Leg hangs–learn them from the floor first for safety!
Continuing my series about working inverted moves from the floor before you try them in the air … let’s move to leg hangs. Leg hangs are gorgeous, but they can also be very scary, and with good reason. Your leg is the only thing between you and the floor, and the closest thing to the floor is your head. Gulp.
So what’s the answer? Do them from the floor–learn the proper engagement WELL before you try them for “real.” We’ll start in the same way we started the prep work for bat/inverted crucifix:
- Lie on the floor directly next to the pole. The pole should be in your armpit.
- Place your hands on the pole as though you’re inverting.
- Using your core, roll your hips off the floor, positioning yourself in a helicopter/straddle. HIPS UP!!! Your (sorry to be crude) crotch should be right at the pole.
- For outside leg hang:
- From the straddle, place the back of your outside knee directly against the pole, then engage your hamstrings to pull your foot down so your big toe points straight down to the floor. It probably won’t feel good. But it’ll give you a secure hold, which is more important!
- Now that your hook leg is in place, press your free leg down from the hip. Don’t just let it flop out there, really press the heel of that leg down toward the floor.
- As you press your free leg toward the floor, feel how your side (just above your hip bone) presses into the pole. Once you’re in the air, this will become another point of contact, and when you arch your back into the move, the back of your armpit will provide another.
- Now take your hands from the pole. If you did all of the above correctly, you probably felt your body (particularly your hips) lift somewhat as you moved your hook leg into place and got your big toe pointing down. That’s good! You should feel like your weight is being held up once your hands are out of the equation.
When you can get yourself into that position without even thinking about it, it’s time to try it in the air. Start with a moderately low invert — you want to be close to the floor but leave yourself enough room to arch your body into place for that armpit contact. BE SURE TO USE A CRASH MAT and ideally you should have a knowledgable spotter for your first several attempts! Leg hangs are challenging moves and should not be taken lightly!
Last but not least … once you’re up, do not disengage ANYTHING. Leg hangs aren’t the place to relax. If your hook leg angle opens up, you’ll start to slide. Keep that angle closed and hang with confidence!
Next post: Superman! Yes, from the floor!