Thursday, March 12, 2015

Super Human Tricks 101: Progressions to Handstands

Super Human Tricks 101: Getting upside down makes me feel like I have super powers. It's like turning back the clock and having fun instead of feeling like you have to clock in your time at the gym. That's why I love what I do, all the skills I learn make workouts something to crave. Never have I had so much fun once handstands came into my life.

In fact, I did a month long Handstand Challenge where there was a handstand variation to try out and do daily. You can check out the daily challenges here. Or, I could just teach you what I know so you can get upside down and become a kid again, too!

At the gym, just chillin
 If you aren't ready for handstands but you aspire to be, I have a few things to work on in the gym to assist with building up your strength:
  • Shoulder presses (a handstand is an upside down shoulder press - bet you didn't know that!)
  • Downward dog - who knew watching dogs stretch could have such an influence
  • Planks - stability muscles are key here even though they are one of my least favorites to work on

Super Human Tricks 101: 

Wall Walks: 
Equipment is minimal, you just need a wall and some gusto. If you are in public, be prepared to have people come give you high fives and mass compliments for your ballsy super human trick. 

            Start here, belly to the floor in a push up stance

Get into a plank position with feet touching the wall

 Wee!! Finish here
  1. Start laying down on your belly with your feet touching the wall
  2. Push yourself up into a push up position, keeping both feet anchored to the bottom of the wall
  3. Begin one foot at a time to walk up the wall with your feet while your hands move closer to the wall
  4. Walk your feet up into a wall-facing handstand 
  5. The end posture should be completely vertical with your whole body making a straight line with the wall, it's OK if it's not perfect on the first few tries, it's something to master over time
  6. Once you are in a handstand, touch your chest/belly to the wall then begin to walk back out with your hands to return to the starting position

Pike Ups On A Swiss Ball

Darn good fun

This will help you get comfortable with the notion of being upside down with some weight over you. You can ease into the whole handstand idea by strengthening your shoulders and core using a stability ball or a half wall/box. You must make sure you stack properly. This means your hips over your shoulders, which are over your wrists. You have a ton of strength when stacked properly.
  1. Start with a big ball and place the tops of your feet over the top. Put one foot on a time for stability 
  2. Walk your hands out so that you are about 3 feet away from the ball and keep your palms flat and fingers spread for additional strength
  3. Roll the ball towards your torso using your feet
  4. Stack your hips over your shoulders, which are stacked over your wrists
  5. Hold this for 5-10 seconds if you can, or work your way up to holding for as long as you can
  6. Return to the start position and repeat

 Walking Away From Wall (On Your Hands)
  1. Kick up into a handstand using the support of a wall behind you - you want to aim to put your hands about shoulder width apart and as close to the wall as you are comfortable
  2. Hold here for good measure just a few seconds to gather control and tighten everything up
  3. Keep your weight stacked over your hands and shoulders and shrug your shoulders up to stay tight in your torso
  4. Slowly walk your hands away from the wall, one at a time (duh) while keeping your core tight
  5. Focus on putting weight in your finger tips, this was a big cue that helped me stay upside down longer

A video demonstration! 

Why You Want to Get Upside Down:

Wa-la, silly tricks to woo your fellow meat heads. Getting upside down makes us all feel young at heart again! Here are just some of the benefits to inversions (anytime your head is below your heart).
1. Digestion
2. Mood improvement
3. Stop the aging process
4. Improve circulation

                                                    A Handstand Tutorial, start your engines