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Biomechanics of the Macacao

First Macaco observations (Pros vs. Newbies)

How to improve your macacao:

A proper macacao would be executed backwards, vertically, essentially entering into an upside-down position and then finishing the motion accordingly. Most athletes perform their macacao sideways because they are afraid of rotating backwards, lack body awareness, did not guide their body in the right position from take off, or have weaker core or arm strength, but all of these can be improved by regressing, letting them know that it's okay to go to the side for now, so that athletes can build the awareness and at the same time the strength to support their body.

The supporting hand should be set on the ground first, with the fingers pointing backwards and inwards, to avoid wrist and shoulder damage due to the limited range of motion when placed on the ground. If the hands are not properly positioned, the macacao may be pulled off the axis when executed.


Three Stages of a Macacao

The takeoff, the flip, and the landing

The Take Off: How to Push Off for Your Macacao

  • In a low squat, reach back with your left arm, placing your left hand (depending on which side athletes twist) on the ground, and your right arm at your side or between your legs.

  • To begin, extend your hips, knees, and ankles to leap while swinging your right arm up over your head to generate upward and backward momentum.

  • As you stretch your legs and swing your arm back, you will achieve a bridge-like position.

  • At this point, the most essential muscle needed to generate enough power to jump off the ground is the glutes and a little of the quadriceps.

  • The final but most important point during the take-off is head positioning.

  • As you enter the bridge position, arm swung up and over your head, you want your eyes to follow that right swinging arm, for two reasons:

  • First, you will be able to spot where the hand is coming into contact with the floor

  • Second, as you tilt your head up and back, it allows your spine to extend backwards, creating a curved position, allowing you to enter the bridge position easily, which could also imitate

The Flip: What is an efficient way to complete the macaco's rotation?

At this point, your hips are fully extended, your feet are off the ground, and your back is fully extended as well, forming a C shape with your entire body (as shown in the photo). You should feel a stretch in your abdominal muscles and hip flexors, and some of your body weight is acting on your left arm. What you should do next is guide your right arm towards the floor to help distribute the body weight that is going to act on your left arm.

  • Because you have both of your arms on the floor, the best posture for your body is a handstand (or cartwheel), which you can achieve by using the rotational momentum created by the jump and swing of your right arm.

  • Then contracting the stretched-out abdominal muscles and hip flexors to bring them back into a neutral position,

  • If you try to drive your legs over your head too early you may cause your centre of gravity to shift forwards when you are trying to move backwards with your macacao, causing you to fall back onto your back.

  • When you fall backwards from a handstand, flex your trunk and right hip (or left), bringing your right leg backwards to catch your body for the landing (similar to a cartwheel).

The Landing: A safe technique to land your macacao

  • The landing of the macacao should be nice and smooth.

  • To ensure this, first leave your hand on the floor for as long as possible, waiting for your legs to come into contact with the floor first before lifting your hands off the ground

  • As one of your legs comes into contact with the floor, with knees slightly bent, hips flexed to help the legs prep for landing, and ankles extended so that the toes come into contact first.

How to Strengthen Your Macaco

  1. Reverse Plank Hip Extensions: Starting with your shoulders, lower back, hips, and thighs aligned, push your hips into the sky, working the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back, all the muscles used in the macacao jump.

  2. Elevated lying leg raises: Lying on a box jump block with your legs hanging off the platform and arms above your head anchored to something or a partner, imitating the position you would be in after taking off your macacao, back hyperextended, and hips extended, you want to lift your leg up to about 45 degrees, at the same time lifting your lower back off the platform, working on your hip flexors and abdominal muscles, which are needed to pull yourself into the handstand position during

  3. Handstand holds: To condition the shoulders and arms to maintain the weight of the body for the macacao, as well as because the shoulders are most vulnerable in the handstand position, it is vital to improving basic strength in the shoulders to avoid injuries. Shoulder push-ups can also be done to strengthen the shoulders and arms.


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