Tuesday, July 12, 2005



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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.