If you find yourself re-arranging your face from one of the above expressions–you’re not alone. Handstands are scary. They are hard. They have the potential for injury. Handstands aren’t something most folks find themselves doing after the age of 7.
That all stated–learning to stand on your hands (or perform other gymnastics based skills) provides the opportunity for the development of balance, proprioception and kinestetic awareness. Gymnastics skills require a level of ‘tightness’ and core activation that is unmatched in the other movements we find ourselves doing in the gym. Once clients can successfully perform a handstand–the options are limitless! Not to mention–handstands are a pretty cool party trick.
I like to separate handstand practice into two categories…skill work and strength work. For most clients–a significant amount of skill work must happen before any strength work can follow. I see several folks throwing themselves against the wall in an effort to get inverted. What would happen without the wall to catch you? I want you to have the best of both worlds. You need to be able to successfully (read: safe & consistent) kick into a free standing handstand–and recover (a skill). You also need to safely kick up to the wall in order to work handstand holds and develop handstand push-ups (strength development).
Handstands are all about getting your center of gravity over your balance points (hands), and then maintaining that balance. It is the transition from feet to hands that has most people scratching their heads….looking around….and skipping the handstand work all together. Take a look at the following drill. It is a balance drill designed to get you comfortable going from your feet to hands. Do 3-5 on each leg….that’s right…do BOTH legs! Start on the tall box….and after a few weeks move to the small box–and eventually to the floor. Your goal is to maintain balance while you lever forward like a teeter-totter—torso lowering while back leg lifts.
Starting position is critical. Start in full extension with your arms. Shoulders to ears–and super tight through your core. You’re going to eventually be holding your own body weight in your hands—so get tight! Pull your belly button to your spine, anchor your rib cage in and lock in that breath.
Stay tuned….more handstand progression work to come!