial arts guys spinning and flipping in the air while throwing kicks. While working on a normal Butterfly kick but with a new entry, my anxiousness started setting in. Its an odd fact, but even I get this way.

I’m human.

With the stress of building a business, personal stuff, and helping clients through their own processes in getting better; the fear, anxiousness, and more started to set in. Luckily with supportive people around me, I was able to push and move forward.

But what do you do if you don’t have that support?

Try these 3 ways to overcome that negativity and keep moving!

Way #1 Move Into The Fear.

It’s all about meeting your fears and facing them head-on. Aim to recognize your fears, acknowledge them and then move through them. Ask yourself what is it that makes you uncomfortable? Have you let yourself get out of shape and are afraid you’ll never get back? Do you have an injury that’s caused you to be afraid of your body? If you can visualize creatively, then you can put your fears in check.  Remember: your body has knack at baselining itself. Your only job is to trust it and listen.

Way #2 Trust Your Intuition.

It is important when overcoming obstacles and learning to break through barriers that you begin to listen to the still small voice of your body. In most cases, we all want the comfort of having someone telling us what we can and cannot do. However, our highest truth is usually deep down. This is not to say that good opinion of others are not important, but ultimately the decision making comes from within.

When facing a challenge or an obstacle look to how you feel. What are your instincts telling you? Often it is simply your instinct that will move you into a new mindset and raise your consciousness. It’s simply about changing your perspective. Although in order to do this you have to find where your restrictions and boundaries are so that you can move past. Once you know what they are, remember “WAY #1” and meet them head-on.

Way #3 Live Beyond the Boundaries

So what’s the final takeaway from all of this? Staying afraid often keeps us from truly living. Moving forward starts with your attitude. Are you going to keep letting things beat you down and miss whats happening today. Or will you make today the right time to face them.

Life Beyond The Boundaries.

Push past your fears and boundaries and when you’ve settled with that, look for another skill, trick, or plateau to jump.

Stay Inverted!

-Jonathan Magno

PS On a different note, if you want all the tricks of the trade for hand balancing, check out the Secrets of the Handstand Bundle!

Ultimate Guide to Handstand Pushups
Ultimate Guide to Handstand Pushups on Amazon
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Squeeze those Hips , But don’t Forget #1!

 

Squeeze your hips, clinch your butt, or feet together.

These are probably some of the most frequently used statements given out when trying to learn the handstand. Its also pretty common that enthusiasts who are just learning attempt to squeeze or clinch but still don’t get the desired result of keeping their body elevated and stable.

Where does the problem lie?

It comes in the form of visualization. The directives given for squeezing the hips or clinching the butt are mechanical, even if there is feeling behind them.

i.e. SQUUUUUUEEEEZZZZEEEE those hips!

Although the mechanics are correct, its hard to put together the sensations about what you are supposed to feel when you squeeze or clinch.

So how do we get past this issue?

Its actually pretty simple. You utilize a visualization that is also a mechanical directive.

Trampoline Handbook
Trampoline Handbook on Amazon

Now this is something I look for when I teach. There are things that everybody has done which they can relate to a skill task. In regards to squeezing the hips. One things that everybody has done was “hold it in.”

Don’t worry, I’m going to expand on this.

Have you every had to go #1(title of the post!) but were far away from your destination by distance or even a long line. What do you do? You turn legs in, maybe jump around a bit and squeeze the heck out of your pelvic floor, adductors, etc. Everybody knows the feeling because everyone needs to use the restroom at some point, and if you don’t, wow. So one of my more commonly used visualizations has changed from squeeze those hips, to pretend you need to pee and have to hold it in. Without a doubt, its simple, directed, and the result speaks for itself.

Why don’t you give it a try and see if you can hold that inversion longer by stopping #1.

Stay Inverted!

-Jonathan Magno

PS If you want all the tricks of the trade for hand balancing, check out the Secrets of the Handstand Bundle!

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The Frogstand or the Crow Pose?

So today, I have another fun video for you that I’m hoping will show a different perspective on your body skill training.

Every person who trains their body has  a different view on similar or lateral skills. They might be in the same codified system or ones that overlap.

An example would be my friend Jonathan and I.

“Two Jons”.

One is hyper and the other is zen.

He’s a practitioner of yoga and martial arts. While I’m a combat enthusiast and movement trainer especial.

Since we follow lateral systems of movement, and the human body can only do so much, certain skills are definitely going to overlap.

