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Gymnastic bodies vs Ido portal method

#gymnastic #idoportal #training #gymnasticskills

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#21 FredInChina


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Posted 15 October 2013 - 04:26 AM

Thank you for sharing your experience Michael; I think it has tremendous value to the members of this community. :)

#22 MvdB


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Posted 15 October 2013 - 06:52 AM

No problem. I would like to emphasize that I'm not bashing Mr. Ido Portal - he has found his niche in the world of Movement, which is great. And he is good at what he does - I respect him for that. But his attitude and ways of running his business leave a lot to be desired.

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#23 B1214N


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Posted 15 October 2013 - 01:54 PM

Rightly or wrongly, anyone that calls himself "Guru Extraordinaire" triggers my spidey senses... :icon_rolleyes:

I don't think Ido ever called himself a "Guru Extraordinaire". The video that called him that was made by another person. 


Ido may not be as experienced and good as Coach Sommer in the gymnastics department, but he is very knowledgeable in strength training and has personally achieved some great stuff.

#24 FredInChina


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Posted 15 October 2013 - 05:07 PM

I don't think Ido ever called himself a "Guru Extraordinaire". The video that called him that was made by another person. 


Ido may not be as experienced and good as Coach Sommer in the gymnastics department, but he is very knowledgeable in strength training and has personally achieved some great stuff.


NEVER argue with spidey senses... :D

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#25 Alex Chubb

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 05:10 PM

NEVER argue with spidey senses... :D

Where did he say that?

#26 The Wykydtron

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 05:31 PM

I think it's odd he doesn't really believe an adult could achieve a manna

#27 FredInChina


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Posted 15 October 2013 - 06:17 PM

I think it's odd he doesn't really believe an adult could achieve a manna

I think that what he is really saying is that he doesn't think that he can achieve a manna... hence, he maybe doesn't think that anyone else can...


Frankly speaking, I also don't think I can achieve a manna; yet that doesn't stop me from training for it. :)

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#28 Chisei


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Posted 15 October 2013 - 08:22 PM

(Sorry for the monster post. Read sections you're not interested in if you like)


Wow, I agree with MT Nordic that there's a whole lot of emotional opinion based ranking going on with not a lot of actually answering the question. This thread blew up since I last saw it and was about to post, but put it off to a better time.
I, too, have experience with Ido Portal's online coaching, as well as with BtGB and Foundation work. I have been reading the forums here and training on and off for the last 3 years, and I have been paying attention to Ido's stuff for about as long. I've read almost everything Ido has ever written online and couple month ago I did a stint with his Online Coaching (with great results), so I think I have some qualification to speak on this subject. Let's try to clear some things up about Ido, and about the differences between his method and Coach's method.


I think this is a really cool discussion actually, because Coach Sommer and Ido Portal, although different, are the only comparable leaders in the world the business of teaching adults bodyweight strength, mobility, and movement on a large scale (as far as I can tell). Both have incredibly high standards, both are doing amazing work with amazing results, and both are rapidly becoming more popular.


By the way, the answer to the original post is in parts 4 and 5, mainly 5, if you just want that.


  1. The guru thing: I think B1214N is right that Ido never said that, but it doesn't really matter, it's a stupid thing to get hung up on. It's not really in his character to say; he's realistically confident, not arrogant.
  2. The manna thing: a quote from the FB picture: "Not convinced this skill (The Manna) is attainable with my structure nor have I ever seen one performed by a person who achieved it as an adult. (I'm sure there are but they are probably inclined structurally to it to a large extent)." I think most of us would agree with him actually, it is yet to be seen whether or not Foundation, or anything for that matter, can take most adults (with the requisite commitment) all the way through to a manna. It's possible (and we're certainly all hoping for it!) but we just have to wait and see.
  3. The attitude thing: If any of you read the Reddit posts swhitley provided, I sort of have a rant for those that dismiss Ido by making him out to be an asshole. Feel free to skip this if you don't care.

