This was one of those weeks where nothing extraordinary was coming up, just putting the in work to move the needle towards better. Amidst that work, sometimes you just stumble across something interesting or inspiring.
I almost passed on the Movement Minute this week as I'm out in San Francisco attending the Wisdom 2.0 conference. Before leaving, I did capture some good training footage. I was really happy with how this hanging and handstand superset turned out and happy to share.
This is a quick and effective upper body workout. It might be tempting to jump right in but make sure you take the time to warm up properly for at least 5-10 minutes. Mobilize your wrists, shoulders, and thoracic spine. Fire up your core and posterior chain because these areas are really going to get tested in this one. Personally, I spent a lot of time working on my calves and hamstrings.
The common denominator here is compression strength, the kind that comes from deep in the center of the body. You’re trying to create an L or V shape that can withstand the pull of gravity. The deep core muscles and hip flexors engage to hold the body in a folded position. In addition the posterior chain needs to be mobile so as not to put on the brakes on the whole situation. This kind of integrated strength makes me feel greater balance in my strength and mobility, it also can unlock some very cool skills.
This all came about because I’m on a big L sit kick lately and I want to master 1-arm hanging leg raises. I’ve got some weakness in my pulling strength that I get to clean up. Right now, 1-arm hanging Ls feel crazy hard for me so I’ll keep leaning into that challenge. The hanging leg raises require a "pull" into the bar while using the core to lift the lower body into the fold. Easier said than done
The straddle press handstand is a nice pushing complement to the pull of the hang. I’ve got these down pretty well (from standing, at least) so conditioning with some reps is a good look. This movement is all about pressing into the ground for a stable foundation while the core lifts the lower body into the handstand. Also, easier said than done.
I consider this a conditioning workout so pick your progressions wisely. It’s important to find variations of these movement that you’re comfortable with and that will hold up under some fatigue. Two modifications I suggest are hanging knee tucks and handstand hops.
I have great respect for both of these movements; there is so much going on with each. You’ve got to be intentional to make progress, slowly and incrementally. There are tons of little drills to build up the capacity, way too many to talk about here. My point is just that this isn’t a “one and done” challenge, it’s going to be a long process. The cool thing is the process shapes not only the body but the mind and heart too. Complexity to challenge the brain and expression to inspire the soul.
This isn't just a quick hit of exercise. No. Building a movement practice is a long-term investment in your overall growth and development. Expansion in all directions. The movement is about more than just moving. So love your practice, because when you do it's going to give back to you in some incredible ways.