HANDSTAND SKILLS - DAY 3

HANDSTAND SKILLS - DAY 3

Hitting the Wall

Now that you've gotten a few days of practice with your head low and your hands bearing weight, it's time to bring in the one and only tool you'll need in this course, your trusty wall.

Using the wall in handstand practice is nothing new, it's the method used by beginner gymnasts and performers around the world. However, most people begin wall work unskillfully, by facing the wall, placing their hands on the floor, and kicking strongly up until their heels crash into the wall.

This is the method we call "Kick and Pray." Beginners who do this have very little control over their bodies, and once they're in motion are living on a wing and a prayer. This method works out ok if there's a wall to arrest your momentum, but is disastrous if you're handstanding in the center of the room.

People who only learn Kick and Pray often find themselves stuck on the wall for years at a time, fearful of ever moving to the final free-standing handstand. Our goal is to get you up and free-standing as soon as possible, so we're not going to take this route.

We will use the wall however. Not to Kick and Pray but to Square and Bear.


DAY 3 PRACTICE - SQUARE AND BEAR

Begin your session with a minute of wrist warm-ups, rotating, pressing, and pulling your wrists in every direction. This gets warmth and fluid into the joints for a safer, more comfortable practice.

Now that we're getting into real weight-bearing take this warm-up seriously!

Now that we're getting into real weight-bearing take this warm-up seriously!

After the wrist warm-up, do 5 minutes of Bear Walking, Side to Side Hops, and Slinky Jumps. Go easy here, the goal is to get the hands, arms, and shoulders warmed up, not to push yourself.

Remember to keep your sense of play. The more comfortable you are in this orientation, the quicker you'll be hand-balancing.

Remember to keep your sense of play. The more comfortable you are in this orientation, the quicker you'll be hand-balancing.

When you're feeling ready, find a clear patch of wall. Stand with your back to the wall about a meter away from it. If you turn and twist your body you should just be able to place your fingers on the wall.

If your fingertips can graze the wall you'e roughly the correct distance away.

If your fingertips can graze the wall you'e roughly the correct distance away.

Place your hands by your feet, shoulder width apart.

Now walk your feet back to the corner of the wall. Let your head hang low.

Next, walk your feet slowly up the wall, until your body looks like a perfect square. Because nothing is holding your feet up beyond a bit of friction with the wall, you'll feel the hands become very heavy and the shoulders working hard.

 

Hang in there, keep your body square, and let your hands bear your weight for as long as you can. This might be as short as 5 seconds or as long as a minute.

When you're feeling fatigued, slowly walk the legs down and go into Child's pose, with your arms out in front of you.

Relax and breathe deeply. After you've come back to your still center point, do another Square and Bear. Repeat up to 5 times. Here's how the practice looks in motion.

Move quickly up the wall. Don't spend too long hanging out in the non-square version of the movement when you're at the biggest mechanical disadvantage.

Move quickly up the wall. Don't spend too long hanging out in the non-square version of the movement when you're at the biggest mechanical disadvantage.

This training gets your body-weight on your hands safely, and teaches your nervous system not to freak out when you go upside down. Be sure you're always erring on the side of falling back towards the wall and not head over heels. There's plenty of time for that, but we're not there yet.

Do your Square and Bear for no more than 10 minutes (including rest times), we don't want to overly tax your wrists. Slow and steady progress is what gets results!