There is no real replacement to contortion training with a experienced or qualified coach. Fact. Unfortunately coaches are spread pretty thin across the globe. This means most of us train in solitude. This makes it hard to self-assess your form and your progress which can make flexibility training feel like you’re blindly stabbing in the dark. Training alone can be advantageous because you don’t have any distractions, however you also risk getting bored, or unmotivated. There are ways to remedy this however!
Record your sessions – every one of them.
Mobile phones and tablets are getting increasingly more affordable with better quality. This is be my go-to device for helping me assess my session. Recording yourself means that you can leave the camera running while you get on with your session and then, review after each segment of training, or after the whole session itself. I find that I tend to get distracted if I start reviewing my session piece-by-piece and can also lead to me getting cold.
Reviewing the footage means that you can get a good idea to how your body looks when you’re training. This provides insight into areas that you might be struggling with. It also means you can take screenshots of the areas you’re focusing on, allowing for good progress tracking and material to send online coaches to review.
Music (or some other non distracting entertainment)
This is obviously quite a personal thing, some people train with the TV on – I find this distracting, so people like to train in silence – I find this also distracting, I hate hearing the sound of my own breathing especially when I’m doing something that I’m finding difficult. I make sure that I have a decent playlist lined up before I start training, double checking that there aren’t any songs that will annoy me or overly distract me while I train. To me this is the key, I need something in my training environment that will aid with my ability to relax and be comfortable.
Online communities and help
As with all things that challenge us, there will be times whereby you don’t know how to make a next step, or you’re plateauing with your training. When this happens, we need someone to help us out and give us a step in the right direction. Unfortunately access to contortion and flexibility coaches is few and far between.
Luckily the power of the internet can help somewhat remedy this. There are a few coaches that teach online for a fee. But there are also online social groups that you can join and post to ask questions. Groups like the Worldwide Contortion Group on facebook and Contortionists Unite! are good places to go to ask for help.