Jujimufu, aka Jon Call, is no stranger to taking on workouts that and fitness challenges that hurt, but he steps well and truly out of his comfort zone (literally) in his latest video with YouTube co-creator Tom Boyden: the pair take on a series of conditioning exercises practiced by professional gymnasts, with the help of expert coaches Yuri and Scott.
Just a quick note before diving in: If you want to take on these exercises on your own, make sure that you’re in a gym with lots of mats and padding to brace your inevitable falls. Better yet, don’t try most of these maneuvers without an experienced coach to give you pointers. Gymnastics isn’t inherently dangerous—but trying too much, too soon in the wrong venue without proper instruction can be.
The first move is a handstand pressback. It’s like doing a regular handstand against a wall, except… not really. Juji and Tom back up into this handstand on their hands rather than kicking up into it, so that they are facing the wall when vertical. The aim is to get as high and as flat against the wall as possible, and then walk with your hands back down, and take one hand off the floor.
Juji immediately struggles to support his body weight of 200-plus pounds in this move, but once you’ve mastered it, Yuri says you can test your stability by hitting the arm you’re standing on. Two additional ways to make it harder are to bend your elbows or widen the stance of your arms, “which makes it a much heavier movement.”
Next up is a series of moves on bars which train your abs and quads: transitioning from an L-sit to a tuck planche to a one arm L-straddle. “If you do anything fast or violently on one arm, it’s really hard to control,” says Scott. He advises keeping your arms as locked as possible when shifting from one position to the next, to create maximum compression in the abs. He adds that extending your legs acts as a counterbalance: “You can tuck and still maintain the same position, but if they’re out, it’s a little less heavy on your wrist.”
The third exercise is a planche pushup progression. For this variation on a pushup, start on your knees with your hands spread on the floor at your sides, then using your arms, raise your legs off the floor. “Keep the arms straight,” says Yuri, “the goal is to not collapse at all from the shoulders or the upper body.”
Scott then teaches Juji how to do a wrist pushup. “This is both a stretch and a conditioning exercise that really, really sucks, and you want to do pretty sparingly, like two or three times a week, a few sets and that’s it,” says Scott. “If you do any more, you just feel like you have perpetual carpal tunnel and you’re getting nowhere.”
For this highly uncomfortable move, you get into a pushup position, but instead of laying your hands flat, you place them palm up, facing inwards. Juji tries this on his knees instead of going full pushup, something which Scott recommends to build up strength.
After that, Yuri takes the boys to the rings, for the gymnastic equivalent of a lat pulldown, the aim of which is to lift and pivot your entire body weight while maintaining the same tensed body position, and a shoulder rotation which “feels like your chest is being torn.” Fun!
Finally comes the meat hook. A standard conditioning exercise for aerialists, the meat hook involves hanging from a bar and folding your body around one arm while extending the other, so you literally look like meat hanging from a hook in a butcher… This is technically a fail, as Juji and Tom both need a little help from Scott getting into position for this one.
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