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Simon last won the day on August 7 2023

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  1. Thanks so much Jim. I am also working on my front splits (still a long way off, maybe 15cm from the ground), and so the "Nosan technique" sounds great to kill the proverbial two birds with one stone. Will give that a go, for sure. I have also checked your variant for the chair hip flexor stretch, and I honestly can't wait to try that one out having read the exchanges in the comments section. Sunday is going to be interesting this week 😃 ! As for thoracic flexibility, I have been working on this for some time (since the beginning of my thoracic bridge journey) and focussed on this at the beginning as I felt it was a weak area (and overhead flexibility generally). I continue to regularly do a few exercises to try to improve this - I imagine you know them all. But for me maybe the best one is the loaded dumbell overhead pullover - with my upper back draped over a yoga wheel, arms extended behind me overhead with the weight, and pushing my hips and lower back downwards. If that explanation makes sense .... Seems to have done the trick for me at least. Thanks too for the good wishes - happy backbending to you too!! Simon.
  2. Thanks so much, Kit. High praise indeed. And agreed, not much extension showing in the hip flexors here, and so - per your suggestion - I will next focus on this. I know you have a lot of hip flexor exercise videos on your YouTube channel, but, assuming I have to work solo and not with a partner, what is your current latest thinking on the very best exercise (or exercises) I can do to improve the extension of my hip flexor to assist with my thoracic bridge? I'd really appreciate your further guidance on this. Thanks so much.
  3. So, here is my August update. It's getting hard to tell, but looking back at the July pics, I do think (admitttedly very incremental) progress is still being made. Here, I am trying two things, hence two photos. First, is to bring the feet nearer to the hands bit by bit. Second, is to try to straighten the legs, requiring the legs and hands to be a bit further apart. Just to vary things. Anyway, hence two photos of yesterday's session. Kit, one question if I may. The area where I feel it most, both during the sessions and the day after, is the outside of the top of the arms. Just at the intersection of the shoulder and the top of the bicep (if that makes sense). Wondering if this is "normal" or an indication of something I should work on as well as my daily Swedish ladder lat stretches, which seem to be really helping loosen up the lats and helping with the thoracic bridge, as well as generally making me feel pretty good! If you have any thoughts on this, I am all ears. (If it'd help I can try to indicate better where I am feeling this.) Thanks in advance! Simon.
  4. Hi team, Not posted for a little while (last pictures on 21 May, I see - longer than I thought), but still doing my regular Sunday thoracic bridge sessions. I believe I am seeing good progress, but those newbie gains are largely a thing of the past, so progress is now incremental and not so easy to see perhaps. But, I am certainly feeling it differently.It is easier and quicker to enter the position and to push it up and out. I am also feeling a slightly different stretch in the back - difficult to describe, but my shoulders and scapular feel a little freer and I feel more comfortable in pushing more strongly with my feet. So, I thought I post my pictures from today and from last week. I was happy about today as I almost managed to totally straighten my legs (not quite there yet, something to work more on), but looking at last week's effort, I think my thoracic extension might have been a little better. Anyway, been working daily on trying to improve the flexibility of my lats (on my stall bars, using something I picked up from Kit's channel, but solo, not partner assisted). I think it is helping somewhat this area (but again more work to do here), and of course any thoughts / comments very much appreciated and welcomed as I look to continue my thoracic bridge journey. Thanks. Simon.
  5. Good to see your journey continuing Andy, keep up the good work! I have had a month off bridge work, due to travel in Asia. I was frankly a bit worried about how things might go today, some 5 weeks after my last posting, but I was pleasantly surprised. Below is today's best effort, after the usual warm-up, elevated bridges, passive backbends, etc. I don't think it is too far off where I left things in mid-April. Shoulders close to being over wrists (still not there yet) and legs relatively straight. Happy with that for today. I must say, this is all very encouraging to me - it looks like, once obtained, gains are (largely, although perhaps not entirely) retained even if you do not practice regularly. Great news, if true. And maybe it was good to have a period of de-load, after several weeks of work on the full thoracic bridge. Anyway, will be back to it on a regular, weekly basis for a while from here on in.
