Grounded Gymnastics

Badass with the Handstand Push-Up

THE HANDSTAND PUSH-UP

A Part of Fierce Play's Grounded Gymnastics Series

Also called an inverted push-up, the handstand push-up is an exercise where the athlete kicks up into a handstand position against a wall, and then proceeds to lower and raise him/her self in push-up motion. There are two variations of the handstand push-up, one that is considered a strict movement and a version where kipping is allowed. The strict handstand push-up requires that the body stays in a stable position throughout the push-up motion – as the head is lowered to the floor and back up again until arms are locked fully out at top. When kipping is used to complete the handstand push-up, it provides momentum to help the athlete push upward and reach full lock-out of the arms at the top. Regardless if kipping is used or not, athletes will feel the shoulders, arms, and core muscles activated as they complete the handstand push-up.

Watch the video clip below for a full explanation of technique, tips and tricks for performing the movement with efficiency, as well as precautions for staying safe.

[embed]https://youtu.be/U-khNuDhQk4?list=PL6qqXth6zHKqNP-Wc8t9gJ9zu-Rvk_1ER[/embed]

MOVEMENT BASICS:

  1. Start at the Top: To complete the handstand push-up, you must start in a fully vertical handstand position. Once in a handstand, lower yourself down, bending at the elbows, until your head touches the floor. Raise back upward until arms are again straight. Reps where the athlete begins with the head on the floor are considered a “no rep” or incomplete rep.
  2. Extend Fully: Hands should be placed just outside the shoulders and arms should be fully extended or locked out at the top of the movement to consider the rep completed.
  3. Don’t Sit on the Wall: While it may seem comfortable and easier for completing the movement, don’t push yourself into a sitting position on the wall with butt touching the wall. This actually overextends the back and will cause unnecessary strain on the back muscles.
  4. Straight Ahead & Punch Forward: To keep the core (stomach and back) muscles in the proper straight position while ensuring you are fully engaging the push position with your shoulders, think about looking forward in the opposite direction and actually punching your head forward as you push upward. This will keep the head, shoulders, and back aligned nicely and prevent overextension and stress on the back and shoulder muscles. It also ensures you can achieve full lock-out of the arms much faster and use the shoulder muscles to maximum efficiency while completing the movement.
  5. Kip for Momentum: If you’re an athlete who struggles to complete the handstand push-up, you can use a kipping motion with your legs to create momentum and extend full lock-out in the arms in a faster and more efficient way. To complete the kip, once fully extended in the handstand position, drop your legs and tuck in your knees to your stomach as you lower your head down onto the floor. Then quickly shoot your legs back upward into a straight position as you push upward to full lock-out in the arms. This explosive movement will help you achieve the handstand push-up with greater ease.
  6. Grab some Plates: If you struggle to complete the full range of motion in the handstand push-up, you can place a 25 pound plate under each hand and put an AbMat® beneath where you head will touch the ground. The placement of the plates and AbMat® actually allow you to complete the movement with a slight zero-deficit for your arms.

QUESTIONS: Ready to get started, or curious to learn more about how Fierce Play can help you meet your health and wellness goals? Contact us for more information. Also feel free to check out more of our videos series to learn how to perform the basics with solid form and efficiency. 

GROUNDED GYMNASTICS SERIES: Technique at Every Stage

Fierce Play’s Grounded Gymnastics Series focuses on proper technique, as well as tips & tricks, to master some of the foundational movements that will be integrated into many of the workouts you will perform. Start your next workout with the confidence and skills to do the movement safely and effectively.

Surefire Strength with the Pistol

THE PISTOL

A Part of Fierce Play's Grounded Gymnastics Series

Also called the one-legged squat, the pistol is an exercise that requires the athlete to lower him/herself down into the squat position while keeping all of his/her body weight on that single leg. Similar to the air squat, the pistol is a great body-weight strengthening exercise but ultimately requires more flexibility, leg strength, and core stability than a normal air squat. Athletes will immediately feel the front and back of the legs get fired up as they complete the pistol. Truth be told, the complexity of the pistol requires many athletes to scale the movement as they gain strength, but over time, seasoned athletes should be able to perform the pistol without scaling or doing a variation of the movement.

