As someone who suffered from a chronic shoulder injury, I use this sequence daily to keep my rotator cuffs mobile and healthy.
Here are the details:
I like to start with classic shoulder dislocates with a 6 ft. stick. The name sounds crazy but it's actually really good to practice.
Then I move on to the "figure 8" stretch to add a bit of complexity to the shoulder rolls.
I finally do partial side to side raises as shown as the last exercise in the video.
You can go for 5-10 repetitions of each exercise and repeat the full sequence 3 times for a great shoulder warm up!
If you don’t want to end up in a wheelchair like Kevin Heart, use this simple drill before you go for a sprint!
My favorite drill to warm up for sprints is leg skipping combined with back pedaling.
This combo helps activating the hips, legs, knees and feet along with the hear rate.
Aim to lift your knees high when skipping and bring your heels up when performing the back pedal.
Repeat the sequence in the video for 3-5 sets.
Pair that with 5 minutes of hip and hamstring mobility work to begin your session.
T-Rex are extinct while small rat-looking mammals that lived underground for thousands of years now dominate the world.
Insects and octopuses are adaptation masters which have been around for hundreds of millions of years.
The biggest guy does not always win when endurance come in play.
David beat Goliath.
Even Thanos loses at the end!
You get the point.
You have to be “agile” in the way you approach things in order to finish on top.
It’s great to be the fittest too, to have the perfect plan, with the perfect timing and nutrition intake that goes along with it. Last but not least perfect sleep.
However, it just does not really happen in real life, thus the need to adapt to the conditions we are facing at that exact moment.
We all have unexpected changes of situations that occur from time to time.
The key is to know how to handle those changes.
Remember, your body is designed for motion. And so, investing in daily stretching and regular bodyweight training is a natural way to reconnect with the strength that is inherently yours. No quick fixes or magic potions needed - just you and your own body!
The Equipment Mirage: Less is More
Let's dissect another common fitness misconception: the perceived need for expensive and elaborate equipment. In reality, all you truly need for an effective bodyweight workout is a bar at a park or perhaps a couple of resistance bands at home. Work harder on less equipment, and you'll find it pays off.
Establishing Your Calisthenics Workout Plan
Starting with calisthenics can seem daunting, especially with the myriad of exercises available. So where do you begin? The answer is...
This might be the least sexy move with the most benefits you’ll see today.
The back bridge and its dynamic variations are an essential tool for overall back mobility and good posture.
It is something I have neglected for a good part of my life. I started to change that when I realized my mid/lower back was my missing link.
I’m still far from the acrobat level but at 43 it’s night and day compared to what I was able to do in my 20’s.
I like doing dynamic knee raises paired with the bridge to work on my motor control when up-side down.
It is surprisingly hard to lift your legs when the body is engaged into an arched position. This requires to re-calibrate how we use our hip muscles in order to lift our legs.
Go for 4-6 reps and repeat for 3 sets.
You can ideally mix those reps sets with 3 sets of maximum static holds.
If you can't do the full bridge yet, simply start with an elevated version of the bridge, with parallel bars or yoga...
Getting big, diced and shredded is the most common goal for most people, wether when they are getting started with fitness or already on the workout train.
But it’s a very far off, sub-optimal and inefficient way to approach training.
My goals are multi-dimensional:
1 - Lean mass and muscle density improvement
If you are 10-15% body fat (for men) or 15-20% (for women), you are a healthy individual. And more likely to perform better at ANY sport than someone under the 8-10% mark. Make sure to focus on muscle density and a fast metabolism. Yes you want to be lean, no you don’t want to be malnourished.
2- Performance based results
Your real-life capabilities – from sprinting to pull-ups, dips, and handstands – are an authentic reflection of your overall well-being. Mastering essential strength, athleticism, and skill-based activities showcases your true potential.
3 - Form and Mobility Enhancement
I still do weekly.
But I HAD to scale back in order to shift my focus to shoulder and overall mobility for the last few years.
And it is paying off.
I am restarting moves like the handstand, muscle ups, playing tennis and paddle tennis without any pain, even minor, in my right shoulder.
Both shoulders feel more balanced, even if there is still a long way to go.
The point is that adaptation is key in training.
You always HAVE to adapt to the conditions you are in and find ways to improve and break plateaus.
There is No Such Thing as 'Too Fat' for Fitness
Whoever said that you're too heavy for working out clearly never embraced the holistic approach of calisthenics. The beauty of calisthenics is in its adaptable nature, open to everyone, irrespective of body shape or size. You are never 'too fat' to start your journey with calisthenics. So set your inhibitions aside, and let's gear up to prove the skeptics wrong!
Setting the Right Mindset
Before diving into this physical journey, let's talk about the psychological aspect. A positive mindset is key to consistency and success in any fitness regime. Releasing self-doubt and nourishing self-belief is just as crucial as the exercises. Your weight doesn't define your worth or potential - remember, every body is a calisthenics body! Check out my post about what effort actually looks like to regain your motivation and kickstart this journey with the right mindset!
Calisthenics: An Adaptable Ally
Some people wrongly assume that...
I have had many people ask me if they were safe to do.
The answer is yes! But it’s only good If you are strong enough to back it up.
It's actually recommended to work towards it. Indeed, this will imply you work towards getting bullet proof shoulders.
So how to perform the Behind the neck properly?
Make sure to keep your shoulders externally rotated at the top of the pull up. That's a key point. Don’t let your elbows go too high or far behind you. Keep them as close to you as possible.
Otherwise you will most likely feel a pinch in your shoulder and could end up impinging it.
You also need to keep a tight core and hollow body position as you perform the move.
Go for 5 reps x 5 sets. Add isometric holds and adapt rep count depending on your level.
What if you can’t do it yet?
I could not do those either when I started, so I...
This is an astonishing number, given that sprinting is one of the most essential human physical skills.
In other words, if you don't want to get old quick, start sprinting regularly (1-2 times per week).
I typically spend 15 minutes warming up (while pro sprinters can take up to 1 hour just to warm up!).
I start with 5 minutes of full body active stretching such as the stranding frog, foot stretches as well as shoulder mobility drills.
Then I move on to 5 minutes of leg skipping. This is a great way to activate my hip flexors and glutes, as well as generate mind-body connection to get good mechanics when running later.
I go for 1 min of skipping and repeat for 5 sets. During the sets I mix skipping with back skipping and back pedaling (as in the video).
Then comes the sprinting session: