Movement in water protocol

Movement in water protocol

Water is the most widespread element on earth, and it wouldn’t make sense for a movement practice not to consider that. Here are a few points that I use as foundational in my reasoning to why I wish to have it as part of the projects of my school.

Why movement in water?

Availability

It widely responds to the availability principle and makes an immersion into this body of work possible for everyone at any time. Multiple swimming pools are present in most cities on earth, often at low prices. When travelling or on holidays we can end up close to rivers, lakes, sea, ocean and take advantage of those. To not use the opportunity but search for a gym to practice in those occasions is diabolic to say the least: we have to embrace the habit to use what’s there. On top of it the gear needed to get started is minimal: goggles, swimming suit and you are ready to go.

Spring sourcing

Another interesting facet of this material is that it addresses our root environment. Knowing that our own form and structure has heritages in those realms is very important not only “romantically” but practically. From an evolutionary perspective in fact, no part of us is ever cancelled but rather, it gets specialized, refined, and differentiated. So, both on the level of sensory intake and motor control there is a lot to take there. It allows us to apply and cross test qualities like sequencing movements to produce thrusts and drives, simultaneous concertation of body parts to float and turn, continuous coordination to ensure smooth slipping through the water, leveraging of hard-wired reflexes to achieve deep states of relaxation and nervous system rebalance. And the same systems are used in a variety of other settings.

Accountability and progress

Unless you learn how to sense it right, scoop it correctly, lengthen through it, develop your skills in accordance with it, water will simply sink you down as it would with solid rock: I like that accountability! Risk is the best technology for learning. Being always too safe leads to minimal progress. These controllable threats are important mediums that allow us to deal with the various faces of fear, and therefore help us understand how to manage it when it comes visit our life: making it not an unsurmountable problem but a necessary hurdle to overcome with calm understanding. Fear from oxygen deprivation in particular is a big one: both within the single session and long term. It continues to hunt us throughout our life even if many are unaware of it. Many times, undifferentiated forms of anxiety and distress emerge from low levels of CO2 tolerance, overly tuned sympathetic nervous system and wrong breathing mechanics – all this is addressed in progressive underwater immersions. On the other hand, fear of falling in acrobatics maneuvers can be addressed more easily than on the ground, since the consequences of failing a small dive are lower than on a hard surface.

Complexity

We spend most of our days anchored to the ground. That means that a lot of whole-body movements are greatly limited in terms of degrees of freedom. It is possible to take off and leap in the air, but gravity places an intense constraint and airtime is always minimal. Hence complex stochastic motions and combinations of rotations on various planes are limited.
This problem is nonexistent in water, since it’s a denser fluid we can just float in it and study all our possible changes of configurations as if we were in absence of external forces acting on us. The variety of skills learned, the better retuned vestibular system, the understanding of proprioception in inverted positions will all transfer to land. At the end of the day, the settings may change, but you are always with yourself. So do things right and smartly and you will be able to continue your same investigation and growth in different paths of the same forest.

Now, let’s get to practice. 

Water protocol 1

 

 

A. Dives x 10 dives each

A1. Forward
A2. Sideways
A3. Backwards 

Goal. Taking off the standing variation. Focus on being able to enter the water without losing your shape – don’t splash and thrash. 

B. Floating drills x 1-2 minutes x 3 macro sets / rest 1 minute after each round

B1. Scissors
B2. Straddles
B3. Egg beater

Goal. Working with 2 minutes each without the use of the arms. 

C. Navigation styles x 20-40 strokes per type / rest 1.5 min after each round

C1. Crocodile arms
C2. Crocodile legs
C3. Crocodile style

C4. Dolphin arms
C5. Dolphin legs
C6. Dolphin style

Goal. Demonstrate proficiency in the crocodile and dolphin variation, clear thrust, and recovery phase. Working with 40 reps totals each and at least 10 in each subset.

See down here for a visual reference of the exercises:

That, it for today. Wish you to float in your days smart as a dolphin and wise as a whale!

Until next time,

Marcello.

 

Kip protocol 1

Kip protocol 1

A kip is a quick wave-like impulse that utilizes the elastic response of the fascia to generate a sudden acceleration in the body. In detail, it is produced by a concert of actions that occur in fast succession, and involve a kick, followed by a change of the convex/concave shape of the torso. If the motion is performed correctly the body is pulled up as per an invisible sling in the direction of the chosen trajectory of motion.

Notice: the stretch alone will not produce any elastic return, however, if the elongation happens against the firm resistance of the active components of the tissues, then a stretch shortening cycle will be produced and the shape recoiled. 

