Sweet heavens, ya’ll better be glad I don’t use a Swear Jar during class – you’d be broke and I’d be a millionaire. What move is most swear-worthy? When do I hear the grunts, groans, and colorful metaphors galore? Whether you call them inverts, straddle-backs, or demented flying monkey swings, it’s tough to get that crisp, tight, straight-legged straddle we’re aiming for – slightly bent legs, droopy tushies, and funky feet can make it feel like we’ll never get there. Take heart, Dear Danglers – help is on the way!
Anatomy of a Sassy Straddle
There are several “pillars” of aerial work – pull-ups being one, inverts being another. A crummy invert sets the stage for sloppy work (and makes your butt look heavy – NOOOOOOOOO!), so it’s worth putting in the time and effort it takes to execute clean, snappy straddles. Here’s what we’re looking for:
- strong upper body position to start – arms are either bent with elbows to your waist & hands between the boobies, or straight overhead (much more difficult).
- clean “take-off” – legs sweep cleanly around the fabric. DO NOT kick your fabric out of the way – it doesn’t look nearly as ninja-fabulous as you might think, just spastic.
- quick tap of the legs together, then a strong fan outwards and overhead – no pause or tempo (beat-back) – this is a Very Bad Habit. Don’t make me get my taser.
- straight legs (bent “frog” legs are acceptable when beginning, or when used as an artistic choice)
- high, elevated derriere (no droopy drawers or saggy assets!)
How to Get There – Aerial Straddle Training Tips
- Beginners – you’re ready to start training inversions when you can hold yourself reliably with bent arms on the fabric. At first, it’s kind of a get-into-your-straddle-any-way-you-can situation. Remember – don’t flail or be spastic – not sexy. Keep working, you’ll get it.
- If you think your hamstring flexibility (or lack of) is messing with your position, work consistently on stretching them out.
- Mixed level/advanced – now, we WORK. Get into your full straddle position. Lower down SLOOOOOOOWLY, keeping your legs straight, and bending your arms back to your starting position. Again. Again. Again (you get the picture). By reverse training your inverts, you’ll not only strengthen the essential muscles, but you’ll get a grea idea of exactly when your “ugly moment” is happening so you can be aware of it.
- Tip: think “energy out the toes” – you have to engage the whole leg, and everything radiates outwards from your core. Think about laser beams shooting out of your feet (hum the theme from “Star Wars”, it helps).
- Now – EVERY time you train, add 5-10+ straddles into your conditioning, switching sides every 5 reps. Come down and do a little straddle dance – you’ve earned it. May I suggest the song “Rump Shaker”? Werk it out.
And that’s how we do it! How are you doing on the 30 day straddle challenge? If you haven’t started, what are you waiting for? Are you gaining inches? Lemme hear you! Love and pull-ups, Laura
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