Just a few moments ago I posted the following photo to my Instagram:
As you can see it’s an attempt of a Dragon Tail. I have two — no three — problems that makes the Dragon Tail my nemesis move:
- Flexibility: Hip and shoulder.
- The ape index
So, let’s talk about the ape index.
The ape index is, according to Wikipedia:
Ape index, or ape factor, or gorilla index is a measure of the ratio of an individual’s arm span relative to their height. A typical ratio is 1, as identified by the Roman writer, architect and engineer Vitruvius prior to 15 BC. Vitruvius noted that a “well made man” has an arm span equal to his or her height, as exemplified in Leonardo da Vinci’s drawing, the “Vitruvian Man“.
My ape index is 0.96 (index 1) or -7 (index 2). (ape-index.com) This means my arms are 7 cm shorter than my height.
What does this mean for my pole and aerial performance? It makes it harder to fit my legs between my arms/torso and the apparatus, and it means it’s harder to reach behind my back for pole tricks like the Dragon Tail.
First example: Hoop. The basic invert into the hoop is standing below the hoop, fitting your legs between your body and the bottom bar, then hooking the knees into the hoop. This is always a struggle for me, and as a result I prefer the sideways invert. On the other hand, inverting onto the top bar requires me to do the basic invert. To achieve this invert, I need to release my shoulders up to my ears. That’s not pretty, and can possibly be dangerous, as my shoulders and upper back is not engaged.
Second example: Pole. Everything sneaky is a struggle. Sneaky V, Transition from split grip (Butterfly) into a Side Saddle (pic below, so we speak the same language, borrowed from Pinterest), you name it. I am struggling too much to do these tricks and transitions to show them on video. There’s just too much struggling and booty flashing going on every time.
So what can I do about this? Option 1: As mentioned, I can disengage my shoulders and upper back. Option 2: Not doing those tricks and transitions. Option 3: Practice, practice, practice, and hope that one day I find a way to make them look good, and cheat my ape index without disengaging. I think that last option is what’s best.
Have you struggled with your ape index? Please let me know in comments what you do when your ape index is failing you.