strength training – hanging V-sit and variations

Yet another excellent article by Christopher Sommer on the DragonDoor website.

Click thumbnail photo for larger image.

hanging-V.jpgThis post details the correct stages of development of leg raises, also called hanging leg lifts.

For gymnastics coaches, this strength development is essential, especially helpful for beginners learning “kip”.

I’ve had good success spotting hanging L-sit, hanging V-sit, as well as leg raises. (Ensure the knees stay straight throughout.) Progress can come astonishingly quickly for some kids.

see Chris’ full article with excellent photo illustrations

Christopher Sommer is the men’s head coach at the Dessert Devil Gymnastics National Team Training Center in Mesa, Arizona and has one of the premiere men’s gymnastics programs in the United States. He’s also been training female gymnasts, Navy SEALS, Air Force Para Rescue, undercover DEA, Hostage Rescue and FBI among others.

video – trampoline – Adam Menzies

I thought I’d seen everything there was to be done on and off a trampoline.

Here Adam Menzies from BC, Canada shows some variations I’d never seen.

Click PLAY or watch the video on YouTube.

outdated Bio

Gymnastics: Menzies to join legendary Cirque du Soleil – Advance News

What’s Adam doing right now? The GetOudoors blog says: Adam Menzies Should Have Been A Snowboarder

gymnast – Brandon O’Neill

brandon-IG.jpgUPDATE: Brandon’s coach Liang Cheng was awarded the Petro-Canada Coaching Excellence Award. Congratulations.

UPDATE: Brandon finished an impressive 3rd behind Dragulescu and Jotchev in a four apparatus one-day competition.

Brandon took the silver on Floor at the last World Championships. But this judge ranked him #1 — after a couple of video reviews.

He is one of the cleanest, most artistic working today. Nice to see him featured on the Canadian supplement of International Gymnast magazine. Thanks George, for sending it to me.

Brandon O’Neill Gymnastics Canada profile

Icer Air 2006 – report

UPDATE: Riders and Skiers Weigh In On Icer Air Safety Issues

How do they get insurance for these big snow ramps?

The ski ramp itself was pretty impressive, about 160 feet high with the approach ramp starting at the scoreboard. Pretty hairy landing, one mistake sending you into the side of the ramp over wood steps into a barrier. Whoever put up the jump wasn’t thinking much about safety. Though I didn’t see any bad crashes, one of the women evidently crashed hard into the wooden steps and another fell before the kicker lip into a net, causing the women’s competition to be cancelled. The men’s competition was also hampered by the bad conditions of the snow (think skiing on a slurpee) melting under the hot sun. It was hard to get enough speed to pull off anything huge, but they did a good job with what they had. Regardless, for $10 this was a great show.

Get Outdoors – Icer Air 2006 Results – Outdoor Blog


video – Marcela Lopez – Aerobic Gymnastics

The 2006 Women’s Individual World Champion in Aerobic Gymnastics is Marcela Lopez of Brazil.

I am always blown away by this sport. The extreme fitness and high energy is impressive. And what is about Brazil that they develop so many high level acrobatic athletes?

competition photos – Volker Minkus, FIG

Click PLAY to see Marcela’s routine in finals or watch it on YouTube.

Interview with Marcela Lopez (ML) who trains about 25hrs / week:

IAF HQ: Tell us about your exercise history …

ML: “I have always practiced many sports, for example: from age four to seven years old, I was part of a group called COD (a groups of sport orientation) where I basically initiated my “sportive” life.

I learned a little about everything related to sports. From age seven to 10, I practiced classical ballet , jazz dance, and rhythmic gymnastics (GR), in addition to the sports played in school like volleyball and handball.

Since the age of 10, I found myself in aerobics. It was then that I quit rhythmic gymnastics; however, I continued with ballet and with jazz dance. At age 14, I stopped jazz and graduated from ballet. I stopped ballet at age 15, but I today I continue dancing in shows and presentations.

I later I got into “Capoeira”, a sport that I practise until today along with the sportaerobics.”

read the full interview – IAF Sport Aerobics

video – Cirque du Soleil audition

My friend Marceline Goldstein ran the recent audition in Orlando, Florida.

