Archive | Flexibility & Contortion RSS feed for this section

Improving Stability in Handstands

I receive tons of questions and today I’ll get to a couple of them. You can always submit your question here.

Just know that I can’t respond to everyone individually but I’ll try to tackle them in these emails.

“I’ve got my position for my handstand right but I just can’t seem to hold it much longer than five or so seconds. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. Please help!!”
Cheers,
Emma Shepard

I’m sure there are many people that share where you’re at Emma. A lot of people get frustrated that when they start trying out handstands they can’t hold one with ease after just a couple days.

Above all else, you need patience and commitment. Keep working on holding that position and you will get better in time. Its also good to re-visit some of the lead-up skills I outline in the Secrets of the Handstand Quickstart Guide like the frogstand and others.

Besides, without seeing you do the handstand its hard to give specific advice. If you want to send in a video I’ll offer some additional suggestions. Just post something on youtube and send me the link. This goes for anyone.

Hey Logan
So I’ve been getting better at my handstand but I have a super flexible back so I have been focusing on spinal stability exercises. Mostly planks held for up to a minute, feet on a swiss ball, forearm planks, side planks, etc. You got any other suggestions? Also, would push up bars be helpful? For some reason I have been real curious about those.
Thanks man,
Casey

Having a super flexible back can be a boon depending on how you look at it. Bob Jones recommends that a beginner use all of his back bend when starting out in order to make the balancing easier.

But if your goal is to straighten out, the moves you listed could certainly help establish strength in the abs and low back needed to hold a straighter handstand.

The most useful exercise though is a handstand against the wall. Kick-up and straighten the back out. When you do this you’ll feel your core working quite hard. The key point is to lengthen the body as much as possible. Try to get as tall as you possibly can.

Tumbling Illustrated
Tumbling Illustrated on Amazon

And the next time you do freestanding handstands you can emulate this same movement.

As for pushup bars they are useful tools, but not specifically for what you‘re trying to achieve here. Besides with handstand most of the time your hands are flat on the ground so you want to train in that position.

That wraps up this email. Just remember the most important thing is always to keep working forward. Hand balancing takes time but in the end its worth the effort.

Good Luck and Good Hand Balancing,
Logan Christopher

P.S. The Parkour Tutorial DVD is selling like crazy. Plus I’ve been getting tons of messages of people who’ve been practicing for years. If you want to see what all the buzz is about click here.

Comments { 0 }

Free Movement and Complete Control

Free to move and in control.

Isn’t that what hand balancing and all acrobatics is all about? Being able to move your body in any which way and having complete control.

Capable of hopping onto your hands and shifting one way or another, posting on a single hand then coming down to your feet only when you want to.

What separates the amateur from the pro is having charge of all movement and making it look easy.

I’m always on the lookout for anything that can help give me an edge and also to make life more enjoyable.

One piece of training that too many people neglect is mobility. The issue isn’t flexibility. The issue is being able to move each joint individually through a range of motion that it is SUPPOSE to be able to go through without hurting or stiffness.

This is the key to longevity. To living without aches and pains. And at the same time it will make you a better athlete more capable to handle your challenges.

Many people are familiar with some level of this training whether it was done for a warm-up back in school for physical education or some sports. Simple things like arm or ankle circles. Turning the head from side to side and the like.

But those most basic moves, if they’re done at all are not the complete picture. Too many joints are neglected. The mid-back, pelvis and individual fingers are just a few examples.

And like anything else mobility practice should be progressive. You gain better control by adding complexity to the movement.

To learn more about gaining control of your body and movement check this out.

If you have issues with your hands, shoulders or back this could be the one thing that helps you take back your body.

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

The newly-released book Free to Flow will guide you through the starting movements up to complex waves, diagonal infinities and clovers for each part of the body.

And it’ll give you much else. You can get this 390-page book right now for only $34.95.

Consider it an investment in your health and as a way to improve your performance whether in sports, martial arts, hand balancing, or just about anything else.

Click here to find out more about Free to Flow

Sincerely,
Logan Christopher

P.S. I don’t often make recommendations of other people’s products but when I do you know its good. Considering what this book can do for you I think it’s a steal at the current price. Click to read more about it including Sonnon’s amazing story.

Comments { 0 }

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.

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.

Trampoline Handbook
Trampoline Handbook on Amazon

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.

Comments { 0 }

Advanced Bridging

Last summer I was traveling through Europe with a group of friends. We were in San Sebastian waiting to go to Pamplona for the running of the bulls.

