Our level based system

Our level based system

When Ralph Waldo Emmerson wrote ‘foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds’ he was referring to the surge and play of life that we miss out on by conforming too tightly to strict concepts in a world that is always changing.

I, like most people, have never been a huge fan of change but I have always embraced it. When I was 24 and couldn’t muster a smile or any love for life, I knew what was needed. I had to change course and pursue my passion. My original goal was to work with solely professional athletes, when I achieved this I realized this wasn’t my passion. My passion was helping everybody find a deeper connection to their bodies. I couldn’t really care less about a particular sport or team. So I embraced change again to focus on opening Hanuman Health Club, our beautiful gym in uptown Manhattan, so as to help as many people as I could.

Change is never comfortable but neither physical, mental, personal or business growth comes from comfort. It comes from adaption and adaptation is change.

This is why to launch our new amazing studio, objectively one of the most beautiful independent gyms in New York City, we are creating a new program. Hanuman Health Club will be moving to a level based system for all of our classes.

This means that every member will be starting at the bottom and working their way up. The goal is to show our members what is possible and to empower them to stay constantly progressing.

To explain the thought process behind it, I thought I would write this blog Q&A style.


First up, Why, do you want Hanuman to take on a level based system?:

  • It’s simple really. I want to make sure that our members are actually getting lifelong results from our programming. Since our inception, movement quality and understanding the body has been the number one priority for our classes.

Without an awareness of how your body moves through space you may as well be pissing into the wind as they say at home. Sure you can go to a class and sweat a little bit, release some endorphins, feel decent for 20 minutes and then rinse and repeat. But absolutely nothing will come by the way of adaptation or change. That is why we build the foundations of form and movement intelligence in our Explore classes.

Previously with our Foundations program, while new members learned awful lot from it, it was too short of an introduction and while 4 weeks was enough for some it was way too little for others. This allows for progress at your pace.

For exercise and training to work there has to be something known as progressive overload. By moving to a level based approach we can safely and confidently progress members at their own pace. In the Evolve class you will get exposure to more complicated movement patterns and loading schemes. Similar exercises but done with higher loads and different tempos.

Finally our goal is always to empower members to want to move and exercise with each but at the same time not become dependent on eachother. This is the idea of Expand. You want to train for a marathon, go for it your ready. Want to devote time to learning a particular movement or strength practice, go for it your ready. Want to start sprinting, do it. Once you are this level you prepped with the confidence that with the right training your body can handle anything you require of it.


This is a little intimidating, are you trying to make the gym elitist?

  • God no. I despise the modern ‘sport of fitness’. Type A personalities making the art of connection and movement with your body a competitive event is damaging for the general population’s health. It turns movement and exercise into the preserve of the genetically gifted or target of the unbalanced mind’s obsession.

Instead our goal is create a comfortable non judgmental space for all to experience and cherish the results of a lifelong practice in a progressive and sustainable way.


What are the differences between levels?

  • There will be three levels. Every member will start at the first level, ‘Hanuman Explore’ and progress through ‘Hanuman Evolve’ and Eventually “Hanuman Expand’ 


The entry level will be Hanuman Explore. In this class we will focus on building bodily awareness, basic movement competency through the basic patterns the squat, push, pull, hinge and rotation.


A huge focus will be on stability and building functional strength.


Each class will follow the same template:


  • Joint by joint mobility warm up for roughly 5 minutes
  • Core awareness and strengthening will be coupled with movement education which will last about 10 - 20 minutes. Each month will have a different movement education focus or two.
  • Circuit training involving the 4 basic movement patterns. X 15 - 20 minutes
  • Cool Down.


Next Up we have Hanuman Evolve.

Everyone in this class will have passed certain metrics that mean we will not need to spend as much time on education with regard to the basic movement patterns but can work on more complex movements that might incorporate multiple patterns in the same movement or skill development. These classes will build on the basics and all you to find a pace you are comfortable with.


There will also be a lot more ballistic and power based movements here.


The Expand template:


  • Warm up - 5 minutes
  • Skill development - 10 minutes
  • Power Development - 5 minutes
  • Strength Development - 15 - 20 minutes
  • Accessory/Mobility/Conditioning 5 - 10 minutes
  • Cool Down.

Finally you will get to “Hanuman Expand” This will be less of a class and more of a concept. We will encourage members who get to Hanuman Expand to follow their own practice. To work with the trainers and coaches at Hanuman and to continue the fundamental concept of empowerment.


