Antagonist Short, Length Conditioning

Antagonist Short Length Conditioning

Antagonist Short: ASLC is a concept under the umbrella of strength exercises in EasyFlexibility system. Extended Length Conditioning and Peripheral Conditioning are found in the same group. All three types of techniques work the joint in its deep range.

  • Each technique focuses on a specific muscle groups.
  • ELC works the target muscles in full stretch.
  • ASLC works the antagonists in short range.
  • PC works the peripheral muscle groups.

Antagonist Short Length Conditioning is a very important tool in flexibility retention. This technique allows the nervous and musculoskeletal systems to memorize and accept the new flexibility as standard.

memorize and accept the new flexibility as standard.

Today we examine two variations of the Frog Exercise. These techniques are used to develop strength in the horizontal extensors / horizontal flexors of the hip.

strength in the horizontal extensors
horizontal flexors of the hip

Antagonist Short: Look the video below

Besides flexibility retention, ASLC builds strength in techniques where the contraction is needed in the muscles opposite in action to these being stretched. For example:

  • Muscles that abduct the internally rotate the hip during side line kicks.
  • Muscles that flex the hip front line kicks in martial arts or front attitude in dance.

Confusion With Other Similar Techniques

ASLC can be easily confused with Movement and Habituation techniques. As a matter of fact the exercise shown in the video can easily be placed into both categories.

  • M&H can work one or many muscle groups and ASLC focuses on antagonists only.
  • ASLC can add resistance or pause while M&H usually does not.
  • Reciprocal Inhibition technique also targets the antagonists. However RI would immediately be followed by a stretch and ASLC usually does not.
  • Dynamic stretch is also movement, frequently with antagonist contracting. ASLC is performed slower and without an attempt to increase the amplitude of movement.

Summarizing ASLC Techniques

Antagonist Short Length Conditioning is not a stretching technique. It’s a retention technique. It must be preceded by Zaichik Stretching technique, which would develop flexibility first, during the training session.

ASLC together with other strength exercises and M&H, then teaches the body to accept the newfound flexibility as normal.

And finally, ASLC can also be performed isometrically, by holding the joint angle as open as possible, by contracting the antagonists to the muscle groups, whose length is being extended.

And if you want to master all your Yoga Poses Click on the picture below and Pick Your Program Now!

Antagonist Short, Length Conditioning

“I try the stretch. BUT… I feel it in the WRONG Place”, Please help!

I try the stretch

Have you ever had this happen to you? You try a stretch, and you don’t even feel it, where you should feel it. You feel it somewhere else! What’s up with that?

I try the stretch
I try the stretch

It can be a bit discouraging to want to target a specific muscle and not only feel it there, but to feel it elsewhere. There are many reasons for this. Knowing them will help you deal with this issue and possibly help you improve your flexibility practice.

Below we discuss different reasons why you may feel it in the “wrong” place.

1. Nerve Stretching

Yes, nerves can be stretched. These organs originate in the spine and branch out to the peripherals. Since they cross joints, moving joints in coordinated directions can stretch the nerves.

I try the stretch

For example a hamstrings stretch combined with dorsi flexion of the ankle can be felt in the glutes or under the foot. Two locations on the body, seemingly far from each other.

An arm abduction, combined with wrist extension, can be felt in the wrist or hand. What is really felt is the Sciatic Nerve in the former and Median Nerve in the latter.

Sometimes a nerve can simply be lengthened, if that happens the stretching sensation can be felt far from the targeted muscle

If done with a purpose, there is nothing wrong with stretching nerves. However, if you don’t expect it, you can be caught by surprise.

I try the stretch

Sometimes a nerve can simply be lengthened, if that happens the stretching sensation can be felt far from the targeted muscle.

2. Body Control

Some stretching techniques, regular or kinesiological require specific amount of body control. Some muscles must be tensed, while others relaxed. This ensures that you get to pick what muscles are stretched.

