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Bodyweight Tension Day and Calisthenics


Level 6 Valued Member
So I read this: The Tension Day | StrongFirst

So this might be a game-changer for me. I do mid- to high-level calisthenics on top of Simple & Sinister (some recent stalling not withstanding).

So would/could a tension practice session be composed of calisthenic static holds or slow dynamics? Am I missing the point or is that precisely the point?

Generating tension deliberately has been a bit elusive for me. It's often seemed like a byproduct, not something easily done. I'm still not 100% sure I'm doing Hardstyle Breathing right.

But if I could effectively train tension techniques AND maintain the skill of these mm over at the same time...f**k me, that's almost too much to hope for.


Level 6 Valued Member
Seems like it would work...?

Generating tension deliberately has been a bit elusive for me. It's often seemed like a byproduct, not something easily done
I used to be in that boat until I realized that the former (a byproduct) came from doing static holds at the edge of my capacity, or in a very yielding isometric sort of way...

For example:
Planche leans (or any other planche variations for that matter).

Easy when close to a plank, and quite hard as your hands get close to your waist. If you constantly feel like you’re about to face plant, you may be too close to your limit. Back off a tiny bit at a time until you’re can more actively squeeze everything. This way it won’t feel as much like a “byproduct of trying not lose the position, and more like practicing tension _in the position_ if that makes sense.

Another way to think about it is to think about pushing the floor away, more of an over coming isometric, rather than fighting not to face plant, which would be more of a yielding isometric. In the former, you should have a better capacity to practice the requisite tension.

I have even practiced the planche position upright, by facing a wall and leaning/pushing as hard as I can into it, in order to simply FEEL the position better.

Karen Smith

Level 6 Valued Member
Master Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Iron Maiden
Iso holds and active negative are a great way to Master FFT. (FFT is feed forward tension = maximally contract a muscle without external load). There are many Bodyweight drills we teach at the certs and workshops that can help you fast track this skill. Just remember when new to this type of training that is can quickly zap your CNS so start with very low volume. Then scale over time.
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