Get the best out of your contortion training space

The right training environment can make the world of difference to your training. The good thing with flexibility training is that you don’t require a massive amount of space, or equipment. There are some things, however, you should consider when setting up your training space.

Floorspace is key

Whilst this sounds stupid, having floorspace to train in is a necessity! Those with little space on the floor in their homes tend to resort to using their bed as a space to train – I do not recommend this at all, beds do not provide a solid enough surface for you to train safely or effectively, especially backbending or anything that involves having your chin/head/face on the floor. If you’re lacking floorspace potentially consider other places to train, such as a gym, or gymnastics centre.

Check the ceiling height if you’re going to be on your hands

This only really applies if you’re doing handbalancing, but it is worth mentioning. Low ceilings may lead to find you unintentionally grazing your toe on the roof, and you can definitely forget about those handbalancing canes.

Declutter you training space

Making sure that things aren’t in your way should be part of your pre-training routine. Keep clutter out of your way as there will inevitably be times when something won’t play nice and you’ll have to bail out of it, you don’t want to land face-first into a pile of lego bricks, DVD collection or your beloved pet cat. This applies to places out side of the home too, people can be a huge hazard, so check your training space before you start working on new tricks or skills.

A spare wall is super useful

While you don’t really need much equipment, (if any) for flexibility training, one invaluable asset is a nice solid and smooth wall. The wall can be used for numerous things, mostly around backbend training. Having a good clear space, free of light switches, photos, shelves etc is a definite plus for your contortion training. Take note however, painted surfaces, especially those that are light coloured as they will be prone to staining from the oil (and let’s face it, sweat) from your hands, arms, chin and face.

Dark and wallpapered walls are probably more forgiving if you’re concerned about leaving marks behind. The texture of the wall is also important as rough textured walls can be harder to slide down and they can be quite abrasive on your elbows and chin. Having some lighter towels handy can help prevent marking on walls, or give you some relief if you’re training on rougher surfaces like exposed brickwork or textured wallpaper.


This is largely left up to your geographic location — if you live somewhere that you’re dependant on air conditioning to stop you being a melted, sweaty mess, then keeping a room warm is the least of your troubles. You can turn off the air conditioning and let the place warm up. Those of us in colder climbs however have winter training to contest with.

Take a look at the this post for suggestions on how to keep warm in winter.

Lighting and oxygen

Training in a dingy room isn’t fun and having nice bright lighting can help give you an uplift to your training. Training in a space that has windows helps this, training in naturally bright spaces is always more pleasant. Spaces with windows also come with the added bonus of being able to let in some fresh air. Even when it’s cold, letting a room air out a little bit can make a world of difference, and help it not feel as stuffy and restricting.