In the spotlight this week is a skill commonly known as Skin the Cat, but we wanted to rename it something that doesn't have gruesome imagery attached to it, so from here on out we're calling it Reverse Pike. So much better, right!? This skill is a great conditioning exercise and can prepare you for back levers.
The Reverse Pike is an extreme stretch for your shoulders, so make sure they are fully warmed up before attempting this skill! Begin with arm circles forwards, backward and add some criss-crosses. Wrap your wrists and press your chest into the ground to open up your shoulders. Begin the Reverse Pike on the ground, in a tuck position. Test your shoulder flexibility by bringing your feet past the poles. Go a little deeper every time. Only go as low as you can in order to safely get back up! Next, try it in a pike. Go so low that your feet touch the mat. While it's always best to train with a coach when learning new moves, if you’re training alone, put a stool behind you to help in case you can’t get up by yourself. When you’re comfortable with it on the ground, try it from the air. Make sure you don't exceed your 'point of control' because there isn't the floor or a stool to help you! When in a pike, focus on keeping your legs straight with active quads and reach out through your toes. The 'tightness' of your lower body can help to make it easier when rotating back up. Focus on drawing your abs in to initiate coming back up. An 'exhale' can also help you to recruit your deeps abs and give you a burst of energy for the hardest part, rotating back up! Make sure to keep your chin slightly tucked toward your chest and the back of your neck long throughout. Once you're super comfortable with the Reverse Pike in the air, for an advanced challenge, open your body up from your pike position. If you've never tried it before, definitely have a spotter nearby, Gabe makes it look easier than it is! To go back up from your open position, pass through your pike and reverse out of it.
Another bonus, you can try adding a climb! On your way out of your reverse pike, hook both knees on the outsides, in a “Lobster” climb.
Please help us spread the word about the new Reverse Pike name for the skill. Skin the Cat needs to be banned from the aerial vocab list, seriously!