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Former World’s Strongest Man winner Eddie Hall is no stranger to a gym—although he’s usually surrounded by barbells, not horizontal bars. In his latest challenge on YouTube, Hall teams up with artistic gymnast and Olympic medalist Nile Wilson to learn some gymnastic moves.
“Strength is very important in gymnastics,” says Wilson. However, he adds, so are flexibility and coordination. By Hall’s own admission, mobility and accuracy aren’t his strongest suit, as he demonstrated last year when attempting to break a golf swing world record.
But Wilson wants to prove that gymnastics can be for everybody, and he is convinced that he can coach Hall, who weighs nearly 400 pounds—about 380, he says—up to doing a backflip.
They start with a run around the gym to warm up, followed by a series of stretching exercises which Hall struggles to complete due to his massive frame. “I’m sweating already,” he says, before trying (and giving up on) the splits.
They follow this with exercises designed to test Hall’s nimbleness and accuracy, including a pike jump and standing broad jump, and then some partner conditioning, which is made all the harder by the fact that Hall is twice the size of Wilson. After watching the pros, Hall also attempts to do the worm and a free handstand, both of which he absolutely nails.
But it’s safe to say he’s pretty apprehensive before trying the move, taking a moment to tell his family he loves them just in case he doesn’t make it out of the gym alive. He needn’t be: he kills the backflip into the foam pit on his first try, so much so that he says “Let’s do it again!” and goes for a second attempt, unaided this time by the gymnasts.
Hall rounds off the session by showing off some strongman tricks, including lifting Wilson up like he’s an Atlas stone, and throwing him like a javelin.
“I was very skeptical at first,” he says. “When [Wilson] first said that I was going to be doing a backflip, I absolutely cacked myself, I’ll be honest. But he’s talked me through it, he warmed me up properly, gone through all the motions properly, and I successfully did a somersault on my own. So I’m happy, very happy.”
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