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Yoga Arm Balances

Yesterday morning, I decided to do something a little different from my normal morning routine, which involves spending some time upside down.

I had come across this yoga video of some fairly advanced stuff including a few yoga arm balances. So I popped it in the player and did my best to follow along.

I’d like to think I did fairly well considering I don’t actually do yoga and this was an advanced program. But there was a number of skills I could not do, mostly involving flexibility.

The lotus position, forget it. And doing it in a handstand was way beyond my level.

But I picked up some interesting moves I hadn’t done before. Not to mention the video helped me to identify a few weak points.

Try this one out. Its similar to a frogstand except both your legs are going to be to one side. So bend your elbows, put both legs to the outside of one knee and lift up onto your hands with the legs stacked on top of each other resting on the knee.

Walking and Jumping On Your HandsWalking and Jumping On Your Hands on Amazon

From here, drop your head to the ground and press from this side position up into a headstand.

Its just one move that stood out to me. Give it a try and see if you can do it.

The point is that you should look outside your discipline at many things similar but also far different. For hand balancing you’ve got gymnastics, capoeira, yoga, break dancing, parkour and more.

It can help you change it up and look your practice through some different eyes.

Anyone coming from a gymnastics background can learn a lot from the origins of hand balancing. That’s why getting The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing can show you tons of moves you‘ve never even thought of doing.

And maybe in the future I’ll find some more resources to further help you branch out.

Good Luck and Good Hand Balancing,
Logan Christopher

P.S. Do you have your costume ready for Halloween? Just finished mine and I’m pleased with the results. I’ll try to snap a few pictures tomorrow and post them on the blog. Whether I can manage a handstand in it or not, is debatable

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Strength, Disrespect and Fear

Going to answer a few more questions today.

“I can do a handstand for about 15 seconds now and I can also walk on my hands a bit thanks to this website but when I try to press into a handstand my arms die on me. is they any good exercises that will help me build up to a handstand press. btw this site rules lol”
Mellon

First off your welcome for the help. It really doesn’t take much strength to balance on the hands, but pressing up into a handstand is another matter. And of course, the amount of strength you need depends on the type of press you’re doing.

There are several ways to build up your strength. Really any manner of pressing. Any exercise that strengthens your arms and shoulders can be beneficial.

It’s a good idea to make sure you are strong enough before really working on the skills of doing handstand presses. If your max is somewhere around your weight you aren’t going to get much practice as you’ll be too fatigued.

“Well, I’ve been following your videos for a little while, particularly the handstand videos.  The video to learn to do a handstand was what got me started and I’ve been doing them since. “Unfortunately, I don’t understand why, but I get a lot of disrespect when I do them in public places (I.E. School (High School Senior)), but I’m still sticking to them proudly. Handstands for life, thanks for ultimately opening me up to the art of them!”
Greggory

Yeah, kids can be cruel. But don’t worry about what others think. After all is said and done, they’ll likely be jealous of the skills you’ve gained from your practice.

“How can you do a handstand if your scared.”
Quade

Get over the fear. How do you get over the fear? it’s a matter of working at it step-by-step doing easier skills until you feel comfortable with the handstand.

That’s why I created the Secrets of the Handstand Quickstart Guide. To give you the lead-up stunts that will build your abilities so that you can handle the handstand.

I didn’t think of it before but these same skills are going to get you comfortable being upside down and ease your way up to the handstand.

Often times its just a matter of doing it. I was at the beach the other day and decided to do some backflips which I hadn’t done in over a month. That period of time had made me a little rusty and brought back a bit of fear in me.

What did I do? I warmed up with a few back handsprings and other drills then moved on to the back flips. No problem after that.

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

And if you want to find out more about these and other tumbling drills get your copy of Tumbling Illustrated.

Good Luck and Good Hand Balancing,
Logan Christopher

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Straight Arm Press Tips

Time to answer some of your questions again. What with the new site and new releases I’ve let some of these pile up.

Here’s two asking the same thing.

“How do you do a lever up handstand. Starting feet on floor in straddle. Used to be able to do it when I was training 10 years ago-but even then it was a struggle & a skill I lost quickly. There’s got to be a technique I’m missing. can lever down but not up from feet on floor. Wait to hear…”
Chrissie

“I would like to learn how to go into a handstand the way gymnasts usually do by leaning over the hands with legs straight until the feet lift off and the legs hang then lifting up the legs into a sort of planche then straight up. Can you do this and what would be the stages in learning it? Surprisingly, I couldn’t find any information on this on the site.”
Ross

Thanks for asking. With a bit of different language both these questions are asking about the same thing. And that is the straight arm press.