Working your way through the three levels is a great way to potentially get involved with the Hanuman Team.


What are the metrics you will use to measure readiness for the next level:

Everyone is anxious for this one. Before I explain them, let me just add that the goal is not to rush to get to these somewhat arbitrary numbers. The benefit is in the journey, not the destination. With that in mind the check - ins are designed to be self limiting. That means we are not leaving it up to the coach's interpretation for neither form nor capacity.


Hanuman Explore:

  • Strength and control - KB Squat without letting hips drastically hinge or elbows touch the knees (heel elevation allowed) female 16KG x 12 reps, male 22KG x 12 reps
  • Power Endurance, skill acquisition - KB Swing over shin height foam roller. Female 20 KG x 20 reps, Male 24kg x 20 Reps.
  • Balance - 2 x 4 walk for 20 feet and back.
  • Upper Body Strength and shoulder health - Hang. Less that 125 lbs 90 secs, 125-150lbs 75secs, 150-175lbs 60 secs over 175lbs 45 secs. (alt female 45secs, male 60 secs)
  • Endurance - 6 lengths of 30 feet in less than 3 minutes, not losing yoga block on the back.
  • Mobility - Yoga block TGU - without dropping.
  • Dynamic tension, transferability and connection - Farmers Carry - 30% B/W per hand x 30 seconds.
  • Coordination - Throw and catch 10 times without dropping.
  • Lung health and capacity - breath hold x 30 seconds.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the RPE concept.


Hanuman Evolve:


  • Strength and control - Double KB Rack Squat Female Double 16KG x 8 reps, Male Double 20KG x 8 reps
  • Power Endurance, skill acquisition - KB Snatch Female 16 KG x 10/hand, Male 20kg x 10 Rep/hand.
  • Balance - 2 x 4 walk kick through.
  • Upper Body Strength and shoulder health - Traverse monkey bars or climb rope x 1 time. Wall assisted Handstand for 45 seconds.
  • Endurance - run a sub 10 minute mile.
  • Mobility and stillness - 10 minute cross leg sit, zero movement.
  • Dynamic tension, strength transferability and connection - Farmers Carry - 60% B/W per hand x 30 seconds. Sled push 3 times BW x 60 feet. Mace 360s x 20 reps/direction (any weight, done in front of wall and rack)
  • Coordination single arm thrown and catch 10 times, no drop.
  • Understanding of proprioception and links between all areas of practice. - Build your flow, this is completely subjective. The only thing we are looking for is that you are able to transition to each of the moves without stopping and readjusting.


Some of these metrics seem so far away from where I am right now. Will I ever get there?

Of course you will. These metrics are designed for absolutely any body to be able to achieve. That does not mean they are easy, it means with the right focus and commitment you will get there. It may not be tomorrow, it may not be next year. In fact these are designed for the normal non genetically gifted beginner to be able to get to Hanuman Expand from never having lifted a weight in somewhere from 3 to 5 years. This could be done in 6 months or it could be done in 10 years. As long as you are working towards something that is half the battle.


Coordination, sitting still, building a flow...Why such a broad set of metrics?

There are so many components to health and a well rounded exercise and movement program. You may be strong enough to lift a house but not able to tie your shoe laces. You may be bendy enough to lick your toes but so aerobically out of shape that you can’t walk up some steps without being winded. Or how about being able to do a hundred burpees but not being able to sit still.

These metrics will show where your weak spots are and therefore make it easier to build a plan of action to grow from.


If I progress to one of the other levels does that mean I will get no benefit from an Explore class.

Absolutely not. In fact you will probably get even more than those taking the class for the first time. The slower pace of the class allows you to really explore movements and find nuance that will help you progress in other areas.

You can always add more weight to make a movement more challenging.


How will be members be accessed ?

We will periodic, 2 - 4 time a year specific check in days where we can do it all as a group. However, if you feel you are ready then you can schedule a check in with a coach at any time.


Some new members may be experienced movers, do they have to start in the Explore class too?

A new member can enter the gym and demonstrate their ability with any of the metrics from day one. If they are at that level then they can take that class. There is no minimum amount of Explore classes to be taken before trying the check ins.


Wrap it up:

To finish up I just want to say how excited I am to be able to introduce this new system and I hope you are too. If you have any questions then please don’t hesitate to contact us at hello@hanumanhealthclub.com


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