The nervous system has a certain degree of resistance to this mechanism and as it senses a strong stretch it will inhibit action. The only way around this problem is to practice consistently on the edge of your elastic capacities. No “strength or mobility training” will get you there alone. Specific time should be allocated in nurturing this capability of the body.

Since kips are at the base of any acrobatic manoeuvre, here’s a protocol to get you started:

Kip protocol


A.
Manna kip

Dive back into a manna, pushing your hips as high as possible in line with the shoulders or beyond. Use the elastic response of the rear fascia, running behind the stretched back to the hyperextended arms to bounce you forward. Land in a reverse hinge and in control. 

Before going for the full variation make sure these two are addressed, otherwise, start here: 

Regression 1 (easier): Table to sissy up
Regression 2 (harder): Manna kip to table to sissy up

Goal. Showing correct chambering of the legs over the vertical hyperextended arms, sharp slingshot, and light exit in a reverse hinge.

B. Handstand back entry kip 

Gather your legs to the chest as you roll on your back, then explode upwards into a handstand. Use the coiling-uncoiling of the back fascia to push you upwards and careful not to distort the shape as you push yourself up. Maintain a semi vertical and clear trajectory. Before going for the full variation make sure these two are addressed, otherwise, start here: 

Regression 1 (easier): headstand to handstand kip
Regression 2 (harder): back roll to handstand 

Goal. Reach out to the handstand with a sharp trajectory and clean gestures. 

C. Side Roundoff

Perform a side cartwheel. As you are 1/3 in the motion, load the inner slings of your back leg, the side of the torso and slightly bend your arms. Release the spring upwards in a semicircular trajectory. Land with both feet together and in control. Before going for the full variation make sure these two are addressed, otherwise, start here: 

Regression 1 (easier): Cartwheel quick side raise
Regression 2 (harder): Cartwheel double hop
 

Goal. Show clear understanding of the side kip mechanics, and hip to head catenary behavior.

D. Lying kip

Gather your legs to the chest as you roll on your back, then explode upwards into an arch. Quickly gather yourself back together as you maintain a lengthening sensation across the system. The concave to convex motion is what makes the magic. Before going for the full variation make sure these two are addressed, otherwise, start here:  

Regression 1 (easier): Lying to bridge to standing
Regression 2 (harder): Lying kip to squat – one arm assist

Goal. Perform the kip up with trained explosive expertise and reach a standing posture without ever closing the hips once opened.

E. Handstand kip 

Kick up into a handstand. From there arch your back and load your front fascial line. To do so, it is not enough to stretch it, but the elongation should be resisted with a strong contraction. Suddenly release the sling explosively to then shoot yourself back towards a standing position. Notice how the chance between convex to concave is the engine of the motion and there is no axial kicking involved in it.

Before going for the full variation make sure these two are addressed, otherwise, start here: 

Regression 1 (easier): Push up kip
R
egression 2 (harder):
Worm kip

Goal. Replace the hands with the feet (or beyond) in every repetition.
 

Here’s the visual references to the exercises:

That, it for today. Wish you elasticity in choices, body and life!

Until next time,

Marcello.

Bars – hanging & brachiation protocol

Bars – hanging & brachiation protocol

Today we will dive into a few ideas of more advanced hanging and brachiations.

Before we dive in, here’s a few clarifications:

1. These types of suspensions, where various parts of the body are used, are useful to design a wider base of work out of which one can then create riddles to availabilities in the body. On top of it, like the single pole and walls material, they increase grappling strength and facilitate the use of force not culminating nor originating from the very end of the extremities.

  1. The term ricochetal means to produce a subsequent series of hops and it is used to describe the first types of brachiation shown in the program. The second type, instead, are of the continuous contact family and do not include any airtime. 

    Now onwards with the protocol:

A1. Bilateral ricochetal wriggle
A2. Bilateral ricochetal reverse thrust

A1-A2 x 5-15 sec x 2 sets each side. Note. It can be done stationary if one has little space.

Goal. Working x 15 sec each set and with good coordination dynamics of the motions.

B. The guillotine pull up x 2-6 consecutive reps (alternating sides) x 3 sets.

Regression. it can be done with two arms together in a supinated grip, without ever releasing the bar.

Goal. Working with a 6×3 scheme

C. The Ateles routine

C1. One arm cubital hang
C2. One arm armpit hang
C3. One leg popliteus hang
C4. One arm yaniro hang

Perform C1-C4 in a sequence without ever coming down of the bar x 3-5 sets holding each position for 3-6 seconds. 3’ rest.

