Back Pain? Flares & Airflares…Exercises for Everyone

Part 1:  Flares

I’m in my 30s and have been recovering from surgery for a torn bicep for 6 months. During that time, I’ve learned a lot, physically, mentally, and spiritually. It’s become more and more apparent that training and coaching is part of who I am supposed to be and what I’m supposed to share with others.


It’s been exactly 7 months since the injury…and since I’ve done flares.


The type of ballistic force required from the arms was just too much to do any earlier. I’ve been patiently (well, sort of) waiting to do these again and I wanted to make sure I waited the appropriate time. You could probably see by a lot of my recent content, I’ve been eager to get back to them. They really are one of the best bodyweight exercises…scratch that…probably one of the BEST exercises PERIOD, when you stop to think about it. From the warm-ups in the video you’ll see why.


Flares require every muscle in the body to be fully contracted and engaged.  It requires extreme active flexibility, i.e. "mobility" in the shoulders, lower back, hips, and hamstrings.


Flares are NO JOKE!


If you have back pain, hip pain, shoulder pain, or wrist pain, flare training is ESSENTIAL for you.


In my early 20s, I already had severe issues with my back.  You might also.  Bulging discs.  Nerve pain.  Arthritis creeping in.  Well, flares not only look cool, but training to do them help cure all of those negative conditions.


Think about the requirements...the milestones you have to hit to even think about doing flares:


1. Flexible, yet powerful, bamboo-like shoulders, elbows, and wrists.

2. A bulletproof core that suspends the body in mid-air as it traverses a 360 degree orbit.

3. A mobile spine that can effortlessly carve a circle on the y-axis of rotation.

4. Hips and hamstrings that allow full range of motion of the legs while pressing on 1 hand.

5. Psoas Major and Minor, Rectus Femori, and Glutes that can maintain a straddled pike while oscillating between manna and planche.


These are all pieces of the puzzle we put together in Bodyweight Breakthrough.


In terms of strength, flares require more than even airflares.  Many, many people who can do airflares cannot do flares.  Usually, there are missing pieces.


Maybe the shoulders are too tight in extension.  That's why people can't get muscle ups either.


Maybe your core isn't strong enough through the Transverse Abdominus.  That's why you're suffering from back pain.  The hip flexors pick up the slack, shortening the space between the rib cage and the pelvic bone, causing even more pressure on the spinal column.


Maybe the hips are too tight.  That's another contributing factor to back pain.  Just like tight hamstrings.


No amount of stretching, deadlifts, squats, or yoga are going to cure it, or make you more powerful--because they aren't combining flexibility, ballistic motion, strength, speed, and power.  It's one lift at a time, or one stretch at a time.  That's it.  No advanced complexity of movement patterns.  No agility in expression of strength.


In the final analysis, flares are an excellent barometer of the condition of the body, in terms of flexibility, mobility, strength, and endurance.


I was able to do all sorts of other training post-surgery, and in the early months, it was a lot of 1 arm stuff. But nothing came close to such a full body workout.


I usually use flares for HIIT cardio…doing maximum power sets with short rests in between. They’re awesome for developing sustained power too.


It felt good to do them again, but my arm felt it too. I could tell I hadn’t used it to that degree in a while. All the band work, weightlifting, and even calisthenics stuff I did can’t really prepare the joints for that ballistic type work. It’s just a lot different--and highly beneficial.


There's quite a bit more I did in preparation to be able to do flares again not included in this video, but by putting it all together, my recovery is going way faster than usual, and in a big part due to bodyweight training through flares.


If, after watching the free training, you have any questions about learning flares or really building power and strength through bodyweight training, book your free call with me to get some clarity!


Coach Lee

Part 2:  Airflares


Back pain? Shoulder pain? Airflares are an excellent exercise for the entire body, and training for them will help you build powerful shoulders, a flexible back, and mobile hips and legs free of pain.


But do you find yourself falling? Smashing your foot into the ground? Banging your elbow?


Learning airflares requires a mindset shift regarding physiology and biomechanics. What's the mindset shift?


A recognition of individualization and differentiation.


And the same principles of differentiation for education, nutrition, and physical development for each individual apply to learning a skill such as this.


Far too often, people with little understanding of biomechanics physiology, and differentiation attempt to teach things that require those very principles.


Here, we see the individualization of biomechanical differentiation on display for a specific skill.


Because this is a complicated movement with rotation happening on multiple planes...


And because both the hip and shoulder joints are even more complicated...


The differentiation you see here is not only evident, but necessary.