It will be easier if the legs are straddled, but once that becomes easy you can keep them together in the pike position.

Tumbling Illustrated
Tumbling Illustrated on Amazon

This move not only takes strength in the arms, shoulders and abs but a big degree of flexibility as well. You have to get the center of you mass over your hands if you want to have any chance of succeeding. This means your shoulders will come far over your hands.

Chrissie was on to something when she said she could lower down. Work the negative, staying under control and soon you’ll be able to lift up into the handstand.

Another way is to hold a Jack-Knife handstand. When you can hold this position low pressing up into the handstand should be no problem.

Some people have no problem doing this move. Others will have to do tons of work to get it based on there body leverages. If you fall into the later group just keep at it. A bunch of negatives, holds, and isometrics will get you there faster.

Good Luck and Good Hand Balancing,
Logan Christopher

P.S. Bob Jones has some big tips for learning this move, found in the Chapter 8 – Pressing Up Into A Handstand of his book.

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You've got Questions, I've got Answers

Been working on a new project. Hours of filming straight at a time. It’s rough work doing that much volume but the payoff should be great.

More on that later on, plus a few sneak peak video clips.

Right now, gonna dive into the mailbag to answer a few more of your questions. We got some good ones today.

“Quick question. I’m having trouble going past 30 seconds holding a handstand. My balance is constantly improving, so is strength (i can rattle off 12-15 pressups at a time – sometimes I’ll do 3 sets of 11). Just not getting why I hit a wall around 30 or so seconds in a free handstand. gotta run, Thanks for the great info”
Andy Moose

My first impression is that your hitting a wall because you think you’re hitting a wall.

There is nothing physiologically that changes after the half minute mark. If you can’t break it you just need a few options to work through it.

Set a goal to make 40 seconds. Maybe even visualize yourself doing it. But most importantly believe in your ability to do it. Do not think you’ll fail at 30 but that you can go on to 60 and eventually you will.

“how do you go back into a crab and flip over sucessfuly”
Gabrielle

I put out a video a while back showing how to do a similar move from the bridge position. If you haven’t seen it you can check it out here – Gymnastic Bridge Turn-Over.

The short answer is that it requires strength and flexibility in the shoulders to do this move. You have to be able to post your weight on the one arm while you rotate your body around.

“HI Logan,
A skill that I’m working to regain is the backward rolling summersault. I  think I did it as a kid, but it is escaping me now. Any suggestions to implement the back roll without risking neck strain?”
thanks
Jeff

Trampoline Handbook
Trampoline Handbook on Amazon

Many people can’t do a backwards roll because it hurts their neck. The problem lies not in the move itself but in weakness.

If you build up your strength this move will not be a problem. In Tumbling Illustrated there’s even a back extension roll up into the headstand without the use of the arms. How’s that for neck strain?

In my opinion the best exercise to strengthen the neck is the wrestler’s bridge. Tried and true. And if you move from a laying down position to the top of the bridge you cover the same angles of pressure you need for the backwards roll.

You can avoid the problem by doing backwards rolls over the shoulder or you can address it and make you neck strong. Your choice.

And if you want to have a really strong neck (when most people don’t even train theirs) stay tuned to what’s coming soon.

Good Luck and Good Hand Balancing,
Logan Christopher

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Handstand Stunts from the Olympics

Have you been watching as much of the Olympics as I have?

Honestly it’s a bit tiring staying up until the early morning hours since they take place halfway around the world from where I am. But what can I say, they only come around every four years.

And its always a pleasure of mine to watch the best in the world do what they do.

There’s been exciting matches, close calls and comebacks all around. Plus new world records are broken everyday. (Did you see Jamaica’s Usain Bolt on the 100m dash?)

Great events in gymnastics and they aren’t done yet. One problem I have with professional gymnastics is the judging because it’s not perfect. Since it’s done by humans it doesn’t always seem fair. But that’s how it is.

Hand Balancing Made EasyHandBalancingMadeEasy_on_Amazon

It shouldn’t take away from the pleasure of watching the athletes.

One exercise I’ve been seeing a lot of in the Men’s Floor Routines is a straight arm straddle press from a crucifix position. Also known as a Maltese Press to a Wide Arm Handstand or a Swallow Press to a Japanese Handstand.

Considering this is a D skill it may be out of your range but that doesn’t mean you can’t try the wide handstand itself.

Place your hands wide on the ground, with the hands out and the thumbs pointing forward. Kick-up into position and attempt to hold.

Alternatively you can jump from a normal handstand into the wide handstand. With a little push on the hands slide them outward in position.

Just another variation you can have fun with. And thanks to the Olympics for reminding me of it.

