Let’s get better at that Handstand… Today!

17 Sep

Time to get off your duff and get inverted. If you have been scaling down your handstands every class for whatever reason today is the day we are jumping on the train to Upsidedownville.
The handstand is a very tricky and nuanced move with levels to challenge every athlete. Today we are going to to cover the very basics that you can do at home to build yourself to kicking up to a handstand on the wall with out a spot. In future posts we will dive into more advanced handstand skills.
So if you are having problems kicking to the wall and holding a handstand it basically is going to boil down to-

1-Prying open your shoulders

2-Build that Support Strength

3-Getting inverted and stay there!

I must point out at this time too that you must PRACTICE to get better at a handstand. You can’t just try it once a week and expect to get way better. I would suggest sticking with light daily practice for about 8 weeks to really lock in your new found skills. Lucky all the drills below only take 1-2 min each so you can knock them out during the commercials when you are watching TV at night.

Step 1- Prying open your shoulders

If you can’t get your shoulders open and those arms straight up over you head you will not be able to hold a handstand. Fact.

So here are two big stretches you can knock out at home.

3 sets x 10 reps Dislocates-
Remember to keep your elbows straight!!! If you are inflexibility you probably think they are straight but they may not be. Start wide (Snatch Grip) and move in closer as you get more flexible.

3 sets x 10 secs Crazy Japanese Dude Stretch-
Same deal here with the elbows, so lock them out. Open up that chest and push your head though.

2-Build that Support Strength

Now that we are opening up the shoulders we want to be able to hold our bodyweight while inverted. Thats going to mean doing some push ups.

Heres the basic plan.
Work up to 5 sets of 5 reps then move on to next level of push up greatness. If you can’t make 5×5 then stay are that level of push up until you can. Its more of a skill thing here so go for quality. You can work a few everyday or every other day depending on the WODs that you have done each week. Use this progression-

Push ups with hands up on an elevated object. (Like your coach)
Push ups on the Floor with a straight body
Push ups with feet on an elevated object. Work up to about 20in off the ground like about chair height
Work Pike push ups on the floor just remember to push your head though to stretch-

Pike Push ups with feet on an elevated object. Work up to about 20in up like about chair height-

If you make it though all of that your should be feeling pretty confident about kicking up to the wall.

3-Getting inverted and stay there!

The final piece of the puzzle is getting your brain used to being upside down. For a lot of people this is the deal breaker even if your shoulders are flexible and your have the strength to hold yourself up. Luckily the answer is pretty straight forward.

Find a level of inversion you are comfortable and work to holding this for 3 sets of 60 secs (about a commercial or two). Here would be the progression-

Start at Pike push up position
As you get more confident elevate your feet higher and higher to about a 20in height so your hips, shoulders, and wrists are all in a vertical line together.
Then if you are feeling cocky you can throw one leg up in the air to make it harder!

After this you can start over in pike position on the floor and work alternating shoulder taps up to the 3 sets x 60 sec. After that just follow the progression above by raising your feet. Here is the video for the shoulder taps in a handstand but it is the same idea for push ups position, and pike push up position

Remember to always be working to keep your elbows locked out and push you head forward to keep that shoulder open.

Now get to work

Okay but this point you should have a pretty good idea of where to start on your path to handstand glory. If you open up those shoulders, add that support strength, and get used to being inverted kicking up into a handstand will be a piece of cake! So get training today!!

If you have any questions hit your Coach up before you next class and good luck on your handstands.

  • About Bryant Powers

    Bryant Powers is the Founder and Head Coach of CrossFit Oahu. He has a CrossFitting since 2003 and learning about fitness his whole life. When not at the gym "BP" will be surfing the internet, learning random skills, and generally engaging in unsavory behavior.
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