First session involved a compilation of new exercises, Luigi had me playing around with the gymnastics rings, it was great! I loved it! This session was very tough as always (haha) but every session I do feel stronger! Luigi makes every session more challenging to really challenge me and make me stronger.. he says “The reps don’t get easier you just get stronger!”. The session was focused on mobility, core and strength. I left the session feeling very satisfied and happy with my performance, I managed to make my first move on the rings – thanks to the confidence that Luigi instilled in me.
The session started with mobility exercises. Some of the routines were similar, physical preparation, prepping the shoulders and stretching my back, shoulders and arms to prep for the training. Today I did 10 repetitions of each exercise, which were combined based on the Cat and Camel, Rocking Cat and Seal, Wall angel, Supine shoulder dislocates with assisted resistance banded work and a combination of Downward dog and tip top planche holds.
The workouts mainly focused on core exercises to help build up a stable base for a strong foundation to take it to the next level. We started with Beast static hold, I managed to complete 3 rounds with the maximum time to failure. To perform this exercise, put both knees, hands on the ground, keeping both shoulder width apart, make sure your head stays neutral no juking of the neck, always making sure to keep protraction in the spinal column, from this position. Press your toes firmly on the ground, hands pressing from on the spot, keeping your knees in a 90 degree bend; pressing from your hands and feet is crucial for whole body tension, creating that optimal table top position. Contract your core tight, keeping the body engaged without losing the form through a horizontal position, hold that position for maximum time and see what you can managed (see the picture below). This exercise is a killer, no wonder why it is called “beast”… first round I hold for 1 minute and 30 seconds. I tried to push myself and I did 2 minutes in the second round and 2 minutes and 3 seconds in the third one. I always try to give my max effort in every exercise I perform and try to challenge myself, bringing the best version of myself to every session. I love challenging myself to beat my own record and these kind of exercises that have few rounds are the best one as you will be more tired in the second, third, fourth round… so you can see how much you actually can push yourself harder… it is all in your mind so make the best of it!
Next exercise was a variation of hollow body holds leading up to 1 minute holds for each position as demonstrated in the pictures below. The first position was hollow body tuck with the legs in 90 degrees position, holding a stick – imagining your drawing that stick forward from your knees to your shoe lace; the second round was with 1/2 leg extended tuck extending one leg out and keeping one at a in 90 degree angle, then alternating with the opposite leg (without touching the floor and keeping total contraction through the abs, making sure there is no arch in the body); the third round was the full hollow body hold: both legs extended out in front of you, maintaining a hollow throughout your entire body. All of these exercises are amazing to develop your core, it makes stronger and it takes to the next level. If you find any of these exercises to hard, try starting with less time; all regressed it to a more manageable form, as it is hard starting with your one rep max to soon burn out to fast, fatigue quicker, better to then build it up for longer keeping the quality rather than the quantity.
Then we moved to the fun part of the session: the rings! Today was the first time I tried the rings and practised a few hanging exercises. Luigi said the rings were the best piece of equipment for building upper body strength. I really enjoyed this part of the session and I want to get good at it, initially my goal is to get into the back lever position, which is a hard element in gymnastics. In the beginning was difficult to find the balance, as the rings require stabilisers – as well as strength from the core to the arms – but Luigi was always reminding me to keep the core engaged and guided me the correct way for each exercise.
Then Luigi had me to do a triset for core. Wow, that was a killer! First, I started with 1 minute hollow body hold with straight legs as in the beginning of the session, but this time it was harder as I also had to hold the stick. Then, I went to plank position and Luigi put 2 kettlebell of 8 kg, 16 kg total with resistance band… that was scary! I thought he was joking when he pointed the kettlebells but I managed to hold the plank with the weight and I actually got very surprised (haha), I didn’t expect I could hold that much. Finally the last exercise from the trust combination was the L handstand hold, it was also difficult, but easier in the first round and tough in the second one. All this were 1 minute for each exercise without rest among them, in a total of 2 rounds. After this, I did the finisher: walking sliders 5 meters forward and 5 meters backwards, also 2 rounds. The session was very tough and I loved it!
Cat + Camel
Rocking Cat + Seal
Wall angel (10 reps)
Supine shoulder dislocates (10 reps) (assisted resistance)
Downward dog + “planche”
Beast 3 rounds max time
Hollow body hold 1 minute