    Ido teaches by traveling and constantly meeting new people, and for the last 5+ years has heard people continuously tell him "OMG, wow, you're so amazing, you're so special, I could never do that, you must be so gifted, I wish I could do that", all of whom casually idolize him and simply write off his incredible skill and knowledge as plain old talent. And he's gotten fed up with politely saying thousands of times over that no, he's NOT special, that he worked his ass off for years to get where he is, that it's insulting to just write it off as 'talent', that ANYONE can do what he can do if they just committed to it. His bitterness comes from constantly seeing people who don't believe in themselves; people who say they want to eat better, be stronger, be faster, move better, or sleep better, but never take the initiative to do those things or research on their own to find out how; people who can't keep a routine for longer than three weeks; people that don't understand the value of commitment and hard work, and, ultimately, who don't own up to any of it. They think that some magic pill will make them lose weight, that some new machine will make them stronger, that some new gadget will make them better, when really it is only THEM that can do any of those things, but when they fail, they never put the blame where it belongs (usually on themselves). So now he still says it, just not politely anymore. And unfortunately, these people make up the majority of the population in one way or another.
    Coach knows all this, and repeats it just as Ido does. He just uses fewer 
    expletives :)He's trying to make people realize that they are in control of their life. It just comes off a bit strong.
  4. General subject differences: Michaël and MT Nordic are right. Ido and Coach teach different things, and they really shouldn't be evaluated on the same quality scale because they have different intents, so let's stop being so dismissive here. As Michaël mentioned, Coach does everything from a gymnastics point of view, and that is the framework he operates in. This is his specialty, this is what he teaches. Ido on the other hand is one hell of a generalist. He uses a lot of Coach's stuff, but he operates through a lens where uninhibited artistic movement is the goal, and incorporates much more. Following Coach down his line, you get incredibly feats of GST with the mobility to match it and stay healthy. Following Ido down the line, you may do a lot of GST, but there are many things that get cut out because to do them you must specialize to an extent that you sacrifice other abilities. His method includes a moderate amount of ring work, a lot of floor and floreio work, and a lot of preparation and other stuff that is designed for you to become a better mover no matter what discipline you're moving in. Also a big difference: Ido's stuff is designed to do things fast, much faster than Coach's stuff. I'll get to this in section 5. 
  5. Online Coaching: First off, Ido has said that coaching online is far from ideal, but the reason he still does it is, bum bum bummm, the shit works. And, the revenue from it is what allows him and his team to continuously travel the world spreading their knowledge, which otherwise might not be possible. Online Coaching is difficult to get used to, and so is Ido's attitude (see above, sorry for the rant). I just want to say that you're going to be disappointed if you go into with with false expectations. If you expect to work very hard to get very far, that's right on the dot. In my experience Ido has given a tremendous amount of detail regarding exercises and programming, and has been very responsive to any emails you send him, asking about anything you want during the time you're training under him. He also does tailor programs individually to your goals and starting level, but because so many people have similar mobility deficits, some parts of the programs may look very similar person to person I think. He will program for whatever you want to work towards, provided it is something that he is able to teach.
  6. ProgrammingHere is the main difference between Coach's and Ido's programs. Foundation etc. is designed to build you up from the bottom, slowly, and forgoes a significant amount of joint prep because the gradual 'mastery' organization takes care of that. This means that things have to go more slowly, because instead of relying on supplementary joint prep exercises you are relying on the strength exercises themselves to strengthen the joints, which is why all foundation stuff starts off so high rep/low stress, and eventually reverses that ratio. All this stuff is designed to be done in as little time a week as possible, and as such there is very little rest between strength exercises. This is a big point of departure. Ido's stuff is mostly high intensity from the get-go, but with a HUGE amount of rest compared to Foundation, and also a huge focus on increasing work capacity. High stress, high reps, high rest. For the first few weeks I failed on completing the rep/set scheme set out, but eventually I got there and my work capacity greatly improved. He also uses a lot of joint prep exercises and mobility stuff, but the reason his workouts take up so much time is the amount of rest during strength sets. If the mobility were integrated like with Foundation the total time would be cut in half. All of this is designed to improve strength, mobility, and balance very quickly while still being injury free and leaving as few holes as possible, and in order to do that, it takes 10-15 hours a week (and 9 hours of sleep a night I might add). Just the way it is. Fundamentally different from Foundation. Ido goes fast, and it works. Foundation goes slow, and it works. The price difference and time commitment are definitely deal breakers for almost everyone, but if you can I think it's worth it. You also get a lot of programming that, if you're knowledgable, you can base future workouts on, so the information is quite valuable itself.

