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Handstand part 2 – How to start

In the first part we looked at the 3 things you need to have in order to balance on your hands. But how to get started and how to overcome the fear of falling? That’s what we will dig into in this part.

START WHERE YOU ARE AT

Learning handstand as an adult can be a scary thing. Just the thought of holding yourself up with your arms only with the risk of faceplanting is not only a potential funny video on Instagram but can also put mental blocks in our head preventing us from even trying. So what to do?

The first thing you need to do is ask yourself what is the smallest step you can take to to something that is similar to a handstand. We must look for the similarities rather than differences here.

Just by placing your hands on the floor you have made the first step.

Can you maybe lean in a bit to put more weight on your hands? Good!

Maybe elevate your feet a bit on a chair or a box so that your hip gets higher? Awesome!

How about walking up a bit towards a wall? No, to much right now? Okay, then box it is for now. Stay there, start easy, build capacity, build confidence, get comfortable here before moving on.

Here is a YouTube video to some more tips on how to overcome your fear of being upside down.

LEARN HOW TO BAIL

One way to get over our fear of falling is to practice and learn how to fall. Once you have practiced and automatized this you can easily control your falls and land in a safe way without breaking every bone in your body. Also the more time you spend up side down, the more confident you will be in the position. You will build awareness of your body and learn how to orient yourself.

First learn how to bail from the wall by watching this YouTube video. The wall will be your friend for a long time in your handstand journey, so make sure to be comfortable there. This is just an example how to get down. It doesn’t really matter how you do it as long as it’s a way that is efficient and fells comfortable for you. After that you can practice the same principle at the floor.

ARE YOU PRACTICING OR ARE YOU TESTING?

Learning how to handstand is very rarely achieved by simply putting your hands on the floor and swinging your legs up hoping that you will catch it this time. I’m not saying it can’t work, I’m saying there are many more effective ways to learn. Unfortunately a lot of people is stuck at this stage where they are just testing the handstand rather than actually practice the handstand. For some this might be exactly what they want to do but many times people get frustrated when they don’t see any progress and later on quits. So if you want to get somewhere in with your handstand I really encourage you to put some time into it. You can’t expect to get the progress from the work you didn’t put in.

PREPARE YOUR WRISTS AND SHOULDERS

Taking care of your wrists is essential if you want to put time into handstands. If you are living a kinda ”normal” life we don’t really need to load our wrists in our daily life, which make them not used to bear a lot of load.

Here is a quick wrist routine I do before every handstand session. Follow it and after time adjust it and make your own.

Your shoulders can be a limiting factor since we need a quite good over head flexibility when we stand on our hands. Once again our lifestyle is not really in our favor here since we are not really required to use our hands over our head. a lot. Try this shoulder routine before every session and you can even do it twice or as a cool down after the session if you want. If you give it time your shoulder flexibility will hopefully increase.

BE FRIEND WITH THE WALL

The first couple of weeks and months you will (should) spend at the wall. Learn how to use it well and it will help you on your way to freestanding on the floor. If you have practiced your bailing you will hopefully be quite comfortable walking up with your chest against the wall and this is where you should spend most of your time. Start short and over time build up the time, increase the number of sets, build the capacity that you will later need.

CONCLUSION

If we want to get better at something we need to practice, there is no other way. If you have no intention of getting better and just want to play around that is of course okay too, just know your intention and what outcome you can expect from it. Start where you are at, make it easy for yourself and go from there.

I hope you found this helpful in some way. In the next part we will look more into specific drills you can to with the wall to increase your balancing skill and why we should divide our practice to Balance and Kicking. If you know someone that you think could benefit from this be a good friend and send it to her or him.

Thanks for reading

Viktor

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