QUENTIN SANCHEZ - THE SELF-TAUGHT MASTER OF FLEXIBILITY
These are not photoshopped pictures, and there are no wires. Nor is the man in these videos racking up huge hits online a professional dancer. Quentin Sanchez describes himself as a self-taught hand balancer, but what he does is atually much more.
Living in Lyon, France, Sanchez posts incredible photos and videos on social media showcasing his unbelievable body strength. Think a mix of gymnastics, ballet, and raw power. One Facebook video, titled ‘Flag’, even racked up over 6 million views.
Sanchez initially started out with Japanese Aikibudo when he was 16 before moving on to kickboxing and indoor climbing. But it was the wish to break free and work alone that put him on his new path.
“These disciplines require you to be with partners and have strict structures. It was a huge constraint for me because I prefer to practise alone. The training schedules didn’t work well with my school schedule either.”
Sanchez took his inspiration from the internet; from America’s Got Talent, to be exact.
“I gave up on these sports, started street workouts and did my firsts handstands. Then I saw a hand balancing video on YouTube from Andrey Moraru. It blew my mind. It was perfect from my perspective because it didn’t require any structure or partner, just a flat ground. I became very obsessed with hand balancing and started to train only this skill.”
Sanchez began hand balancing in March 2014 while still a student. Since then he has been working hard everyday, and his evolution from handstands to more extreme body shapes and one-arm balancing has been mesmerising.
“I have never had to discipline myself in order to train, because training was - and still is - a need for me. Furthermore, training as a self-taught skill motivates me a lot. I always ask myself: ‘How far can I go alone?’“
Sanchez uses elements of calisthenics body-weight training and yoga, but also labels his Instagram posts with hashtags like acrobatics and circus. The smooth graceful movements have also been likened to dance.
“I’ve never trained in ballet or dance, but they’re definitely things I’d like to do in the future. Instead, I’ve always tried to have the best body form in everything I do, whether it is martial arts or climbing. I think that’s why my hand balancing style seems to have a hint of dance.”
While urban calisthenics is a form of street workout, Sanchez prefers the oasis of his home. “My gym workout is in my office or my living room. I prefer to train in a calm place when I need to learn moves or train seriously.”
Many of Sanchez’s followers want to know how to reach his level of skill. Here are a few of his top tips for improving your agility.
Sanchez’s training tips
- “You can find many resources - tutorials, articles, and video – on the internet, take time to use these, to learn from them and then confront what you learn.”
- “Never neglect the warm-up, especially wrists and shoulders.”
- “Concentration is more important than strength.”
- “Hand balancing requires a lot of repetitions.”
- “If you can have a coach, don’t hesitate to use one”
- “Hand balancing can be frustrating, but don’t give up. If you have the impression you are regressing, remember that you will see results futher down the line.”