Monkey Gym (MG) is the strength and agility wing of the Stretch Therapy system.
The foundation of any strengthening work is sound biomechanics. The Monkey Gym work spans explicit rehabilitation through to the development of elite athletes; we all fall somewhere on that continuum, and a good strengthening program needs to begin with this goal.
This all-practical workshop is for anyone new to Monkey Gym. You will learn and practise the fundamental, foundational elements of the Monkey Gym system.
This workshop is suitable for beginners, including people with no prior experience with strength training. All exercises will be presented in a wide variety of intensities, allowing all attendees to participate.
We will begin with unique, highly effective whole-body core/spine/extremities alignment and strengthening drills, done standing, supine, and prone. Many past workshop attendees have confessed to feeling key abdominal muscles (TA, transversus abdominis, and the obliques) for the first time following this session! You will have no doubt about where the core muscles are located in the body, either, on the following day.
All drills can be progressed from very easy to extremely difficult and can be set up as circuits as well, requiring only a floor, a wall, and a bench. In turn, these drills activate shoulder muscles (serratus anterior, and the rotator cuff couples), buttock muscles (gluteus maximus), and the entire complex of spinal and trunk stabilisation muscles, in multiple planes of movement (the frontal, lateral, and rotational planes). All are whole-body and core activation exercises.
All progressions can be made more difficult by adding perturbations (or, the “Earthquke). Perturbation is a technical term which means your parter will try to disturb your form, and this makes the entire neural system fire intensely. You will feel this increased activation immediately.
This session is complemented by a comprehensive foot awareness sequence that will wake up the sense organs (proprioceptors and mechanoreceptors) in the feet, and will immediately improve your balance, which we will test before and after – past attendees have been amazed at the difference.
Another session teaches wrist, elbow and shoulder mobilisation drills, as preparation for more difficult work. This will be followed by static holds and supports on the low Roman rings and the L-sit (floor) and L-hang (ladder, or stall bars).
A further session focuses on pushing and pulling exercises, more difficult Roman ring movements and static holds, and the crucially important hand conditioning and grip strength drills. These are complemented by internal and external rotator cuff balancing and strengthening exercises, to make sure that shoulders can adapt to these increased demands safely.
Gluteus maximus activation and its critical relation to the hip flexors will be introduced.
The foot sequence (above) progresses to knee tracking. For the lower body, we begin with the full, two-leg, body weight squat. This highlights knee tracking and hip/ankle alignment. Next, lunging and eventually stepping up (and the perhaps more important stepping down) exercises.
The single-leg squat (“SLS”, or the “pistol”) progressions will be presented: the single leg squat is the finest balance, coordination, and strengthening movement of all for the lower body. This critical exercise is shown in progressions that allow all participants to take part. We will use the fact that we are about 40% stronger in eccentric (lowering against gravity) movement than working in the other direction to learn this skill.
The workshop will cover a select number of stretching exercises that aid neuro-muscular activation.
We will explore additional Beginner-to-Intermediate level exercises, and introduce more-advanced exercises. Some jumping and bounding drills will be added. And, we will teach you the wall supports as preparation for the handstand – the most important exercise for upper body strength.
There are none! However, you may care to read the following two reference documents prior to attending.
How do I register?
View the workshops schedule to find a Monkey Gym workshop, then follow the links to register!
Discounts policy, workshop confirmation, and booking travel/accommodation
Full details here.
From a trainer’s perspective, it was essential for me to be a student in the Monkey Gym workshop. It helped me to identify some critical personal body alignment patterns and strength issues. Through the workshop, it became clear to me that when focused on coaching or training others, it is easy to neglect/not make enough time for one’s own development. For my own body, Monkey Gym helped to expose what I need to do to achieve physical balance, which will in turn make me a better facilitator of change in the fitness of others.
Thanks to Olivia, Jonathon and Kit for a very inspiring, challenging and fun workshop – can’t wait for the next one!
Helen – Greenwell Point, 2016
I just wanted to drop you a little email to send a HUGE thank you for such a wonderful Monkey Gym workshop.
It by far was THE BEST workshop I have ever attended in the last 9 years, hands down. The information I received in my body as well as my mind was insightful, fresh, challenging, rewarding, and well-rounded.
I needed a few days to digest the info I received, but I’m feeling very humbled by the work we did, and stronger to boot.
Kylie – Canberra, 2013
I am already a very physically aware person who is well tuned into my own body and connected with it. But what I am experiencing today can only be described as feeling a seriously deep, cellularly embedded education that has taken place through every cell in my body. I was going to say my body felt alive but it is so much more than this, it has transcended beyond this feeling … (and it managed to dust off a bunch of emotional crap that was sitting in my muscles too and has made me feel so liberated physically and mentally).
I have never felt so alive in every joint, muscle or bone as I do today. I do feel sore in muscles but it´s such a reassuring feeling that everything is switched on and active, and it just wants more.
Even though my body has been put through some of the most challenging of movements and holds that I have ever experienced, I still felt completely safe in every second because my body was constantly giving me the message that ‘this feels right and so I will do this for you’. The key ingredient in this feeling has to be the focus on the alignment component. Alignment in strength work can only ever feel right.
This work truly is the safest, most effective, most efficient and brilliant strength training that you will ever experience in your life … I guarantee this with 100% belief in it.
Jade – Spain, 2012