Tl;dr: Ido's coaching is designed to increase strength etc. as fast as possible and remain injury free (which takes a lot of time per week), while Coach's coaching is designed to increase strength etc. and remain injury free while taking up as little time each week as possible (which takes much longer to see results). It's a tradeoff: more hours per week=  faster results, but that's not what everyone wants. 

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#29 Chisei


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Posted 15 October 2013 - 08:29 PM

Hmm. That may have been excessive ;)

#30 Destiny


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Posted 15 October 2013 - 08:30 PM

I think that what he is really saying is that he doesn't think that he can achieve a manna... hence, he maybe doesn't think that anyone else can...


Frankly speaking, I also don't think I can achieve a manna; yet that doesn't stop me from training for it. :)

Haha same here. Not to create a limiting belief but I doubt I will achieve one. Of course one day if I get closer to it I may re-evaluate this thought. I will say though every time I watch the gymnastic bodies manna video I get super motivated. Everything from the music to the way he slowly raises into it is just epic. Imagine doing that at your local gym in the yoga room and all the chicks are just  :o

#31 Coach Sommer

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 08:41 PM

Ido was my long time student from 2005 to 2011.  Johnny Sapinoso, Ido's assistant, was also my long time student from 2008 to 2012.   Given these facts, I will disagree that there is Ido's approach and my approach.  There is literally the GB approach onto which Ido has grafted some additional materials and adjusted programming.


Most people should find it illuminating to note that the two best prepared and strongest athletes in Ido's 'system' (Ido and Johnny) were both trained by me.


With all of that being said, I am proud of the progress that both Ido and Johnny have made and am also pleased that they continue to help spread the word regarding the benefits of GST.


Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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#32 Prometheus


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Posted 15 October 2013 - 08:47 PM


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#33 Matt Baran-Mickle

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 10:19 PM

I would add that Ido's "methods" and "system" are not exclusive to what you would receive in his online training; I suspect he leaves a lot of elements out because they require in-person coaching (which would explain his insistence that you find a way to attend an event, and, if that's absolutely impossible, go for online coaching). Ido puts a lot of focus into floreio-type movement (ground based flow), but I would be surprised if this showed up in online coaching to any significant extent because of the limitations of the format (i.e. submitting videos, reviewing them, sending feedback, incorporating feedback, etc.) That being said, you can access all of Ido's floreio material for free on his old blog (; I've been working this alongside F1 and H1 for a while, and can say that it complements the strength/mobility developed through F1/H1 nicely, as long as you have the required recovery capacity. I think a major benefit of the floreio/GST combo is a balance between linear and non-linear movement (respectively), e.g. working rotations into low bridge, QDR, etc.

#34 Jason Stein

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 02:49 PM



A key difference between their approaches is that Coach Sommer has provided a complete gymnastics curriculum; Ido provides training plans customized to an individual's goals.




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#35 The Wykydtron

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 04:43 PM

I think that what he is really saying is that he doesn't think that he can achieve a manna... hence, he maybe doesn't think that anyone else can...


Frankly speaking, I also don't think I can achieve a manna; yet that doesn't stop me from training for it. :)


Yeah I got that, and when you look for pictures or videos of it, it's pretty hard to find. Is it a matter of flexibility as you get older and bigger?


It just seemed strange that  he admits it's possible, but doesn't think that many people can do it because he can't do it.

Either way, he is far more advanced than me, just putting it up for discussion

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#36 MattProulx


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Posted 16 October 2013 - 05:35 PM

I follow Ido on facebook, as I do many people in the bodyweight world. Kinda how I found this website in the first place. I am pretty sure Ido and Coach Sommer are not rivals, maybe different branches of the same tree? Read this sometime ago and had to link it here.