A prime example would be the frogstand and the crow pose. They are basically the same move. What makes them differ from each other are the experience and accumulated depth of knowledge of the practitioners of different styles.

Which is why we made this video. Just watching, you’ll be able to see how we approach the same move. You’ll be exposed to multiple points of views and in turn have a stronger understanding of how to approach it.

Check out the video here!

Stay Inverted!

Walking and Jumping On Your HandsWalking and Jumping On Your Hands on Amazon

-Jonathan Magno

PS If you’re looking for a fully codified system of hand balancing, check out the Secrets of the Handstand Bundle!

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How your fingers enhance your floorwork!

It will probably come as no surprise that out of all the body weight styles of training from bar work, to rings, and even aerial flippy kicky skills; my favorite sets will always revolve around floorwork.

My basis for this is probably another unsurprising fact. You really don’t need any other piece of equipment other than your body using this style of training. To top it off it creates a nice strong foundation for the other body skills. Even if you’re having an issue with a move through either fear or even sloppy form, you can practice a lateral skill progression on the ground to build up that kinesthetic or confidence. I do this all the time.

In relation to your floor work; having strong, flexible, and coordinated fingers is a top priority. This is because in certain maneuvers, you are basically replacing your feet with your hands, which should have a similar level of control.

Before we move forward, lets build out on this idea by touching on the feet for a second. Specifically we’ll focus on your toes.

I want you to try something without getting too deep into it. But before you do this make sure that you are in a safe area where you won’t hurt yourself.

I want you to lean your shoulders forward as far as you can until your shoulders get past your toes.

Did you notice something? Were your toes gripping for dear life so that you could try and stay upright? Did you also take steps or shift your feet so that you could find your balance again? My guess is yes.

You can go ahead and do the same laterally to the left or right and even backward if you like.

Its the same thing with your fingers and hands while you are doing floor work. Your fingers are like your toes gripping on to the floor to give stability and balance. If your body starts shifting forward, your fingers can grip the ground and act as your breaks. In a similar fashion, your thumb can slow you down if you start falling back to where you started. Your fingers are intergral in maintaining that structure. Especially in the beginning of your handstand journey.

A final way that your fingers can enhance your floor work is by relieving stress on your joints, and pulling the wrists out of full flexion thereby reducing the load on them. I’m all about testing. Try running through your floorwork with your fingertips gripping and see if it changes your stability and balance!

Tumbling Illustrated
Tumbling Illustrated on Amazon

If you get some good results, be sure to let us know!

Stay Inverted!

-Jonathan Magno

PS If you want to become more skilled and develop your floor work, check out GMB Floor 1!

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Enhance your Body Skills through Crosstraining! Boxing 101

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

Crosstraining.

Its about introducing new information and growing body’s fitness or performance library of knowledge. This can be especially useful as we are developing are own body skills. Whether you are working on your handstand, deep squat, or even the backflip. There are many transferable elements found in each move.

The human body can only move in so many prescribed directions. Outside of a few with genetic differences outside of the norm. Your elbow bends in a certain way as does your hip runs through multiple ranges. Although this is a fact, the way you combine it all changes everything.

Here’s what I mean. A dancer will extend a leg or squat in a certain way. Likewise, a practitioner of yoga or even a crossfit athlete has their own version of similar moves. This understanding is important because it will add new information that can help you refine a body skill your working on or even help you get past a plateau.

The more body of information you have the more effective you can make a change or come to a decision. When you are training your body, its once again a bit of a biological mess. Although the anatomy is the same, we’ve all introduced different information to our bodies. So the way that one person learn a move and understands it will be a different experience for another.

So with that said. I’m going to be introducing you to a sport and way of movement that I love. Boxing. It’s one of the oldest combat forms and can really show you how to combine simple concepts into something explosive and beautiful. In the video I go over things like alignment, hip-hinging, body positioning. While watching, you might even find something that could help you with your handstand or another body skill you’re developing.

Catch the video here:

Since this is all about introducing new stimuli to your body, check out the GMB Vitamin Program to give yourself new patterns to explore and play with!

Stay Inverted!

-Jonathan Magno

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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

 

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

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…

 

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?

Walking and Jumping On Your HandsWalking and Jumping On Your Hands on Amazon

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!)

 

Walking and Jumping On Your HandsWalking and Jumping On Your Hands on Amazon

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.

 


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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