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Make Haste Slowly, A Late Start to 2017

2017 day 4. If i had my way I would have given you this advice on day 1 of this year inspiring you and guiding you towards your right track. Unfortunately, things don’t always work out that way. Each day of 2017 has involved an odd occurence. Had my phone pick-pocketed from me on the first day, hurt my back on the second, and we move forward. If I had the capacity to turn back time and redo, I would. Unfortunately that isn’t the case.

Much in the same way with your training. If there was a pill that you could take, that would immediately transform you into a world class hand balancer, would you take it?

YES I would! Unfortunately, there is no such pill.

Becoming a great hand balancer requires work and perserverance. Lots and lots of work. Especially if you “start late.”

The problem is that the more you want it and push for it sometimes the farther away it seems.

The worst part of learning any new stunt is the frustration when you just can’t get it right. So you keep on pushing and only get worse it seems.

When you are going after a handstand, and mind you this applies to any trick, as soon as you fall out of balance you may want to kick right back up again. Trying to force the situation will never help.

Whenever this happen take the time to step back. Take a deep breath and think about how you can do better. Don’t over think the process, but analyze your technique and realize if you are doing things correctly.

Now go at it again with optimism.

If you throw yourself into a hand balance you may feel like you can get more work in a shorter amount of time. Maybe you get one in ten to stick and you feel like you are progressing.

The question to ask yourself is do you want to go about this haphazardly or in the correct manner?

I am hoping you answered with the second option. You need to start slowly in order to make progress in the long run.

Tumbling Illustrated
Tumbling Illustrated on Amazon

Going after the handstand with no prior skills is a hard way to do it. Learning the position and hand control with exercises like the Frog stand and Head Stand will give you two steps in the right direction.

Don’t just go after the One Hand Handstand by getting into a normal handstand and raising one hand off of the floor quickly. Practice handstands with a smaller base of support or with one arm elevated up.

Don’t be too anxious to get to your goal or you are putting obstacles in your own way.

If you needed to cover a distance of 30 feet would you try a broad jump or walk each step at a time?

I am as guilty of this problem as any of you. What we need to do is realize how much assistance exercises and lead-up stunts can help, use them, and in the end we will make progress faster.

By breaking your goal into easier steps along the way you will get there with haste.

Stay Inverted!
-Coach Jon

PS   If you need more guidance in 2017 toward your handbalancing goals, try out our Handstand Mastery Program!

 

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Irradiate Your Path to Handstand Mastery

If you’ve ever been inside a gym, I’m sure you’ve seen it: the classic gym bro doing bicep curls, perhaps easily at first, but soon devolves into using practically his entire body to curl the weight.

Although personally, when I see a weight, curling it isn't my preference...

Although personally, when I see a weight, curling it isn’t my preference…

 

What you’re actually watching is the law of irradiation, one of the Sherrington laws. What it means, in essence, is that you can contract other muscles in your body to strengthen the one you’re applying force with. If you’d like to experiment with this, try tensing your glutes the next time you shake someone’s hand; you’ll find that your hands can actually apply more force with the handshake.

Let’s review the curling gym bro again. As he continues to do the bicep curls, his biceps get tired and lose their strength of contraction. To compensate, his abs, forearms, lats, glutes, and even feet start contracting in order to provide enough force to lift the weight — it’s an unconscious response.

The problem is that the form of the curl itself begins to look incredibly sloppy as he’s unconsciously recruiting other muscles.

Now, what does this mean for handstand training?

The Law of Irradiation for Handstands


Here’s a great video of Otto Arco doing hand balancing and muscle control (which is key for the LOI)

Learn How to Back Flip in 31 Days
Learn How to Back Flip in 31 Days on Amazon

Well, the handstand is an exercise that largely focuses on the shoulders, triceps, lats, forearms, traps, scapular muscles, and your core. However, fully body tension is really needed to maintain proper handstand form. Part of the reason is that having relaxed muscles can throw off your balance with the exercises, but the other factor is that recruiting other muscle groups like your glutes, neck, calves etc. into the handstand will help the required muscles to contract stronger.

