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ASSISTANT EDITOR Lisette Ruiz email@example.com
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CONTRIBUTORS Ulrik Ask Fossum, Adam ‘Cobra’ Khan
photography Ardour, Ysa Perez (cover photo), Ines Maennl Fotografie, Selin Hunter
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Issue 1 of Mover Magazine was a great success and we want to personally thank all of our readers who checked it out. Our goal is to continue to strive to improve and refine the magazine with each issue. This issue, we wanted to bring you knowledge and experience from a seasoned mover. We’re happy to have had the opportunity to interview Cameron Shayne, father of mixed movement arts and founder of Budokon University. With 30 years of studying martial arts, 20 years of practicing Yoga and 15 years of researching and teaching animal locomotion, there’s a lot to learn from his extensive knowledge and experience. Cameron was doing animal locomotive work long before there were even any YouTube videos to reference. We also have the pleasure to feature Boulder Movement Collective. They were on our radar the moment we started the magazine. Being one of the best and most popular schools focusing on movement, we wanted to share their story of who they are and what they’re all about. Shifting away from traditional fitness and movement programs, they’ve cultivated a really special and unique community of movers and learners.
This magazine is meant to promote and increase awareness of the movement community and is for entertainment purposes only. This should not replace the advice of a health professional. Please consult your doctor before attempting any program, training, movement or exercise.
Plus, we have Part 2 of Cobra Khan’s Handstand Obsession series and Antoio Torres giving us insight on building upper body strength. We hope you enjoy it.
While every attempt has been made to ensure accuracy in the magazine, MOVER Magazine can take no responsibility for errors, or the opinions and facts supplied by authors and advertisers. All opinions expressed by authors and advertisers are not necessarily those of the publisher. Products and services advertised are also not necessarily endorsed by the publisher.
Keep Moving, Michael + Lisette Ruiz Co-Founders
Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.
CONTENTS decembeR 2016 â€˘ ISSUE 02
however you choose to move
boulder movement collective
the handstand obsession
father of mixed movement arts
upper body strength
In this article, Ulrik urges us to stop the dogma and encourage each other to move the way we love to move.
Find out more about one of the most popular schools, focusing on the evolution of movement.
In part 2 of this series, Cobra Khan goes into how the shoulders play an important part in a handstand.
We talk with the legendary Cameron Shayne and get insight into his journey, experience and work with Budokon University of Mixed Movement Arts.
Movement Coach Antonio Torres shares with us valuable information on building upper body strength.
h o w e v e r y o u c h o o s e t o m o v e
We all have different goals, ambitions and interests. These differences don’t make us better or worse, just different. In popular movement culture it seems like it is a common truth that variation and generalization is king, and should be for everyone. Everybody should do “functional” movements like crawl, cossack squats with a bar overhead, splits, pancakes and handstands. If you train for looks, you’re an idiot. If you don’t do mobility for every joint in your body, you are ignorant, and God forbid the ones using machines or bicep curls. We movers, think we know better and are better since we “move”. I believe thoughts like these make movement, training and health more dogmatic than it needs to be. We need to address different movements as joyful choices rather than looking up or down on people who enjoy different movements than us, and not push our preferences on to others with different preferences. I love handstands. It gives me a lot of joy, but I don’t believe handstands are superior to weightlifting, fitness, gymnastics, dancing, martial arts or any other sport, way of training or movement you can be obsessed by. It’s just more joyful to me. Let’s stop talking down others preferences on that matter. Everybody doesn’t need to do everything. You can live a happy and healthy life without pain even if you can’t rest in a squat for 30 minutes. I loved this quote from a great article by @yuenjon. “Movement Culture – A Force For Good?” “We practice moves we don’t need or want with more time and energy than what is necessary, to impress people whose acknowledgement only will be attained if we can be used as a way to promote their method further.” Stop the dogma. Encourage preference based movement of any sort. General or specific. However you choose to move. Move.
By Ulrik Ask Fossum 4
Photograph by ardour â€˘
Boulder Movement Collective is a dedicated physical space to foster the evolution of Movement and the next generation of learners. We talk with Founder and Teacher, Matt Bernstein and Teacher, Zack Finer about their journey with Boulder Movement Collective.
