Wednesday, August 10, 2005

RSS feed

Due to popular demand, I now have an RSS feed for the new site. You can subscribe here - http://www.beastskills.com/feed.xml

I'm adding this post so that those with an RSS feed to this blog can now change their subscription to the new feed. Thanks all.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

IT IS HERE



www.beastskills.com


When I started this blog last year, I suspected it may outgrow itself. Things have been getting a bit hard to navigate, so a change was in order. And that change has finally come - Beast Skills, the web page.

You'll have to bear with me as I tweak things over the next coming weeks, but the site is fully functional right now and has all its content. This will probably be the last post on the blog, but I will continue training posts on my new site.


Thanks to everyone for their support. Enjoy the new site!

Friday, July 01, 2005

One Arm Pullup

Got it! Cranked my first one arm pullup in the gym today, both left and right arm, full hang, chin well over the bar. Kind of surprised myself. I've been doing one arm chins (palm facing me) for a couple weeks now, but the pullup (palm facing away) felt just out of reach. Maybe it was all just mental.

Anyways, I'm excited. And I really want to put together a OAC/OAP tutorial. I'll start laying it out and taking pictures in the coming weeks.


And just a quick note and question for those working the skill. With the OAC, my body seemed to turn in one direction, while the OAP my body turned the opposite direction. Example - one arm chin with the right arm, and my body wanted to turn counter clockwise. a one arm pullup with the right arm, and my body wants to turn clockwise.

The turning with the OAC is easy enough to fix with the free arm, but what to do with the free arm on the OAP? Put it behind my back? If someone has experience with that, feel free to comment. I'll continue playing around with the skill. Good luck to everyone with their training.

Handstand to Elbow Lever and Back Up

So here is the solution to the challenge I posted about a month ago, plus a few recent training pictures at the end.

Something to keep in mind for this challenge - While you may have the elbow lever down, and your handstand may be solid, this exercise will really test your total body control as you transfer between the two skills. If you have difficulty with the strength, I recommend working on your handstand pushups and especially your handstand press.

So here we go.

Lowering Down

The main thing you have to focus on while lowering from a handstand into an elbow lever are your HANDS. Therefore in the description below, I've included a picture of the step, as well as the corresponding hand position.

Alright, you'll start off in your handstand, with fingers pointing forward. Nothing new so far.



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You'll then you start to bend the arms and dip your head forward. If you recall, this is similar to the position for the handstand press, except your legs are out straight this time. Your fingers can begin to turn outwards slightly, but it is not essential you do that right now. While this is a transitional position, you should still be balanced. If I can hold it long enough to take a picture of it, it's balanced.



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For the next step, your arms have bent to 90 degrees and your face is near the floor. At this point you'll want your hands turned outwards so that it is easier for you to stab your elbows and prepare for the elbow lever. If your fingers are still facing forward at this point, you will find it difficult if not impossible to stab in your elbows.



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In the final step, you will simply turn your hands and point your fingers towards your feet as you level out your body into an elbow lever. If you recall back to the elbow lever tutorial, this hand position will allow you to open up the angle of your arm and balance the skill. So if you find yourself stuck in the previous position, remember to turn your hands and open up your arms.



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The one error I see in this skill is slamming your body into the ground instead of stopping above the ground in the lever. As I said, this skill is about control so you'll want to work on your shoulder strength to control the descent, and your core muscles so that you can maintain a straight body as you level out.



******************************

Pressing Up

Of the two skills presented here, I'd have to say that this is probably the harder of the two. In the elbow lever tutorial, I gave a slight hint on how to start this move. If your arms are at a 90 degree angle while you are trying to hold an elbow lever, then your feet will raise up. You'll use this to your advantage now as you go from an elbow lever to handstand.



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Once your arms are at 90 degrees and your legs start to rise up, you'll want to push downwards with your hands. The motion will feel similar to a handstand press up, but you should try and keep your body straighter. A slight arch in your back and legs is ok. If you get stuck here, work on your shoulder strength.



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You may notice at this point that my hands have not changed position. They are still facing backwards. I find it easier to press up into the handstand position before I turn my hands, rather than moving hands mid-press. If you find one way works better for you than another way, then go with it.

At this point in the skill, I'm upside-down with a very awkward hand position. It may happen in practice that you'll fall over toward your head at this point. Remember back to the handstand press and the ways to fall safely out of a handstand. On your head is not one of them! While I usually pirouette to get out of a bad handstand, I actually find a forward roll to be easier in this case. Again, pick what feels best to you. Just be careful and don't break your neck!