Watch the video clip below for a full explanation of technique, tips and tricks for performing the movement with efficiency, as well as precautions for staying safe.

[embed]https://youtu.be/j4iM7V0GLCY?list=PL6qqXth6zHKqNP-Wc8t9gJ9zu-Rvk_1ER[/embed]

MOVEMENT BASICS:

  1. Stay Centered: As you drop down into the pistol, keep your body weight centered over your leg to prevent yourself from falling to one side or the other. This will also prevent knee injury associated with body weight pulling on your joint in one direction or another.
  2. Core Tight: Keep your core tight and your back as tall as possible as you drop down into the squat. Remember that a tight core is your protection for your back and other parts of the body as you complete the movement.
  3. Push through Your Heel: Focus on keeping your body weight in the heel as you push upward and stand fully back upright. This will engage the back and front of the legs fully and prevent you from rolling your ankle.

 

SCALING: This is one movement scaling may be necessary until you have gained the necessary leg strength, flexibility, and core stability to complete the pistol without scaling. Remember: scaling isn’t a negative thing! It will help you gain strength while staying in a safe position until ultimately you can perform the movement in its entirety. Stay encouraged that as you continue on your fitness journey, you will find that you won’t have to scale as significantly or as often.

  1. Plates to Counteract Gravity: If you’re an athlete who can almost complete a pistol but you fall over as you hit the bottom of the movement, you may need the help of a counterweight keep you upright. Hold a ten pound plate in your hands with your arms stretched out in front of your body. Now, as you lower down into the pistol, move the plate toward the leg you’re using and you will find that this extra weight actually counteracts the gravitational pull on your torso, allowing you to stand back up with ease.
  2. Plates Under Heels: Another common issue for athletes who have the leg strength to complete the pistol but are still struggling to fully perform the movement is that they have a lack of flexibility or range of motion in their ankles. Athletes can stand with their heels on top of a ten pound plate, keeping toes on the floor, as they complete the pistol. This extra lift in the heel reduces the amount of ankle mobility need to complete the full range of motion for the pistol with a safe and stable foot position.
  3. Sit Back on a Box: Perhaps you’re not even to a point where you have the leg strength to drop down fully into the pistol, or one-legged squat position. No problem! You can use a 16” box behind you and instead drop down and touch your butt onto the box with one leg out in front of you. Be sure to just drop back and lightly touch your butt to the box without pausing, aka don’t sit down fully. This variation of the pistol is perfect for improving leg strength and helping you reach your goals if performing a non-scaled pistol.
  4. Step Onto a Box: If you’re not quite able to complete any of the above scaling options, no problem! Take a 20” or 24” box and place one foot on the top of the box, with the other foot on the ground. Step up onto the box and feel the engagement of the front and back of legs. Keep the foot that is on the ground toward the center of the box and directly under your body weight, versus behind the box. The goal isn’t to jump up onto the box, but to instead push through the heel of the foot that is on top of the box to get the maximum strengthening possible from that leg.

 

QUESTIONS: Ready to get started, or curious to learn more about how Fierce Play can help you meet your health and wellness goals? Contact us for more information. Also feel free to check out more of our videos series to learn how to perform the basics with solid form and efficiency. 

GROUNDED GYMNASTICS SERIES: Technique at Every Stage

Fierce Play’s Grounded Gymnastics Series focuses on proper technique, as well as tips & tricks, to master some of the foundational movements that will be integrated into many of the workouts you will perform. Start your next workout with the confidence and skills to do the movement safely and effectively.

