Having ran all 3 phases of CaliMove’s Mobility program I moved on to other goals and endeavors. Although I have since found out this was a premature move as I’d overlooked their promised ‘Mobility program for the splits, V-sit & Press to handstand’!
When I realised I’d had that sitting under my nose for so long, untouched, I quickly snapped to action and began getting my backside into gear. This was over 2 months ago now.
I have been religiously working on the V-sit/press handstand & front split programs every other day without fail. And recently I’ve started working on the side splits too -although I’d say I’m only about a week or 2 in.
Before we go further it’s advisable to do your homework and have a read of my previous 2 reviews of CaliMove’s mobility phases just so you can get an idea of my starting position in terms of general mobility across different movement patterns.
As the work is now more specific I haven’t included all previous movement patterns from the foundational mobility phases. Instead, I’ve included anything relevant to what I’m currently doing. Where possible I will show comparisons from then to now though.
What’s the general aim of these programs?
The V-sit & Press handstand work is paired together for good reason as the main component of these impressive skills is your compression; the ability to actively compress your legs towards your chest, along with the need for good shoulder mobility & function.
My V-Sit hold (April 2019)
The program targets both passive and active hamstring/pike flexibility as well as active shoulder flexion (overhead) and extension (behind the body).
Both split programs focus on familiarising the body with the split position as well as strengthening relevant muscles (hip flexors in the case of front splits & adductors in the case of side splits).
What I like about these so much is they’re pretty short sections of work and can be done on rest days or training days – I’ve done them on either and had some nice results, as you’ll see……
My current level of flexibility…..
The following photos are without any real warming up or pre stretching, they’re just a simple try of different patterns. As I said earlier, I will include any before or afters I have from past program phases or even general photos.
The top photo is from March 2018 after a big warm up and quite a bit of pre-stretching. The bottom pic was taken in May 2019 with no warm up at all. What limits me here is hip flexor mobility, which is so common; nearly every front split you see is a ‘hamstring dominant’ one – where the hips are twisted to the side to compensate for a lack of hip flexibility.
These 2 images are just my completely cold current mobility level for these patterns. Even after a mere 2 weeks of working on them though, I can feel a difference!
Standing Pike/Jefferson Curl
Out of all the patterns I’ve covered I would say my forward fold/pike/Jefferson curl has seen the biggest improvement. The left image is from May 2019 and the right image was shot in January 2018. Keep in mind I’ve not worked directly on my mobility until quite recently (even the earlier CaliMove mobility phases don’t have much direct hamstring work but instead, more of an overall approach).
Echoing the sentiments of the Jefferson Curl, the seated pike has also seen some pretty amazing gains. The top pic is from July 2018 and the pic below is May 2019. In the pic on the right my head is on my knees and my thumbs are touching in front of my heels/feet.
Active/Standing Shoulder Flexion
The first pic is December 2018 and the second is May 2019. As I’ve written many times before, overhead mobility is one of the slowest patterns to open up. Needless to say this has improved noticeably as you can now see even less of my head behind my upper arm. You’ll also notice the improvements here in the upcoming handstand shots too!
Active/Standing Shoulder Extension
The first pic is July 2018 and the second is May 2019. To the glancing eye it may appear as though there are no real differences but if you look closely you’ll see the angle is in fact better in the second photo. Also, it’s worth noting I can clasp my hands behind my back and draw the wrists and palms completely together now with relative ease – a range I’d lost for a while thanks to increased muscle development through my back and upper body.
German Hang Flexibility
The pic on the right is May 2019 and the left pic is January 2019. There is a noticeable improvement in the angle between the arms and the torso, AND, if you look at the turned out position of the hands in the first photo, you’ll see I’m almost able to ‘inlocate’ and turn my hands back on themselves, which is a actually a side goal of mine.
Handstand Line (floor)
The pic on the left is current/May 2019 and the one on the left is February 2018. It’s as clear as day to see how closed my shoulders were, despite having a seemingly ‘OK’ line. They’re now much closer to 180 degrees and my handstand itself is a world apart from how it used to be. I used to have to snap the image at just the right time because I’d be wavering and ‘banana-ing’ all over the place! Nowadays I’m able to stay completely straight and still.
Handstand Line (parallettes)
The pic on the left is from March 2018 and the right is current day/May 2019. Almost identical to the floor handstand, the parallette version used to be even harder as the neutral hand position demanded more lat flexibility. Nowadays I agree with the general consensus that suggests parallette handstands are easier than floor handstands, which is clearly a byproduct of improved overhead mobility.
So, what next?
The journey will forge on with more enthusiasm than I started with, because like they say, when you get results it becomes addictive. The aim is a full front & middle split and a nice head to shins V-sit which should accompany a press to handstand.
I’d also like to say I’ve enjoyed the advanced series more than the general one as I’ve found the specificity to be great for me. But with my amount of experience I think I have to have a fair amount of specificity to make progress.
Stay tuned for another update as I near these iconic mobility goals and don’t hesitate to drop me a line below for any questions or general chat!
For more on Calisthenic Movement’s Programs, check their website where they have transformation plans, level specific plans, mobility plans, nutrition plans and even the option of online personal training.
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