Full body tension is the ability to voluntarily tense all your muscles at the same time so they work together as a cohesive unit. This means tensing all muscle parts from toes to fingers.
Being able to properly tense your entire body is especially important when it comes to calisthenics as all movements will require a certain degree of synergy between your muscles. Whether it is a pull up, push up, front lever or handstand, they need the right muscles to work together as a unit in order to be effective as can be.
Not only does it make exercises more effective by strengthening your stabilizer muscles, it will help improve the muscle mind connection. In other words, you will have a better activation of the muscles that you actually want to work on when you exercise.
However, learning this technique may be quite difficult especially if you are just starting out. But with the right practice and ques to follow, full body tension will be second nature in no time.
Here are some full body tension drills with correct ques and visualisation to help you improve.
1. Hollow Body Hold – 15-20 seconds with maximum effort
– Extend your arms straight out overhead while squeezing your shoulders to the ears.
– Ensure that your lower back and glute is touching the floor by squeezing your core and glutes.
– Legs extended straight out with toes pointed and heels hovering off the floor.
2. Plank Hold – 10-15 seconds with maximum effort
– Push out through your heels while pulling your elbows toward your toes.
– Press your forearms through the floor and squeeze your glutes as hard as possible.
– Tense your core and flex your calves.
3. Dead Hang – 10 -15 seconds with maximum effort
– Squeeze the bar as hard as you can. (much harder than you are thinking)
– Squeeze your thighs together and tense your glutes, core
– Keep your feet together and flex your calves by pointing your toes.
We recommend 3 sets of 2/3 of these exercises with 45 seconds rest in between at the end of your workout session.