“But you said that contracting extra muscles ruined the curler’s form…” Therein lies the difference, unconscious muscle recruitment vs. conscious muscle recruitment.

See, if that bicep curler had muscle control, and could consciously choose to flex other muscles to compensate, he could do so without affecting his form. That way, he wouldn’t lose the benefit on his biceps, and would also increase the benefit to other muscle groups and his overall muscle control.

The same goes for handstand training. If you’re able to consciously recruit different muscles to develop your overall strength in the handstand, you can help to both maintain your form and develop muscle control. Sig Klein, Otto Arco, and Maxick, who are all legendary hand balancers, knew the importance of muscle control and the law of irradiation in training, and used both to their advantages.

Try it out: develop your muscle control, and boost your progress with the law of irradiation.

Then, if you want to try more advanced moves like the handstand pushup, you’ll be more prepared.

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Handstand Pushup Variations

handstand pushup variations

Handstand pushup demonstrated by Logan Christopher of Lost Art of Hand Balancing

 

The handstand pushup is an advanced hand balancing skill that demonstrates shoulder strength, scapular mobility, and a proper challenge to those who are willing. But let’s say, for the sake of argument, that you’ve already achieved the handstand pushup, and are looking for something a bit more thrilling…some handstand pushup variations.

(Note: these handstand pushup variations aren’t only for the advanced trainees. In fact, variation 2 and 3 helped me to achieve my first HSPU, so don’t be afraid to try something new!)

 


Variation 1 : Lateral Handstand Pushup

Well first, what would be the benefit of exploring different handstand pushup variations? Without the variations, there is still sufficient opportunity to progressively improve the intensity of the HSPU and get stronger with each turn. With the variations, however, comes the opportunity to increase all-angle strength in your training.

For instance, while the basic HSPU does a lot to strengthen your shoulders, traps, and scapular elevation, this lateral HSPU variation trains scapular protraction, retraction, and upward rotation. In addition, as your mobility increases, you can slow down and exaggerate the lateral movement to emphasize your one arm handstand balancing skill.

 


Variation 2: (Elevated) Backbend Pushup

Furthermore, your posterior deltoid has a critical role in your handstand stability, as it is the primary shoulder hyperextensor. One of my favorite handstand pushup variations to train for developing that strength is the back bend pushup.

Trampoline Handbook
Trampoline Handbook on Amazon

The back bend alone is a powerful stability exercise that, with isometric tension, can provide incredible strength. The integrated strength, posterior deltoid strength, and scapular mobility that you can build from the back bend pushup will do wonders to strengthen your HSPU. To increase the difficulty of this exercise, elevated your feet by putting them onto a wall.

As I said, this exercise was a huge part of the reason I was able to develop the strength and range of motion for the HSPU.

 


Variation 3: Handstand Walking

Often times as kids, we have an easier time walking in a handstand than we do holding a stable handstand. However, having the strength to walk in a handstand position without compromising the integrity of your form can develop your technique, strength, and mobility fairly quickly.

This is one of my favorite handstand pushup variations to couple with the lateral HSPU, because it does the same work to progressively improve balancing strength on one arm, but has a much sharper focus on the shoulders and triceps because…well, you’re walking.

When you’re searching to advance not just in strength but also in skill, especially with hand balancing, be sure to add some fun and variation to your training, and you’ll be sure to see some results. Be sure to let us know in the comments how these variations help you, or if you’ve tried them before. Finally, if these do improve your training skill, be sure to share!

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Legendary Strength Lockups

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Hey everybody! In today’s post, I went back into the archives and caught a great tutorial by Logan on how to start developing single arm chin-ups. He calls these drills lockups.

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You start off with a single ring or pull up bar. Begin in an alternating grip position. Whichever hand you are going to preform the lock-up with, you’ll use the opposite hand only a baseline support. Gauge yourself and try not put too much weight on the support hand.

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Once you’ve locked up at the top end, complete the rep by releasing the hand and controlling the drop like a normal chin up.

