Monkey Gym | the strength and coordination part of Stretch Therapy

The Monkey Gym (MG) work spans explicit rehabilitation through to the development of dynamic strength; we all sit somewhere on that continuum (from injured to elite performance), and a good strengthening program needs to begin with the objective of getting the basics right.

The Monkey Gym protocol begins with these assumptions:

  • you cannot increase strength safely without the capacity to hold any desired spinal alignment;
  • you cannot increase leg and hip strength without efficient foot and ankle alignment and accurate knee tracking; and
  • you can’t increase pushing and pulling strength without active and balanced rotator cuff activation and an efficient scapulo–humeral rhythm.

We can describe these attributes in a positive way as “efficient spinal alignment” and “sound biomechanics”. The Monkey Gym workshop starts by addressing these whole-body capacities, one by one.

One of the foundations of the Stretch Therapy–Monkey Gym system is the belief that bodyweight exercises, when made appropriately difficult by manipulating lever lengths and stability bases, using minimal equipment, will provide all the strength most people will ever need. The Monkey Gym workshop will give you the direct experience of this, too.

In the MG system, any exercise can be made more difficult (“forward engineering”) or easier (“back engineering”), and – for instructors – this means that what you learn can be shared with your clients immediately. In the Monkey Gym system, all exercises, whether static or moving, are both diagnosis and treatment alike, and we will show you how to identify common weaknesses in your own, and your clients’, bodies.

And a number of the MG teachers are elite strength practitioners in their own right, so if you do decide you want to go deeper in this fascinating world, one of them can guide you.

Reference material

Here are two reference documents:

Foundational skills of the Monkey Gym
Wrist mobility, bodyline exercises, and handstands

Vimeo follow-along sessions

Here are two follow-along sessions, available on the ST Vimeo channel … they are free!

More articles about Stretch Therapy™