There were several hours to kill before the train would arrive and take us off.

So we decided to play some football in a nearby park. (Finding an American football in Europe wasn’t easy but that’s a story for another time.)

Since the only place we could find was a field of half grass and half granite, we played two-hand touch rather then tackling each other. Still, being men it was bound to get rough. And of course highly competitive.

A little three on three action. The whole game was a tight battle for the lead.

And it was going smoothly until a certain kickoff.

The kick was high and short. As we scrambled forward to catch it, the other guys were rushing towards us. The ball hit the ground and bounced high up into the air.

I leaped upwards. I don’t know how exactly it happened, or who hit me, but my feet were taken out from under me sending me spinning.

Six feet up in the air I turned over and came crashing down onto the packed ground, the back of my head being the first point of contact. THUMP!!

I’m not gonna lie and say it didn’t affect me. It did. I was stunned and had to take some time out of the game. But within an hour I was fine.

Meanwhile one of my friends pulled a neck muscle by looking over his shoulder for a pass. Seriously.

But how did I avoid what certainly would should have been a concussion? How was I fine in just an hour but my friend had a nagging injury for months.

Its how I train. The neck and spine are often neglected by most people even if they do otherwise train their body.

Ultimate Guide to Handstand Pushups
Ultimate Guide to Handstand Pushups on Amazon

All my neck training is done from the wrestler’s bridge. But I don’t just hold the position for time. I’ve developed a series of exercises that will give you one of the strongest necks in the world.

But that’s only part of the equation. There’s also the gymnastic bridge. Few exercises work the body from fingers to toes like this one. Especially when you consider the flexibility and agility to move into and out of position with ease.

Considering how I started so inflexible and weak many years back, its amazing some of the things I can do now. And now you can do it to.

Go to Advanced Bridging to find out more.

Be sure to watch the video to really see what is possible with a few bridging movements.

This is a special offer and your only notice. Come Friday morning the page is coming down. So go check it out while you have a chance.

Good Luck and Good Bridging,
Logan Christopher

P.S. On first appearance to many people the bridge in its many forms can appear injurious and dangerous. But if you go about it the right way not only will you build strength and flexibility, you can become concussion-proof. You’ll find out more at Advanced Bridging.

Comments { 0 }

Handstand Partner Drill for Stronger Shoulders

I asked one of my friends, Max, who competed as a former high-level gymnast to tell me about some of the exercises and drills he and his teammates used to build the strength they required.

You can see check one video of the partner drills he showed here.

[youtube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1gHtenxGRA]

This is one of many things that he showed me on that bright, sunny day. While it’s a good one it’s not the best of the bunch.

You can do the same exercise without a partner, which is still good, though you can get more range and work a bit harder with someone’s help.

My favorite drill that Max showed me is one I’m calling the Ultimate Handstand Strengthening Exercise. This one exercise takes you through a wide range of motions and will boost your arm and shoulder strength like you wouldn’t believe.

Unfortunately, it’s a bit to complicated to get into right here.

But the full video is in this month’s Acrobat Accelerator, which you can sign up for here.

If you’re already signed up your issue hit the mail yesterday. There’s plenty of other exercises from working on the straight handstand that gymnasts use, press handstands and many more.

This is not beginner stuff, but if you’ve been in the game a little you can start using these drills to build your strength and skill.

Hand Balancing Made EasyHandBalancingMadeEasy_on_Amazon

Good Luck and Good Hand Balancing,
Logan Christopher

P.S. You can also get one of several hand balancing products that offer a one month trial to Acrobat Accelerator.

Comments { 0 }

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.

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

“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

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

Comments { 0 }

Increase your Hand Balancing Abilities

Got a question from Patrick. “I am a beginner at hand balancing. How can I find exercises and stretching drills thats will increase my abilities”

C’mon people. This is a call to all who submit questions. Be more specific. I can provide better answer when I know what you want. In fact the more detailed the better.But I will take a blind shot at this question.

To increase your abilities you need to work on the specific abilities themselves. I’m going to assume that you’re talking about your hand balancing abilities.

Depending on what you are specifically having trouble with this could mean any number of things.

If your having problems with balancing than I would recommend even easier skills than the handstand itself. Skills like the frogstand, headstand and forearm stand. Here’s the easiest way to learn how to do the handstand.

If you need strength I would recommend holding handstands against the wall and doing handstand pushups.

