Lester, Nate, Ben, Olivia, Jason and I had a great little workout last night: handstand drills, some tuck holds and pullups on the rings, and (my favourite) Speed Skater squats, done the way we demonstrated on the recent YT clip.
Others may chime in here, but for me (and I should say as an ex-power lifter and ex-Olympic lifter, though average at both!) the SSS is the best glute activation drill on the planet.
Cherie, SydneyStretchTherapy.com senior teacher, demonstrates a much easier, two-leg version HERE, but after trying it, I feel that its effects are much enhanced by having, and keeping, the shins vertical, and not letting the shins move forwards at all, as she demonstrates. This alteration means that only glutes and hamstrings work (as the ankle angle does not change) and, to facilitate this version, I recommend that you face a bench and rest the front of shins on the edge, making sure that the shins are vertical. If you do this and you try the exercise, you will find that only the hip can hinge—and as a result, only glutes and hammies contribute.
What I love about Cherie’s version is that balance is not a problem at all, the desired activation takes place, and the pattern is established. As well, there is an even easier version that she does not demo, which we all played with last night: instead of holding a stick out in front (which adds load and a balance component to Cherie’s version), you can ask your older/less able clients to let the arms hang down below the shoulders with the index fingers extended, and hinge the body until the fingertips are hovering just above the floor—this way any imbalance can be corrected, and the load is less too.
So, the progressions can look like this:
1. Fingertip version
2. Two leg version with shins against bench; arms out to the sides (easiest), then the holding-the-stick out the front in the handstand position (arms and body in same line) version
3. No stick, fingertip version, starting with two legs and assume the body parallel to the floor position, then transfer your weight carefully onto one leg (your weaker one), folding the other under you as THIS video demoes, then play with moving your weight backwards onto the heel of the support leg, to take the strain out of the knee and to emphasise the glutes and when in position, hold for time (30″, and try to go lower!!!). Then to transition to the stronger leg, stay down and transition in the full depth position. When the second leg is done, being the first back onto position (so you are back in the two-leg version), and only then stand up. Do this for time (10″ to begin; we are working on 45–60″ presently) and five repetitions on each leg is great, if this is the emphasis of the workout.
4. Final version uses the stick: same get into position on two legs start, then transition to one, stay down and get as low as you can with the stick held out in the handstand position and the body and arms parallel to the floor, and repeat all the transition directions. I am going to reshoot this progression; it is very important I believe.
5. Following day, when you get up, try the two leg version—can you feel your glutes? 🙂