An Approach to Mobility (Originally posted May 20th, 2018)

Context #

I started from a trashcan level of mobility and have reached full front splits, full pancake, a deep german hang, and calves to the ground in middle splits over a period of about 3 years. While I’m far from an expert, I’ve learned a decent bit over the past few years and the goal of this post is to summarize what I have learned, describe my current approach from an abstract perspective, and then also talk about how I am applying it. If you have any questions or criticisms, feel free to comment them below. I’m still learning and it’s entirely possible to get something wrong. On a similar note, if you know something doesn’t work for you, or it feels like it hurts, don’t do it blindly. Either consult a medical professional or find something else. You only have one body, don’t screw it up.

This approach isn’t any one concept. I’ve learned a lot from Jordan Garcia, Emmet Louis, Antranik, and Tom Merrick among others. It’d be hard to credit every source because I’ve picked up so much here and there. If you see something here that sounds like it’s from somewhere not mentioned, feel free to link it below as well so that I and others can see it and learn from it.

Abstract Concepts #

I don’t have an elegant way to put this, so I’m basically going to bullet the points that guide my mobility training these days. I’m not following this currently everyday because I’ve gotten very busy with an internship, but when I have it has worked fantastically, decent results came quickly, and most of all it wasn’t a miserable or terribly time-consuming approach to mobility training.

Take-aways: Do some light work everyday. Once or twice a week do 2-3 of auxillary/warm-up stretches for the positions you’d like to achieve followed by 2-3 sets of intense and focused end-range strengthening work on the main positions you would like to achieve. Spending 20 or so seconds on each stretch (auxillary and main) pushing against the stretch, 20 seconds pulling deeper into the stretch with your own musculature, then spend 20 seconds at the end trying to completely get into the position with your own strength using minimal assitance.

So the main contractions you can do (for 20-30s each) per stretch are:

  1. pushing against the stretch
  2. pulling deeper into the stretch with your own musculature (still using outside assistance such as letting gravity pull you into a split while trying to open)
  3. trying to completely get into the position with your own strength using minimal assitance (this would be trying to lift your leg up after doing a hamstring stretch for example)

Applying #

I’ll only cover front splits in detail, but the same can be applied for pretty much all stretches. I’ll list some auxillary stretches I like for other positions apart from front splits to cover a bit more, but applying the concepts yourself will help you learn more about how it works instead of just putting a lot out there that can be applied without thought.

Front Splits #

Middle Splits #

Auxillary Stretches:

Shoulder Flexibility #

Conclusion #

The main purpose of this post was to get the abstract approach I use out there, along with a big and some smaller examples so that it makes sense. A lot of people don’t like training for flexibility because with standard approaches (60s statics all day everyday) it can get boring. I hope this approach makes flexibility a bit more quantifiable and can give at least some people some better results.


Now read this

Intermediate/Advanced Gymnastics Strength (Originally posted July 27th, 2017)

Intro # A few people on instagram and youtube have requested me to make a video covering my training program that I use. Haven’t had time to make the video yet and I wanted to go ahead and get it out in written form so I will go over the... Continue →