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One of the ultimate goals of body movement and physical achievement is to be able to isolate and independently move various portions of the body.  In order to achieve this, you must engage the areas that are to remain “still” even more than you would otherwise.  Therefore, your brain is actually working overtime sending independent messages to various areas of the body to stabilize them, while at the same time moving specific areas of the body.

To develop this type of skill, you must first remove any mobility restrictions that would physically prevent the movement.  This requires having enough flexibility through the large joints and muscles as well as the small joints and muscles.  What you are actually making more flexible is the connective tissue and fascia that surrounds the joints and muscles.  Second, you develop the strength to maintain various body regions while the others are moving.  Third, the coordination of the various body parts is done by training the brain to use your body positioning signals (proprioception) to coordinate signals to the appropriate muscles.

Movements must be built in sequence.  First you must walk before you run.  Same rule applies for this intense abdominopelvic gyration while in a handstand.  Notice how Kimber first goes through the patterning of her abdominopelvic region while standing in order to prepare her brain to send the proper signals to the proper area once she goes upside down.  Also, notice how the movement seems more challenging to her when she first tries it in a full handstand versus when she subsequently tries it in a supported headstand.  In a headstand, the coordination of balancing through the shoulders is virtually eliminated, allowing the brain to focus on the abdominopelvic gyration rather than both the gyration and the handstand.

Some food for thought:

  1. How would you build up to this movement?
  2. What movements or poses would you consider fundamental to this movement?
  3. How would you know you are prepared to attempt this movement?
  4. What movements or poses could you move on to once this skill is mastered?
  5. What issues would someone have where you would caution them against this movement?

I’d love to hear back from you in the comments below…

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I've got day 4 of #strongAFhandstands and I'm gonna apologize now, its a doozy. This was Blair's suggestion, and it's one heck of neurologically complicated task - very akin to rubbing your belly while patting your head (or whichever way that goes) but at least 10x harder. You're going to be asking half of your spine to stay pretty neutral, while your core fights to wind your pelvis in a circle around the other half. I promise it gets easier on day 6, but this is a pretty neat way to challenge that isolation factor - the important thing to remember with movements like this, ones where you're supposed to be limiting the motion specifically to the responsible set of muscles, is that you may not be able to access the same range. Like with the forward folds on day 2, you may be able to touch the ground if you hinge at both the hip, and the shoulders, and send your hips back. But if you truly don't let the hips travel back, and you actually keep the arms extended overhead without letting the shoulder angle close up on the way forward, odds are it's going to be a much bigger fight for that same range of motion. This is OK; compromising the form of the drill for the sake of achieving that same range of motion is not 👌 Don't forget to use the challenge hashtag and tag our hosts and sponsors, the awesome @ettlivstyle @purushapeople and @kimberscanes and check in with Meredith tomorrow for day 5! #hipgyration #alwaysagoodtime

A post shared by Kimber Rust (@yellowkimber) on

Al Jameson, DC, CKTP

About Al Jameson, DC, CKTP

Sports Chiropractor, Functional Anatomy Guru, Professor, Entrepreneur, Yogi, Martial Artist, Karaoke Enthusiast, Ninja

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