I might suggest facing a wall, but your hands would be so far away, that catching the wall with your feet may do some damage. So I'd prefer you work without a wall on this skill, just make sure you can come down safely out of a bad handstand first.



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Ah, we're up and we've changed our hand position. The handstand is stable. Congratulations!



So there you have it. Handstand to Elbow Lever to Handstand. This is not the easiest of skills, but is still attainable as your shoulder and arm strength increases. Good luck to everyone!



Recent Training

I'm pulling a one arm chin from this distance, so I guess I can check it off my list now. If I drop my body any lower, I start to rotate around the shoulder joint.


What really took me over the edge was weighted one arm negatives. I used a light weight (~5 lbs) but on the descent I was able to stop myself at any point.

I've got some great ideas to increase my numbers for this skill. I'll certainly be writing a full article about my training, and subsequent training for multiple reps. I'll also start up training for a one arm pull up (hand facing away from me) very soon. I don't see this as taking that long, as the one arm chin training seems to have gotten me most of the way there.

So here it is, left...



And right...



Planche training is going real well too. Here's a recent pic.


But before we start breaking out the champagne, I just have to say that this is my max effort, and a hold for only about 2 seconds. But it feels strong, and I like it a lot more than the straddle planche.

I still need to work on the height of my legs though, as a couple previous takes looked like this.


I get into the position by starting in a tuck with bent arms, then I lean forward and press my arms straight while straightening out my body. I still think that I'm lower than I really am, so I'll have to closely monitor the exact height of my legs so that I can feel the flat planche and train consistently.

I'll be using this hold along with some straddle planche pushups (which feel ugly right now) and some assisted planche pushups. With any luck, I'll have a solid planche in a couple more months.

Hope everyone's training is going well. I've got many more tutorials to come.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Elbow Lever Challenge

Well, I would've posted this about a week ago - but I'm in the process of moving right now. Add on top of that my new ISP made a mistake in sending out my internet equipment, and I'm forced to use public library computers for the moment.

So apologies for no recent post, and much apologies to all those who have emailed me and having been waiting a solid week for a response. Once I get online at home, this post will be up and running. Thanks.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

The Elbow Lever

I've been making good progress with the one arm elbow lever -




So I figured it was about time to write up something on the two arm elbow lever, more commonly referred to as simply 'the elbow lever'.

For those unfamiliar, the elbow lever is a position where the body is held up horizontal to the ground. But unlike the planche (where there is NO support along the length of the body), the elbow lever uses one's elbows as a resting and balancing point for the body. This makes the skill much easier than a planche.

An elbow lever -



It's a fairly simple skill really. There's just several key points in order to find the correct position.

The Hands

You'll want to put your hands down on the ground about shoulder width apart, with the fingers pointing to the side, or even slightly backwards. This hand orientation is essential in balancing the skill correctly.



The Elbow Stab

What's this about stabbing? Well, as I mentioned before, your body is resting and balancing ON your elbows. In order to do this, you need to learn the correct place to put your elbows. This placement is called "stabbing".



As you can see from the picture above, you'll be placing your elbows to either side of the middle. The placement of the elbows is fairly intuitive, as your elbows aren't going to be able to meet in the middle of your body, and if they are placed any farther out, then your body is not resting on them.

The picture below shows a single elbow stab into the correct position. Your elbow should rest right at the edge of your six pack.




If you were to take one arm and stretch it across your body like so, then you can easily find the correct position. It should feel like your elbow is sitting into a groove.



Of course, this is also a good stretch to do if you find inflexibility is making the elbow stab difficult.

You can also work the traditional shoulder stretch to help any flexibility problems.



When your elbows are stabbed, your arms will be parallel or turned slightly outwards. If you try this skill on a set of parallettes or rings, your arms will definitely turn outwards, forming a trapezoid in the empty space.



The Start

With the correct hand orientation, hands about shoulder width apart, you'll want to lean forward and "stab" both your elbows in at the same time.



You should start to feel the support that your elbows will be giving you.

If you are having problems getting your elbows into position. Beside stretching during each practice session to increase flexibility, you can also hunch your back over. I find this helps in getting the elbows into the right position.



Whether you start with your body in a straighter position, or hunched over is unimportant if you can extend into the elbow lever in the end.

The End

After you stab in your elbows, you'll want to arch your body to make it more horizontal. This will lift you off the ground and into position.



