It’s been over 4 years now since Calisthenic Movement’s original mobility program came out.
Back then I took the program for a spin in all its 3 parts, finishing up with the advanced template – one that looks at the more iconic positions of gymnastics, flexibility and ‘movement’ in general; the pancake, front & side splits, bridging etc.
I thought the program was incredibly comprehensive and there was nothing like it at the time. Nobody had assembled so much into one program. It wasn’t separate routines for sole movements, it was everything in a periodized system designed to take you from complete novice right up to flirting with, or mastering positions most of us could only dream of.
If you haven’t read any of my original reviews of their mobility program, you can do so with these links:
So it begs the question: what could they do better in the new 2.0 routine?
Before we tackle that, it’s worth noting I’m probably even better poised to judge such a routine now, because since the end of Calisthenic Movement’s advanced mobility routine in early-mid 2019, I went on to achieve the ‘big four’ – front splits, pancake & side splits.
A journey that had me trialling many popular and not so popular methods, all as a naturally tight & inflexible adult. This quest for discovery had me become a professor of my own body, knowing what worked and what flat out didn’t.
Mobility 1.0 vs Mobility 2.0: What’s New?!
In the original program you had 3 x 8 week phases (24 total weeks) and a bonus advanced flexibility phase. Overall there were 40 exercises in total whereas in the new program there are 160 exercises when you include the modifications of all the original movements.
Also, the follow along videos are voiced over and shorter this time and thus, easier to follow. In the old routine there were some lengthy sessions, whereas in 2.0 the longest your session can be is 35 minutes or so. There’s also far more information in regards to how to use the program for ALL possible users.
The FAQ section was a list of questions in 1.0, whereas in 2.0 there are entire video sections on just about any and every roadblock someone could have. From what to do with specific injuries, to not having certain equipment and even the right mindset when it comes to progressing/measuring your progress.
With regards to the modification exercises, in Mobility 1.0 the progression options for movements were very linear: add weight, increase leverage and that’s about it. In 2.0 there are a much wider array of choices – rotational components, combination options, loaded options with varying resistance profiles (bands & weights).
This gives you, the user, more ownership of your results and the outcome. You can tailor the approach better with more choices. I suppose the only drawback could be not knowing what to choose?
But that’s an easy fix: choose the one you like the least and are the worst at. If we all did this in every training capacity we wouldn’t have half the injuries, tightnesses, imbalances, weaknesses and aches and pains we have!
Lastly, this is a slight bonus point but the video quality is much improved compared to last time, too. Maybe you won’t notice this as much as I did but I guess that’s where my recent YouTube ventures have got me appreciating editing & video quality so much more. There’s background music, more angles and more annotations.
Just like before, the program is designed to cater to as wide a spectrum of user as possible. From Timmy The Tight Tin Man to Bella The Bendy Ballerina, there’s something for both ends and everyone between the two extremes.
Anyone whose ever written and produced programs will understand how tough it can be to cater to everyone. You would think an ultra specific program would be the tougher creation task but it’s actually far easier. Creating something for everyone to get results takes much more thought!
With the initial prep phase recommended at the start there’s no worry of being a fish out of water, as the exercises here are pretty basic but also effective. I used these as warm ups for main training sessions and even as daily mobility routines. There are 3 templates in total here which feature a nice mix of progressions towards classic positions (pike sit, pancake sit, side split & front split), but these are introductory and very scalable.
Amongst this there are wrist drills across a multitude of angles and positions. This is an area most people don’t care about but want to get into things like bodyweight training & handbalancing, and then they cry when they bear weight on their unconditioned and immobile wrists. I’ve seen it so many times with my own eyes. Even in basic Pilates classes with older folk; people unable to even maintain a basic quadruped position!
Another area you hardly ever see covered is what I’ll term ‘intricate areas and movements’ – basically areas of the body you never even think about let alone train. Take the ankles and feet, this is an area that CaliMove hone in on in the prep phase and the routine all the way through.
And I’ve got to admit: although the last program had these featured fairly prominently too, I had precious little interest in those little moves. I just wanted to hang, jefferson curl, stretch my pancake and mobilise my squat. Not move my fibula in isolation, activate my visual system or shift my weight through different parts of my feet.
This time though, I guess thanks to my age and years in the game now? I value this stuff much more; the neural connections are invaluable as you age. Poor neural connections to joints/muscles are the cause for so much ‘movement dysfunction’ – and it’s so often simply down to people not using these areas.
