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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.

 

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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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.

 


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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A Celebratory Ring Challenge!

Hey Guys! In today’s post, we have a fun and quick challenge for you. The year is getting off to a great start and people are losing weight, building muscle, and most importantly development their mindful movement. So we wanted to kick things off with an easy challenge we found to test you. Micheal demonstrates a conditioning circuit of 3 exercises with 5 reps each in succession. Try these 3 and see the immense strength that you can build!

1)Muscle – Ups

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2)Dips

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3)Pull-Ups

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Watch the full video below!

If the conditioning challenge was hard, you still have a chance to get the revamped Rings One Program and if you act before tonight ends, you can receive two special bonuses including shoulder health and a conditioning workout using the gymnastic rings!

Stay Inverted!
-Coach Jon

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Blast From the Past: Back Lever Leg Raises

Hey guys! Check out this blast from the past on the Gymnastic Rings from Logan! In this Video, Logan performs a Back Lever into a Leg Raise.

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Back Lever Leg Raises are a great way to mimic a Reverse Hyper Machine while using Rings.

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Take a look at Logan’s demo below!

Don’t forget that our friends at Gold Medal Bodies have revamped their Rings One Program and if you act before tomorrow ends, you can receive two special bonuses including shoulder health and a conditioning workout using the gymnastic rings!

Stay Inverted!
-Coach Jon

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How to Progress to a Front Lever

Ryan from Gold Medal Bodies goes deep into front level progressions and shows one of the ways to work your way up to a front level. Below are the recommended steps, but make sure to watch the entire video to fully understand them.

1. The mini pull – To strengthen up your scapula
2. Straight arm chest pullups – To increase ROM
3. Mini pulls with knee pulls – Improve core strength
4. The front tuck
5. The front tuck to the open front tuck
6. Tuck for reps
7. Tuck with leg extensions

Your gym doesn’t have gymnastic rings? Get them here.

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Johnny Sapinoso Got Some Moves

In this video from Johnny Sapinoso we can see a number of very demanding workouts and feats, like:

  • Front and back flips
  • Cool moves on a bent bar
  • One arm pullups on gymnastic rings
  • Planche on rings and bars
  • Planche pushups
  • Amazing partner acrobatics (including a handstand)
  • One arm handstand at the end of the video

Johnny Sapinoso  has been training since the age of 5. But you certainly can achieve some of the feats listed above much quicker.  If you are interested in learning how to do a one hand handstand, a back flip or just want to get started with lever training, then make sure to check out this page.

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Handstand on Rings

The handstand on the ground is fairly tough but easily doable with a little practice. The handstand on rings is much, much tougher.

Here we have Jim Bathurst on the rings working on his handstands.

What makes ring handstands harder to do? You can’t use your wrists at all in order to balance like you can on the floor or parallel bars. Instead all the balance must be done from the shoulders and by bending the arms as you can see Jim do quite a bit.

The truth is ideally you don’t want to bend your arms just like in a normal handstand, but when you’re first starting out it may happen. Try to avoid it though as it can set in bad habits.

The easy way to do a handstand on the rings is to wrap your legs around the straps. This is comparable to doing a handstand against the wall. Of course the freestanding ring handstand and that against the straps is like a freestanding handstand versus one against the wall, just the rings both are a jump in difficulty.

Still if you work on handstands on the rings your balance will grow that much stronger.

Some other lead up stunts to it would include shoulder stands on the rings and many other skills.

To buy gymnastic rings for training go here.

For a great course on strength training on the rings go here.

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How to Make a Gymnastic Rings Dream Machine

The other week I posted a video on my first ever attempt in a gymnastic rings dream machine. It was fun then and I’ve used it a few more times since then. If you’re interested in building your own dream machine, it’s not too difficult. This video series will give you everything you need to know to do it yourself.

How to Make a Gymnastic Rings Dream Machine Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Step 4

Step 5

Step 6

Step 7

Step 8

Review

If you build one yourself be sure to come back and here and say if it all worked for you like the videos said or if you made any changes at all be sure to comment below.

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5 Ring Handstand Push-ups

This video shows a man doing 5 ring handstand push-ups. Can you do this too? I could probably do one or two reps right now if I tried.

The ring handstand pushup takes much more strength then even full range handstand pushups against a wall. Although the straps can be used so you don’t have to balance, the strength it takes to stabilize your body dramatically increases.

Don’t even try this without a solid base of full range handstand pushups, and being use to the rings.

It would also be smart to work the shoulder stand position on the rings at the bottom.

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Gymnastic Rings Dream Machine

The other day my friend was telling me about this device called a gymnastic rings dream machine. Surprisingly I had never heard of it. Well, he built one in his gym, and just yesterday I got to try it out for the first time ever.

Sorry the video isn’t great, but it was shot with an iphone on a whim.

The gymnastic rings dream machine allows you unload a significant portion of your bodyweight and thus you can work on harder skills. You see me here doing an iron cross and front lever, two moves that are currently outside of my ability (but not for too much longer).

Does anyone else have experience with the dream machine?

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