Simon is one of our coaches who specialises in one-on-one and small group training. Below he shares his experience and thoughts on participating in the Gymnasticbodies method of training. 

I have always enjoyed doing bodyweight training. I think we should all be able to control our bodies in space, whether it is in a basic functional way, or by taking it to the next level with acrobatics and fancy movements.

Last year I participated in the Gymnasticbodies (GB) Level 1 Seminar hosted by Coach Christopher Sommers. You can read my review here.

When you sign up for the seminar, you also receive two online programs,  Foundation One (F1) and Handstand One (H1).

So with my little boy Ash being roughly two months old at the time, and needing to spend more time at home (with not a lot of sleep), I decided to make the Foundation series my main training focus.

Both programs require only a limited range of equipment, so I could do a lot of it at home, and use the equipment when I was at the gym (gymnastic rings and a pull up bar).

I started the program at week 5 to 9 for each phase, as the earlier phases were very basic. I also knew it would take me nine months to get through all of F1.

One of the good things about the GB website is that it has all the programming set out for you, so you only have to concentrate on the week that you’re up to. It also has a follow along format so you don’t get to confused with all the shorthand.

There are also a range of videos you can watch if you need to remind yourself of the form and technique for both strength and mobility.

The Foundation Series uses strength and mobility in each area of the program, and it always includes strength, followed by mobility/flexibility. So if you skip the mobility you’re technically only doing half the work.

For example: Bent Hollow Body Hold (FL/PE1 60sec) then Cat Cow (FL/PE1>iM 5reps)

Here’s where all the training leads to:

Front Lever (FL)

Straddle Planche (sPL) 

Side Lever (SL)

Manna (MN)

Single Leg Squat (SLS)

 Hollow Back Press (HBP)

Rope Climb (RC)

While I say that I completed all of F1, I couldn’t do most of the Single Leg Squat section due to partial meniscus tear in my left knee from BJJ, it just wasn’t stable enough for me to trust it.

As I am writing this, I just had a look at the F1 programming again and they have changed the SLS programming to what looks a lot easier or achievable for people who are limited in the use of their lower body.

Now for what I thought about the F1 program. I really enjoyed it, I guess coming from a Capoeira background means that I could pick some things up a little quicker than some other people.

The program is not a quick moving program, by that I mean it’s not a super entertaining program, but it’s not supposed to be, your focus should be on accuracy not intensity.

I like the process of the step-by-step actions that lead from simple to challenging.

Also, each exercise has a ‘Mastery’ part to it. For example: Bent Arm Chin Hang (RC/PE6) which was 5x60sec which was really hard at the start, but now it’s possible (again I checked the site and it’s only 5x30sec…)

Where my mindset differs from what they (GB) are looking for is mastery, and looking for mastery in movements isn’t why I train (but doing cool movements is nice).

When I first started Capoeira, I wanted to be good, I wanted to be able to walk into the Roda and be able to keep up with whoever I was playing, and I feel the same with BJJ.

When it comes to movement it’s always good to think about the bigger picture. Basic movements lead to more complex movements, but it’s up to you how far you take it.

For me, longevity is what keeps me motivated and focused. I want to be in this game for the long haul.

Find out more about training with Simon and his background here.

(Photo credit: Unity Gym)

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