There are three main points to remember when extending into the elbow lever. You'll be doing these all at the same time -
1. look upwards - the spine follows the head, so looking up will flatten things out.
2. lift up your legs - you'll feel this in your lower back, as you'll essentially do a reverse hyper extension of the back.
3. lean forward - you'll have to lean forward and open the angle of your arms to balance correctly. Elaboration of this point follows.

oh yeah . . . and don't forget to breathe. I know it's hard, what with your arms stuck in your gut, but it helps to cut down on the red face.

The Arms and Balancing

The most common mistake regarding the arms and balancing that I see is keeping the arms at a 90 degree angle. This is simply because that arm angle feels more natural when you are pressing something away from you (in this case, the ground).




Doing this will put your body off balance, and your legs will generally rise upwards as you fight to stay up.



So if you find your face heading toward the ground, like the picture, then it's often a matter of the angle of your arms.

Instead of a 90 degree angle, lean forward as you straighten your body. Your arms should be at more of a 135 degree angle, like so.



This will shift your weight and balance you out quite nicely. This is also why your hands are placed with your fingers facing to the side or slightly back, as it's not really possible to get your arms to this angle if your fingers are facing forward. You'd have to fold your wrists over top your hands.

Supplemental Exercises

Working the elbow lever itself will build the necessary strength to hold the position, but if you're having a bit of trouble straightening things out, then the best exercise I can recommend is Supermans.



Lay down on your belly, then lift your upper body and legs upwards, so that you look like some delusional superman trying to take off from the floor. This is a great exercise, regardless of whether you're training for an elbow lever or not, but working this will help strengthen the back.

Wrap-Up

The elbow lever is something that should be practiced in short sessions fairly regularly in order to learn the correct balancing and placement. Each time you get into an elbow lever, it'll feel a bit easier.

Here's another picture of an elbow lever I had, so you can see things from another angle.



You're levering your body on your elbows. Simple enough, eh?

Where to do this. . .

Once you figure out the elbow lever, it's quite a simple move to do just about anywhere you can get your hands down.



For a platform that's a bit above your hips, you can put your hands down, then hop up and land into the elbow stab.



After you've landed in the stab, then it's just a matter of extending yourself and straightening out. Of course, make sure you have this skill on the ground before you start taking it to new heights.



CHALLENGE

So you've gotten the elbow lever down, and you're looking for the next step. Well, take your newfound skill and try to press up into a handstand from it. Or start in a handstand and lower yourself down into an elbow lever.

I've already given you a hint as to how you'd start to press up into a handstand, but I want everyone to kick some ideas around in their head before I describe any solution or post any pictures. Good luck to everyone.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

And Now for Something Completely Different

I've been getting a bit of traffic through my blog and it's great to see the volume and diversity of the people. I greatly appreciate all the feedback and comments that I've been receiving. Thanks to the good people at Statcounter.com, I'm able to see where everyone is coming from, like so:


And below, in no particular order, is a list of countries I've seen visit over the past couple weeks. It's really cool to see all the countries - it's starting to look like an attendance sheet at the United Nations.


Australia
Belgium
India
Singapore
Finland
Hong Kong
Italy
Norway
United States
United Kingdom
Germany
Denmark
Ireland
Republic of Korea
Japan
Bermuda
Czech Republic
France
Netherlands
Canada
Sweden
Bosnia and Herzegowina
Spain
Israel
Panama
South Africa
United Arab Emirates
Serbia and Montenegro
Portugal
Slovenia
Qatar
Poland
Greece
Pakistan
Nauru
Jordan

I guess what I'm trying to say is that this site has been growing at a healthy pace. And it's necessary that it starts to change into something else. For these past several weeks, I've been planning and working hard to bring about this change.

Things are a bit crazy for me now, but I do promise more tutorials. I've got at least four in my head now that I want to post. Even if you don't see multiple updates or much activity in the next couple weeks, I can promise you that I'm working hard on this site. Stay tuned.

---------------

And now, so there's a bit of relevance to this post. Here's some some great pictures of bodyweight skills.

This first photo is of an unknown man doing handstands on some chairs. It looks like he may be at an army camp. I love this photo simply because its age shows how long these skills and feats have been around.


I hate to say "there's nothing new under the sun", but if you dig around you'd be surprised how much has been done in the past.


This next photo is of the Bouley Brothers - Armand and Tibbet. I don't know which is which, but I have to say that the top man is holding the closest thing to a "victorian" that I've ever seen. It's certainly higher than a regular front lever.