I try the stretch
I try the stretch

One example would be the standard back of the shoulder stretch. You pull the arm across the body. This is a regular relaxed stretch. One person will feel this in the back of the shoulder joint. Another will sense it closer to the spine.

So two different muscles groups are targeted. In the former case (behind the shoulder) it’s Posterior Deltoid, Teres Minor and Infraspinatus. In the later case (closer to the spine) , it’s Rhomboids and Middle Trapezius.

I try the stretch

Some people may feel the stretch in both locations. This happens more frequently with relaxed stretches compare to Zaichik Stretching Technique, due to ZS specificity, but it can happen with ZS too.

So to prevent this from happening, one of the muscles must have at least partial tonus to shift the focus on the other one. Breathing and visualization helps too.

If you want to focus on let’s say the Rhomboids and are not able to. Trying Zaichik Stretching Technique called ~Compassion~ for example will target this muscle group, because it take into account all of it’s action, which are unique to this muscle. ( Scapula retraction, downward rotation and elevation)

Read more: https://easyflexibilityblog.com/2022/01/13/scottish-highland-dance-1st-position-anatomy/

I try the stretch

Same would be for the back of the shoulder, if that’s your target. ZST called ~Freedom~ would do the trick. (The names of Zaichik Stretching Techniques (ZST) are marked with Tilde Characters ~ )

3. Radiating Sensation

Not all sensation is felt where it originates. For example, during bodywork such as massage a pressure applied at one point can be felt in another. This is because muscles radiate. Some exercise cause a compression on the muscles.

  • For example Rhomboids stretch can compress the chest.
  • Glutes stretch can compress the adductors.

The compressions may either be felt in the muscles opposite to the ones targeted or radiate to another point on the body.

4. Some muscles are synergists

Feeling the synergists stretch is common during relaxed stretches. For example someone with tight adductors, maybe surprised to feel these muscles while trying to stretch the hip flexors.

I try the stretch

In reality, adductors flex the hip, not just adduct. For this reason they can be felt during hip flexors stretching.

This of course happens a lot more frequently during relaxed stretches, than Zaichik Stretching techniques. The reason being that ZST target each hip flexor separately, with actions unique to each Flexor of the Hip.

5. Exercises Ordering

Some muscles need to be lengthened first to get to other muscles doing the same general movement.

Lunge stretch can be used as an example here one more time. If we were to ignore the 4 adductors for a second. There are 6 hip flexors being stretched in the hip extension:

1.Psoas
2. Illiacus
3.Pectineus
4.Tensor Fascia Latatae
5.Sartorius
6.Rectus Femoris

Let’s say you expect to stretch your Psoas. (The standard relaxed method) You know that the muscle is located on each side of your lower torso. However most likely you won’t feel the stretch there.

You will feel it in your tightest muscle first. If your knee is flexed, you may feel it in your quads. (Rectus Femoris). If your leg is laterally rotated and/or you have tightened pectineus you may feel the stretch the groin. If that is the case, you would need to do 1 of 2 adjustments.

I try the stretch

  1. You would have to stretch the tight muscle first, to get to the deeper layer.
  2. You would have to adjust the position, so that joints are positioned opposite to the muscle action, you are trying to target.

Do you want to feel the difference between Zaichik Stretching Method and standard stretches?

Get your EasyFlexibility Training Certification and gain access to a full and detailed Kinesiological explanation for every muscle in the human body. All of our Zaichik Stretching techniques are specific to individual muscles, focusing on their primary actions.

I try the stretch

What we are offering to you is a proper method:

  • A map that will guide you step by step till you reach your goal.
  • It will give you the necessary preparation so that you don’t get injured.
  • It will adjust to your own particular needs the moment you start training and on the way when you “hit a plateau”, and when you are almost there to give you that extra thrust.
  • It will tell you what to do so you keep the progress you obtain in a training session.
  • It will develop your flexibility and strength at the same time so the new flexibility range you acquire will be functional and applicable to leg lifts, kicks, jumping splits sort of techniques, dance, gymnastics, yoga, cheerleading, martial arts techniques and so on.
  • It will guarantee that you reach your goal safely in a timely manner.