… 16 hopefuls spent all day Tuesday showing off strength and flexibility skills, acrobatic skills (i.e. handstands), explosive power (i.e. flips), rope climbing, chin-ups, tumbling and trampoline work.

The day began with Goldstein asking the acrobats to demonstrate basic skills, such as cartwheels, backbends and front and back handsprings.

Watching closely was Matthew Sparks, head coach and dance captain at La Nouba in Downtown Disney.

“So far, I think there’s some good candidates,” he said. “Not just for ‘La Nouba.’ ”

But more than athletes, Cirque looks for artists, Sparks said.

For instance, take Krystian Sawicki of Poland. He portrays Titan, the swaggering strong man at “La Nouba.” Sawicki was an award-winning trampoline competitor. When he came to “La Nouba” in the role of Titan, he made it bigger than life.

“He’s not just an acrobat,” Sparks said. “He’s an artist. That’s what makes it Cirque du Soleil. People take it to a different level.”

Gymnasts give Cirque auditions a try – Florida Today

The newspaper also posted a video clip which provides a peek into the audition process.

I observed two other auditions recently in Las Vegas: acrobatic and “circus” run by Dana Brass. And I learned a lot.

Select high level acrobatic athletes are invited based on videos submitted to the company. With over 700 artists currently performing, and new shows in creation, Cirque is always looking for “talent”.

But what is talent?

I learned that you need extreme physical fitness to be considered. Best-in-the-world level strength or flexibility. Artistry is critical too. Great form and line. Showmanship is valuable. You should be one who likes to be on stage.

attempting 1-arm chin-up — photo by Craig Bailey

Unusual body types have always found a place in the circus. Very small acrobats are in demand. And very strong men and women.

Most hired are age-18-and-older, but younger athletes are sometimes invited to get them into the “system” for future consideration.

Tumbling specialists should be training double double, or preferably Miller, though most artists need basic tumbling.

It’s always best if the coach makes first contact with Cirque. If you have an athlete who might be interested, check the Cirque casting web pages.

Or check this list: Urgent Openings | Year-Round Casting.

It’s impossible to keep such a list completely up-to-date. Specialists on bars, horizontal bar and in-line skaters are currently being auditioned, as well.

congratulations Andrei Rodionenko

rodionenko_port04.jpgLeonid Arkaev was the demigod of Russian gymnastics for 22 years. His successor, you could say, was Andrei Rodionenko.

Now, 18-months-later, it looks like a good move.

Andre is an important reason for the positive turnaround in Russian gymnastics. In the distant Soviet past Rodionenko worked with both the Men and Women’s National Teams.

He is back in a leadership position there after stints in Western Australia and Canada.

And Russia is back in contention at World Championships. The Russian Women were 3rd, the Russian Men 2nd.

Now — can they contend in 2008?

Russia has many problems. But we wish them well.

Adam Wong – nice guys finish first

wong.jpgphoto – Grace Chiu

A shout out to Adam Wong for his 9th place at World Championships. That’s a first (a best ever) for a Canadian in the All-Around at Worlds, ahead of the great Philip Delesalle who finished 12th in 1979.

It was a pleasure to watch Adam hit 6 for 6 in finals on Canadian TV this afternoon.

I’ve watched Adam’s steady career from the start. He was well trained by Mark Van Wyk who helped him qualify unexpectedly, I thought, for the Athens Olympics. Two years later he is one of the best in the world, now under personal coach Bin Fan at Calgary Gymnastics Centre.

Adam is a good student, a coach of younger kids, a pleasure to have in the gym. (Now if only someone would buy him some matching socks for training.)

It’s true that some of the top gymnasts — Dragulescu for example — did not compete all-around. It may be that we cannot compare gymnasts under the new code with those who competed under the 10.0 maximum code. Or those who competed 12 routines, compulsory and optional.

But there is a reason the All-Arounder is becoming an endangered species. Under these rules it is increasingly difficult to compete all six. I congratulate Adam and all the others who are well rounded enough athletes to do so at Worlds.