Who is Matt Bernstein? I’ve always had a passion for the outdoors; Climbing, fishing, hiking and skiing. I’ve lived in small ski towns and big cities, but have thankfully found a home in Boulder, Colorado with my wife, Emily and son, Jack. How did you discover movement? I was working as a firefighter in Steamboat Springs, Colorado
and was an overweight and deconditioned 24 year old. I was active, but eating like crap, drinking too much and sticking to what was easy. Before I knew it, I was up 50 pounds and felt like shit. A fellow firefighter brought me into the local CrossFit gym and I was instantly drawn to a different way of training. All I had really seen before then was basic body building and some power lifting. It seemed like it would actually help me with my career
in the Fire Service and as a Ski Patroller. I had something of an ‘ah ha’ moment and took myself back to New York City to pursue a career helping people to have similar successes. Once back in NY, I had a nagging achilles injury and could not train the way I wanted to. Everything hurt, so i couldn’t jump, run, squat, or do much of anything with my legs. I went to every doctor and foot specialist in NY, with no success. Luckily, www.movermag.us
How would you define movement? To me, Movement isn’t just any discipline under the sun. What can I use to better help people learn and develop a practice? If it is working, we stick with it and if not, we scrap it. Thats one of the great things about what we’re doing, we’re not beholden to a specific style and can do what’s best for our students. I don’t really care about what’s fun, or makes you feel like your training, we’re not in the entertainment fitness world. Who is Zack Finer? a friend sent me one of Ido’s videos and I was extremely intrigued. I sent him an email, started online training and went to Berlin, nervous about the injury and excited to learn about this ‘Movement’ thing. I never thought I would meet someone who could break down such complex things and make them palatable for beginners. The magic isn’t in the training itself. It’s in the ability to create a process for learning. Not just specific skills, but learning in general. I honestly believe that I’m a student and will be one forever. Teaching is only a small part of my life, I’m a student first. I honestly don’t believe I would be talking about Movement at all, if it weren’t for Ido’s influence. I probably would be doing body weight training and some olympic lifting, while training dance and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and I think that’s what most people are doing, when they say they are involved in Movement. Zack and I are 8
looking for the common bonds between disciplines, what needs to be addressed to keep people progressing, limiting major injuries, and taking care of the small stuff that is often overlooked. When people come in to the facility from out of town, we often hear, “I do what you guys do,” and we smile knowing that it’s most likely not true. After the session, I’ll check back in with them to see if they’re training the same way we are. It’s generally the same line in response, “I had no idea what you guys do.” We would not be where we are if it weren’t for our teacher. The guy is doing things differently. Spinning things upside down and taking people into areas that were generally closed off, or they didn’t know existed. He showed us the ropes, taught us how to learn, research, deal with the struggle of being creative and to share this with our close students. He taught us the ethics that people only see in martial arts and how to grow as teachers. We’re thankful.
I grew up in an active family. Camping, hiking, skiing were all big parts of my childhood. I had tried some organized sports, but outside of ski racing, I never really felt athletic. I have always been a bit of a “geek”, a bit obsessive, something I find in many people I meet through the movement community. How did you discover movement? I was helping run the only CrossFit affiliate in Israel at the time. I had seen a video of Ido working out of his facility in Haifa. After some inquiry, we were able to get Ido and Odelia to come and run a weekend clinic. The weekend was a giant paradigm shift. CrossFit had helped me to get relatively fit, but I still lacked anything resembling movement intelligence. With Ido, I saw the possibility of gaining this. The following year when I moved back to the states I started online coaching with Ido, and the rest just fell into place.
Let’s talk Boulder Movement Collective. How did you come up with the idea for it and how did you get it started? I was tired of being in other peoples facilities and being that guy who’s doing ‘gymnastics and weird shit.’ I wanted a place to train with like minded people and a facility where we could test what’s making people better and not just theorizing about it. I found that many places had good theory, but wasn’t producing the types of results that they were claiming. I saw a lot of talented people getting better, while the majority of average folks plateaued. I wanted to take people like me,
who were dorks in sports and give them a way to learn at a high level. We have a great support network through Ido and our fellow students. We have a constant group conversation going with friends from all over the world; people who are pushing the envelope with their own practice and that of their students. The amount of knowledge and research in our group keeps us all working as hard as possible to change the way we see Movement and the way it can be taught to people. This work ethic and obsession comes directly from Ido, Odelia Goldsmchidt and John Sapinoso. Every time John comes to visit Boulder, our students are blown away
by the amount of research and time someone can put into their practice. I am finding that there is constant inspiration at Boulder Movement Collective. When you have students who are brought up in this kind of environment, its hard not to be. We’re extremely proud of their work. What do you teach there? We develop a practice. Depending on what day you come you might see some gymnastics, some dance, some martial arts elements, and some strength and conditioning. But most of all, we are trying to give our students a practice that supports them in their efforts to improve as generalists.