Use it or lose it, as the wise man once said. Which is easy to say but it can be tough to know how to, and that’s where a routine like this comes in. It’s laid out for you, doesn’t take long and gives lasting results.
I think having had many niggles and nagging injuries over the last few years has changed my entire perspective on prehab work. I now know you can’t escape it forever whereas the old me (or the young me), thought you could graduate past a certain point and be good forever. Wrong. Yet a program like this is a simple way to get it done without having to think too much about it.
Just how far can it take you?
Last time round the routine peaked with a section for V-sit & the press to handstand, as well as the splits (front & side). This time it peaks with just an advanced full body mobility routine. Initially you might see this and lose interest, you might want the shiny objects at the end of the rainbow. But this is another area where wiser old me sees it differently.
See, the last routine had you working on moves like the V-sit and the press to handstand etc but it was mostly preparation work – levelling up your flexibility in the key areas that commonly make these moves tenfold harder if you’re not already mobile enough there.
And take it from me, when it comes to the more classically linear flexibility moves (pancake, pike, front/side splits) you can get very good at these and still have really poor hip rotation and lots of other unaddressed tightnesses in areas you haven’t even thought of!
I’ve been there. Although I’ve sat in full side splits twice, it always took the moon and stars to be perfectly aligned – AND an almighty effort from me to get down. Why? Because I’d never addressed hip external rotation to any serious degree. Why? Because I didn’t understand or value it. I just saw the main move and only cared about that and nothing else.
The front splits aren’t dissimilar. You can stretch your hip flexors like your life depends on it but sometimes your lack of internal rotation will stop you progressing further. It all plays a part. The holistic approach is key if you don’t want plateaus down the line that feel like iron clad, 10 foot high walls.
And there are still some seriously challenging positions in these sequences as the program progresses. Perfectly flat back belly to floor pancake folds, super open back bridge push ups and back bridge walks, close grip overhead squats to the absolute deepest depths without compromising shoulder or spinal position whatsoever, one arm scapula pull ups for decent lengths of time and much more.
In previous reviews I took before and after pictures of almost every position I could think of. To save you the page loading time I’ve only featured movements and positions that are/were poor for me personally – and more importantly positions that can only really have been improved by the mobility 2.0 program.
Areas like ankle mobility, hip flexor flexibility and hamstring flexibility are all areas I work on directly outside of this program (staples), but intricate things like internal hip rotation in a squat, overhead flexibility in a squat, shoulder and spine rotation while in a bridge and how much active compression I can get in a seated pike, certainly aren’t.
What’s interesting about that list is they’re all active displays of flexibility. Meaning you’re having to control your joints in all of them. It’s not just about sliding into the splits or having someone lift your arms behind your back and over your head, it’s about being able to control the ranges you access.
Passive, uncontrolled range isn’t all that useful in day to day life. It’s your active ranges that determine how you move and how you perform.
So in the 2018/19 glory days it was all about how deep could I go, how far could I fold…at all costs. Whereas come 2022 it’s been all about: am I moving from the right area, how’s the rest of my body, what compensations are there, how accessible is this range day to day? And not just stretching my ass off for some end photo where, let’s face it, I’ve warmed up and stretched to my absolute max range, just for a photo.
Anyone can do that.
But what do you look like out of bed? Or off the street? Or when you’re a little sore and the moon and stars aren’t right where you want them?
Can you still get into a deep squat? How about a head to knees forward fold or a decent back bridge?
If you can, you know your ‘A game’ or ‘warm game’ will be even better.
In short, Calisthenic Movement’s Mobility Program 2.0 will give you lasting control over your joints, that make training easier, warming up smoother and ultimately, help you age more gracefully, thanks to the wide range of coordination, balance, mobility & strength through length training in the program.
I am 12 weeks in and there’s still another 20 weeks left! The exciting thing here is the next phases are where things amp up a lot more. You see the advanced flows, the testing combos and the push you need to perfect your form on all the fundamental patterns – think flat back pancakes, super upright & deep overhead squats, archer/cossack squat flows, horse squats and back bridge variations!
I will be back soon with more on their NEW routine as I keep using it. In the meantime, if you want to try it for yourself, they’ve just released it on the market via their website: Calisthenic Movement’s BRAND NEW Mobility 2.0
Here’s to feeling better, moving better, looking better and being better.
The 'brains' behind StraightTalkingFitness, a site all about discovery that leads to strength in all formats; fitness, mental, emotional and spiritual. Everything starts from within and projects outwards. Master the body, master anything and everything.