Click on the picture below to learn more about our EasyFlexibility Training Certification!

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Today your tightest stretch will become easy…

Have you ever been so tight in a stretch, you could not even start the stretch? You are not alone, many people have this challenge. From today your tightest stretch will become easy, Here is how to solve it 

I have spoken to many frustrated people about it. Many of them beginners, but not just beginners. Some intermediate or advanced students still have one or more muscles that that are tight.Today your tightest stretch will become easy

There are people who can do 180 degree side straddle splits and can’t put their palms on the floor standing. While others can do full forward folds, and yet are far from a full straddle.

For example, last week a gentleman complained that he can’t even sit on the floor with his legs straddled at 90 degrees and back straight. How is he supposed to do a straddle, if every program he ever purchased requires to sit and straddle with straight legs and straight back, even before the program starts.

He was pleasantly surprised that our programs don’t require a skill to master a skill. The oxymoron in most stretching programs.

For example, ZST (Zaichik Stretching Technique) called ~Integrity~ lengthens short adductors. (Adductor Magnus, Longus, Brevis). These muscles need to be flexible to do a side split, a front split, etc.

And yet, ~Integrity~ does not look like a split. However, thousands of people who can’t even get into splits, find out that they can get much deeper after doing ZST’s without ever trying a split.

Today your tightest stretch will become easy

Read More: https://easyflexibilityblog.com/2022/04/01/knee-strike-anatomy/

And everyone can do any ZST. No suffering, no weird positions, no painful looking faces are required.

Every skill (split, needle, penche, tilt, kick, etc) is broken down into its components.

Each component is easy to do. ~Integrity~ is an example of this component.

Try it and see how effective this technique is for yourself.

Today your tightest stretch will become easy

If you are interested in our easy stretching method checkout out our products below:

Today your tightest stretch will become easy
Today your tightest stretch will become easy
Today your tightest stretch will become easy

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How to over-stretch without over-stretching

How to over-stretch without over-stretching

Since this question usually comes up in reference to a straddle, we might as well call this article:

“How to Over-Split without Over-splitting”

Are you familiar with benefits of over-stretching?

If not, please see previous article here.

I had more people express concern about over-splitting in a center split, than in forward splits.

Many of the students who ask about this, want to have free range of motion at 180 degrees (something a full straddle does not provide) but are concerned about their joints.

How to over-stretch without over-stretching

Interestingly enough many don’t have any joint pains. Some, however, do have pain and usually in one of the hip joints. Please see this article to understand common mechanism of this unilateral injury.

How to Achieve “Restriction-Less” Movement

So now can you achieve the same “restriction-less” movement that over-splitting provides without actually over splitting? Technically you can.

There are two ways to do it.

How to over-stretch without over-stretching

Method 1. Stretch in each direction while in a straddle. This means that technically your legs don’t go past 180, but your muscles do.

A. Stretch to each leg
B. Stretch chest to floor (toes up)
C. Stretch 45 degrees, between forward and sideways.

Sounds simple, but there is a bit of a challenge here:

  • First, the legs will not want to remain straddled.
  • Second, the spine will try to compensate for each movement that should take place at the hip joint.
  • And third, if the muscles are overstretched on one side, the chance of injury goes up, when stretching that side.

Method 2. Use Zaichik Stretching Techniques (ZST).

ZSTs, except for ~Balance~ are not performed in a straddle. The challenge for many people is to see how these moves are related to a center split, meaning for example how exactly do exercises transfer into a split.

These are some ZST positions targeting different adductor muscles:

How to over-stretch without over-stretching

Read more;https://easyflexibilityblog.com/

How to over-stretch without over-stretching

The advantage is spine is protected, muscles are isolated and straddle does not have to be forced.