So maybe you want to grab a friend and give this a go. . . or you could just pick your jaw up off the floor and get back to training! Good luck!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Circles

Here is my tutorial for double leg circles on the mushroom. What you'll read below is one of my most technical posts to date. For those unfamiliar with what the skill looks like, scroll all the way down to "Odd and Ends" for links to video clips.

For those who are working towards a circle on the mushroom (and eventually the pommel horse), I hope this guide will give you the best analysis of all the movements necessary to learn this skill. I'll just be covering work on the mushroom, since I figure if you're working the circle on the pommel horse, you're beyond the scope of this page.

Despite the tome written below, the double leg circle isn't that difficult to pick up. Well to clarify, it's a skill that takes a short time to learn, but a lifetime to master.

And for the first time on this page, helping me demonstrate the skill, is Chuck:



He's from Ikea, a town in Sweden.

*crickets chirp*

Anyways...

The Mushroom


For those unfamiliar, here are pictures of some training mushrooms.




It's quite obvious how the apparatus got its name. The mushroom is a training device that's used to teach circles and flairs for the pommel horse.

Introduction


The circles I describe will be going in a CLOCKWISE direction. So switch up lefts and rights if you are practicing a counter-clockwise circle. I will be referring to various positions on the mushroom with numbers, or by simple comparison to a clock face. Here are the positions and corresponding numbers (1 being the start, of course):



Next, we'll talk about where you should be putting your hands on the mushroom. Even though it may feel intuitive to put your hands near the middle of the mushroom, you'll actually want to put them a bit off center, away from your body as such:



So they'll be shoulder width apart, in the top 1/3 of the mushroom. When you get your hands on the mushroom, you'll understand where to put your hands so that they're forward of the center. I'll describe the importance of this below.

So together, your hands and the numbered positions will look like this:



Now we'll learn the first position and walk around to each point on the circle. These are the GENERAL positions you want to be in when going around in a circle. I will get to the specifics of each position later, when you start getting off the ground.

The First Position


To get yourself into the correct position, place your hands on the mushroom as described above. You'll want to put your legs together, get your body in a neutral to slightly arched position, and lean slightly over the mushroom.

Below is David Kikuchi of Canada, showing nice form for the first position.



The two biggest mistakes made in this position are lifting the hips up and away from the mushroom, and not leaning over the mushroom enough. As Chuck demonstrates below:



hips up too high

leaning too far away

Both will throw your circle off-kilter from the beginning, as both mistakes take your body away from the mushroom. You're going to be circling over top the mushroom, so you need to keep your center of mass over top the mushroom. Like so:


first position

Next, we'll be WALKING around the mushroom into the second position, cause you've got to learn to walk before you learn to fly.

The Second Position


For a clockwise circle, lift up your left hand from the first position and walk around 1/4 of the mushroom to your left. When you get to the second spot, you'll want to put your body in a position like so:





side view

front view

Keep your body in a straight position; don't sag down on top of the mushroom. You'll want to keep the hips close to the mushroom and lean over that right arm. Below is a picture of Ivan Ivankov of Belarus, in which you can clearly see the lean involved.



As far as the hand goes, Chuck is lifting his arm up in such an exagerrated manner so that he remembers to lift it when he's flying around the circle. I suggest you do the same.

The Third Position


Walk yourself around the circle until you hit the third position. You'll now be putting your left hand back down and getting your body into this position:


third position

This time you'll be leaning back slightly. Most importantly, you should be trying to EXTEND your hips. Like you're trying to touch the ceiling with them. Of course, you'll be extending with your body the entire circle, which includes straight legs and pointed toes. But at the front here is where many will slack off with their body extension. The biggest mistake I see in this position is bending at the waist or "piking". You don't want to be caught sitting down on the mushroom!


don't sit on the mushroom!

This is the reason you put your hands down where you did. With the hands on the front, there is not as much mushroom in front of you, so you won't have the urge to pike yourself in order to circle around.

So both hands are down on the mushroom. Arms are straight.

Here is a shot of Jair Lynch of the United States travelling through the third position.




The Fourth Position


The fourth position is simply a mirror image of the second position. So lift that right hand (extra high as a reminder), and remember to lean over that left arm.




side view

front view

After this, walk back around to the first position. Walk around the mushroom several times in this manner to get the general idea of the skill.


Ready? Let's learn how to fly.

The Cast


The cast is simply a wind-up for the circle. It will give you the power necessary to start things up.

