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Erik Sjolin

Candlestick and Locust

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Erik Sjolin

Keeping balance in your exercises is extremely important, like dips and pull ups, pushups and rows, etc etc. One that interested me was the candlestick (and by extension, body levers). The natural antagonist exercise seems to be the locust position in yoga, which is essentially a candlestick on the front, arms under you to begin with to help push up. I managed to get one that felt completely vertical my first time trying it, and it felt pretty good for my back.

I saw somebody performing one on a vault through one of the links on the beastskills website (either that or he missed his mark and faceplanted the vault), so I started wondering if it was an actual exercise used in gymnastics conditioning?

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jl5555

I cannot comment on the gymnastic value of locust, it's really just a form of handstand from the forearms. It's a great shoulder opener so useful for that whole genre requiring flexibility there.

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Erik Sjolin

I think we may be thinking of different things. What you described sounds like a tiger stand, and the locust is like a candlestick on your chin and collarbones. I tell you, you never really realize just how dirty your floor is until you're facedown on it for a few seconds.

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Erik Sjolin

I thought maybe a picture would help clear things up. But if I'm doing something that may end up killing me...well, let me know. :oops:post-12206-13531537069018_thumb.jpgpost-12206-13531537069183_thumb.jpg

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jl5555

Oh wow, yes you're right, I see what you mean now.

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toasty

why not just stick to back lever work. you won't be crushing your neck and lower back that way.

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Cole Dano

The pose is Viparita Shalambasana, and IMHO one of the great yoga poses for back health.

I've never been a great backbender, but it was this pose and its variation where you touch your toes to your head that got my T-spine and chest to open up.

Oddly enough i've made the same discovery in reverse, in other words i've realized how important the candlestick types of postures are. As doing to many backbends can leave the core unstable exp in handstands.

I was having some strange pains in my upper back, and instinctively felt that some really deep backbends would do the trick. The pains would come maybe a couple of times a year. After getting involved with GB i had this happen again, a few months back. And i i figured that doing the backbends didn't help what if i try a body lever instead. Viola! Fixed the problem, goes to show how import that balance is and it can get out of whack either way.

Incidentally, when i was learning it, someone would take my feet and bring them to my head. Yes with all the pressure on the throat, and i'd even feel my spine move into my chest. I think it did somewhat mess up my voice box, as about that time my voice would get raspy when ever it was cold and damp. So do be careful.

I used to kind of flick myself up off of my knees, until someone told me it was possible to just lift up. It took me about a year of work once to actually be able to do it, and that process was very healing for my lower back.

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Blairbob

One of my old mentors called this "tulip" position and felt it was important after mastery of a basic superman hold done like a horizontal leg lift/reverse hyper.

Good for lower back strength, we train rocking supermans like this for ring swing.

Wow. Doing this statically is tough. These felt a lot like block maltese holds and lifts. I can hit that position with a rock but I haven't tried off a beam or horse in a long time.

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Jason Stein

The yoga pose matsyasana is also a decent and somewhat gentler counterpose to candlestick than viparita shalabasana.

Viparita shalabasana and its variations uttana shalabasana and ganda bherundasana can constrict the carotid artery. I have seen practitioners black out in these positions, which made their spines very flexible.

There is buy-in for the posture, also, in which if you have a tighter chest and shoulders a lot of the posture will be taken in the neck. This doesn't feel so hot.

Also, bonus points for kettlebell around the feet.

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Sternford

Wow, how do you even start that?

gCiSRVRHBSk

I've been wondering if it's possible to do a body lever this way too, not holding anything.

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Blairbob

Ok, well after some trying I'm pretty sure I have this near vertical. Maybe I'll try at the seminar this weekend.

Generally we start these with holding a superman position off a pommel horse or block or beam. Preferably crotch and toes hanging at 90 to start. From there we train lifting and holding with bent knees then straight knees to vertical and beyond like reverse planche.

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Cole Dano

I used a lift (bolster) under my hips at first to make it easier.

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Erik Sjolin

I actually got it the first time I tried it...okay, third time. It helps a lot if you start with your arms under your body/groin when you press. I was doing it with them out to the side, and it was much harder that way.

As for the actual movement, I find it helps to slowly roll up into it (face down, otherwise it's too hard on my neck), aside from just pressing straight bodied.

Might be a good one for a reverse body lever, like a precurser for the back pulls if you do it off a vault or pommel horse, like Blairbob suggested.

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Cole Dano

Good job Erik, folks on this forum are allot stronger than the average Joe...

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Erik Sjolin

Aww, thanks! But to be perfectly fair, there's still a lot of (fairly rudimentary) stuff I can't do yet.

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Blairbob

We have used rolling to do this down a wedge and holding it as an inlocate drill on rings as well.

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Cole Dano
Aww, thanks! But to be perfectly fair, there's still a lot of (fairly rudimentary) stuff I can't do yet.

Same here, but when i first tried this (before i even knew about GB) a year back, i couldn't even budge do to both pain and weakness.

I don't think its a coincidence that after about 7 weeks of consistently doing the WODs i could do it. For me that was a big milestone, and pointer to the fact that this program is moving me towards my goals.

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jl5555

It's funny the coincidences in life:

Yesterday in class the instructor had us do this position (salabasana). It's only a 1-2 level class so it was something of a surprise. I was only able to get my feet to about 45 degrees. I spoke with the instructor after class about it and she said is was as much about shoulder flexibility as the back strength necessary to elevate. She seemed more interested in the ability to roll the arms and hands all the way around so they are flat on the ground.

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