What is the goal or mission with Boulder Movement Collective? Honestly, we wanted a place that was ours. Where we could set the curriculum, set the standards. We aren’t required to side step our morals, or our standards in order to please our bosses. Give us an idea of what a typical class may look like. That’s a bit hard to do. Every class is different. Best way for someone to see what we do is to show up. That being said, the one thing you will always see is a group of people working hard, and having fun doing it. What is the philosophy and culture like there? Students work hard. They take this practice very seriously. The culture is atypical, students end up training a lot together outside of class, going to the park, taking contemporary dance classes, developing new ways of learning and new patterns. Many times the students develop things that we teach in class. They inspire us, are creative and are just as important as the teachers. Many of them are teachers in specific fields, from Yoga, CrossFit, Parkour, Dance, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Circus and Contact Improvisation. With all of these people together in a creative space, great things are going to happen if we can just push them in the right direction. The best part for our beginner students, is that they are paired with our higher level students. Just because you’re 10
new, doesn’t mean you won’t be supported. Luckily, many of us have gone through years of struggle to achieve certain skills and I think the collective knowledge is why we have so many people achieving these highly sought things.
Why is it important for people to start a movement practice?
If someone is just starting out with movement, what advice would you give them?
Off the top of our head: (no particular order or importance either) Set standards and meet them. Pick a project and finish it. Don’t move on until you have done so. It doesn’t have to be fun to be fun. Be obsessive! Find a teacher, and take what they have to give you.
Keep it simple. Take on a project and finish it. You want a handstand? Get one, don’t just try for 3 weeks and give up. Finish what you start and it will take off from there. If someone is trying to improve their movement ability, how often should they train? More than you want. It should be constant. Even during this interview I’m playing with my feet.
I will quote Ido Portal on this, “It is a damn good way to pass the time.” Leave us with a final thought.
Matt Bernstein and Zack Finer IG: @BoulderBernstein and @Z.Finest.Fridge Boulder Movement Collective 3280 Valmont Rd Suite A Boulder, CO, 80301 BoulderMovementCollective.com IG: @bouldermovementcollective
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Do you even lift….your shoulders bro After you get an understanding for hand control in holding a freestanding handstand, we come to the often complicated issue of shoulder mobility. Yes the issue of mobility and shoulder flexibility is the one that really gets the guys, and it is where the ladies can really embarrass the crap out of them as they have less tightness in those areas. Men who lift weights or do upper body calisthenics workouts, CrossFit or who are on long desk duty will almost certainly produce what is known as a banana handstand, whether it be on the wall or off. There is no way around it, if you do not have the mobility or flexibility to get into a straight handstand with elevated shoulders in conjunction with a hollow body and pelvic posterior tilt (which we will discuss another time) then it is very hard to create a straight line. I have seen handstand classes where a big strong man would come in thinking he can learn a handstand fast because he assumes it is simply an issue of being “strong” and having great upper body strength. In fact, handbalancing is an art form which relies on so many aspects of body control. I would argue that upper body strength is not even 50% of it, especially when you consider the amount of flexibility, alignment, balance, endurance, core strength and body awareness involved. This will mean that in some handstand classes, the super stiff man will have to be banished to the corner of a room and stretch the crap out of his shoulders so that he can achieve a proper shoulder extension
essential to achieving a handstand. I work with students on this area and there are dozens of flexibility and mobility drills to achieve this goal. It can take between 1-6 months to open the shoulders for some guys; it’s just one of those things that require consistency and some commitment. For those that do not have a good shoulder extension, I recommend mobilizing the shoulders and stretching out the lats and traps. Some work on the pectoralis may also be necessary. Additionally some Self Myo Fascial Release (SMR) on those muscle groups can work wonders. For those that have the mobility, then whether you are conducting your wall drills or kicking up to a handstand in the middle of the room; getting a straight line requires an elevation of the shoulders. This is a slight movement and is harder than it sounds. It is not like a barbell push press or a pike press or handstand pushup. These big movements do not translate into the kind of shoulder elevation needed for a straight handstand. Rather it is a case of activating the finger control and slightly pushing from the ground enabling the shoulder to lift and squeeze, closing the gap between the shoulders and ears. Yuri Mammerstein suggests elevating either from the shoulders or lats by bringing ones attention to those areas. I also heard Miguel Santana say that you can elevate from the chest area. It doesn’t really matter and if you are new to handbalancing then you will have to experiment on and off the wall.