  6. So, my usual Sunday bridge work is done! As promised, @Kit_L, I am posting a photo of my box bridge today, as well as the latest full bridge. Apologies, I will need to be more conscious of how the box bridge felt as compared to the regular bridge, so I can report on that next time. What I can probably say is that the main area where I feel a "strain" when extending as fully as I can into the bridge is the bottom of the deltoid before it connects to the tricep. (Well, that is as best as I can describe the area.) Not sure if that is normal ... I can alleviate this by placing my hands further apart from each other. Not sure if that is an acceptable position for the bridge. Anyway, the journey continues. And, as you mention Kit, I am and will continue my wall hip flexor exercises, passive back ends, and the box bridge at least once a week ... hanging I do pretty much every day already :). Thanks again for the advice and encouragement.
  7. Yeah, looking good Andy. Great work! Keep it up. I'll be taking Kit's further advice and will post a photo of my elevated bridge on my wall bars next time I get the chance to practice. Best to all ...
  8. Hi all, and thanks to Kit for the further advice, and to Jim for the encouragement! Much appreciated. Andy, I hope your journey continues. At the moment, I am training the bridge just once a week. FYI - I have a 10-minute warm-up routine, followed by a 15-minute specific bridge training work, which includes elevated bridges on my ladder bars (thanks for that advice, Kit). Then, I try a full thoracic bridge for 4-6 attempts, holding and/or rocking back and forth to try to gently push my shoulder back further over my wrists. This time, as well as trying to focus on keeping my shoulders in external rotation, I also worked on trying to straighten my legs, moving my feet a little further away from my hands to assist with this. Below is a photo of my best attempt of today (the last of my 5 attempts) for reference. Frankly, I am not too certain that this is better than a week ago, but I was trying to do something a little different in terms of straightening the legs more, so perhaps a direct comparison is difficult. To me, the wrists are still too flexed - close to 90 degrees, but not quite there, but mainly I still need better overhead shoulder flexibility to get those darned shoulders over the wrists! Working on that separately. Generally, I find a significant improvement from attempt 1 to the final attempt, although the improvements diminish with each attempt. So, today, attempt 2 was significantly better than attempt 1, but attempt 5 was very similar (perhaps the same) as attempt 4. But in attempt 5 I did move my feet away more to try to straighten the legs a little more. Not quite there with that. Anyway, I will continue with my weekly efforts, and post here when I can if that is ok? If it is better I post elsewhere to show progress (or lack thereof) do let me know, in case this is not the appropriate place to post weekly (or possibly in the future, monthly) updates - weekly might be a little too frequent, as I suspect that any progress will take longer than a week to show, given I am only training this once per week (FYI, I am also training pancake and side splits once per week each, as well as doing resistance training and/or more general stretching on the other 3-4 days, so there is not much space in the exercise diary to train the bridge more than once per week at the moment!). Thanks all, as always. Simon.