Read more;https://easyflexibilityblog.com/

How to over-stretch without over-stretching

To see one of these techniques in action and to try it for yourself watch the following video:

Get your full training program below:

How to over-stretch without over-stretching
How to over-stretch without over-stretching

You’re Only as Strong as Your Weakest Link

You’re Only as Strong as Your Weakest Link

When we talk about flexibility, the first thing that comes to mind is a soft lengthened position such as a side split, we also think of it as a vulnerable posture,

soft lengthened position

You’re Only as Strong as Your Weakest Link: however it’s important to understand that our body will only allow us to go into the deepest ROMs when it feels it’s safe to do so, and the only way it will feel safe to do so is if it’s strong in that position.

So, while most people think of strength and flexibility as almost opposing, it couldn’t be further away from the truth.

The bench press

The bench press

Since the focus is strength sports, we’ll take the bench press as an example.

We all know that the arch used for Powerlifting, has the purpose of protecting the shoulders help better activate the lower pectoral muscles, while keeping the spine safe and improve leg drive.

bench press and incline bench press

However the depth of you arch will solely depend on how strong your back muscles are in the position, so the endless hours of stretching will yield suboptimal results if you don’t lock that new acquired flexibility, but we all know you can’t go benching right after stretching, right?

Read more;https://easyflexibilityblog.com/

With the ZST, we are taught not only the best kinesiological stretch to accomplish the most amount of flexibility on the abdominal muscles, but also the best strengthening exercise for the spinal erectors so we lock those flexibility gains into place.

Let’s review the technique called ~Perception~

  • First, you go into the Cobra position and with the hands under the shoulders push yourself up,
  • Now from the hip rotate your body to the right
  • And when you return to the front facing position you push yourself further away from the floor,
  • Now turn to the left and when you come back you push yourself further away.

This technique allows your body to create space for you to stretch even further, but you don’t want to stay too long in either position, as the “trick” is to avoid the stretch reflex, once you reach a maximum stretch you have acquired a new ROM, and it’s time to secure it into place with the accompanying strengthening exercise.

Securing the gains

  • Return to the cobra position and slightly push your torso slightly away from the floor,
  • Raise the hands from the floor and hold for five seconds,
  • Drop the hands and push your torso a little bit more,
  • Raise the hands once more, and repeat five times in total, as you progress hold the hands off the floor up to 20 seconds.

This will strengthen the back muscles and will make the abdominals safe in the stretch position.

You will see great progress if you incorporate this routine after every session

Get your full training program below:

You’re Only as Strong as Your Weakest Link
You’re Only as Strong as Your Weakest Link

Mastered the Front Split? Then Side Split Should Come Automatically!

Mastered the Front Split: Once in a while people ask me this question: “Paul, you say that all the muscles stretched in a front split are also stretched in a side split (people usually mean true front split when they say front split) so, how come there are many people who can do a true front split, and yet, are not able to do a side split without training for it separately?”

The reason is, when most people are able to do a true front split, the true front split that they perform is usually a deep flexibility of the front hamstrings and combined with hyper extension of the lower back and very little flexibility of the rear leg

true front split

You can see that in the video below:

You see it’s the rear leg where the adductors or the inner thighs are most stretched. Because, all four adductors are also flexors of the hip. And because these muscles are poorly stretched when majority of people perform their true front split, there is little carry over of that flexibility to the side split which of course requires lengthening of the adductors.

In theory if someone is doing a true front split or hip squared front split, where a lot of flexibility is taken from the rear leg and not just the front leg, that person will be able to carry that flexibility into a side split.

true front split and side split

Providing that there’s no issues with the hip joint or other tissues besides the muscles, a person who mastered a structural true front split should have a very easy time converting that flexibility to the side split.

