How You Can Do A Double Arm Lever Today & A Minor Change To SOA’s Focus (Mad Monday)

Written By: Todd Kuslikis
May 20, 2013

Before we get into today’s Mad Monday workout I want to share with you something important. Several years ago I used to teach Tai Chi. It was a time of deep struggle and search to understand why I was here.

I would often feel anxious because I was not progressing fast enough on the path of “enlightenment.” I would read about the gurus that had achieved a state of oneness with the world and get frustrated because I was not there yet.

Well, Tai Chi was one of the few practices that helped me center. It helped me calm my mind and ease my spirit.

What we do during our times of practice is not always as important as how we do them.

I used to teach my students that the movements of the form were actually less important than deeply instilling the PRINCIPLES of Tai Chi. These principles are energy, yin/yang, balance, whole-body oneness, breath, fluidity, and others.

The interesting thing that happened when you instill the principles of Tai Chi into your movements is that the principles start to bleed over into your daily life. As you deepen your relaxation in the form, your ability to relax during stressful events in your life increases. As you learn to control your internal energy through the form, you understand how to move your energy in your daily life so you can draw upon greater or lesser amounts as needed.

Going Deeper Into Calisthenics (Why SOA Is Shifting Gears)

For the past 2 years, I have shared my philosophy for getting stronger, losing fat, eating right, etc. I am ALWAYS excited to help others in this area and I know that the majority of SOA followers still struggle in these areas.

This type of information will not leave SOA. Yet, as I go deeper into calisthenics, I am realizing that there are some major similarities between whole body calisthenics and Tai Chi. Calisthenics is not just about getting stronger or about being able to impress people with your one-arm handstand. Calisthenics is a method of incorporating deeper principles of mental strength and balance and relaxation into our daily lives so that we can control ourselves more effectively.

I am fascinated by the concept of doing extremely challenging moves effortlessly. Our physical bodies have the immense capability and I think we have only scratched the surface of what we can do as humans…

Why couldn’t we do a backflip starting from a handstand and landing back into a handstand?

Knee health score 3

Why couldn’t we do a 51-inch box jump from our hands?

How about 1,000 pistol squat jump ropes? Is this possible?

Where is the limit for the human body?

I think it is only where we decide it to be.

As a community, we are going to start focusing on helping each other reach a higher level of strength and ability and it will be starting today in our Mad Monday video.

How You Can Do A Double Arm Lever Today

The Double Arm Lever is a great calisthenic trick that helps develop strength in your shoulders and back. However, it is not purely a “strength maneuver”. The move is really about balance.

As you watch the video and learn how to do the movement pay close attention to the explanation on wrist flexibility and elbow placement. This will help you perform the movement better.

Also, in the spirit of Tai Chi, I would like you to begin incorporating the principle of proper breath control into the movement. When you are finally able to hold the double-arm lever, start shifting your focus to your breath. Breath as deeply as you can throughout the entirety of the move.

The principle of breathing deeply in the midst of difficulty will help embed your ability to breathe deeply and calmly in your daily life. Problems will arise but you will be able to simply shrug them off.

Below is a video of my daughter Emma that shows a perfect example of this. She is sitting in her high chair and I spook her and she is at first startled and then laughs it off. What a great example that we all could live by. Don’t sweat the small stuff!

Well, that’s it, folks!

Have a great Mad Monday and remember to practice your breathing throughout the day!


Show/Hide Comments (4 comments)
  1. Don

    This is a cool idea to work on one ‘trick’ during the week.

    • Todd Kuslikis

      Thanks Don! Glad you like it!

      • Don

        Not having good luck with this one. Ugh.

        • Todd Kuslikis

          What seems to be the trouble?

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