Slightly different techniques are required for the following body proportions:


1. Low leg to body ratio
2. Medium leg to body ratio
3. High leg to body ratio


Other ratios to consider are:


4. Low arm to leg ratio
5. Medium arm to leg ratio
6. High arm to leg ratio


Then there are the mobility factors. Technique and shoulder angle will need to change depending upon these crucial variables:


A. Shoulder and pectoralis range of motion in abduction/flexion
B. Hip range of motion in abduction/flexion


All 6 ratios, shoulder mobility, and hip mobility will play a factor in what strength, mobility, and technique needs to be developed.


Likewise, all of those factors play a huge role in whether you can make the catch.


A couple results of misdiagnosis include:


-falling on your hip

-slamming your foot into the ground

-landing on your elbow

-twisting your wrist

-smashing your shoulder


There are much better ways to learn the airflare, and many exercises that can help you determine what you should be doing with your training.


You can't just listen to the *experts* because most of the time, the experts have learned it one way...according to their own body.


You can't learn by following this famous guy or that famous guy, because their talents might be in kinesthetic awareness rather than the diagnostic and prescriptive analytics of highly trained coaches.


Airflares are an awesome, total-body workout. And they can rejuvenate your body, your shoulders, your back, and your hips.


They can help you develop POWERFUL SHOULDER STRENGTH...if you do it the right way.


They can help you GET RID OF BACK PAIN and build awesome back mobility...if you do it the right way.


They can help you BUILD A BULLETPROOF CORE that protects your spine...if you do it the right way.


And they can help you DEVELOP FANTASTIC FLEXIBILITY for lifelong health and wellness...if you do it the right way.


Here's the bottom-line: if you're having trouble learning a skill, stop trashing your body and find the best coach you can and make whatever investment it takes to learn it the right way...for YOU.  Transformation like this isn't cheap, but neither is your body.  It's priceless.  Treat it as such and start your transformation today.


If you haven't already, go watch the free training, and then when you're ready to start developing elite strength and skill, book your free call with me to get started!


Coach Lee






DO YOU WORK HARD?  That's the easy part.  "How to feel more rested?"  That's the real question.  I see pictures and videos all the time of how hard people WOOOORK!  Lifting weights.  Crazy flips.  Writing.  Podcasting.  Business.  Do you rest just as hard?


Quite honestly, hard work is easy.  Especially for me, I can get going into things with so much focus I forget about everything else for days.  On the other hand, I've always had a struggle with feeling tired.  So...once I can get out of the fog and into the zone, it's non-stop.  The most challenging thing, however is finding the "stop button."


As an athlete, coach, gym owner, and online entrepreneur, not to mention husband and father, life is constantly on the move.  Do you feel the same way?  The struggle is getting that rest, and feeling rested for the next adventure!  In this video, I'll go over 3 strategies for getting more rest and feeling more rested.


A big hurdle in getting rest, and good sleep, and knowing that the rest of the world is not.  And as we become even more connected across the earth, it will become even more difficult to press that "stop button."  I think that's why God commanded it, as well as modeled it.  Think about how difficult it is for a toddler to go to sleep.  They don't want to have anything to do with sleep because their brain is still abuzz with connected with the world.  It's exactly the same for us.  But we have to remember that our brains don't shut off during rest, be it in the form of sleep, or a quiet walk in the park.  In fact, the brain switches over into a different frequency of energy as it continues to process information necessary to creativity and problem solving in the future while awake.


Subscribe to our channel:
Share & Like on YouTube:


To your rest...and mental health,

Coach Lee 👽👊🐉



One of the main things about bodyweight training is that it is COMPLICATED! It is extremely COMPLEX. It is NOT like adding plates to the barbell each week and upping your strength. It is far more INTRICATE...and FAR MORE BENEFICIAL, especially if the right mindset is adopted. A person can gain immense strength, muscle mass, and a brilliant physique.


On the other hand, it is very easy for people to train only the paradigms they know, becoming "specialists" in certain strength and skills. There are the pullup guys. There are the muscle up guys. There are the 300 pushup guys. There are the planche guys. And on and on. There is ONE key element that all of these guys and gals are doing right...but that they are failing to realize in other areas: ENGAGEMENT.


The key element of engagement is critical and I discuss it in this clip from one of our full class episodes. The idea is simple. Keep time under maximal tension in the forefront of your mind. It is extremely easy to "back off" while training, especially the beginner progressions like the bent knees on elbows planche demonstrated in this video. The idea is the same for all static holds. Even if your feet are on the ground, maximally stay engaged. Even if your knees drop all the way to the floor and your feet are scraping, maximally stay engaged.