Even if the true front split is not completely structural but something close to it, it will be easier to master the side split already having the flexibility from the other split.

Choose Your Split Program Now!

easyflexbility training program

High Leg Extensions Solution: Strength vs Flexibility Debate: And the winner is…

High Leg Extensions Solution: If you want to lift your legs high on your Developpes, Battements, Penche, etc., but your legs refuse to come up as high as you want them, a question arises:

“Are my legs not strong enough or not flexible enough? Which one is it? A strength or flexibility issue?”

High Leg Extensions Solution: Watch the Solutions

I’ve been asked this question many times. The short answer is this: personally, if I want my leg to go up vertically and I have a chance to pick between strength and flexibility, I would choose flexibility every time.

Don’t get all upset now, strength is also important, your teacher is right. If you are going to move the leg around for a long time, doing hundreds of moves you need strength (actually strength-endurance).

However, to be able to point to “12 o’clock” with your leg for each specific technique is more flexibility related. If anything, biomechanically and physiologically the more flexibility you have the less strength you need.

Here’s Why
Biomechanically:

The higher the leg goes up, (providing flexibility is not a restricting factor), the easier the leg extension becomes.

Confused? Pick up a heavy object, and keep your elbow straight. Extend the straight arm parallel to the floor. (Hand on the same level as the shoulder) Difficult to hold, right?Ok, now bring the arm straight up. (Hand holding the object directly over your shoulder) Much easier, right?This is because the first position, is mechanically more disadvantageous. Second one is more advantageous.

Here’s Why
Biomechanically
Physiologically

Physiologically:

A tight muscle inhibits its antagonist.Do a front attitude with tight hip extensors, and try to hold it. The hip flexors and adductors will be in pain fast. Why? Because they are fighting the inhibition by the muscles that are trying to pull down. The weight of the leg is just a small reason.

High Leg Extensions Solution

Don’t believe me?

Measure how high your leg can go. Let’s say 90 degrees.

  • Now add a heavy ankle weight and hold the leg at 45-60 degrees.

You will hold it longer with the ankle weight at 45 or 60, then just the leg at 90 (the end range).

If the weight of the leg (strength requirement) was so important, you could not hold the leg with the ankle weight for so long, but you can.

So, the weakness of your hip flexors and adductors is not coming from the weight of the leg, but from the tight muscles pulling back down.

The Experiment

I do this experiment with my students all the time.

  • I use ZST (Zaichik Streching Technique) to increase their flexibility right there on the spot.
  • We do 5-6 rounds and the end range is no longer 90 degrees, but 120-140.
  • I then ask them to hold their legs at 90 degrees again.

Guess what happens?

All of them are able to comfortably hold their legs there, no struggle, no weird faces, no clenched teeth, no spasms. Did their leg become lighter? Did a student become stronger? No, it is because with increased flexibility, nothing is pulling down!So now you see, why I would choose flexibility over strength every time if I am trying to get my leg up!

High Leg Extensions Solution

I do this experiment with my students all the time.

Do you want to get more flexible? Click on the BUY NOW BUTTON below to get started!

Do you want to get more flexible? Click on the BUY NOW BUTTON below to get started!

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And Much More…! Browse our store and if you can’t find what you are looking for send us an email info@easyflexibility.com or talk to us live!

Gracilis for Arabesque and Splits

Gracilis for Arabesque: Certified Instructor Judy shows a kinesiological stretching technique from the Easyflexibility system to achieve better turnout, effortless arabesques, flatter splits, and lighter developpes!

In EasyFlexibility System ~Equilibrium~ Lengthens the Gracilis.

Gracilis is one of the 4 adductors. What makes it unique is the fact that it crosses the knee.

Gracilis is one of the 4 adductors. What makes it unique is the fact that it crosses the knee.
Equilibrium

For some people it’s the only muscle that stands in a way of a full straddle.
Just stretch it using ~Equilibrium~ and you have a side split.

