THE PISTOL SQUAT PROGRESSION LADDER

EXERCISE BREAKDOWN: FROG STAND
Disclaimer – If you have a bad neck – seek help advice before you take these or headstands on. If you fall on your head really really hard on a hard floor you might get hurt on these whoever you are. Don’t do it off a steep drop the first time you do it. You might fall down and it won’t end well.

HOW TO DO IT
SQUAT DOWN – Find a nice spot by a mat, get low and get in the zone – calm, happy, focused, strong.

GET A CONNECTION- Squeeze your upper arms into your knees/thighs/leg things. Feel a strong stable connection and don’t lose it throughout.

PLACE YOUR HANDS – put your hands on the floor, facing straight ahead with your fingers spread.

ROCK INTO POSITION – Gently lean forwards, lower the head (to your mat or cushion or soft sensible object), feel the weight shift into your hands.

FEEL THE SWEET SPOT – Stop when you find you are in the sweet spot where you can balance the move. Your hips should be high, your head low and not far away from your mat while you are learning… find something that is the right height for you. Then, you want to feel the sweet spot where you have all the weight in your hands and nothing in the feet, and of course – YOU FEEL BALANCED.

LIFT THE LEGS WITHOUT MOVING THE BODY – Then, one at a time, or both together we want to pull the feet off the floor. We do this with a little contraction of the Hamstrings. If we’ve done it right, our torso and head won’t change position at all and we can balance longtime.

EYES AHEAD – Check your eyes are on the floor, just a few centimetres ahead of your hands.

STAY. HOLD. ENJOY – The way I do this, when you can hold 20 seconds drama free every time, you’re ready for the progression.

HOW IT GOES WRONG AND HOW TO FIX IT
You Fall on Your head – it happens. Make sure you’re in position before you take your feet off the floor. Then make sure you are happy landing gently with a long strong neck (tuck your chin) and staying in position when you mess up. If you panic and try to escape your more likely to get hurt.

After this, make sure your eyes are right and you’re controlling with your fingers.

You Look in the Wrong Place – People often struggle if they start to look behind them. It can feel natural but it’s not the way to learn this.

You Slip – Go back to the start, practice feeling the connection and you’ll get better at this quickly.

You Lack Patience – It can be tough. Accept this. Don’t by afraid of practicing without coming off the floor at first, especially if your wrists aren’t ready for it yet or if its tough strength-wise. The worst thing you can do is to keep jumping into it, you’ll keep failing and get frustrated.

You just ain’t no good – the first time I did this I smashed the floor hard, much to my friends delight. Then I learned for a few weeks with my head resting on a large soft foot rest thingy. Inverting oneself takes quite some getting used to. If you haven’t done anything like this before, give it 5 or 6 short practice sessions over a couple of weeks – you’ll get it.

WICKED CUES
Lift your feet off with your Hamstrings – People frequently try to rock forward into position because it’s less work than the correct way and they take a leap of faith and hope they can balance. We are better than that though, you are better than that, yes? So remember… find position with your feet down, then squeeze your Hamstrings to take flight.

Play the Piano – Gentle subtle movements help you control the waves and balance on these.

Relax – When you get this, you’ll be fairly relaxed. An uptight person is not going to be well balanced and is not going to balance there long. They do this in Yoga remember! So, even if your shoulders, arms and wrists are working hard, try to relax!

PROGRESSIONS
Crane

Rocking Frog

Single Leg

Legs Off!

REGRESSIONS
Do it with your head on the mat – get used to holding your body position and being inverted without the balance challenge.

Keep your feet down – get used to the position without trying to balance.

Basically it is the starting point – get stronger wrists shoulders and arms and practice the above with patience if you’re finding it too tough.

WHY DO IT
It’s gonna strengthen your wrists, your shoulders and your Triceps. Depending on your weight and how far you take it, for some this will be easy and you’ll fly through all the progressions. For others… a real effort just to master it – but its worth it as it will drive you to practice, to train and to adapt so you can move onto the next level.

Its a stepping stone to the splendid and fun world of hand balancing. Moves that require much more strength, much more muscle, much more control can all be attacked through mastery of a humble Frog Stand. This is a great first way to learn to balance ‘on hands’.

Its fun. It is. Its good for the brain too apparently. As long as you don’t fall on it too hard of course.

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