This works. It really does. It can work for any static hold, whether handbalancing in positions like planche or handstands, hangs like V lifts or levers, holds like flags, or compression training like L stand and V stand.

Let me know how your training is going! If you need help with progressions, visit our Virtual Gym or our FB Group called Bodyweight Strength & Skills.


Keep up the great work!
Coach Lee 👽👊🐉



Flares are not difficult.  They just take a LOT of work!  In my opinion as a coach of various disciplines, it is THE BEST skill to develop because it requires the body to adapt in strength, mobility, and flexibility in more areas than any other skill.  I believe this is why the pommel horse is admitted by even the most elite gymnasts to be the most challenging event in gymnastics.  Why are flares the BEST bodyweight movement?  What makes them so tough?  And how do we learn them efficiently?  Let’s dive in.


The flare requires tremendous leg and hip mobility first and foremost.  The extent to which the legs can split is called passive flexibility.  The angle of split a person can achieve without any help is called active flexibility, or mobility.  A person’s passive flexibility is almost always more than their mobility.  So just to do flares, one already needs to be able to almost do full splits.  This is why we train the Leg Iron Cross in Ninja Strength!


The flare also requires tremendous arm mobility.  Shoulder extension is how far up behind your back you can lift your arms.  In a really good flare, the arms are perpendicular to the body.  How far up can you lift your arms behind your back?


The flare also requires tremendous core strength, from the rectus femoris all the way up to the rectus abdominus, i.e. the hip flexors up to the upper abs.  Everything between those muscle groups is engaged, including the transverse abdominus, or the laughing muscles.  Sitting on the floor in a straddle with the hands in the middle and doing seated straddle leg lifts is a good way of developing the upper leg and lower abdominal muscles to do this skill, as well as V ups.


Show us your flare progress!  It’ll be one of the best exercises you train, I guarantee it!  And go ahead and Subscribe to keep unlocking more training levels:


Coach Lee 👽



Want to learn more about Aerial Silks?  Look no further!  Cirque Saturdays at Pacific Rim Athletics is happening every weekend.  The skills that will be demonstrated will be based upon the strength and skills covered in our programming.  Today's is the Brazilian Hip Lock, or Hip Key.


Follow Coach Lindsey as she describes and demonstrates the Brazilian Hip Key, a unique twist on the regular Hip Lock.  Dive into the training and make sure you follow along closely!  This one has some complexity to it that also requires strength.


It is important to make sure you can climb the silks already free of using the feet, for then you'll make sure you have the grip, latisimus, and bicep strength to both enter and exit this Cirque Skill efficiently and safely.  The entry has a few steps, so learning this won't be overly difficult, but it does follow a sequence, which is important to remember for the exit.


And the exit is just as important as the entry into the skill, for fatigue will have set in, so keep in mind the importance of coming out of the move and down the skills smoothly and in control.  Again, the best way to ensure this is to develop the grip, latisimus, and bicep strength necessary for climbing the silks, as well as holding inverted positions.  And the best way to develop that is to go through the system of bodyweight strength development we use at Pacific Rim Athletics, both at our gym in Alaska, and online at our Virtual Gym!


Stay up to speed with your training by using the sidebar to the right and making your way through all of the Levels from the 5 Systems!  They are designed to work together holistically and help you achieve maximum strength and athletic performance!


Stay tuned for more!

Coach Lee 🙂



This is the Men’s Gymnastics Level 5 Vault.  In gymnastics, it is very important that everything is very polished.  Why?  It isn’t just to look pretty.  It’s to achieve maximal power.  I’m always talking about power, and that is achieved biomechanically and physically by holding forms as tight and straight as possible:  like a bullet.


Here, Patrick AKA “Sideswipe” turns himself into a bullet.  It’s a basic front flip, and it’s off of a spring board.  A spring board does NOT guarantee height.  Actually, a spring board can guarantee a major accident if the power is not going in the right direction and form isn’t held tight and straight.


This front flip is probably about 8-10 feet in the air.  It is well over his own head height.  And the landing is completely stuck with feet together.  This shows that the forces were all going in the proper directions.


First, the feet were in front of the hips upon hitting the spring board, which propelled the frame directly vertically.  Second, the body was held hollow while hitting the board and going airborne.  Third, the tuck was delayed until almost completely at maximal height.  With the rotation engaged right before maximal height, the thrust of the hips, legs, and feet upward and over the head added extra height.


As for the landing, the shoulders must get back in front of the toes and knees or else the body will collapse backwards into an under-rotated flip.  This is no good.  A little over-rotation is always better than under-rotation.