To see the technique in action and to try it for yourself watch the following video:

The people who are candidates to this short pathway to a middle split are those who already have flexible other muscles needed. (Short adductors, pectineus and middle hamstrings)

who already have flexible other muscles needed

Hamstrings don’t have to be very flexible for a straddle. if you can touch your toes, you are good to go.

The other muscles are tested with a frog. If you can do a full prone frog, but can’t do a box split, all you need is ~Equilibrium~.

Gracilis for Arabesque

Gracilis for Arabesque

Read more; https://easyflexibilityblog.com/

Get your full Side Splits Combo Training Programs below:

Gracilis for Arabesque
Gracilis for Arabesque

How Much to Overstretch and Why?

“Overstretching” is a MUST.  But how much to overstretch?

How Much to Overstretch: The best performers always stretch further than the skill requires. But you probably know that already.

If not, please see this video. It explains why “overstretching” for the skill is important for skill mastery.

The question everyone asks is “How much do I need to over stretch?” Or “How far do I need to stretch, past the skills requirement?

Let’s say you need to lift your foot to 5 feet height; Do you need to stretch it to 5’6 or 6’ or 6’6? Or if you want to measure it degrees. Should it be 10 degrees past target skills, 20 degrees? 30 degrees?

In the past, I have set up experiments to try to figure this out. I wanted to know exactly how much one needs to overstretch.

The data was not uniform. For example, one martial artist needed 23 degree overstretch to hold the front kick at his own waist level. Another one needed just 12 and another one almost 40.

The same thing happened with athletes from dance and other disciplines. And what’s interesting is that the numbers did not remain the same for each person. They changed during each workout.

Here are some of the guidelines that were constant:

1. More pliable people needed less overstretch.
Please see this video for an explanation of pliability.

2. Those who took care to have proper nutrient intakes such as K and Mg, and were properly hydrated needed less overstretch.
3. Those who have trained and developed short-range conditioning needed less overstretch. (This means strength of the muscles that lift the leg)

How Much to Overstretch


Regardless of discipline or skill in question, one fact remains the same: The more flexible you are, the stronger, faster, easier and more graceful your performance will be. Aim to develop more flexibility than the skill visually requires.

Please select your specific programs for your flexibility needs.

How Much to Overstretch
How Much to Overstretch
How Much to Overstretch
How Much to Overstretch

Flexibility before skill or skill before flexibility?

Before flexibility: One of the questions that come up often is: Should one master full flexibility prior to practicing a skill.

The downside of working on flexibility first is that fun is far away. For example let’s take a Side Tilt in ballet or Side Kick in Martial Arts. It may take you a while to develop full range of motion for those techniques.

Side Kick
Side Kick flexibility

Does that mean you should not practice them? After all you jointed a ballet class or MA class to dance and kick. So you want that fun. You don’t want just stretching, do you?

That’s how I approach some of my skills and athletes’ skills. However, if you are a student paying to learn Ballet, Karate or TKD, would you not run out of a school that makes you stretch and perhaps condition before showing you a single step, or kick?

learn Ballet, Karate or TKD

The compromise is to do the skills at lower level. Low kicks for example. Or partial plies or partial horse stance, etc.

The compromise is to do the skills at lower level. Low kicks for example. Or partial plies or partial horse stance, etc.
The compromise is to do the skills at lower level.

The only exception I would make is for a skill where specific flexibility is a must and there is no way around it. For example a handstand. If you don’t have full range of motion in your shoulders and your wrists you should not do a handstand.

read more; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flexibility_(personality)

skill where specific flexibility

You can work on inversions, core strength, and other things, but not the actual skill. A plie can be higher for a beginner, a front stance can be higher too. But a handstand with poor shoulder and wrist flexibility, becomes totally something else.

If you are not sure if the skill requires flexibility first or can be practiced at beginner level, please send us an email to info@easyflexibility.com to advice you.