Now go forth my handstanding comrades and get some upside down action in your life! 12
By Cobra Khan IG: @cobra_khan_ FB: www.facebook.com/adamkhancharsi
CAMERON SHAYNE the FATHER OF MIXED MOVEMENT ARTS
Budokon University & BDK Academy Founder, Cameron Shayne is considered the father of the mixed movement arts culture. He is a social philosopher, educator, satirist, artist, writer and lifelong student of Yoga, Martial Arts and Calisthenics.
Photography by Ines Maennl Fotografie
Who is Cameron Shayne? I was born in 1971 in North Carolina during an era in which Bruce Lee was alive and innovating the first modern mixed martial arts system. Calisthenics were required in school as part of Ronald Reagan’s physical education initiative, and the Beatles were popularizing yoga. I am from the generation born in the middle of the tech and social media boom, which makes me somehow a contemporary thinker with an old school attitude. I am a perfectionist with a critical eye for inconsistency. I have only had two professions in my entire life. One as a movement teacher, and the second as a bodyguard. I have no time for complainers, trolls, or professional victims. For me it’s simple: do something to change it, or shut the fuck up about it. I tolerate zero bullshit. As a teacher I have a simple motto: give me one hundred percent or find the door. I comfort the disturbed, and disturb the comfortable on a daily basis. I am an enigma in that I am by my nature, a sweet man that could choke someone to death if necessary. How did you get started with movement? My family wasn’t well off so I didn’t have access to much as a kid other than the woods around our house. There were no modern electronic devices, no social media, nothing you could disappear into other than books or your imagination. We climbed trees, leaped across creeks, and swam in the lakes. I found martial arts at the age of twelve mostly because I had an angry father who was a notorious street fighter, and I found myself surrounded by rather rough men. He started slap boxing with me when I was about 8 until I started formal martial arts training at twelve. That’s when I found my
first teachers, Paul and Dan Harmon. Paul was the North Carolina State Taekwondo champion and Dan trained in Korea as a world class Olympic Taekwondo competitor. I played sports at a high level throughout high school. In my early twenties I moved to LA and found Yoga thru an ex-girlfriend. In my late twenties I found Yoshukai Karate while at the same time I found my first Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu teacher Rickson Gracie. Ironically he shared a studio with my Karate teacher and my love for MMA began. What is your experience? I achieved my 4th degree black belt in Olympic Style Taekwondo under the Harmon brothers, my 3rd degree black belt in Yoshukai Karate under kick boxing world champion Gerry Blank, and my brown belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu which started with my first teacher Rickson Gracie, and now finishing with 4th degree black belt Gui Arashiro, Ryan Graces lineage holder. So collectively I have been studying martial arts for 30 years. My yoga asana practice has been 20 years now and mostly self taught in the sense that I had early influencers like Patty Asad and Bryan Kest who formed my understanding and contributed to my knowledge but I never studied a single lineage style with a long term teacher. I’ve been studying movement arts, meditation, and living arts my whole life, so yoga didn’t rock my world like a person who comes to it with no self inquiry practice or movement background. I also saw and avoided the parallel religious tones that I worked so hard to untangle within myself coming from a southern baptist upbringing. I focused instead on the physical and philosophical qualities that I still teach as part of Budokon. Calisthenics were present my whole life because my generation was
article Photography by Ysa Perez