Goal. Working with 5 sets x 6 secs hold each position.

D1. Brachiation back cross
D2. Brachiation front cross

D1/D2 x 12 reps x 3 sets. Rest as needed.

Goal. Working with 12 reps with a correct coordination.

E. Lemniscate inside switch x 3-6 reps x 3 sets

Goal. Working with 6 reps and with a correct coordination.

Here’s the visual references to the exercises:

That’s it for today’s earth day! Enjoy its fruits and the vast interactions, take good care of you and of your surrounding environment – we are one, and wouldn’t be here without it.

Until next time,
Marcello.

Walls Riddles protocol – intro

Walls Riddles protocol – intro

Two notes and considerations before we start

1. Availability principle

I started developing this body of materials a few years back making climbing match what I call “the availability principle”. That is, I want my practice to become accessible in my everyday living. 

I love to climb mountains, boulders, or sometimes beautiful intricate city settings don’t get me wrong, but while traveling these places were often impossible to find, or difficult to reach.

Therefore, I have decided to add complexity to a simple and ever-present tool: the wall.

In most cases what we lack is knowhow and understanding, nor specific situations.

2. Prerequisites

This wall work cannot and shouldn’t be started from scratch.

I start to approach riddles after six months of developing specific strength and prehab with my students.

Before you go into them, I can recommend reaching minimum the following goals:

– Wall hang – three phalanges grip x 90 seconds
 
– Wall hang – one arm three phalanges grip x 10 seconds
– False grip wall climb-ups x 4 consecutive reps 
– Ability to lift the legs to 90° in every direction
– Wall straight arms side traverse in a cat position x 10 step back and forth without coming down
– Jumping into a cat position x 3 reps (the wall should measure around your stature in height and in distance) 

Walls riddle introduction protocol

A. Dynamic entries 

A1. Jump into a chakma x 5/5 reps
A2. Jump into a reverse cat x 10-15 reps
A3. Jump into spider x 5-10 reps

Goal. A1. Increasing by 2 feet in distance the take-off position. A2-A3 reaching the full max ranges of reps without mistakes.

B. Traversing based

B1. Pendulum traverse x 3-6 reps both sides x 2 sets
B2. Cubital 360 traverse x 3-6 reps both sides x 2 sets (use long sleeves or pay the price)

Goal. Reaching max ranges and flawless transitions.

C. Mantles

C1. Inside yaniro mantle x 3 singles both sides
C2. Outside yaniro mantle x 3 singles both sides

Goal. Improve smoothness of ascent and quality of arrival.

D. Figures

D1. Outside yaniro roll x 10 minutes of work
D2. Babylonia x 15 minutes of work, alternating sides

Goal. Performing the full elements at least 2 full reps per side per type within the time frame.

Here’s the visual references to the exercises:

That’s it for today. More ideas coming your way soon on my way and perspective. In the hope it will serve you highly and …well!

Until next time!
Marcello.

 

 

Single pole protocol – intro

Single pole protocol – intro

A. Entries

A1. Reverse belly peacock entry
A2. Reverse back leg grip entry
A3. Side handstand press entry

A1/A3 x 6-10 reps each

Goal. Working with 10 reps each – show flawless transition

Mounts

B1. Monkey to crane mount
B2. Pistol to crane mount
B3. Kip to crane mount

B1/B3 AMRAP x 3 mins each

Goal. Working with >25 reps within the given time frame

Balance

C1. The frontal clock
C2. The horizontal clock

C1/C2 x 10-20 correct reps x 2 sets each

Goal. 20 reps with a quiet body and silent standing foot

Strength OKC

D1. LLHL holds – front
D2. LLHL holds – side
D3. LLHL holds – back

D1/D3 x 3 clusters of 5-10 seconds 1:1 rest: work x 2 sets per type

Goal. Working with 10 secs and show a visible increase of holding height

Strength CKC

E1. Single pole neutral OLS x 3-8 reps x 5 sets
E2. The plow x 8-15 singles
E3. Single pole climb ups x AMRAP x 10 mins

Regressions: E1. Free foot on top of the other E2. Bottom foot on the ground E3. Eccentrics or pull ups/dips

Goal. E1 x 8 reps; E2 x 15 singles; E3 x 1/3 increase from the start

Here’s the visual references to the exercises:

Use this protocol to increase motor wits, intrinsic lower limbs strength, grappling force production, and retune balancing systems.

Until next time,
Marcello.

