How To Do The Candlestick Exercise Properly

The candlestick exercise is an enigmatic exercise, perfect for the dynamic at heart.

Once in a while, you always get the opportunity to integrate the more ‘fun-looking exercises into your workout routine.

Nothing gets more fun than the candlestick exercise if you’re able to handle the workload. Otherwise, it becomes an excruciating exercise. It is therefore important to ensure your fitness levels are where they need to be before attempting this exercise.

The candlestick exercise is centred around dynamic movements that are calisthenic in nature.

As such it requires minimal to no equipment and is also highly functional. This means it improves your ability to complete day-to-day actions.

WHAT TO DO:

  • Get down on the floor in a ‘candlestick’ position. This involves putting your hand straight on the floor and pushing your legs beyond the hips.
  • Point your legs towards the ceiling
  • Clasp your hands together and hold them straight over top of your head.
  • Bending at the waist you are going to push your waist towards the head and back towards the floor.
  • This is before planting your feet on the floor and standing up
  • Continue for the desired number of reps

That said, this is the standard variation of the exercise. The candlestick exercise also involves a variation known as the candlestick dipper.

Unlike the standard variation, this high impact version involves switching out your legs for a number of reps

To do the exercise:

  • Get down on your right knee with your left leg out to your side with your foot flat on the ground
  • Make sure that your left leg is straight.
  • Clasp your hands together and hold them straight over top of your head.
  • Bending at the waist you are going to lean as far over to the right as you can (opposite side of your leg that is out).
  • Now come back up straight.
  • Continue for the desired number of reps and then switch which knee you are on and which side you are leaning towards.

WHAT MUSCLES DO THE CANDLESTICK EXERCISE WORK?

EXTERNAL OBLIQUES

When you push your waist backwards, your upper body weight is distributed, this is where the obliques come in.

The external oblique is specifically tasked with providing balance, mostly working with the core.

This is because the external oblique is located right around the ribs going down to the pelvis which is right next to the core.

RECTUS ABDOMINIS

The rectus abdominis provides support and balance whilst pushing your waist back. However, this is not where its most engaged.

It takes a lot of power to transition from sitting in the unnatural ‘candlestick’ position to standing straight

Throughout these series of movements, the rectus abdominis regulates your momentum and also provides the power to facilitate the reps.

LOWER BACK

The lower back is engaged whenever you move your legs towards your head and it’s especially crucial in enabling you to plant your feet and stand up.

CANDLESTICK EXERCISE BENEFITS

INCREASED CORE STRENGTH

The core is literally at the centre of all movements that involve doing the candlestick exercise.

It is associated with regulating momentum, providing balance and generating momentum for your upper body movements.

In order to be able to handle this workload, your core is forced to adapt. This means your core muscles are being broken down and getting built bigger and stronger

BETTER COORDINATION

The candlestick exercise is based on the premise of transitioning from one set of movements to another.

When you lean back and stand up a lot of different muscle groups are engaged. As such all these muscles are forced to coordinate in order to complete a rep.

Doing this consistently for a reasonable amount of time sees your levels of muscle coordination translate into day-to-day life.

This can be particularly useful for people who regularly engage in physical activities even while at work.

IMPROVES EXPLOSIVENESS

The candlestick exercise is capable of improving your levels of explosiveness. This is due to the fact that they activate the power in how your core and lower body work together to get you standing up.

Such a series of movements are common especially when preparing to run.

Doing this repeatedly therefore improves the rate at which you can get off the blocks. A trait popularly referred to as explosiveness.

Explosiveness is particularly important for anyone who is athletic.

Having the ability to transition from pivoting to running or jumping is a priceless physical trait to have as it gives you a physical advantage.

Therefore whether you play a sport or just want to increase your levels of efficiency when it comes to doing an explosive exercise, the candlestick exercise is a good place to start

ALTERNATIVES TO THE CANDLESTICK EXERCISE

PLANKS

To do this exercise:

  • Lie face down on your belly with your palms on the floor underneath your shoulders and your feet flexed with the bottoms of your toes on the floor.
  • Take a deep breath and press through your palms to lift yourself up into the top of a push-up position.
  • Your body should make a straight line from your heels through your hips to the top of your head.
  • Draw your navel toward your spine and squeeze your glutes.
  • Look at the floor directly below your head to keep your neck in a neutral position, and breathe normally.
  • Hold for at least 10 seconds and lower yourself back to the floor.

BIRD DOG

This is a perfect alternative exercise catering to the back and core. To do it:

  • Point one arm out straight in front and extend the opposite leg behind you, forming a straight line from your extended hand to the extended foot.
  • Keep your hips squared to the ground. If your low back begins to sag, raise your leg only as high as you can while keeping the back straight.
  • Hold for a few seconds, then return to your hands and knees. Keep your abs engaged throughout the entire exercise and work to minimize any extra motion in your hips during the weight shift.
  • Switch to the other side.

MISTAKES TO AVOID

BENDING YOUR LEGS

While doing the exercise the goal is to ensure that whilst your waist is moving towards the direction of the head, your feet should be facing the ceiling straight.

As such your legs should remain straight and not bent backward

LACK OF ELEVATION

If you’re just starting out and aren’t really conditioned enough to do the candlestick exercise – you should use a bit of elevation.

This should make it easier for you to complete the reps, It could be a simple padded mat or a mattress.

It should just slightly lift you off the ground.

CONCLUSION

The candlestick exercise is a fantastic functional exercise that adds details to your athletic capabilities that aren’t often done but take your athleticism to an elite level.