As I promised in the other thread regarding Capoeira. QUESTION: (Ask yourself this before reading this thread, and after.) Can you come up with a reason why running, the most common form of cardio, is more beneficial to the combat athlete than Capoeira? Alright, so recently I bought a book called "Capoeira conditioning," and it was worth every penny to me. I never grew up in a very athletic environment when I was younger, and I was more the pudgy bookworm type (until I picked up martial arts and wrestling in 7th grade). As a result, although I've gotten in good shape, I'm still not the *most* athletic person. I can't do a handstand pushup, can't do a front or back handspring, can just pull off a cartwheel. Since first seeing Capoeira, I've always wanted to be able to do moves like that. It looks like an absolute blast, and it's perfect for building athleticism. So you can imagine my excitement when I finally found a book showing me how to work my way up to that from the ground up. I'll give you some of the exercises I've been using, going from beginner to advanced. COCORINHA (SQUAT) Your basic bodyweight squat. In the Capoeira version, you put your arms between your legs as you squat all the way down, and then as you explode up, you throw your arms up by your ears, and arch your back, extending your spine upwards as far as it can go, while getting up onto your toes. PONTE (BACK BRIDGE) These sound easy, but after a while, they get to be a real pain. Lie flat on your back, and bring your hands up by your ears. I think you know the rest here. Keep your feet flat on the floor as you bridge up onto your hands, and bring yourself up as high as you can go. You should do a good warm up and rotate your wrists before doing this one. It really puts a lot of pressure on your wrists, and you can hurt yourself. Hold it for as long as you can. Variations As you get more advanced, try these variations on the Ponte: -Back bridge pushups (go back down, but not all the way, and then push back up) -Back bridge with one leg raised (toes pointing to the sky, like a front split) -One armed bridge (pushup optional) -"Wheel" bridge (see description below) -No cheat bridge (see description below) -Bridge walking! Exorcist style! This one is really tough. Walk like you'd do a crab walk, but instead from a Ponte position. I've been doing the "wheel" bridge in addition to the Ponte. Stand with your back facing a wall (make sure the floor and wall are NOT slippery). Arch back and place your hands on the wall in the same way you'd put them on the floor for a bridge. Walk yourself down to the floor with your hands, until you're in a back bridge on the floor. Walk yourself back up. The no cheat bridge has a direct carryover into Capoeira. It looks almost like the beginning of a back handspring. If you've ever seen a Capoeira player go into a handstand backwards, this is how they do it. Looks sort of like that, but instead of bringing yourself all the way over, just stay in a Ponte position. In other words, move into a back bridge from a squatting position, without touching anything but your feet and hands to the floor. WAY tougher than it sounds. BANANEIRA (HANDSTAND) This is a fundamental exercise that, in combination with back bridge practice, will allow you to do some of those sick backflip-cartwheel-etc. type moves. For total beginners (like me), stand facing a wall. Kick your legs up so that you're in a handstand, with your feet touching the wall for balance. Hold this position as long as you possibly can. You want to then work your way up to a handstand pushup. To do this, at the end of your handstand, lower yourself SLOWLY down until your head touches the floor. Then get out of the handstand. The controlled downward motion will build up your strength until you can eventually push back up. The key to handstand pushups is to not wait around on your head; immediately push back up after your head makes contact with the floor. The book doesn't list it, but obviously, if you have the opportunity or need to, you can always do overhead presses. That's probably your best bet if you can't even hold a handstand. Another good variation that will aid directly in some Capoeira moves is to try to do a split while in the Bananeira position. AU (CARTWHEEL) I'm not quite at this level. The Bananeira will help me work up to this, in addition to a stretch I'm about to give you. The Capoeira Au is different from your normal cartwheel. It starts from the ground, in a squatting or bridge position, so you need to be able to enter a cartwheel from low on the ground, and from strange angles. The Au is an important transition movement and looks really cool. In addition to the handstand to work your way up to this, try a stretch called the ESQUIVA LATERAL. To do it, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, feet parallel. Bend one knee and support your weight on the palm of your hand on the same side as your bent knee. For a full stretch, extend your opposite arm towards your bent knee, so that your arm is parallel with the floor. Keep your hips low and hold the position. To do the Au, you start from the Esquiva Lateral position, and then you cartwheel toward the bent knee. Sounds easy, right? Try it. Remember for a cartwheel, your hips need to be perpendicular to the floor. Also, in a full Capoeira Au, the legs are kept loose (for balance, I think), so that you're doing a split while upside down. A good Au workout once you can do this is called Au walkbacks. When you finish an Au one way, do an Au in the opposite direction before you stand up. So you stay in that low, esquiva lateral position while doing Au's in both directions. Those are the 4 basic movements that the book lists. It includes a lot of variations, in addition to some Capoeira positions, and one of the most important parts of Capoeira: the Ginga. GINGA There really isn't a translation for the Ginga. Basically, it's flowing and dancing, never keeping still. You can't learn it from reading. It's really a visual thing. Look up the Ginga, or I'll explain it when I have more time (I have to go soon). I'll be back soon to explain some of the other positions, as well as include some photos. Feel free to contribute to the thread. HIIT CAPOEIRA! One of the best ideas I've ever seen. Want a workout that improves strength, flexibility, coordination, balance, anaerobic endurance, aerobic recovery, athleticism, explosiveness, burns fat like a mofo, and best of all, is an absolute BLAST to do? HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) Capoeira! You can do this even if you can't do the fighting movements of Capoeira, although you'll get a better workout when you can do the Au walkbacks, handstand pushups, bridge walking, no cheat bridges, and some of the more advanced exercises I'll give you later on. HIIT, if you haven't read about it, consists of short, all-out bursts of anaerobic activity followed by short periods of medium-paced aerobic activity. The simplest example is jog-sprint-jog-sprint. HIIT training is a killer cardio workout, will not burn muscle like long distance cardio, is short, and has been shown to burn more fat than pure aerobic or anaerobic cardio workouts. Here's a simple, but tough, yet fun HIIT Capoeira workout. It consists of the conditioning exercises for Capoeira for the anaerobic portion (all out), and then uses the Ginga for recovery in between. 30 seconds of jumping Cocorinha squats, as many as you can do 1 minute of Ginga 30 seconds of Au walkbacks, as many as you can do 1 minute of Ginga 30 seconds of as many Ponte bridge pushups as you can do 1 minute of Ginga 30 seconds of no-cheat bridges, as many as you can do 1 minute of Ginga 30 seconds of Au pushups (doing a pushup instead of cartwheeling over), as many as you can do 1 minute of Ginga TOTAL TIME: 7 1/2 minutes Sounds easy. But if you've never done HIIT before, you're in for a treat. Remember to push the intensity, as you're only working out for 7 1/2 minutes. I promise you, if these movements present any difficulty to you, this workout will be a KILLER, and it will melt the fat right off your pudgy frame. HIIT is the greatest thing since sliced bread, and the idea of HIIT Capoeira is awesome. Short, intense, FUN, and more effective than long, slow cardio! As this thread gets older I'll provide more exercises and more ideas for conditioning. Capoeira is my new favorite thing next to MMA. Now ask yourself that question again. Why would you run when you can condition yourself for and practice Capoeira? I am going to learn Capoeira so that I can get to the higher levels of a Capoeira workout, while learning more moves to add to my stand-up game.