It’s been 4 months since I last updated you guys with where my mobility is, courtesy of Calisthenic Movement’s mobility program – the advanced segment.
Fear not, I have been duly running the program and working towards the movement patterns. There was a great breakthrough around a month ago when I first hit a flat front split (more on that later). Generally progress has been good and the gains have been consistent.
For anyone in need of some back story, have a read of these…….
Enough with the talking, let’s show you where I was in mid May this year and where I am now, across all movement patterns the program targets.
August 2019 vs May 2019. Visible improvements on my ‘good’ side having finally got flat! The ‘bad’ side has also improved but is still around 3 inches away from totally flat.
(More on my front split journey HERE)
August 2019 vs May 2019. The pancake has seen huge improvements as I can now hit a face to floor position pretty consistently, although I’m still yet to hit chest to floor/completely flat back.
Side splits are a much tougher beast and while they don’t look much different visually, they feel quite a bit easier; I can spend 2 minutes at my max range and come up without crying for a wheelchair now! Also, what can’t be seen in the photos is the articulation of the hips – I’m better able to keep the knees, ankles & hips themselves all nicely lined up laterally.
Standing Pike/Jefferson Curl
August 2019 vs May 2019. Of all the flexibility patterns I’ve worked on, the Jefferson curl/standing pike has seen the greatest improvements by quite away! While in May I was virtually nose-buried-in -knees, in August I could get that pretty comfortably and at peak stretch my toes would be a little above mid forearm.
August 2019 vs May 2019. The seated pike is tougher than the standing pike as gravity can’t help you as much. I find with this move it’s about being able to compress your way into the fold by bracing the abs and squeezing the quads. In May I was delighted to get my thumbs touching in front of my feet, while my head was on my knees. But now I can get fully interlaced hands in front of the feet. Again, like the pancake, I need to work on straightening out the back going forward but it’s a work in progress…..
Active/Standing Shoulder Flexion
September 2019 vs May 2019. Very little visual difference but it feels easier to achieve the position and I’ve also had less trouble overhead in general. Cutting a long story short, I had a shoulder impingement a good 18 months or so ago and even to very recent, extreme stretching of the arms overhead could bring back similar symptoms. I’m glad to say I can now stretch overhead pretty intensely and come away pain free! I attribute this largely to the improvements in both the thoracic mobility and general shoulder function in a flexed position.
Active/Standing Shoulder Extension
September 2019 vs May 2019. Subtle differences here – the shoulders are more retracted and the head isn’t hanging forward as much. Other things to point out are: I am much stronger with weighted shoulder extension work and can find good range with my hands touching together on the stick, with an additional 10 kg of weight. And, as you’ll see in a second, my German Hang has got markedly better……..
German Hang Flexibility
One of my goals here was to be able to what they call the ‘rings dislocate’, which is basically a shoulder dislocate on rings. A mere week or two after the May pic was taken I managed to achieve this goal, as you can see in the Instagram clip below.
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STRENGTH & MOBILITY……… Back lever into shoulder dislocate on rings. Been working hard on my shoulder extension/German hang over the last few months and had the goal of doing the infamous, and slightly sick looking dislocate……… No better place to unlock the move than Barcelona beach in the 27 degree heat ☀️☀️ Active shoulder extension is key for posture, back muscle function, transition in muscle ups and much more. Loving Barcelona and we're only one day in. Planning on hitting the bars every day 😎 tan is on its way too 😉 #calisthenics #muscleups #ringmuscleups #backlever #germanhang #shouldermobility #shoulderextension #shoulderdislocate #gymnasticsrings #barceloneta #barcelona2019 #barcelona #streetworkout #barcelonabeach #workoutbars #bodyweighttraining #abs #lean #sunsout #summerworkout #spain #movement #movementflow #movementculture #lsit #lhang
I will admit though this range of motion has been pretty intermittent since, as I’ve been able to do it here and there and sometimes I’ve not been all that close. This is the wonderful temperamental nature of flexibility, ladies & gents!
Handstand Line (floor)
September 2019 vs May 2019. Very similar sentiments to the overhead mobility segment, Not a ton of difference in the actual shoulder angle itself, but again, there’s more ease in the position than before and I’m able to shrug the shoulders up and really force the arms locked, which gives me the stability to get that lovely tucked, chin on chest position. How much of this is down to handstand practice/work itself and shoulder mobility I’m not sure. Probably 50/50 or so but the key is it’s improved.
Handstand Line (parallettes)
September 2019 vs May 2019. Again, echoing the sentiments from above, the parallette handstand looks similar in terms of shoulder angle but feels easier and I’m able to get loads more control in the position, again, being able to tuck the head through and keep everything tight and stable. The parallette handstand forces slightly more shoulder opening due to the more externally rotated shoulders, as a result of the neutral hand positioning.
Overall there’s plenty of improvements. Some more subtle than others but it’s to be expected as you move further towards the end of the game. Like anything, the better you get the longer it takes to improve. Nevertheless, the grind continues. Main targets for the end of the year are:
- Flat front split (right leg forward, left back)
- Side/middle splits
Stay tuned for an update by the end of the year where we can look back at an entire year’s worth of work and see how long it really does take to change an unflexible persons mobility once and for all.
Links to Calisthenic Movement’s Programs –
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