"... After Flagstaff, Avi and I took a drive to my last destination for this trip, Anthem-Arizona, to visit one of the best gymnastics coaches in the world, coach Christopher Sommer.
I got into email contact with Coach Sommer more than 5 years ago, after a release of one of his first articles on gymnastics strength and conditioning. Coach Sommer is a genius in his field of expertise and he was just the man I was searching for, as his methodological approach to gymnastics training is the equivalent of my own work in Capoeira. Coach Sommer is in the business of creating champions, and he has done so successfully in the last 30 years. He has a huge knowledge base and a clear understanding of what it takes to achieve those amazing feats demonstrated in modern gymnastics.
What I didn't know about him (Since I've never met him in person) was the person that he is.
Coach Sommer received me in his beautiful home. He introduced me to his lovely wife and two daughters. I was given a comfortable room to rest in, and we went to eat something at a local Asian restaurant. I could never spend a dime when I was with the coach. He wouldn't hear of it. When we got back home, and after hearing it was my birthday, he insisted on buying me a present. Since I was so impressed with his new digital camera, he decided to buy me one. He went online and ordered me a new camera. The memory card that comes with the camera wasn't good enough in his eyes, so he went on and bought me the best 4 Gb memory card available. My objection was firmly denied and he just wouldn't hear of it. I was getting this present.
We went on to talk shop before going to his gym. Coach was unbelievably generous with his knowledge, going through many details of gymnastics training and preparations, quoting known figures in the gymnastics coaching world and giving credit to each one of them from whom he borrowed something. His understanding of the gymnastics strength, conditioning, flexibility and technical aspects is amazing and unparalleled. Coach Sommer brings his knowledge from speaking with Chinese, Russian, Romanian and other countries coaches and gymnasts. He never refused to answer a question or share a detail.
I was given a copy of Coach Sommer's book. Let me tell you, this thing is amazing. This book will change the BW training world. It is so detailed and full of knowledge, everyone is up for a treat. And I don't mean everyone - common people. Head gymnastics coaches of countries like Russia, Romania, USA, Belarus and others should buy this book. It incorporates knowledge from many sources and with a special detail you cannot find elsewhere.
We went on to visit coach's facility. When we entered, his athletes, from far away noticed us entering the gym. They ran quickly towards us, standing in a line, receiving us with honor. I could see right away, this was a man who knows his job. His athletes have nothing but the highest respect towards him.
The boys were amazingly buffed and strong. Even though not even one of them was above the age of 15, they looked strong and muscular, able to support the heavy duty training of high end gymnastics. Injuries are very rare here. Coach's physical preparation creates bullet proof athletes, and he places high importance on this aspect in the training process.
I was then taken through the complete warm up the coach uses with his athletes. It is amazing, and full of thinking and detail. The warm up alone is priceless, and will be detailed in one of coach's future books.
They went through a couple of stages: shoulders, wrists, ankles, legs and hips, elbows, knees and back. Everything is covered and active flexibility is emphasized where possible, and it is possible in every joint.
We went on to some floor work. His athletes are impressive, working through the progression. I also saw some high bar and pommel work.
We went into the rings. His athletes are amazingly gifted in this area, as expected. I saw some impressive feats of strength, and not by one or two exceptional athletes, but by all of them.
I then got a taste of the 'power levers', Coach Sommer's invention that allows you to work any rings straight arm work gradually and safely. Let me tell you, this thing is amazing. You do not feel any stress on the elbow; there is no skin tears like when working with the straps and you are able to concentrate on the prime movers and do quality work. I can't wait to get a hold of my own pair of the 'power levers'. They are an amazing invention.
After finishing the workout, we went to eat, and again, the best food on the menu was ordered for me, and paying was not an option. I ate a good Salmon on the grill with some broccoli and we went on to 'Trader Joes', since Adela insisted I should take some snacks for my trip. They spoiled me with a full jar of good organic coffee, beef jerky and organic almonds. Back home we got into another training related conversation. The knowledge shared by coach was priceless. Coach Sommer and his wife Adela were staying up late because of me, since I was waiting for my flight really early the next day. I was willing to let them sleep and go by myself to the airport, but they wouldn't hear of it. Coach made sure a shuttle came and took me to the airport. He did not let me pay the fee for the shuttle, and even tipped the driver in advance. I gave Coach Sommer a hug and said to good bye, this is the first time I've met coach in person, but after only one day together, he made me feel part of his family.
Thank you coach. It was an honor to be received in your home..."

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#37 FredInChina


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Posted 16 October 2013 - 06:10 PM

That's a great blog post MAttProulx, thanks for posting the link :)

#38 Bipocni


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Posted 17 October 2013 - 10:52 AM

I'm interested in hearing more about these "power levers"

#39 ausswe


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Posted 18 October 2013 - 03:51 AM

I second that
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#40 B1214N


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Posted 18 October 2013 - 04:28 PM

I'm interested in hearing more about these "power levers"

They are probably the same thing as the ring trainers or iron cross trainers.