Bodyweight Exercise Bodyweight TV Flexibility & Mobility

Ryan’s Ninja Secrets of Flexibility

Written by Ryan Murdock

My ninjutsu days are long behind me. But their influence resonates down to the present and permeates every aspect of my life.

I still approach my training from that mindset. I think like a ninja, observe the street like a ninja, and I still strive towards mastery every day, in every action. You’ve gotta keep yer sword sharp and your wits even sharper if you want to survive that game!

No, I don’t mean  I walk around in a black hood. Or wear a weapon-stuffed utility belt. Or pop up from behind the shrubbery to frighten the postman. Not that often, anyway.

Rather, it’s a way of looking at the world, a sense of strategy. And I’m going to share some of that with you — as long as you can keep a secret 😉

One of the coolest things I studied back then were methods of falling — how to pour myself across the floor like molten plastic, from even the nastiest throw. And all of it was based on ancient mobility and flexibility exercises. If your body wasn’t limber, then it was brittle. And brittle things shatter when they meet a hard surface. (This applies just as readily to your ideas and “theories” as it does to your body. Think about that!)

The short video tutorial I’m sharing with you today is from my Forbidden Fitness Secrets. I’ve compiled the best of what I learned from the legendary “shadow warriors,” processed it through the filter of modern sport science, and distilled that essence down like a fine gin. It’s crisp, it’s effective, and it hits you right in the Third Eye.

The movement series presented here will prep you for more advanced hands-free ground engagement material. It’s your first step to getting knocked down and popping right back up like a damned movie zombie.

Give it a try and let me know how you did.

If you want that shadow warrior edge, my Forbidden Fitness Secrets of a Modern Day Ninja Warrior will give it to you — or my name isn’t Hattori Hanzo.

About the author

Ryan Murdock


  • WOW! Where have you been all my life: if I had had a phys ed teacher a tenth as giving and knowledgeable as you, I would not have become a desk potato.

    Thanks for the informative video.

    • Doug,

      I know what you mean about school, phys ed and all that. I nearly flunked phys ed in 9th grade and never took it again after that mandatory single credit. Hated those organized sports and team games. I loved weight training and martial arts, and I trained every day, but I had to pursue them on my own. We never had access to anything like that.

  • Ooh, I recognize these moves from the Sophistication flow in BBFFL! Happy to say I’ve got these ones down after what… 5 weeks of practice!! It’s nice to feel mobile in my ankles and knees again – thanks Ryan! 🙂

  • Hey Coach Ryan,

    Thank you for this. It’s great.
    As Ninja is a passion of mine, I’m looking forward for your Ninja Secrets of Flexibility.

  • This is one of the warm-ups on the Tacfit Commando Mass Assault and one of the few that I have trouble with. Good grief, Ryan, you can move through it fast! I’m about 1/4 that speed at best – too many years on steel deckplates have not helped my knees.
    You mention checking the IntuFlow DVD when addressing getting into the squat: where on the DVDs? I don’t remember that part.

    • Jeff,

      Take it slow. It’ll come with time. I spent an awful lot of time on the cossack squat part of the movement – I think it took me a few months to open that up initially. It was a scary range for me after a series of nasty knee injuries as a kid.

      There’s a section on Trinity Squats in Scott’s Intu-Flow dvd. It builds the movement through each of the levels, it’s part of that series that comes at the end of the top to bottom mobility session (with the quad press, spinal rock, etc). The leg range of motion movements in Intu-Flow will also help open this up.

      Finally, check out this article by our friend Ryan Hurst. It’s the best I’ve seen for opening that range and nailing the flat foot squat

  • Hey Ryan, will this series include some of the stuff you were doing in that “Bujinkan” series for Rmax? Some of the drills demonstrated in the video “teaser” for those DVDs looked pretty hardcore, and I have always been tempted to get them.

    • James,

      Yes, this is from material I presented in the Bujinkan series. We’re going to share a pile of it on here over time. I may even go back and film some of the material I never ended up releasing back then.

  • It’s all about flexibility. these moves are great for hip rotator and stomach muscles. thanks a lot, looking forward to the next move! Rosalie

  • What about us old farts that can’t get our knees to bend like that. Too many years of impact jumping, football, basketball, etc, then years of sedentary computer work. I can’t even get into a squat due to the knees. Any suggestions….

  • It’s been a while since I trained in Tang So DO and I still try to stay somewhat flexible. I’m going to start doing that flexibility exercise. It look lik a good one.

  • This is a great one for opening the hips and excellent joint mobility for the ankles. It’s part of my early morning dynamic stretching routine, and for little desk breaks during the day. Just make sure that you do NOT try to force your knee down, but instead it’s more a feeling of letting your hip sink/open (gently). It takes time for your body to open up, but when it eventually does – it’s brilliant. Also try to keep your back straight and your gaze level on a horizontal plane, not trying to look down to the floor to much. Just a few tips from my little bit of experience so far. Looking forward to what’s coming!
    (PS: after a while, try this move while while holding something in your hands, like two empty cups, or a pen in each hand and see how that feels)

  • Holy Crap, Must you be so damned flexible.
    Al kidding of course
    I dream of what you are doing and am not sure these titanium knees will ever allow that kind of flexibility let alone the continued inscision pain but it is a great goal
    The fake knees feel o so odd when directly on the floor
    You stuff continues to be the best I’ve seen I consider it a blessing the day I stumbled across it.
    Be well john

    • Thanks very much for your kind words John. Keep working within the guidelines set by your health care team, and take it incrementally. You’ll be amazed at how you exceed what you thought was possible.

  • Wow, been watching your email clips for months, and although I like what I’ve seen, this is the first routine that i’m actually doing. Just viewed it for the fifth time. I usually do squats as the last item in my before bed stretch routine, and now I started adding this squat roll (or whatever the name is). Still need to get my body attuned to the rollnig part, and hopefully in a few weeks I can do it as fluidly as you demonstrate.


      • This is great stretch, definitely notice a positive difference in my ability since starting about 3 months ago, and also a difference between L and R sides. L side been doing “fluidly” after about the first 6 weeks, R side taking longer from residual effects of injuries I did not realize I still had until doing this stretch (notice in my R ankle and toes). Yet I continue seeing gradual improvement in R side, and I usually do this exercise every nite before bed. Also glad I can still make noticeable changes in my range of motion by teaching my body new things at age 58. I’ve watched and re-watched this video dozens of times, and still learning subtle new moves here and there. Thanks so much for posting this!

  • Why do I need this – next month I turn 60, want to keep moving like I was 30 (or 40). Know that if I had your material I would be able to ake a major achievement in making this goal.

  • Ok I have all your other programs – literally. But I still need to master bodyflow and kinetic chain movements. From the video, this looks like exactly the right programs and skills to do this. Plus I’ve done yoga for many years but I’ve not really mastered Bio Mechanical Movements like these. So I’m very excited about being a CST Ninja with your help!! Not to mention that I need some ‘stealth’ movements in order to raise my game!! Seriously this looks awesome and I’d like to get my hands on Ninja Flexibility without having to covertly break into your office and steal it! Ha! Thanks…

  • I know this is an older post but any idea yet of when the program will be out? Scott Sonnon mentioned a program he was designing that looked simialr. I think he was calling it ground engagment. I am really looking forward to this as it looks exactly like what I’m looking for. I’m not a huge fan of traditional ways of stretching and prefer to be more fluid. Ryan I’m very jealous of your mobility/flexibility. Great work man. And by the way, you and Adam both deserve a huge high five for always putting out over the top notch material! Keep it up!


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