I think the move is actually deceptively easy. Or at least, not as hard as it looks.
It looks absolutely divine. You’re floating around, and it looks like you’re doing a spinning planche. However, the moving aspect is actually what makes it easier. UFO is to planche what one arm handhops are to a one arm handstand - the dynamic move is a lot easier than the static hold. I think the decent amount of strength that the average breaker has can take us very, very far with this move. I would say if you can hold a tuck planche for 10 seconds, maybe even just 5 seconds, and you have a handstand, then you can learn a decent UFO in like 3 months of practice.
Here’s how I learned.
At the very start I tried to do a UFO from standing, and of course, I could only do like half a UFO. Not great. I kept trying this maybe ten times every practice, and didn’t get very far at first. Maybe 1 whole UFO at most before my feet hit the ground.
The key, however, is I just forced myself to keep doing rotations of the move even though my knees were scrapping the ground. I didn’t do this on purpose at first, it was just something I’d mess around with at practice. Like “hurr durr look at my bad UFO everyone” while I’m doing like 3-4 poor UFOs with my knees scrapping, feet dragging. It turns out this was the right thing to do. After about two months of doing this occasionally, I noticed two things had changed..
- I was picking up speed. I was fast enough with my UFO that not just the first, but maybe two UFOs could be done from standing without my feet hitting the ground.
- Then, my legs would start dragging. But, they dragged less and less. Instead of my knees full-on hitting the floor, it would just be my feet. I would actually be able to keep going for maybe 8 or so crappy rotations with feet dragging before I got too tired.
You see what’s happening? Gradually I was building the strength to do the move. What’s fascinating is that there wasn’t ever a real eureka moment. There was no breakthrough, no miracle practice session where I suddenly gained an understanding of how the move worked. I just brought my body, slowly but surely, to a point where it knew how to do the move. This took 3 months of non-committal practice to get to this step. Afterwards, a few more months to clean it up.
I intend to make a video tutorial about this one day. I haven’t been able to do this move since I injured my wrist, so it’ll be a process of re-learning it somewhat. I will document my progression on getting back into shape for UFO.. no doubt by performing the steps I have just described (doing crappy UFOs with the legs dragging until I gain strength to do them faster)
Some more advice:
- a prerequisite is knowing how to do turtles or buddha spins (some call them gorilla spins) before you attempt this. I happened to know how to do buddha spins. It’s the same hand motion, where it feels like you’re pulling yourself in one direction as you support yourself
- keep your hands under your hips, and close to each other ideally
These are the best tutorials on YouTube in my opinion