Now, if all of these forces were not aligned perfectly, then just like the design of the earth, it would have all fallen apart:  a front flip flung 20 feet forward, a head grazing the ground, an accidental twist and rolled ankle, or a crash, fall, or flop on the back or over-rotated to the stomach, just to name a few things.  But taking care of those details in preparation leads to good execution.


Go ahead and Subscribe, Like, and Share!


Coach Lee 👽



I was chilling at the gym and thought I’d make a quick tutorial.  This is the LAST powermoves combo I learned.  IRONICALLY, it’s the FIRST one I got back while I’m healing from surgery to fix a bicep tear a few months ago.


The prerequisite is a solid windmill with the ability to do barrel mills, crab mills, and handstand pushups.    The first exercise is to do the windmill and on each spin of the windmill, do a pushup as hard as possible, with a controlled return back to your back in the windmill.


The next thing is to make sure you do you sets and reps.  What I do are sets of 5 windmill pushups.  When I first learned this, I did 5 sets of 5 consecutive windmill pushups.  After a few weeks, it was pretty easy to do the windmill to 1990.


The main thing to remember in all of this is CONSISTENCY.  You should do this at least 2 times per week, maybe even 3.  It isn’t a difficult move, it’s just tricky getting the timing, and it requires that ballistic strength to push from your back all the way up to the handstand position.


A kip at the bottom will help lift the hips, but you have to remember to train it properly and develop that ballistic strength through your shoulders, or else you’ll just end up front or back rolling right back down onto your back or FACE!  Like I said, CONSISTENCY is KEY, with this, or anything else in life!  If you develop these habits with powermoves, you’ll be able to bring that mindset to any other area of life and do well, be it physical, mental, spiritual, or financial.


I hope this helps you guys!  Feel free to Subscribe to our channel for more!


Coach Lee 👽



There are a lot of different ways to throw an Airflare or Airtrack. It can be done very low, like a rotating planche pushup, or very high like handhops. Ultimately, it’s simple an aerial rotation caught on the hands, and the higher it is, the easier it is to go into the 1990, or handstand spin.


The Airtrack or Airflare to 1990 is not that tricky of a powermove, but it still takes some finesse. If a powermover does an airflare too low, it will be practically a planche press to go to the 1990. If it is done the Korean way, with a major pike at the legs, it will actually be easier to continue the airflare than go up to the 1990. If it is done the Old School way, like Houston, TX powermovers, it will be very easy to go to the 1990.


Here are the key points: more pike = more difficult, and lower = more difficult. Some powermovers have a difficult time going the higher direction because they learned it from flares or swipes and cannot open the shoulder angle. This will present problems for learning higher aerial powermoves, especially when trying to catch in a 1 hand handstand.


There is a nice way of learning this using the wall that I’ve made other videos about. Make sure to give that a look. Of course, having good handstands, especially 1 hand handstands, is very good. Learning to walk in circles is extremely advantageous as well, as is learning to do an airtrack from handstand and back to a handstand.


Not only that, but learning hollowbacks will be a great way to develop the shoulder and back mobility to stay high and open in the shoulder angle to make catching easier. I hope this helps!


Coach Lee 👽
Subscribe, Like, and Share!



What's up guys! Here's a good warmup, especially for Flares. David takes his class through a V Sit Exercise that's really beneficial. I've seen people with very strong arms, and even a strong core, have a very difficult time developing a L Sit, or as we call it, an L Stand. And this isn’t even talking about a V Stand. Here, I’ll get into some of the biomechanical requirements of the L Stand.


The L position requires flexible hamstrings and lower back, as well as strong rectus femoris. The muscles right underneath the pelvic bone need to be built up to handle the pulling forces required, and the lower back and hamstrings need to be mobilized in ways they are not used to doing. How do we achieve this?


We achieve this through seated pulses. These are an excellent way of building up to those requirements without any equipment needed. They are very easy to do and should be done in higher volume of at least 20 reps. 10 reps is the minimum warm up protocol. Reps of up to 50 are ideal…and if you don’t want to do that many, just put on some ankle weights, or hold something heavy between your feet. Make sure the form is good too!


In regards to form, toes should be pointed and legs flexed so that weight is made as long as possible. That’s why the toes are pointed; not to look pretty, but to extend the weight further away from the hips to make the exercise more challenging. To make it even more challenging and build up more flexibility and mobility in the lower back and hamstrings, reach further out with the hands. They should be extended well beyond the knees to gain maximum effect.


Beyond preparation for the L, this exercise can be modified for progression to the straddle hold. It can also be pronated for the development of planche!


Coach Lee 👽
Subscribe, Like, and Share!