As a world-renowned Olympic coach, Sommer is known for building his students into some of the strongest, most powerful athletes in the world. During his extensive year coaching career, Coach Sommer took meticulous notes on his training techniques—his wins and failures—so that he could translate the best elements into a superior exercise system for both high-level and beginner athletes. I also asked Coach Sommer to gather some interesting stuff samples, videos, etc. Try Headspace for free for a few days and see what I mean. This episode is also brought to you by Exo Protein. These guys are making protein bars using cricket protein powder.
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Copyright by Christopher Sommer All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Brief quotations without permission are acceptable if they are embodied within critical articles and reviews.
Please contact the publisher if use of extensive material is required. The activities, physical and otherwise, described herein for informational purposes only, may be too strenuous or dangerous for some people and the reader s should consult a physician before engaging in them. If you are already familiar with another GB Course, then simply glance over the following Intro and Details sections to refresh your memory and become familiar with the course specifics as they apply to handstand training.
If however this is your first GB Course, then please read the following two sections slowly and thoroughly as the care with which you follow and implement the course instructions will have a great impact on your ultimate degree of handstand training success.
Ease of Use. The primary purpose of the GB Handstand One Course H1 is to simplify, clarify and quantify the complexities of Handstand HS training while simultaneously providing a clear blueprint for mastering the Handstand. Literally all that is needed to achieve success with H1 is for you to work your way step by step through the course.
To aid you in this journey a set of highly specific tools has been provided to you in an easy to use format that has never before been available anywhere in the fitness world. No Brain No Gain Gymnastics Strength Training GST , of which Handstand training is an integral part, is very potent and the proper progressions should always be approached with patience and care as they strengthen and stretch the body in ways that in all likelihood you have never been exposed to before.
The biggest mistake you can make is to not understand and respect the fact that just because you are starting off strong at other athletic endeavors doesn't mean that you don't need to start at the beginning in GST. The very beginning. In the vast majority of cases, attempting to skip steps, or ignoring the assigned integrated mobility, will eventually lead to unnecessary injuries.
And nothing kills progress faster than having your training continually derailed due to impatience and the subsequent injuries that go along with it. Used wisely, time is the most potent of training supplements. So do yourself a favor, check your ego at the door and follow the progressions as written.
In the short term it might be a little frustrating and humbling, but in the long term it will get you right where you want to go. Preparatory and Specific Elements Way back in when I wrote my very first GST article, I greatly over-estimated the strength levels of the average fitness enthusiast while at the same time greatly underestimating the inherent difficulties of beginning GST for the non-gymnast.
The main difficulty arose from the fact that the majority of the initial preparation that I used with my youngest athletes was so basic and undemanding for actual gymnasts that I literally failed to even qualify it as training. Now however, after many years of working with thousands of non-gymnast GST enthusiasts from around the world, I have learned that these first or preparatory steps are essential for adult fitness enthusiasts to successfully progress thru and master the more demanding exercise specific steps that come later.
For example, there are now 12 preparatory elements that must be mastered prior to beginning the specific element work relevant to Handstand! What impact will these preparatory steps have on your own training? The impact, as well as the results, is going to be dramatic indeed. Exercise Notation As you work your way thru this GB Handstand One Course you will notice that each and every exercise has its own individual notation e.
These notations are very important as they instantly inform you where in the handstand development progression this particular exercise belongs. In addition this notation easily fits into training templates and also allows you to exactly match integrated mobility exercises with their preparatory element partner. Getting Started If you are a raw beginner, you will of course begin from the absolute beginning.
This means that both programming and progression-wise you will start with Day 1 of Week 1 for all of the wrist exercises, handstand preparatory elements and integrated mobilities. If however you already somewhat proficient with handstands, you may use a more accelerated method for your GB Handstand training.
Now dont get overly excited as you will still need to perform AND demonstrate mastery of each and every exercise in the handstand progression.
There is no escape from this as it ensures that there are no holes in your physical preparation. DO NOT ASSUME that you are capable of correctly performing the week 11 programming for the handstand elements in question unless you actually do so; completing all of the reps and all of the sets with all of the associated iM as assigned. Which of these schedules will be the most the effective for you will depend entirely your own personal recovery ability; which in turn is something which you will only discover thru experience.
Note that there is no intrinsic value in choosing one schedule over another; your choice should be solely based on which of the schedules best fits your own particular blend physical strengths and weaknesses. There is no benefit in forcing yourself to do that which you are not suited for. The following are the weekly schedules for 1 day, 2 day, 3 day and 4 day handstand training. The 1 and 2 day schedules are for low recovery people, the 3 day for those with medium recovery and the four day for those with high recovery.
Weekly Workout Schedules Training schedules are provided for either training the handstand separately or in combination with the GB Foundation Course. Mastery Each exercise page throughout this course is comprised of three action photos down one side of the page along with a large embedded video directly in the center of the page.
Underneath this video is the exercises name, under that is that exercises own particular notation and under that is the standard of mastery, as calculated in sets and repetitions or in sets and hold times, that must be met prior to moving on to the next exercise in the series.
The standard of mastery also informs you as to which of the 7 mastery templates will be employed when training this exercise. First determine where in the handstand progression you begin your training dont forget to evaluate your mastery of the assigned integrated mobility exercises also! Next determine if your recovery ability is low, medium or high. Once you have these two pieces of information you simply plug your mastery template set and repetition ranges for your prescribed exercises into the 12 week training template for your chosen weekly workout schedule.
If you have successfully tested out of one or more preparatory elements, simply substitute that exercise and its accompanying mastery requirements into the training cycle where appropriate. PE1 3x12s. Path of Progress Your success in Handstand One will be achieved by following an explicit and concise developmental series that is in turn divided into preparatory elements PE and specific elements SE unique to mastering the handstand.