A Better Butt with Lunges

THE LUNGE

A Part of Fierce Play's Grounded Gymnastics Series 

The lunge is a lower-body movement where the athlete places one leg in front of the body, with the foot flat on the floor and the knee bent, while the other leg remains behind the body.  The athlete should alternate legs to ensure both legs and sides of the body are equally strengthened. Lunges are a great exercise for strengthening the quadriceps (front of the legs) and glutes (butt muscles) in the body. They also provide an efficient way to continue to work on balance and core strength as the athlete focuses on keeping the chest upright without falling to either side as he/she steps forward and back. The lunge is a great movement to isolate each leg individually and help create equal strength on both sides of the body.

Watch the video clip below for a full explanation of technique, tips and tricks for performing the movement with efficiency, as well as precautions for staying safe.

[embed]https://youtu.be/QbFWa6ydO-4?list=PL6qqXth6zHKqNP-Wc8t9gJ9zu-Rvk_1ER[/embed]

MOVEMENT BASICS:

  1. Make a Good Stride: As you step forward with your leg, make a long enough stride so that your weight stays in the heel of the front foot and also prevents your knee from going too far forward where your heel comes up off the ground. Each person’s stride length will be different depending on his/her height, but finding the right stride will protect your knees and ensure you’re getting maximum efficiency from the movement.
  2. Touch the Back Knee: There’s no need to bang the back knee down on the ground once you’ve made the stride or step forward into your lunge. Just lightly touch your knee to the ground before standing back up.
  3. Push through the Heel: To stand back up, focus on pushing through your front heel to gain momentum and get yourself back into standing position.
  4. Knees Over Toes: Keep your knee straight forward and pointed toward your front toe, versus letting the knee tip inward or outward. This will protect the joint and will prevent injury to the knee.
  5. Keep Chest Upright: Just as with the air squat, keep your chest nice and tall and don’t round your back as you complete the lunge. Your spine should be in a neutral position as you lunge forward and step back upright each time.

 

QUESTIONS: Ready to get started, or curious to learn more about how Fierce Play can help you meet your health and wellness goals? Contact us for more information. Also feel free to check out more of our videos series to learn how to perform the basics with solid form and efficiency. 

GROUNDED GYMNASTICS SERIES: Technique at Every Stage

Fierce Play’s Grounded Gymnastics Series focuses on proper technique, as well as tips & tricks, to master some of the foundational movements that will be integrated into many of the workouts you will perform. Start your next workout with the confidence and skills to do the movement safely and effectively.

 

Don’t Hate Them, Annihilate Them: Burpees

THE BURPEE

A Part of Fierce Play's Grounded Gymnastics Series 

The burpee is a full-body exercise where the athlete, starting in a standing position, lowers him/herself down to the ground in order to touch the chest the ground, and then stands fully back up and jumps and claps at the top. The burpee is effective in getting the heart rate up and engaging the legs, arms and core muscles, making it a great aerobic and fully-body exercise. The burpee is an excellent movement to add to any workout to increase intensity and work all the major muscle groups in the body.

Watch the video clip below for a full explanation of technique, tips and tricks for performing the movement with efficiency, as well as precautions for staying safe.

[embed]https://youtu.be/e6LVj7aJQBg?list=PL6qqXth6zHKqNP-Wc8t9gJ9zu-Rvk_1ER[/embed]

MOVEMENT BASICS:

  1. Control Your Fall: Instead of completing a push-up in order to get the chest to the ground, think about doing a controlled fall into the ground where you end up in the bottom of a push-up position. This saves energy and still gets you to the ground and also speeds up your pace in completing burpees.
  2. Chest All the Way Down: Once in the bottom of the burpee, it’s easy to not lower the chest all the way to the ground. However, the standard for the movement states that the chest does need to come down and fully touch the ground.
  3. Feet to Hands: To stand back up, think about springing upward from the ground and bringing your feet to your hands. Seasoned athletes will be able to spring upward quite quickly, and newer athletes may find that they need to slowly step back up into a standing position. Both are acceptable for the standard in performing the movement.
  4. Stand and Clap: Once back on your feet, stand fully upright and then jump and clap at the top. This may seem trivial, but this little extra piece gets the heart rate up while working the arms and legs to give you more bang for your buck.