For flexibility, lets say in the shoulder region, you can do many drills. In a handstand against the wall you can bring your chest outward thus working the shoulder flexibility. That’s just one example of many. The gymnastic bridge also works wonders and for more than just the shoulders.

The concepts are universally applied to almost any exercise question. If you can analyze where you are at and where you want to be than break that down into things to work on you can attain any goal.

It’s a useful skill to have. Breaking down the seemingly complex into simple steps to follow.

Good Luck and Good Hand Balancing,
Logan Christopher

P.S. Now if you want the whole hand balancing plan laid out for you than I recommend you check this one out – Hand Balancing Mastery Course.

Tumbling Illustrated
Tumbling Illustrated on Amazon

Comments { 0 }

Gymnastic Bridge Turn-Over

Going to step away from hand balancing today and a bit more in the coming weeks to focus on related acrobatics and various tumbling moves. And I’ll be sharing many of them in video form like today!
First up is a bridging movement that I’ve been throwing in my routine the past few weeks.

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

This move involves going from a back bend or gymnastic bridge than turning face down. In order to do this you support yourself on one arm and turn to come on all fours. From here you continue the movement turning back into the bridge.

I’m calling it the Gymnastic Bridge Turn-over.

Just doing a single one of these moves is great. It requires great shoulder flexibility and strength. Can you say stability? In addition it will engage just about every other muscle in your body especially your abs, back and legs.

If one is no problem for you then do as I do in the video, stringing a bunch together to complete an entire circle. If you want a real challenge try to do five full circles each way.

Don’t feel bad if you can’t do this one. If this is a hard move for you it means one thing…you need to work on your gymnastic bridge. By improving your shoulder flexibility in this movement you can work up to doing the move shown here with ease.

So get on your back, press up, straighten the arms, and try to extend your chest over your hands.

You may also find that you can flip one way but not the other. Keep working at it until you can move seamlessly in and out of position in every way.

Good Luck and Good Tumbling,
Logan Christopher

P.S. Got another video next time that covers the very basics and why they’re so important regardless of who you are. In this and all things the fundamentals are of highest importance.

 

Comments { 5 }

Yoga's Scorpion Pose

When I was practicing a bit of my hand balancing last week someone who practiced yoga commented on it and we started a conversation.

Hand Balancing Made EasyHandBalancingMadeEasy_on_Amazon

One balance that she told me about is the Scorpion Pose also known as Vrschikasana. (No, I don’t know how you pronounce that.)

For any hand balancer is should not be much of a problem to get started. But if you need it you can always use a wall.

Simply kickup into a forearm stand. From here all you do is bend your knees and bring your feet to your head.

In this pose you want to keep your feet and knees together, though your body will naturally want to separate them.

How far your feet can go depends on the flexibility of your back. For the contortionist is will be easy to touch the feet on the head or even bring them under the chin.

If you can’t get there, not to worry, just do what you can and build from there.

I just did a couple while writing this. Let me tell you this is one move that will instantly lift your spirits and make you feel alive.

Go ahead and give it a try.

Good Luck and Good Hand Balancing,
Logan Christopher

P.S. With all my travels I fell out of my normal writing schedule but will get back on it now. In the mean time if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask – https://lostartofhandbalancing.com/question.html

Comments { 0 }

How to do a Front Walkover

Many gymnastics moves go through the handstand position. And in this post we will discuss how to do a front walkover as shown below. This is a composite picture of Diane Robinson performing the move with ease.

Diane Gymnastic Walkover

These are the instructions that come from Acro-Chat. The correct way to do a two arm walkover. Notice the arms are straight all the way through, the legs are extended and split as much as possible, the back is arched tightly with the head and arms trailing as she stands upright.

I will caution that this move takes a large amount of flexibility in both the back and legs. Though its not dangerous, you may end up falling on your butt if you can’t do it as well as Diane.

You can also perform a back walkover which is done moving backwards. Just follow the pictures from right to left and you’ll get the idea.

These moves are not to be confused with the handspring or back handspring. Though the motion is much the same, except for going off of two legs instead of one, there is another big difference.

Your hands will touch the ground before both your feet leave it in a walkover. Handsprings involve leaving the feet to get up in the air before your hands touch down.

While not strictly a hand balance, the walkover and handspring do move through the handstand position. At any rate they are excellent skills that you may want to master.

Trampoline Handbook
Trampoline Handbook on Amazon

Good Luck and Good Tumbling,
Logan Christopher

Comments { 0 }