How to face an endurance based challenge

How to face an endurance based challenge

I have been asked many times about a protocol to apply during an endurance-based movement challenge. So here is one of my favorites that can be used in a wide range of situations: from a long swim to a run, to a max isometric position hold to a hang, from a climb to a long balancing bout, from height to cold exposure and …well you get it.

Let’s get into it:

 

Preparatory stage

 

First step, rehearse

Don’t visualize far lands, but study what you are about to face. 

Make sure you rehearse in your mind’s eye what will be needed from you. Understand exactly what the hard bits of the challenge are going to be, what crux you are going to have to face, which weak links are going to come knocking at your door. What will be under your control and what not. Which strategies you are going to have to apply, how to optimize hand / feet placement, which coordination to use. Understand what will most likely work and try it out in smaller chunks where and if possible. You want to leave the least amount of unknowns hanging around in your near future. To conclude, give yourself positive reinforcement. Bring your mind to those past experiences that built your skills, have full trust in your preparatory training, check in and self-talk to your inner core to reassure yourself about success. There should be no doubts left at the end of this process, your mind should feel steady like the fire of a candle without wind blowing on it.

Once this is done (and trust me, take all the time you need with this) move on and put this all aside.

Second, achieve relaxation

In the moments before the storm, you want to create stability.

You need to have a replicable set up, a home base. A situation where everything is under control and can be achievable every single time. Start from generating a pattern of breathing that will set a carbon dioxide baseline, gather nitric oxide, lower your heart rate and balance your nervous system. I recommend going for a continuous 1:2 / inhale:exhale without any pause in between. It has to create very little air hunger, but no discomfort. Slow down the breath to 6 breaths a minute or less. You want it to be diaphragmatic alone and take the air in through the nose. Make it non-forced, light, with a slow cadence, and deep (80% of max). At the end of this process, you want your body to be in a deep hybrid state, alert and ready, but at the same time but with a slow pounding heart. Your mind should feel calm, empty, steady, sharp, and determined. As per Zen saying you should feel like you stopped stirring the “mud in the cup”, and that the water in it clears up.

Action

Third, focused attention

Get the engine going, don’t allow your stress levels to rise.

The best way to do this is to direct your attention to all the microscopic actions you are sequencing and their response over the body. Be a perfectionist, moment after moment. 
I.e. Did you just enter cold water? Feel the effect over your body. How did it respond to it? what is happening to your breath? which sensations are raising or falling inside your system? Just be with whatever comes, without acting on them.
Or another example: did you just start a climb? How do your holds feel? Is your body tensing up excessively? Can you place your next step softly? Can you feel your connection run through your system?
Take all the information in, then decide how to act, from a clean place.

Never allow yourself to wonder on the ifs, on what will come next, or on what could go wrong.
That pertained to a previous stage. Stay grounded in the present.

Fourth, cold blood

Start cruising steady, focus, and get ready for the emergencies. 

Breathing shall remain soft, slow, and with a slightly longer exhalation than the in.halation. I.e. 2 in 3 out. In case you encounter a harder situation to manage I recommend switching to a 1:1 in:out ratio, with the inhalation coming in through the nose and the exhalation coming out of your pursed lips. Make it strong and sharp. This regular rhythm helps setting the pace of your actions and gives a firm clarity of intention.

Once the hard moment is concluded, go back to your “cruising mode” to calm yourself down once again.

Fifth, conclude with style

Maintain elegance in the end, regardless of how tired or shocked you are.

Don’t drop down like a sack of meat. Come out of it with grace. Make every step soft and attentive. If you feel you can’t control yourself anymore because you reached your limit, remember you most likely still can. Even fainting can be done with style (I saw it happen). Acknowledge how fatigue stirs your actions towards sloppiness and how it pull the hand break over your system. This is a protection mechanism but you don’t have to follow it; it’s just some laziness coming to visit.

Ask yourself, can I still walk upright? Can I still maintain touch? Can I still keep my back straight? If so why wouldn’t I?

The aftermath

Sixth, Recovery and download

This is your time to absorb the experience and upgrade.

Take three recovery breaths with a small hook at the top: inhale deeply from the diaphragm then wide to the side into the intercostals, then the chest, once full pause a couple of seconds, exhale deeply and empty completely. Then take a few moments to observe your state, what went on and download all that just happened.
Only then address the people around you, the situation, and the rest of the reality around of you. Give time and respect where it is due.

Good luck on all the findings, challenges and experimentations. May your hearts be calm, your minds be focused and your lungs be steady.

Until next time,
Marcello.