You'll want to start by getting into the first position. Next, you're going draw your right leg back (in the case of a clockwise circle). Now it doesn't make sense to draw your leg backwards in a straight line, because you won't be travelling along a straight line. You'll want to draw your right leg back in a circular path. I think of tracing a semi-circle with my right foot for 1/4 of the circle, in other words until it reaches the "4" on our mushroom.

And raise up your left hand.

Here, in perhaps the strangest photo I've ever had taken, I'm trying to show the correct position for the cast. Notice how my hips still stay close to the mushroom (chair). Don't slack off now and pull the hips away. Tracing the semi-circle will help to keep you close.



And here is a picture of Alex Schorsch, a gymnast now competing for Stanford. This is his cast for circles on the floor. Notice how his right foot is drawn back a quarter of the circle and his hand is up in the air.



After you "wind-up" you'll start the cast by doing two things SIMULTANEOUSLY. You are going to bring down your left hand and quickly slap the mushroom, while you swing your right leg around into your left leg.

The slap on the mushroom is to give your body support as you quickly pass through the first position. It is a quick slap, because you need to lift your hand up almost immediately to pass into the second position.


The swinging of the right leg should almost feel like you're sweeping your left leg out from under you. What you're really striving for in the leg sweep is to start your body off in a horizontal plane. Problems arise when you start to JUMP into the circle, rather than SWEEP.

Below is a chart illustrating the problems when you jump into a circle. The solid black horizontal line represents the ground, while the curved line represents the path of your feet.



As you can see, if you jump up into the circle, you'll often travel past the second position without a problem, but then you'll lose your height and coming crashing down in the third position.

If you work on sweeping the right leg and bringing both legs around in one plane, your path will look much better:



Then you'll be able to hit multiple circles without fear of hitting the ground.

Hip Torque


You might have heard about the importance of torquing your hips for a circle. Why is it necessary? And when do you do it?

Look at the diagram below. In it you can see the direction the hips are facing as they come around to the third position. Now if you were to keep your hips pointed in that direction, there's no way you would clear the fourth position. You need to twist your hips to be able to make it around for another circle (see diagram).



The hip torque is achieved by twisting your hips in the opposite direction of your circle. If you were to stand up straight and be shish-kabobed through your head straight down to your feet, that is the axis that you will be twisting your hips around. So for the clockwise circle, twist your hips counter-clockwise. You are attempting to twist your hips so that they face the mushroom. Chuck demonstrates the twist of his hips while his body travels around the mushroom.



Just to stave off any confusion - while the arrow indicating Chuck's hip twisting looks to be going clockwise, as HE looks down at his hips he will be turning things counter-clockwise.

As mentioned, this will allow your body to come around and through the fourth position. If you find that you often hit your left hip in the fourth position, then it's probably the case of not twisting enough.

So when during the circle do you start the torque? Just before you hit the third position. If you think of the mushroom as a clock, with the first position as 6, and the third position as 12, then you want to try and twist at around 11. I've found that merely looking in that direction as you cast into the circle helps you to twist at the appropriate moment.

There is also a twisting of the hips at the 5 o'clock position on the mushroom. This will turn your hips outwards and allow you to go from the fourth position around to the second position. This twisting is very intuitive and it's likely you won't even notice it. It's the torque at 11 o'clock that you'll often have to remember to do.

Leading Parts


As you head through the circle, you'll be focusing on various parts to "lead" the way.

In the first half of the circle, you want to work on pushing the chest and hips through first. This will extend your circle out and prevent piking. If you think about kicking your feet through for the first half, there's a tendency to bend at the waist, which we already know is undesirable.

For the last half of the circle, you want to work on leading with the heels of your body. This will tend to keep the body straighter, so that you don't bend at the waist again. Remember one of the "don'ts" for the first position was having your hips too high? Well, leading with the hips for the last half of the circle tends to put you in such a position, which breaks that horizontal path that you're striving for.

"Amazingly", you'll switch which part of your body leads right after you've torqued your hips (11 and 5 o'clock on the mushroom).

Lean And Push


As I've mentioned throughout this post, it's essential that you lean at every point in the circle. By leaning in the opposite direction of your feet, you'll keep your center of gravity over top the mushroom.

In order to help get into the lean, you'll want to push off with your hands as you lift them up. Nothing too severe, but be aware of the work that your hands and arms have to do. If you find yourself falling off the mushroom, or catching yourself abruptly with bent arms, then you may need to push off stronger.

