Human Flag, Planche, Ballistic Training, Mobility, Active Flexibility

August 5, 2020 by VAHVA Fitness

Demonstrating the human flag, planche, core training, athletic training and mobility/flexibility with many useful exercises and instructions. Enjoy!

The world of training is diverse and you will get better at the areas you focus on. Ultimately, it's all about your goals but there are certain areas that everyone should master regardless of their interests.

Some of our core values such as health, posture and performance should matter to everyone because they have a big impact regardless of your goals and interests.

They affect everything you do from daily life to work. Training is only one part of the big picture.

This is why our programs such as Movement 20XX and Athlete 20XX have a heavy emphasis on structural balance, mobility and general strength – before you do anything else these should be addressed first.

Nothing will improve your confidence, well-being (physical and mental) and quality of life more than fixing pains/aches and fixing postural problems. Your body becomes a healthier system where everything flows the way it is supposed to.

Even performance is radically improved by fixing the weaknesses. A lot of people focus on maximal strength and all the fancy stuff before they have built the foundation.

By strengthening the foundation and fixing the weaknesses, you will improve the maximal capacity and potential in a dramatic fashion. Once a strong foundation has been built, you can progress to much higher levels than before.

foundation determines your potential in fitness

This is why we prioritize strength and mobility over everything else at first. Everyone else do the opposite: they focus on the sport-specific skills and raw strength and do everything else (such as mobility) as "accessory" work on the side. 

We think differently. We don't treat building the foundation as "accessory" work – we treat it as primary training because that is the seriousness it requires.

In the world of fitness people are also confused regarding what attributes to skill training, strength training etc. and many times people who do skill training do not realize they are training skills and not doing strength training.

Let's elaborate this further.

Skill Training

human flag training eero westerberg

Done with nearly zero specific human flag practice. A strong foundation goes a long way.

In the video, we covered several skills such as the human flag and planche but actually many other things can also be considered skill training even when they initially may not seem like it.

For example, heavy chin ups and big lifts (such as heavy back squats) are skill training if your purpose is to lift heavier and heavier.

Although the form matters, it becomes secondary to the set external standard (how much you can lift). In fact, the external form and the external standards are what matter – not the internal effects. 

In pure strength training, the weight and repetitions lose their importance. Everything becomes about properly stimulating the muscles for maximal growth. Methodology (how you do it) becomes more important than what you do.

You don't care about how much you lift anymore, you care about how you engage the muscles with the form and mind-muscle connection that precisely targets and develops the muscle or athletic attribute of the body.

This form of strength training has the best crossover to every other area because it's not dependent on the specific domain.

Skill training does have transference but it's not optimal. Heavy chin ups will make you stronger and more capable but so does grinding the takedowns of Greco-Roman wrestling.

Arm wrestling will make your biceps, shoulders and lats stronger as well (at least on one side) but it's not a smart way to improve your performance universally across the board.

More info (long, extremely detailed article!):

The great thing about pure strength training is that it will improve your universal ability and will dramatically enhance your ability to learn new skills. After building a proper foundation, you may be able to do skills without practice or you will learn them surprisingly fast.

For example, take a well-rounded athlete and put the person in any other sport or art. He or she will be able learn significantly faster than everyone else even with zero prior background in the specific skillset.

Likewise, when you learn to control the body as we do, your body and mind are well equipped to learn anything new and can quickly adapt to a new environment.

Is skill training bad? No, it's not but it's important to have a clear distinction between proper strength training and skill training.

Skill training is very beneficial to develop overall coordination, body control and movement ability. For example, Movement 20XX is a mix of skill training and strength training. Athlete 20XX is 100% strength training.

Ballistic Athletic Training

ballistic athletic training workout

The purpose of ballistic training is to make the body and the muscles ready for constant athletic movements that are dynamic. You need to develop elasticity and strength endurance.

We covered this a lot in the last video and article:

Although there are sports like Olympic Weightlifting where everything is about a single maximal repetition, most sports are not like this.

In most sports you have to be able to perform for long periods of time at the highest level possible. If you only have power for 1-3 repetitions, then you are out of luck on the field or in the cage/ring.

Both are important. It's crucial to have maximal strength and power but it's equally important to be able to sustain this for long periods of time without the loss of performance (efficiency). 

In Phase 3 of Athlete 20XX we cover the power and speed training extensively. Warrior 20XX on the other hand is all about conditioning and strength endurance.

Mobility & Active Flexibility

active flexibility hip flexors movement20xx movement 20xx

To heal and restore the body, you need mobility training. There are many types of mobility training and not just one is necessarily sufficient.

Recommended reading:

For example, in Movement 20XX we cover two types of specific mobility training:

  • Active Flexibility - active flexibility works like this: you first stretch the muscle and then contract the muscle in its lengthened (stretched) end-range to build strength in the newly discovered range of motion.
  • Active Tension - in active tension mobility you are not stretching the muscle, but you are actively contracting the muscle in its shortened end-range of motion.

This may sound complicated but active tension means building mobility without stretching the muscle. In active flexibility we stretch the muscle and then build strength in the stretched range of motion. We consider this a superior way to increase flexibility.

The best part of Movement 20XX is that you only need to follow the instructions and not understand anything on a deeper level (unless you want to).

In Morning Routine 20XX we also cover joint mobility which is all about lubricating the joints.

It's also important to realize that with proper methodology even regular exercises become great exercises to build mobility.

For example, in Athlete 20XX we don't do any specific "mobility training" but due to the high level methodology all the regular exercises of Phase 1 and Phase 2 build mobility as a side product and phenomenally well actually.

We consider active tension and Athlete 20XX style of mobility far superior to most mobility training. The fitness landscape likes to focus on the extremes and end-ranges when in reality it's far more important to have strength and mobility in the range of motion you currently have.

In fact, too much flexibility without sufficient levels of mobility can lead to injuries and frail structures.

Bringing it All Together

The world of movement and fitness is very vast and immense.

But it doesn't have to be complicated. Some people like to learn all the details and processes behind everything – our programs will teach a lot in this regard but knowing everything is not necessary for making progress.

For making progress, you need to trust the process and the program. Next, it's all about working hard consistently. In our programs, nothing is by mistake and although everything doesn't make sense initially, later the results should surprise you.

For example, at first glance Athlete 20XX doesn't look overly difficult. After actually doing the program people are genuinely surprised and amazed how difficult the exercises can become once you apply the right methodology.

You may have noticed that we are not following the standard route. This is because the gimmicks, ego and showing off didn't match our philosophy and ultimately it didn't match our goals.

We still have big goals for ourselves in our physical development and in sports such as MMA (Mixed Martial Arts). To succeed, we needed training that eliminated all the BS and focused on the essentials that produced the best results.

All of our programs are the result of different phases in our training journey. Just like they have helped us, they will also help you.

To your success,

Team of VAHVA Fitness

ballistic trainingeero westerberg

samuli jyrkinen

About the author 

Samuli Jyrkinen

Samuli is the ninja behind the scenes (photography, videography, websites, program platforms and more). He has been training religiously for over a decade and has a firm grasp of physical and mental fitness. You will find our story here.

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