“Are there any special exercises one can do to prepare for specific moves?”
It’s not easy to answer this common question because it always depends on what move you wanna do. Further most of the moves you can only do with drive. Thus it’s not really possible to practice “one position” for itself of the whole move. So, most of the common moves you can only improve or learn by just doing them. And that’s the dangerous part of Breaking – the part where injuries arise. But you can prepare and strengthen your body with some general exercises that it can bear more stress.
Strengthen your wrists
How to build:
You can build a simple machine which is the best thing for building up your wrist muscles. What you need is a small tube (like the ones used for water pipes) of about 30cm length and of about 7cm diameter (your fingers shouldn’t touch the thumb when you are holding it, but the diameter also shouldn’t be too big!). Further you need a rope with a weight (between 1.5kg and 2.5kg). Make a hole in the middle, on one side of the tube that you can put the rope through it.
Put some kind of screw or hook on that end of the rope (which will be inside of the tube) that the rope can’t fall out of the tube anymore. But keep in mind that you should do only one hole on one side of the tube that the end of the rope will be inside of the tube and not outside of it on the contrary side!
Speaking about the length of the rope, you should check out how long it must be by outstretching your arms horizontal and parallel to the ground. From that position the weight should be slightly above the floor but should not touch it! That’s it!
How to use:
Hold your arms parallel to the ground. Start to uncoil the rope by moving your hands back and forth. Don’t move both hands simultaneously but use one hand to uncoil and the other to change the grip again. Uncoil the rope until the weight is all the way down and thus the rope isn’t wounded up anymore but all straight. Then this is very important: Keep on moving the tube in the SAME direction for coiling the rope again! Only change the direction of moving the tube when you have totally coiled the rope again.
Coil and uncoil the rope as many times as you can.
If the weight is too heavy for you, do it with less. Also if you have problems in holding the arms parallel to the ground (because of the weight) you can put your arms onto a back of chair thus it won’t burden your arms and shoulders but only your wrists. But then again check the length of the rope, you might have to shorten it.
“Crab-, Turtle-position exercises”:
If your wrists are already strong enough for supporting your whole body and you would rather like to practice on the dance floor, you can try the following things out:
Go in a Crab-position (one elbow in your stomach, balancing your whole body on this arm and your legs are in the air) and try to keep that position really clean for some seconds (your legs shouldn’t touch the ground and your whole body should be more or less motionless. Try to keep your body more or less parallel to the floor, don’t bring the head to the ground).
For going a step further try to take your second hand/arm off the ground (not the one you are balancing on but the other, supporting one) and balance without support of the second hand/arm (you can put the second hand on your back, to your head or where ever you like). Again try to keep that position as clean as possible for some seconds. The more you practice it, the better it gets.
Usually people can hold themselves much better on one arm than on the other (particularly also because of learning the “windmill”). That’s why you should never forget to also practice all that on your “weak” side !! Especially for moves like “turtles” it is really important that you can hold yourself equal on both arms. A good exercise for strengthen both wrist during the same exercise is the one where you change your support hand while keep balancing on your elbows (without your legs touching the ground and without circular motion!). If you can master that already pretty good, try to do the change to the beat of the music.
Improve your upper body strength
Do normal push ups (if you place your hands further down closer to your feet, it will emphasize the wrists more).
Do push ups in the handstand (if you can’t hold yourself up, use a wall for support).
Push you up from the Crab-/Turtle-position into a handstand. Try to move down again into the Crab-position by not touching the ground with your feet. Then change the side and do it on the other side with the weight mainly on the other arm.
Do the splits and place your hands in front of you on the floor. Now lean the weight of your whole body onto your hands and try to move your legs up from the floor (without pushing with your legs off the ground and thus support the whole movement) and then go into a handstand. Go slowly down again with spread legs and try to keep all positions as long as possible. Try to stand on your arms with spread legs as near to the ground as possible without touching it. Also watch your hip and your back: Try to be in one line with the legs.