really influenced by legends like Bruce Lee, who could do a two finger pushup, and Herschel Walker who to this day at the age of 53 still does 1500 pushups a day. What lessons have you learned about life, through your practice of mixed movement arts? Without trying to sound like Yoda, but here goes: I find the more you move, the more you realize the potential of everything effortless is found in the struggle from nothingness. The birth of profound moments of movement begin from an idea that your body can’t quite realize. You know there’s more, but you can’t find it with your current strength, stamina, or understanding. For this reason most people resign to doing what they already can do, nothing more. They are not disciplined or determined enough to play in area of weakness, mistakes or failure. Places where immediate successes are rare if not impossible. In short, failure is the most frequent and important action that occurs in the learning process. Learn loving to fail and you’ll have massive gains. The second most important lesson I have learned is that all movement is simple. There is no complex movement, only simple things done with such proficiency that it seems we are observing the supernatural. There are limited general variations of the human anatomy and its abilities. Therefore if any diversity occurring within movement is the result of unlimited intellectual creativity. In simple terms we are tool makers. We create objects which we build relationships with resulting in new ways we move with them, against them, or around them. Yet ultimately we are limited like any other animal by certain absolutes such as general skeletal structure, eye sight, hearing, and intelligence. Mixing movement art systems has allowed me to see
how related all movement is and how easily you can adjust to any environment with solid mixed movement fundamentals. Let’s talk animal locomotion. Although there’s been a rise in popularity of animal locomotion these days, you’ve been doing it for over a decade. Tell us about what it is and why it’s important? I have been researching and teaching animal locomotion as a part of the Budokon system for the past 15 years. After seeing my first Jiu-jitsu teacher Rickson Gracie demonstrating some calisthenics style exercises that were inspired by the work of Orlando Cani, I was curious to understand what quadrupedal movement including crawling could be used for. When I first started my inquiry I found several interesting teachers who were pioneering therapeutic movement systems based around the evolution of the spinal column from fish body to human. They were very interesting approaches and I was exposed to some brilliant movement innovators like Tom Myers and Moshi Feldenkraus. The challenge for me was that no one was teaching animal locomotion as a movement science so I had to build the work from scratch. I started with basic ideas and sketches of movement by learning how quadrupedal animals walk and run. That lead me to the Dutch primatologist and ethologist “Frans” de Waal, PhD and his incredible book “Our Inner Ape”. I was fascinated by the anatomical and intellectual changes that occurred from ape to early human including the dramatic posterior pelvic tilt allowing for bipedal locomotion. Animal locomotion matters because humans evolved from quadrupeds. Our gaits and our bipedal development are the results of a change in our environments and subsequently a change in our locomotion. So by changing the
surface or number of limbs you use to locomotive you can change the anatomy. This means you can rehabilitate people with spinal irregularities, strokes, and children with movement disabilities, not to mention recalibrate the average persons physical architecture. Your animal locomotive work is highly advanced and impressive to watch (to view it click HERE), how did you get it to that level? I move most like the animal I embody when I relate to the animals intention, attitude and behavior. Is this animal predator or prey? Is it hunting or evading? What’s the animals’ gate and can I accurately replicate it? If not how do I integrate and replicate its more general qualities like its locomotive patterns, posture or personality. Do I understand its anatomy and environment? What is your fascination behind it and what has it taught you? One might think that I was fascinated by how it looked yet I had no real examples of people walking like animals to be insured by. I had only seen four point base transitions called animal crawls which got me curious. So It really came down to imagination, observation and research. It has taught me how much I love to be on the ground and how childlike I feel when I pretend to be another animal. It most importantly taught me about the true nature of walking, because I took it for granted as a human. You’ve talked about integrated movement and how it makes you stronger, can you explain to us what it is and how it can benefit us? This work is incredibly effective for people who require motor skill therapy because it balances the very ancient relationship between the pelvic girdle and the shoulder girdle via the spine. It creates new neuro-pathways that build an intelligent relationship between the left and right brain.
