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After a few weeks of running around the Rockies and getting settled in, I finally got going about two weeks ago. I started theĀ Foundations and Handstand programs from Coach Christopher Sommer, which work towards seven fundamental gymnastics strength training (GST) movements: straddle planche (SPL), front lever (FL), side lever (SL; human flag), manna (MN), single-leg squat (SLS; pistol), rope climb (RC) and hollow back press (HBP; the handstand program works towards a 2-minute handstand). Each movement is approached from the ground up, using “preparatory elements” to build a foundation (get it?) for the more advanced goal movements; in this way, each movement stands as a proxy for a variety of related skills and movement patterns that you pass through along the way. As an example, working towards the rope climb movement takes you through body weight rows and pull-up progressions while developing a fair degree of volume. Each exercise has a mobility element integrated into it, and workouts are completed by working one exercise at a time superset-ed with a mobility element, giving you minimal rest in between sets (which should develop not-insignificant work capacity).

I’m completing the F7 format variation, which requires working all seven movements in a single session 2-3 times per week. Right now these seven are:

Bent Hollow Body Hold (FL progression; goal is 5x60s)

Scapular Shrug (SPL progression; goal is 5×15 reps)

Arch Body Hold (SL progression; goal is 5x60s)

Tuck Up (MN progression; goal is 5×15 reps)

Deck Squat (SLS progression; goal is 5×15 reps)

Incline pushup (HBP progression; goal is 5×15 reps)

Incline Row (RC progression; goal is 5×15 reps)

Each exercise progresses over the course of 12 weeks while you build volume towards the goal sets and reps, at which point you move on the the next progression. The Foundation series is divided into 4 blocks (only the first two are out so far), and will soon be combined with progressions for ring strength (4 blocks), a “Movement” series of progressions (3 blocks), another Handstand block, and a capstone “Hungarian” block, as detailed on the gymnasticbodies forum. This is the first publicly available, detailed, progressive program for developing gymnastics movement in adults that I’m aware of.

I started messing around with Ido’s floreio workouts too; if you haven’t checked out his old blog, head over there and do some exploring. Here’s an old sampler of some floreio-based movement, if you’re unfamiliar:

As I build volume I hope to end up with the following general weekly training load:

Foundations workout (F7): 2-3x per week (depending on recovery)

Handstand workout (H1): 3x per week

Floreio: 3x per week

Parkour: 2x per week

Weights: 3x per week (1 day each split squat, deadlift, power clean)

30 minutes ATG squat per day

Grip training (Radical Reps Baseline Program) every day

My goal coming down here is to take two years to MOVE as much as possible, while staying injury free, nailing down sleep, nutrition, etc., and to push my meditative practice a little bit further (more on that at some point, I’m sure). I’m taking it slow at first so that I don’t mess myself up and waste time down the road; hopefully by the end of the month I’ll feel strong enough to jump into some parkour training without having to worry about getting hurt. My prerequisite for this is to get a legit ass-to-ground squat, and to that end I’ve been squatting for a minimum of 20 minutes a day, trying to accumulate 30 when possible (per Ido’s recommendation), combined with some ankle and hip mobility work courtesy of MobilityWod. Having eliminated most of the physical impingement in my ankles at this point I’m focusing on lengthening my Achilles, which is slow going, to say the least; I started holding a 40 lb. dumbbell today while squatting to increase the loading and hopefully the efficiency of the time I’m spending down there. 30 minutes a day isn’t crazy, but when you have to rest after every 1.5-2 minutes, it adds up.


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