  9. Hi Andy, and thanks for posting in reply to my post. Honestly, I am not sure I am the right person to be giving advice on this topic - I think maybe I have a genetic advantage in being quite flexible (but not so much - so far - in my thoracic spine, like most folks who have worked behind a desk most of their lives), and maybe the work I have done (on and off) over the past 3-4 years on handstands has helped? Actually, the initial reason I started training the thoracic bridge was to help improve the line of my handstand, because I felt I was lacking overhead shoulder flexibility which was stalling my handstand progress. But I quickly found training the thoracic bridge was a worthy goal in and of itself. As it happens, I do think it is improving my handstand line (balance is entirely another issue!) Anyway, maybe it is a combination of these factors which has helped me progress quickly? As for your bridge, whilst your tee is covering the thoracic spine area, I have a feeling that your bend in this area is not too dissimilar to mine. The biggest difference is just the bent arms. So, I am thinking that the initial focus might be on trying to get the arms straight (or straighter). Maybe that is a case of overhead shoulder mobility, or maybe it is psychological (your brain telling you further straightening is not safe, when in fact it is), or maybe you need to externally rotate your shoulders/scapular to make room for straightening (see more on this below). With all this in mind, let me say what helped me, so you can consider whether any of these might also help you and, if so, giving them a go (but I am certainly no expert!): 1. Start by going on tiptoes. So while you still have your head on the floor, go up on tiptoes, then push up with your hands to enter the bridge position. (You can later put your heels down if you feel like you can / want to try.) 2. Then push with your hands and try to get your arms straight before worrying too much about the legs. Keep pushing upwards and trying to straighten. You might find that you can in fact straighten them more than your brain was letting you think you could! Keep pushing up on the hands as strongly as you dare ... 3. Think about pulling your scapulars apart. I think this is external rotation (but someone put me right if that is wrong). I don't know why but instinctively I do the opposite, but then the shoulder blades get in the way and it is difficult to push out the arms and chest further. So maybe try to do this. 4. Once you get your arms straight, or as straight as you can, only then start trying to straighten the legs a bit and/or put down your heels. You could try some of this - I think it is how I got to where I am. But one note of caution. I think I have pretty strong wrists, from my handstand and other calisthenics work. My suggestion above can put quite a strain on the wrists because they will be bent a long way from 90 degrees for a while. So do be careful and take care of your wrists. My method may not be the best for you/others. But even having said all this, the best advice I can give you is to listen to Kit and follow what he says. I have just today had another bridge session and have tried to follow all Kit's cues from this week on this forum, and the result is (I think) pretty amazing! I will post a photo below, but I am really over the moon with the progress made so quickly having posted on this forum. And I haven't yet had a chance to do any partner work, which I think will get this going even more quickly. In getting to the position in the photo below, I really kept on pushing back and found I could go further than I thought (my brain was blocking me), and focussing on keeping the shoulder blades apart (and all Kit's other cues from above). This is where I found myself on my 5th attempt today (much improved from my 1st attempt; in fact, each attempt was a significant improvement on the one before, so make sure you do a few attempts). The wrist angle is much closer to 90 degrees and I am no longer on my tiptoes, which I would not have believed possible a few days ago. Lastly, Andy, the very best of luck with your personal thoracic bridge journey. Keep on at it, and you will get there I am sure. Best. Simon.
  10. Thank you, Kit. Coming from you, this is high praise indeed: quite unexpected, highly appreciated, and massively encouraging. I will find a friend, follow your guidance, and see where this takes me. For the passive side, would a simple, inexpensive yoga wheel do the trick? I love that baby whale that you use in one of your videos, but that's a little more of an investment, so it may need to wait until Christmas (along with a few other investments)! So I am thinking of an inexpensive yoga wheel to get me moving along the path (and bending better) in the immediate future. If it goes well, perhaps I will share a progress photo in a month or two's time ... Meantime, thanks so much again for your kind and encouraging words, and your time. Simon.
  11. Hi. Hello to all - I am new to the forums, having joined following exchanges with Kit over YouTube. Nice to meet everyone. I am posting this here at Kit's suggestion. I am looking for some guidance on how to improve my thoracic bridge, something I started working on a month or so ago. There are likely to be a number of issues (and feel free to point them all out!), but - to me - the main issue is overhead shoulder mobility which is preventing me from being able to "push" my shoulders over my wrists. On this photo, I am activating the glutes hard and pushing with my legs as well as trying as best I can to bend in the mid/upper back and not just in the lumbar region (although that also needs quite some work, I feel). But try as I might I cannot "persuade" the shoulders to allow me further motion away from the legs and over the wrists. What exercises do folks recommend to try to improve overhead shoulder flexibility for the purposes of the full thoracic bridge? Or do you see other issues/problems I should be working on to improve my form in priority, or together with shoulder mobility? If it helps, I have access to rings and stall bars here at home. Thanks in advance.
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