Where should someone start if they have never done any locomotive work? This is a complicated question because Animal Locomotions’ current popularity is the result of a few pop culture catalysts. One was UFC phenom Connor McGregor preparing for fights with animal crawls. This really started the conversation in mass about primal movement while in some ways it continued to blur the line between education and entertainment. At Budokon University I have focused the work as a therapeutic and peak performance movement science in a way that is unique from other approaches. One can certainly argue that man has been emulating animals for a variety of reasons including combat like Kung Fu animal forms, but there has been no real investigation of animal locomotion as a therapeutic application for humans. Budokon is arguably the first complete codified style of movement involving the study and application of primal movement patterns for the restoration of the human anatomy. To answer your initial question, anyone could begin exploring quadrupedal locomotion by crawling and climbing in various ways. After
a period of time the body will adapt to the effort strengthening in general ways the limbs as well as the shoulder and pelvic girdles. If a person becomes more serious about this body of work, I encourage them to attend Budokon University for a serious education. Let’s talk Budokon. What is Budokon and where did you get the idea for it? When I first started developing the work I focused on the martial arts and yogic aspects. I developed it as a “non-classical” style suggesting that BDK is built from traditional Hatha Yoga, Japanese Karate-Do, Korean Taekwondo, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, yet without attachment to any specific style. Unlike more traditional martial arts, BDK has no fixed striking style and is focused on self defense application. As well as being a combat system it is a philosophy with guiding universal principles, specifically that all mental activity (beliefs, thoughts, consciousness) is subjective and temporary. Eventually as the animal locomotion and calisthenics curriculums developed it took
shape as a mixed movement arts system composed of 6 life sciences: Movement, Intelligence, Emotion, Relationship, Nutrition & Environment. These six pillars are taught inside of a 6 level belt ranking system: white, red, blue, purple, brown and black. Each belt level covers all 6 pillars of life sciences and progressively becomes more complex as the belts advance toward black belt. Though the movement arts curriculum is the most alluring aspect of the work it only makes up fifty percent of the students’ assessed progress. The other fifty percent is a measure of the individuals development within the remaining five pillars of mental development. What is the intention behind Budokon? Budokon is a way to self-transformation through self-observation. It is a practice designed to challenge and destroy the mental constructs we have of ourselves in order to
be free from limiting beliefs. It draws critical attention to the stories and beliefs our minds have created in order to confront and release them. The BDK physical work strengthens the body, and the mental work strengthens the mind. There is no particular intention behind the work other than wanting to contribute some goodness to other people lives, while living my life on my terms. How has Budokon evolved? It began as a personal practice that other people were drawn to and in a way, convinced me to share it on a larger scale. I don’t see the work or myself as important, but I do see us both making a difference on a larger scale then I did in the beginning. Initially I thought I would be offering a highly specialized training practice to a small number of serious movement students. I had no idea that the work would become a new style or lineage www.movermag.us
art form taught world wide. Its evolution is a reflection of how people responded to it. When you create something you have to realize that society inevitably influences your art as much as your art in turn shapes society. So it has evolved in a way that accommodates more people who are interested in it. What is Budokon University and what do you teach there? Budokon University is an international education institute devoted to the development of both professional teachers and inspired movers in the areas of life science, martial arts, yoga, animal locomotion and calisthenics. The BDK Academy in Miami is an educational institute that serves the local community by offering the BDK mixed movement arts black belt curriculum. The basic difference is that one is focused on educating teachers to share the work, and the other on developing inspired practitioners who simply want to live it. How does someone get started or involved with Budokon? If someone is interested in our training camps I would start with www.budokon.com and see what you find. If you’re local in Miami, join us at our BDK Academy in Wynwood. Our schedule is online on www.budokonacademy.com. If you want to connect immediately reach out to my wife and BDK Global Brand Director firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is your motto or philosophy for life? The way you do anything, is the way you do everything. What advice would you give to someone just starting out, who wants to become a better mover in their own bodies? Find a great teacher. Become a great student. Slow down. Fail. Listen more than you talk. Never stop. Practice, practice, practice. What would you say the benefits are to incorporating something like Budokon, or movement into someone’s life? Besides the obvious health and fitness benefits, it gives you a community to connect with, and a place to challenge your mental and physical limits. Leave us with a final thought. My favorite martial arts fable is a Chinese classic. It is a conversation between a master and his student. The student asks the master, “Would it not be more tranquil and serene to be a gardener and tend the plants?” The master replied, “Tending the garden is a relaxing pastime, but it does not prepare one for the inevitable battles of life. It is easy to be calm in a serene setting. To be calm and serene when under attack is much more difficult, so, therefore, I teach you that it is far better to be a warrior tending his garden, than a gardener at war.”
P L A Y FU L M O V E M E N T
upper body strength with antonio torres
photography by Selin Hunter â€˘
began my movement journey very young with ten years of folk-style wrestling. After wrestling, I began to explore different movement disciplines that first included; gymnastics, rock climbing, and Jiu-Jitsu. During this time I also completed my undergrad in Exercise Science. All of my learning and being exposed to different disciplines gave me a glimpse of this ‘movement freedom’ I was looking for but it was always overshadowed with the dogmatic view that this or that certain discipline was the best one. This is when I found Ido Portal and his method, through workshops, I began to develop my own method based upon that of Ido’s. This method gave me and my students usable strength, mobility, movement intelligence and more.