Good Luck and Good Hand Balancing,
Logan Christopher

P.S. You need to master the regular handstand before you attempt any variations. Get step-by-step handstand instructions here.

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Fish Tail Press Up to Handstand

[youtube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAnuz6_3avc]
Fish Tail Press Up to Handstand

Got another video for you. This one is from next month’s Acrobat Accelerator.

A slightly more advanced move, but in the complete video you’ll be taken through the steps to get up to this move.

Here’s what it says in The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing about the Fish Tail Press Up.

Lie flat on the back, with the hands and arms close to the sides, with the hands flat on the floor, then by resisting with the hands, you draw the legs up slowly, and rigid, keep the legs going until you are up, resting on your head and shoulders, then change the position of the hands by placing them along side of the head flat on the floor; then let the feet drop about six inches, then drive them up, and push up to a handstand, the legs are kept rigid all the time.

That’s one long run on sentence but it describes the move well.

This move takes strong abs just to get into the plough position and hold it with your legs over your head. I suppose you could call this move the Plough press too. The more you drive with the legs the less you have to push with your arms but you have to do both.

Give it a shot and see how it goes.

On another note the May Sale is moving fast. Many items are sold out but others like the Paulinetti and Jones’ book and the Tumbling Course still have many in stock. https://lostartofhandbalancing.com/maysale.html

Walking and Jumping On Your HandsWalking and Jumping On Your Hands on Amazon

If you’ve stalled, wait no longer. The sale will come down late Sunday even if there’s a few items left.

Good Luck and Good Hand Balancing,
Logan Christopher

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Tiger Bend

I was shooting some video a couple days ago doing a variety of hand balancing stunts. One of them was the Forearm Stand. Prof. Orlick also called it a Tiger Stand. From the stand you can do what is called a Tiger Bend, but we’ll start with the stand first.

This is a great trick in and of itself but its also a good way to work up to a full on handstand. Since you are resting on your entire lower arm and hand you have a bigger base with which to balance.

One you overcome the oddness factor of trying this exercise for the first time you can see the benefits. All the main points of holding a handstand are still there, like keeping tight, but you may have to arch your back a little more for this one.

Of course the ultimate goal with this exercise is to do what’s known as a Tiger Bend. An advanced exercise for sure. It involves going from the Forearm Stand up into a Handstand. With a little overbalancing and strong triceps you can get there.

Sig Klein doing a Tiger Bend

Since few of us will be able to pull that one off at the present time here are two easier ways. Do the negative movement which is dropping from a Handstand into a Forearm Stand. When you go for this don’t just fall into the position but control it as much as possible.

You can also do Tiger Bend Pushups. Get in a normal pushup position except you are resting on your forearms instead of the hands. Without any rocking motion pushup on to your hands to the top position and lower back down.

You don’t see these moves too often but that doesn’t mean they aren’t great.

Walking and Jumping On Your HandsWalking and Jumping On Your Hands on Amazon

Good Luck and Good Hand Balancing,
Logan Christopher

P.S. For the super advanced hand balancer you can try to duplicate Johnny Weber’s one arm Tiger Bend. Find out how to do it in The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing. The picture above is of Sig Klein from the same book.

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Handstand Press

Another thing I’ve devoted more of my time to recently is the handstand press. While a normal handstand does not take very much strength many of the presses do.

Trampoline Handbook
Trampoline Handbook on Amazon

Handstand presses can be broken down into two main groups. Those done with straight arms and those down with bent arms.

The various bent arm presses take a high degree of strength in the shoulders, triceps and also the chest in many cases.

Straight arm press-ups still take strength but in different areas. Also you will need flexible wrists, hamstrings, and the ability to compress your body in half. In fact the more flexibility you have the less strength you will need.

For all these reasons most people will be better at either straight arm or bent arm presses. There are many people who can do the straight arm variety but will fall on their face if they have to bend their arms.

On the other hand most stronger people can do many bent armed presses. These take tremendous arm and shoulder strength to pull off successfully as you have to hold your entire bodyweight in mid air for a length of time. But for these people the straight arm presses can be elusive.

In the end you want to be able to do both. In order to do this you must train for both.

That’s why there’s chapters on the pressing in all the main books like Hand Balancing Made Easy and The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing.

Presses are not easy, especially if you’re not of the average gymnast size. But it can be done.

If you’ve ever wondered why hand balancers are so strong this is one of the major keys. So start pressing.

Good Luck and Good Hand Balancing,
Logan Christopher

P.S. There are so many ways you can press up into a handstand. Have you mastered them all? Start where you can and work from there.

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