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Now the final addition is to turn each rep into a negative so you can begin to build your maximal strength!

Check out Logan performing his Lockups below!

March is the month to get yourself in tune with your body, so be sure to pick up the Advanced Bodyweight Training Bundle!

How to do the One Hand Handstand by Professor Orlick
ow to do the One Hand Handstand on Amazon

Stay Inverted!
-Coach Jon

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Are Handstands Possible at an Older Age?

03_15_01

Hey everybody.  Every now and then we get some feedback on not just how do start balancing with your hands, but also is it attainable at an older age. Luckily while browsing through the archives I was able to find Logan’s opinion on the subject.  Mindful movement is the key. So, if this is an endeavor you want to jump into, listen to your body and watch the video below for tips.

Now that you’ve watched the video, we found an excellent example of performing acrobatics as an older adult. This gentleman’s name is Lee Mowatt and if I remember right, he did this video at 64 years old(don’t fully quote me on that!)

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Tumbling Illustrated
Tumbling Illustrated on Amazon

Take a look at his stabilization and control below.

If you want to get better at your mindful movement pick up our Advanced Bodyweight Training Bundle!

Stay Inverted!
-Coach Jon

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Difficult Planche Variations

If you cannot challenge yourself anymore with a regular planche, you may want to try out several advanced planche variations. Most of these moves are not something your regular bodyweight trainee is capable of, but they’re certainly good goals to aim for.

Tumbling Illustrated
Tumbling Illustrated on Amazon

1. Handstand lower to planche
2. Open tuck push back to single leg planche
3. Top position pull to straddle planche
4. Floor tuck push back to straddle planche
5. Straddle L Pull Back to straddle planche
6. Single leg tuck pull to single leg tuck planche
7. L-Sit push back to full planche

Head out to Gold Medal Bodies for a full planche tutorial.

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Artistic Balancing on Hand Balancing Canes

A hand balancer from Russia, Nikita Sukhanov, recently released a new video full of powerful balancing moves on hand balancing stands performed in a controlled manner. My favorite parts are at 0:43 and 2:55.

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Apart from great strength and coordination, these and similar hand-balancing moves require a great deal of flexibility. If you’d like to increase ranges of motion, decrease pain and become MUCH more flexible, make sure to check out GMB Focused Flexibility.

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Incredible Calisthenics Moves by Andrea Larosa

In today’s video we have calisthenics practitioner from Italy, Andrea Larosa, showing various moves in his video compilation including one handed L-sit, planche pushups, handstand variations, bent arm presses and much more, both on bars and ground.

Interesting in bodyweigh training? My Beginner’s Handstand System is worth checking out in order to build foundational strength and gradually progress to more advanced bodyweight exercises.

The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing
The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing on Amazon
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Crazy Battle Of The Bars at LA Fit Expo 2015

LA Fit Expo is among the biggest fitness events in the USA, featuring 24 competitions including parkour/freerunning, feats of strength, strongman, powerlifting and many more, along with Battle of the Bars.

How to do the One Hand Handstand by Professor Orlick
ow to do the One Hand Handstand on Amazon

The video below is from the main event of the Battle of the Bars between Tatted Strength and Samer Delgado. Get ready for parallel handstand pushups, parallel and regular planches, various levers, jumps, spins…and even a backflip on a bar and a six-fingers planche.

I was actually there, but haven’t had enough time to really enjoy the show as I was too busy running a booth with my brother for our herbal company, SuperMan Herbs. If you are tired of supplement companies who load their products with all kinds of stuff and want to focus on your health first and foremost, check us out at SupermanHerbs.com .

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Incredible Training Compilation by Daniel Tsinis

Here’s an awesome video compilation of various hand balancing moves from an ex-gymnast who just recently changed the focus of his training to hand balancing. Lots of presses, one arm hand balancing, handstands…

Weather you’re a fan of hand balancing, tumbling, breakdancing or gymnastics in general, I promise you’ll enjoy this video by Daniel Tsinis.

The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing
The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing on Amazon

Click here to start your hand balancing training today.

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