In the Handstand Preparatory Elements, you are going to learn basic headstand variations, then build shoulder flexion strength and ROM, master basic posterior pelvic tilt and body alignment before progressing on to assisted handstand work and partially assisted handstand work. In the Handstand Specific Elements, you will begin to apply the basics of alignment and balance that you have learned to Free Handstand work; beginning with Chinese Handstands and for a very few, hard working, dedicated students culminating in a s Free Handstand.
Refinement Handstand development will seldom be as straight forward and direct a process as strength development. Handstands are a skill and as such your handstand development will proceed forward in peaks and valleys. Sometimes your training will be effortless and filled with success after success. Do not become overly stressed out when encountering failure during your handstand training.
This is a natural part of the learning process and will occur on a frequent basis. These failures will generally occur in one of two forms; either in failed work sets or failure to complete that weeks overall assignment. If it is the weeks overall assignment that you are presently unable to complete, simply continue running the same 4 week cycle e. If you are performing integrated training with the Foundation Series be sure to keep all of your deload weeks in alignment.
Hence if H1 is in a deload week, so is F1. Failed Sets Do Not Count As previously mentioned, not all of your attempted work sets will be successful work sets. Intially you are going to fail far more than you are going to succeed. Learning to set your ego aside and accept, embrace and ultimately move past failure is an integral part of handstand training. It doesnt mean that you are doing poorly, it is simply a reflection of the fact that learning a good quality handstand is hard work!
Do not however count a failed set e. Only high quality, correctly performed sets count for that days total of assigned work sets. You may find that this requires you to attempt many more sets than scheduled in order to finally successfully accumulate the required number of work sets for that day. Take a short break and then attempt to repeat the set successfully. Continue this process of repetition until you either succeed and then begin working on the fifth set or you run out of time for the days workout.
Integrated Mobility There can be no balancing without strength. However in terms of a handstand, your strength is unable to be effectively applied unless you possess the requisite wrist, shoulder and hip mobility to place your body into a proper handstand position.
Thus to develop the necessary mobility, throughout Handstand One each handstand element is paired with an integrated mobility element. The iM must be mastered simultaneously with the HS elements. Note again what was stated, unless a particular iM is mastered do not move on to the next HS element; regardless of how proficient you may be at a particular handstand element.
All of these iM components working together in harmony is what is referred to as Body Alignment. It is the mastery of this Body Alignment which makes proficient handstand work possible. Alignment For a clean effortless handstand all of the major joints of the body must be stacked. Stacked simply means that each major joint is stacked immediately above the other.
Thus the feet are placed directly above the knees, which are directly above the hips, which are directly above the shoulders, which are directly above the elbows, which are directly above the wrists. In addition to being stacked, the body must also be as straight as possible or aligned. This means shoulders open and extended toward the ears, ribs pulled down, back flat with the hips maintaining a posterior pelvic tilt at all times.
The head should be between the arms with the neck pulled somewhat into the chest and the thumbs just visible when peered at through the eyebrows. Obviously obtaining good handstand alignment is an involved process and will require a substantial amount of time. Do not not worry however; Handstand One is filled with specialized handstand mobility exercises to make learning proper alignment as easy and straight forward as possible. Once you have achieved correct alignment, it is necessary to learn how to maintain that alignment or to stay tight.
Tightness Within handbalancing and gymnastics circles, there is some difference of opinion regarding how tight or how hard the muscles should be squeezed during a handstand. Equilibrists handstand balancers maintain that the gymnastics style handstand is always tight and rigid while the equilibrist style handstand is soft and relaxed.
This is both right and wrong. When transitioning from swinging skill to swinging skill at speeds of up to 70 mph and g-forces of up to 14 times bodyweight, the gymnastics HS is of necessity very tight; but when simply performing a HS by itself, the gymnastics HS is quite relaxed.
In fact, a proficient gymnastics HS is relatively effortless. However it is important to understand that that perceived level of 'relaxation' only comes with a great deal of experience coupled with solid HS proficiency. As a beginner you will not be able to differentiate between what muscles should be tight and which may be relaxed; so initially you will need to be tight in all parts of your body at all times. Rebalancing Once your mobility is advanced enough to allow the body to be correctly aligned and you are able to maintain that alignment through staying tight, we will begin working on how to maintain balance while in the handstand position.
It is important to understand that despite outward appearances a handstand is not a static position, but a constant fluctuation between under and over balancing. Rebalancing is the term used to describe these fluctuations. Using the Hands As your rebalancing becomes more subtle and effective, the more stable and effortless your handstands will become. Initially you will naturally and incorrectly! When balanced; the weight of your body should press down onto the palm approx one inch in from the edge of the wrist.
The body will be perfectly aligned and the handstand will be relatively effortless. When attempting to recover from overbalancing beginning to fall over onto the back , press the fingers strongly into the floor to attempt to return the body back to an upright vertical position.
Book Review: "Foundation One" and "Handstand One" by Christopher Sommer
Movement is cool. The problem is many of the skills and moves you see those guys and girls do have taken a lifetime to develop. One of the missing links for the rest of is often mobility. Many may know of his most famous book Building the Gymnastics Body.
Copyright by Christopher Sommer All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Brief quotations without permission are acceptable if they are embodied within critical articles and reviews. Please contact the publisher if use of extensive material is required. The activities, physical and otherwise, described herein for informational purposes only, may be too strenuous or dangerous for some people and the reader s should consult a physician before engaging in them. If you are already familiar with another GB Course, then simply glance over the following Intro and Details sections to refresh your memory and become familiar with the course specifics as they apply to handstand training. If however this is your first GB Course, then please read the following two sections slowly and thoroughly as the care with which you follow and implement the course instructions will have a great impact on your ultimate degree of handstand training success.
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