TIPS + TRICKS:

  1. Create Tension: Once on the ground at the bottom of the burpee movement, raise your chest up and create tension in your upper body and arms. This tension will actually provide you with some momentum as you spring upward and focus on bringing your feet to your hands.
  2. Keep Feet Shoulder-Width Apart: As you come back into a standing position, try to keep your feet about shoulder-width apart. This stance provides maximum stability for you, versus if you attempt to keep your feet very wide or close together.
  3. Step Up: If the burpee movement is too difficult to quickly jump back up in a single, fluid motion, step back up into a standing position one leg at a time. This still is considered completing the standard for the movement. This method of completing the burpee is also a great way to scale if you’re still newer at completing the position and will help you stay safe and prevent injury!

 

QUESTIONS: Ready to get started, or curious to learn more about how Fierce Play can help you meet your health and wellness goals? Contact us for more information. Also feel free to check out more of our videos series to learn how to perform the basics with solid form and efficiency. 

GROUNDED GYMNASTICS SERIES: Technique at Every Stage

Fierce Play’s Grounded Gymnastics Series focuses on proper technique, as well as tips & tricks, to master some of the foundational movements that will be integrated into many of the workouts you will perform. Start your next workout with the confidence and skills to do the movement safely and effectively.

Flying High with the Superman

THE SUPERMAN

A Part of Fierce Play's Grounded Gymnastics Series 

The superman is an exercise where the athlete, lying on his or her stomach with arms and legs extended straight, raises both arms and legs simultaneously off the floor by a few inches. Getting its name because the movement mimics the comic book superhero flying in the air, the superman strengthens the core with an emphasis on the core muscles in your back. The superman is a great way to change up your core work because many other core exercises focus on the core muscles in the front of your body.

Watch the video clip below for a full explanation of technique, tips and tricks for performing the movement with efficiency, as well as precautions for staying safe.

[embed]https://youtu.be/gdmNyoZNdd8?list=PL6qqXth6zHKqNP-Wc8t9gJ9zu-Rvk_1ER[/embed]

MOVEMENT BASICS:

  1. Stay Extended: Keep arms and legs as straight as you can while you lift them upward. This will better engage the core muscles during the movement.
  2. Chest and Thighs Upward: As you lift your arms and legs, focus on also keeping your chest up and off the ground in order to better engage the back muscles. Similarly, the goal is to lift your thighs off the ground to ensure your lower back is contracted and engaged throughout the movement.
  3. Squeeze Tight: Think about squeezing your shoulder blades together and also squeezing your butt (glutes) engage the back and core as much as possible.
  4. Max Holds: When it comes to how long you should hold the superman position, the most common recommendation is to hold it as long as you can! Max holds simply mean that you attempt to hold the position for as long as you can before dropping down to rest. Set a goal for yourself as you complete your max holds to continue to drive improvement. Even reaching for that additional ten seconds of hold time can make a big difference in your core strength!
  5. 30-On / 30-Off: Another variation is to hold for 30 seconds on and then immediately rest for 30 seconds. Try to perform this 30-On / 30-Off rotation set as many times as you are able before you feel your core hit burn-out. Push yourself for one more set, as we get the most benefit out of the last bit of work we do.

 

QUESTIONS: Ready to get started, or curious to learn more about how Fierce Play can help you meet your health and wellness goals? Contact us for more information. Also feel free to check out more of our videos series to learn how to perform the basics with solid form and efficiency. 

GROUNDED GYMNASTICS SERIES: Technique at Every Stage

Fierce Play’s Grounded Gymnastics Series focuses on proper technique, as well as tips & tricks, to master some of the foundational movements that will be integrated into many of the workouts you will perform. Start your next workout with the confidence and skills to do the movement safely and effectively.