For right now you want to be able to keep your orientation the same, especially if you plan on taking the skill to the pommel horse. When practicing your circles, you'll soon learn the amount of pushing and leaning you need in order to remain facing forwards.

Ultimately, there are two things that will change your orientation - putting your hands down too slow, and putting your hands down too fast.

In the first of these situations, you'll be circling along but then start to push harder, lean, and ride the circle a little longer. Your hands go down slower and you start to turn. This is called "czeching" the circle, and it starts to moves your hands into a position like so:



As you take those long wide movements, your body will shift directions in a clockwise direction (in the instance of a clockwise circle). In comparison to a regular circle, czeching a circle will make things feel slower.

The next situation is where you purposely try to turn and put down your hands as fast as you can. This is called a "spindle", and will begin to move your hands like so:



As you twist quickly to get your hands down, your body will shift in a counter-clockwise direction (for a clockwise circle). In comparison to a regular circle, this will speed things up.

Now there's a time for each of these skills, but when you are learning the basic circle, you want to be able to keep control and remain facing forwards, putting your hands down in the same position each time. In general, I've seen more people have a problem czeching their circle than starting a spindle. So if you find yourself moving your hands around and turning your orientation with each circle you perform, then try to get your hands down faster.

Final Tip


One of the most important things I think you should keep in mind is that you have to find the RHYTHM of the skill. The circle should have a nice beat to it. Your hands should be going up and down like 1,2,1,2,1,2. If you sound like you're limping - 1...2,1...2,1...2, then work on getting the hands down faster or slower. Adjusting the amount of torque in your hips can help adjust the timing of your hands as well.

Training Progression


Now that you've got a handle on all the elements of a circle, I recommend starting from ground zero and adding on 1/4 of the circle at a time.

So after you've walked around the mushroom several times, you'll want to get into the first position, step back, cast, and stop yourself at the second position. It doesn't matter if you felt you could go all the way around. Just have patience and make sure you get the beginning down cold.

After several times casting and stopping to the second position, just add another 1/4 of the circle and trying casting and travelling to the third position. Be cognizant of keeping your cast horizontal, as well as making sure you RIDE through the second position on the way to the third. Just about anyone can make it to the third position by jumping over the mushroom, but sloppy technique like that will only make the next step more difficult, as you will have to go back and fix your technique.

I feel a indicator of good technique when casting to the third position is if you feel like you have to slam on the brakes to stop. You should feel like your body could continue travelling around if you hadn't stopped it. If you feel like you're dropping into the third position, then you very well might be. Remember that chart with the wave path of your feet? Don't do that. And as for hip torque, you can start it, but it's not essential that you focus on it at the moment.

If you feel ready, add another 1/4 to your circle and cast to the fourth position. This will test your technique more than anything. Do you jump into your circles? Then you won't make it around. Did you forget to twist your hips? Then you'll probably catch your inner hip on the mushroom. Besides remembering all the sticking points of a circle, the most important thing I can repeat is to RIDE the skill through each of the positions. Don't be in a rush to the end and try blowing past a position. The circle is a smooth, flowing movement.

If you're making it to the fourth position consistently, then taking it back around to the first position should be a piece of cake.

After your first circle, practice casting and performing one circle at a time. Get that one circle down well before you start up multiple circles.

When you begin multiple circles, remember the tips. Pushing with the hands, leaning, and really getting the hips out will power your circles around. A bit of practice will show you how to keeping the circles going. Just whatever you do, don't get lazy. Circles require constant force to keep going.

Odds And Ends


Now of course learning a circle on the mushroom is a prerequisite to performing it on the pommel horse or floor. Here are some excellent clips of circle work on both.

Pommel horse circles
David Durante from Stanford Men's Gymnastics.

Floor circles
Alex Schorsch, a Stanford gymnast, back in high school.

Anywhere else you could do circles? How about those concrete bollards you see around the city?





I've seen this done by a bboy named Kujo on the "Detours Video". A quick clip of Kujo is available here. No circling in the sample clip, but you will see a whole lot of planche goodness.

I mention circling on bollards simply to plant the crazy idea in your head for the next time you're walking through the city. Good luck!

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Hope you find this tutorial useful. I've tried to cover everything I know in regards to the circle. If you have a question, or if something is unclear, feel free to shoot me an e-mail.

Of course, it figures that after my most complicated post I'll be out in California for the extended weekend, away from a computer, but I'll get back to any emails next week.

I hope I didn't scare too many people away with the size of this tutorial. The circle is a very fun skill once you find the flow. Once again, good luck to everyone!