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Summer vacation gymnastics

Summer vacation this year means that I have much more free time on my hands than I usually have. I will spend most of it studying Chinese, but I also intend to keep practising gymnastics as much as I can. I feel that I’ve been lacking in focus recently, so here are some goals I’d like to achieve before august is over. If you don’t know what a certain move is, using Wikipedia or YouTube will usually give you a very quick answer.

Muscle-up to handstand on rings

This is a goal I’ve had since last autumn and it can easily be divided into three parts: muscle-up, press to handstand and handstand. On rings. I’ve been working on my muscle-ups for quite a while now and at last I seem to have got the hang of how to do them. I can do about five-six consecutive muscle-ups now, which feels quite solid. When rested, the first few are quite easy, which means that I consider the first step completed.

Press to handstand is a lot harder for me. I’m bad at it on the ground, so moving it to the rings isn’t easier. I’m partly lacking strength here, but mostly I think it’s a matter of technique. I haven’t practised this a lot, but give me two months and it should be okay.

Handstand in rings is something entirely new for me. When practising on a lowered pair of rings, I can sometimes hold a handstand for ten seconds or longer, but getting to this position without kicking is fairly difficult. Holding the handstand will require some practice, but I don’t think it’s a major problem since my goal is to hold the position with balance for just a few seconds.

Straddle planche

Planche is my nemesis. It’s probably the exercise I’ve focused on the longest without having accomplished (or even being close to accomplishing). Recently, however, I have been starting experimenting with a straddle planche, which feels within reach, but still very, very hard. I think there are three approaches to achieving this: lowering down from a handstand, normal straddle planche with spot and planche leans/pseudo planche push-ups. In any case, this puts tremendous pressure on the hands, elbows and shoulders, but I haven’t felt the slightest pain so far.

Front lever

This is the opposite of planche, but is significantly easier. I still can’t hold a full front lever, though, but I think that might be because of a bad attitude or weak determination. I think that strength-wise this position should be within reach, it’s just that I don’t believe that I can do it. So, within two months time, I definitely think it’s possible to reach my goal here. The ultimate goal is five seconds or more, but for the summer, I would be happy with two or three seconds, just to be able to hold the position at all. More time is easier to add than achieving the basic position in the first place.

Multiple back handsprings

I’ve realised that bending backwards is one of my biggest flexibility problems. My hip flexors are the main problem, but the abs certainly don’t help. Thus, handsprings don’t come very easily to me, so even doing one was a challenge (I did my first on floor a couple of weeks ago). However, I want to develop this further and be able to do back handsprings on the floor without hesitation. To prove that I know what I’m doing, adding an extra one seems like a good idea. If I can do two, the first one has to be quite good.

Round off back handspring

This is a bit similar to the handspring above, but since my round offs are quite bad, I think it’s a good idea to add a goal including them. Also, being able to do these properly means that a number of other combinations become available, simply because it’s then possible to enter a back handspring with a running start. People have told me that this is actually easier than an ordinary handspring, but that still remains to be seen.

Round off back flip

I can do fairly solid back flips standing still on the floor, but since my round offs aren’t good, I have yet to combine these two. This should be quite easy though, once I actually start practising round offs more seriously. Including this and the previous goal will hopefully enable me to focus better.

Wall walks

I’ve had the goal to walk 100 metres on my hands for quite a while now (many years), but I’ve given up at least twice. This is not a matter of balance as some people might think, but pure strength and endurance. Handwalking mainly taxes arms, shoulders and back, but it feels pretty much like the entire body is involved. Wall walk simply means walking on my hands against a wall, tapping shoulders between each step. The goal is to do these at least once every week. I currently do 3 x 100 taps.

Future updates and progress reports

I will report back whenever I succeed with one or more of the above goals. If possible, I will provide either pictures or video. It might be hard to achieve all the goals, but I will definitely try!

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