Where can I find a bboy workout?
January 26, 2007 10:51 AM   Subscribe

The B-Boy workout: How are B-Boys able to build such strength in proportion to their own bodyweight? Traditional bodybuilding should be able to help, but are there certain exercises that allow for people to control and distort their bodyweight in the way B-Boys do?

I apologize if the title doesn’t make much sense, but I do not know how else to title the question.

I am fascinated with the way B-Boys are able to control their bodyweight in different ways. If you would like to know what I am talking about, here are two videos:

Video 1
Video 2

What kind of exercises do they do? Is there a workout program out there that helps grow their skills more or is it purely the dance that does it?
posted by misled to Health & Fitness (25 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I believe it's the "breakdancing" that does it. From my experience taking a "breakdance" class, it's fundamental that you be able to lift your bodyweight uniformly with different muscle groups, making it quite the feat for a woman of 5'8" like me at nearly any body mass. You won't find many bulky "breakdancers".

see above for tag suggestions.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:01 AM on January 26, 2007

Kung-Fu or similar martial arts regimens seem to be a common theme in the workouts of the b-boys I've known.
posted by paxton at 11:07 AM on January 26, 2007

Damn, that mo fo is one strong son of a bitch! I would have to say that 70% of what you see is genitics.

As for your question... frist, how much experience do you have with weight training? Incidentally, what song is that playing in Video 1?
posted by bkeene12 at 11:11 AM on January 26, 2007

My b-boy ex boyfriend just practiced and practiced with no "workout" componet and was able to get to those crazy core body strength moves.
posted by stormygrey at 11:12 AM on January 26, 2007

Popeye, the original B Boy?
posted by A189Nut at 11:26 AM on January 26, 2007

Some of them do Capoiera as this helps them build strength, and also has been an influence on breakdancing from the beginning.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 11:26 AM on January 26, 2007

Folks I know dance a lot and do a lot of push ups and situps.
posted by YoungAmerican at 11:31 AM on January 26, 2007

Incidentally, what song is that playing in Video 1?

Eric B and Rakim, "I Know You Got Soul"
posted by goetter at 11:44 AM on January 26, 2007

Maybe consider gymnastics? Gymnasts seem to have a similar thing going - huge core body strength (and flexibility), but not all bulked up from weightlifting.
posted by rtha at 11:46 AM on January 26, 2007

More precisely, it's a remix of same by DJ Db, "I Know You Got Soul Acen Remix"
posted by goetter at 11:49 AM on January 26, 2007

lots of bodyweight exercises
posted by the cuban at 11:52 AM on January 26, 2007

You won't find many bulky "breakdancers".

Yes you will. Many of them are built like gymnasts. I'd recommend seeing what your local gymnastics team (college best, high school works) does to train....
posted by twiggy at 12:02 PM on January 26, 2007

A lot of the moves are very similar to yoga arm balance asanas. Yoga people who really go for it, are definitely strong in this way.
posted by OmieWise at 12:10 PM on January 26, 2007

If you're already strong: gymastics, breaking classes,

If you're not: Yoga, Capoeria
posted by zpousman at 12:29 PM on January 26, 2007

First, it helps to get weight down, which happens if you're active (and if you're trying to be a b-boy... you're active...) the more you do the specific exercises whether breakdancing moves, capoiera, or yoga, the more muscles you build around them...

One exercise that's good: do a hand stand against the wall, and try to bring your head to the ground, and back up. It's essentially a shoulder lift that forces you to be balanced...
posted by stratastar at 1:51 PM on January 26, 2007

handstand pushups, with your back against the wall.
posted by gnutron at 2:04 PM on January 26, 2007

I was hired to photograph the BC ONE b-boy World Championships in november last year and had the opportunity to watch some of the world's best perform and practice. Comments above are all correct: gymnastics, capoeira, yoga, unbelievable stretching, and endless repetition of their routines. Amazing athletes.
posted by ig at 3:32 PM on January 26, 2007

It's worth pointing out that the guy in your first video - Junior - has a very unusual physique for a b-boy. Upper-body, he is (was?) one of the physically strongest breakers around but his legs are underdeveloped due to illness. Most of his power comes from his core - hence loads of ab moves, pushups etc. and very few jumps. Compare his physique to the folks in your second video. Or his opponent in this video, which contrasts the two styles well and is so awesome your eyes might start bleeding.

Astonishingly, Junior came 3rd in the competition you linked to... robbed!
posted by blag at 3:34 PM on January 26, 2007

Shoulders, shoulders, shoulders.
posted by gramcracker at 4:21 PM on January 26, 2007

B-boying does not put quite that much emphasis on raw strength. What you see in the first video is far from typical b-boying; although those kinds of stalls ("freezes") are used in b-boying, they are a minor part. The second video is much more typical. Although you have to be incredibly fit to do this stuff, coordination is more important than raw strength; I have many friends who are scrawny but great with power moves. Once you have momentum built up, windmills, swipes, halos and headspins require much more coordination and rhythm than strength. (A notable exception is flaring, which is just as physically strenuous as it looks.)
posted by lunchbox at 5:25 PM on January 26, 2007

More precisely, it's a remix of same by DJ Db, "I Know You Got Soul Acen Remix"

Wouldn't the Acen Remix be by Acen?
posted by rxrfrx at 5:35 PM on January 26, 2007

It's trite but practice makes perfect. LOTS of fucking practice. By practicing the moves, the muscles get stronger and you get more control etc.
Seconding the handstand push-ups (against a wall) for good muscle increase and control. Practicing rapid dancing is good for endurance and foot movement (even on something like Pump it Up or DDR). Lots of push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups coupled with practicing specific moves gets you there.
It's a slow process if you have no previous gymnastic/capoiera experience.
Find a local crew or group (you're in So Cali so I'm sure there are tons of breakers around, just check at a university or community center or something) and ask if you can hang out with them. It'll be daunting at first but (in my experience) bboys are very sociable, friendly, and helpful and once you start doing it you'll notice a change. That and you'll spend a lot of time on the internet looking at videos. Good luck!
posted by shokod at 6:50 PM on January 26, 2007

Wouldn't the Acen Remix be by Acen?

One would think, yeah. See track 7 here.
posted by goetter at 6:55 PM on January 26, 2007

Best answer: Grease the groove by working on the skills every day in a series of slow progressions toward more advanced tricks. Don't get greedy. Injury-free progress is slow. Work on gymnastics conditioning and skills, and build a set of parallettes to start working on your L-sits, V-sits, handstands, and planches. Bodyweight conditioning is great, as it will keep your strength:bodyweight high. You will need incredible core strength to pull tricks like that without major injury, and well-developed anaerobic capacity to get through routines. It makes sense to train the metabolic pathways specific to your intended activity. Breakdancing requires high intensity anaerobic conditioning. Try interval training, both HIIT (high intensity interval training) and Tabata Intervals (try the Tabata This! workout) if you're in decent shape and have no heart problems (seriously).
posted by chudder at 7:26 PM on January 26, 2007 [3 favorites]

Thanks goetter and rxrfrx! I like that song.
posted by bkeene12 at 7:45 PM on January 26, 2007

« Older Help me pay for as little of the War in Iraq as I...   |   Investment options for the young and the restless? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.