How long have you been training for and what does your training week look like these days? I would say I have been moving all my life. However, with a perspective of movement in mind, I have been training about 3-4 years. These days im training anywhere from 3-5 hours per day with a rest day once a week (where I only train about 2 hours). I currently have a big strength goal in mind, the one arm chinup, because of this I strength train about 5-6 times per week inside these sessions. Everyday is broken up into an AM and a PM session for the necessary recovery to perform well on all my sessions. I will typically split up my strength training into Bent Arm, Straight Arm and Lower Body sessions. With the goal of the one arm chinup all my other work has been put on maintenance mode. This maximizes the amount of time I get to spend specifically training for the OAC and does not overly fatigue me for my main goal. What should we focus on to build upper body strength? The upper body responds very well to complexity instead of intensity. Meaning
once you have achieved a good level in one movement, lets say the chinup, instead of adding reps, sets, decreasing rest, etc. you should instead move on to things like ring routines, muscle ups, one arm chinups, etc. This way of strength training works particularly well because of the common weak link in upper body movements which happens to be the scapula. The scapula does not respond well to increases in intensity, it needs to be challenged, thus we increase the complexity more than anything. This also means we keep the reps low (1-6) and the sets high (4-10). Im currently on a cycle where im doing 15-20 sets of one movement.
“The upper body responds very well to complexity instead of intensity.” What are your favorite exercises that you perform to build your upper body? My favorite tool for the upper body is the gymnastic rings, they allow so much. That being said if I had to pick only three upperbody movements I would pick one
arm chinup eccentrics, ring 360’s and press to shoulder stands. These movements can of course be regressed or progressed for the level of the person. I chose these three because they are fun to perform, highly transferable, create full body tension and require a lot from your body’s systems. Give us a typical program for building strength. Is there a rule of thumb for the frequency one should train a week and the duration per workout? A typical program I would give to a beginner would be two upper body strength sessions per week (one bent arm and one straight arm) and two lower body sessions per week. In each of these sessions I would give one pull exercise and push exercise. For example, on bent arm day I may prescribe a 5x5 chinups (pull) and a 5x5 ring dips (push). Then I would prescribe a ‘finisher’ that helps to bring blood to the area we just trained and improves recovery. For bent arm day I might give 25 reps of ‘fatman’ pullups (feet on ground) as a good finisher. Finally, I would prescribe a prehab/rehab exercise like cuban rotations (which is an excellent way to work the external rotators of the shoulder) for 3 sets of 10 to finish the workout. If someone was starting out, what is the number one piece of advice you would give them to start building strength?
Antonio Torres Movement Coach Facebook: /torresjr.antonio Instagram: @torresjr.antonio YouTube: /user/ALTtraining
A difficult question as I would want to tell them so much. If I had to give them just one piece of advice it would be to rest between sets. This sounds like an easy thing to do but when you strength train, you utilize a certain system in the body that takes anywhere from 3-5 minutes to recover. Thus, you must be resting 3-5 minutes between sets of exercises to get the most out of your session. You will be amazed at what just a few minutes of rest can do for your recovery.
How does movement play into upper body strength? Movement plays a huge role into the way that I train my upper body. I want my strength to transfer over into different practices whether that be dance, acrobatics, martial arts, etc. In order to create transferable strength, you need to challenge both the body and the mind. I do this by continuing to learn new strength patterns. This will not only increase my upper body strength but increase my neural strength as well. Now we can move in and out of our bodies with good and quality strength that will transfer to many other disciplines.
â€œIn order to create transferable strength you need to challenge both the body and the mind.â€? What are some diet tips or nutrition advice to help with strength and recovery? Assuming that you do not have any allergies or diet restrictions, one of the best things to consume post exercise is carbohydrates that are high on the glycemic index. We want to do this because we deplete insulin levels during our workout and we want to replenish them post workout. Some examples of high glycemic foods are; kiwis, apricots and figs. We also want to make sure we are consuming adequate magnesium post exercise. A lot of people are magnesium deficient so we usually have to get this from supplemented sources. I would highly recommend a form of magnesium called magnesium glycinate or chelated magnesium. This form or magnesium is the most easily absorbed. What has been the number one contributor to building your upper body strength? The number one contributor to building upper body strength for me was just doing. We can research all day, talk to friends, hire coaches to chat online (all of this is great) but if we do not continuously do, then all that research was for nothing. Do your research but do not forget to also do. Talk the talk and walk the walk.
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