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Why Do We Train Bodyweight?

 

This is an interesting question that I’m sure you have asked yourself in the past at one point or another. I know that I have with myself; although luckily only once or twice.

Here is a little food for thought.

As individuals who engage in fitness activities, we could easily gain results with our bodies from just running and hitting the weights. Look good in the mirror, impress those that we care to impress, and be done with it.

But if you’re like me, there’s something alluring about bodyweight training. It’s not just the ability to be stronger or faster but in the internalized fact that you have the skill to go along with it. Skill is simply the ability to do something well; no rocket science necessary in that thought process.

In terms of bodyweight training, that skill revolves around learning to gain the correct motor control in your body whether you’re going for strength, power, or speed(quickness included). A couple of my favorite examples would be the hollow body hold and the squat thrust. Although these seem like normal “tough” exercises, they teach you different aspects of stabilization and coordination that could help you in other types of physical endeavors.

Starting soon I’ll begin delving into other types of baseline bodyweight skill development outside of the acrobatic world of the handbalancing.

Stay Inverted!
-Jonathan Magno

Learn How to Back Flip in 31 Days
Learn How to Back Flip in 31 Days on Amazon
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The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing

For many people, today is a special day. I’m not going to get too deep into it, but it does involve a heart, candy, and maybe some stuffed animals.

What I am going to get into is a book on hand balancing that can be used as a starting point to learning the handstand correctly as well as a look into the history of hand balancing. This book is called The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing.

The authors of the book, Professor Paulinetti and Robert L. Jones, have a combined experience of 70+ years practicing and teaching hand balancing and gymnastics. In the 1940’s they wrote THE book on this art.

Trampoline Handbook
Trampoline Handbook on Amazon

Although we have many guides of information here, this book gives you an inside look at how this skill gained a following in the earlier years. This book is filled with information and insight on hand balancing

Happy Valentines Day and pick up The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing today!

Stay Inverted!
-Jonathan Magno

 

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Refining your Handstand Push up

Earlier we talked about the two types of handstand presses. Today, we’ll go a bit more into an often utilized bent arm version. The handstand pushup.

Many people begin their hand balancing against a wall. This was the case for me and I know its the same for many others.

On top of that holding a handstand while doing pushups is one of the ultimate bodyweight exercises for your upper body; with or without a wall.

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

Think of the upper body strength attainable by being able to rep out a freestanding handstand pushup. You can find many admirable people with supreme strength attain this move. These range from the different BAR groups like the Bar Brothers to the movement groups like GMB.

Whichever method you choose, one thing is for certain. Strength and balance are key.

One thing I noticed that tends to throw people off is their hand and arm position.

If you were to kick up against a wall to do pushups what position would you take? Is this the same position you’d take away from the wall?

Play around with the width and angle of you hands and arms and you will find you can change the difficulty of handstand pushups considerably

Discover the newfound strength in your presses with our Ultimate Guide to Handstand Push-ups Bundle.

Stay Inverted!
-Jonathan Magno

 

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The Division of the Handstand Press

When you finally understand the mechanics of the handstand, it no longer takes that much strength to perform it. But if you want to start building some inverted strength, start progressing to the handstand pushup.

handstand pushup variation

Handstand pushup demonstrated by Logan Christopher of Legendary Strength

 

Tumbling Illustrated
Tumbling Illustrated on Amazon

Handstand Presses can be broken down into two main groups. The straight arm and the bent arm press.

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 strong 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 true mastery comes from being able to do both. In order to do this you must train for both.

Presses are not easy, especially if you haven’t been training as a gymnast. 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.

If you need some help in getting started with presses, why not check our Ultimate Guide to Handstand Push-ups Bundle.

Stay Inverted!
-Jonathan Magno

 

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Do you Roll Forward or Reverse Engineer it?

Rolling on the floor. It seems like a simple task. But many people seem to have a tough time with it. The simplest reason why is because they dive straight into it without the right body feel.

When somebody is  initially taught the roll, they start off in a kneeling position, and the first point of contact tends to be their shoulder. Following the contact with the shoulder the next point of contact tends to be the lower back or rump. This is usually exemplified by a large thump or possible yell.

So why does this occur? The two culprits are body kinesthetic and flexibility. When a person is rolling they need to be able to feel the connection of their back to the floor. On top of that, they need to be flexible enough to round out their back to create the shape necessary to roll.

Where does a person start to gain the tools necessary. They should begin at the point of contact that most of the issues occur. That point would be the mid-back. Build the right body feel and flexibility in that area and the roll will be an easy task.

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

A great example on building this body feel comes from Ryan Hurst of GMB Fitness.  Below, he demonstrates a set of progressions that you can use to develop the right feel to easily develop your rolling skills.

If you found this tutorial useful. Check out the GMB Vitamin Course to gain more skills similar to the roll.

Stay Inverted!
-Jonathan Magno

 

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Hand Balancing and Cross Training with Weights?

Will weight-lifting help you with your hand balancing skill? That’s a tricky question, although not too difficult. The answer is YES and NO.

Tumbling Illustrated
Tumbling Illustrated on Amazon

I’m going to expound on the idea. First off, weight-lifting is a ranged term which can involve power lifting, olympic lifts, bodybuilding, or old-fashioned strength training. A big qualifier on your results is in how you lift.

Certain exercises are going to help you out. And others won’t do much for you.

Specifically for pressing movements. It requires a tremendous amount of strength to be able to push your own body overhead. You need strong triceps, shoulders, and core.

Since many of the inverted presses take you through different planes of movement; not strictly overhead work, like the frogstand press, you will also need strong pectoral muscles in addition to the core.

So strengthening these muscles will make your stunts easier.

Then again hand balancing takes a huge degree balance. While weightlifting can help your coordination, it is nothing compared to what you need to stand on your hands.

Being able to press a heavy barbell overhead has no carryover to being able to hold a handstand.

A handstand is a skill and needs to be practiced in order for you to get good at it.

These days many people are moving away from weights because they think they are not functional. You know what? It just depends on what you’re doing with them.

Whether you decide to build you upper body strength with barbell presses or with handstand pushups is up to you. They both build strength.

So in short, look at what your own goals are and see what will work best for your situation.

If you need some help in getting started, why not check out our Handstand Mastery Course.

Stay Inverted!
-Jonathan Magno

 

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The Path of the Shaolin Monk: Training with your Fingers

What’s interesting to me is about how many people have embraced the benefits and fun of being inverted. You can catch people training at a park or even at you’re local gym. Although, if there is one form of hand balancing that you don’t see much of today, its training with your fingers.

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

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t practice it.

Let me start off with a word of caution. The fingers are small and fragile. You have to start off by being mindful of your body while beginning your training; otherwise you may end up breaking them, snapping tendons or any number of bad possibilities. So be careful.

Starting with a fingertip handstand is probably too much for most people. Even this most basic move must be worked up to. And fingertip pushups are the best way to do that.

Even without practicing finger balancing, your hand and finger strength will improve over time. Just from the practice of balancing on your hands you can’t help but gain some strength in your digits.

But for true fingertip stunts you need to do them in one form or another.

If you are ready for the fingertip handstand then I suggest using a wall on your first go. Holding your body weight on your fingers is one thing. Balancing is another.

Not only do you have a smaller base of support but you must add pressure in order to stay balanced. This makes your fingers support your weight and then some.

If starting with your finger is still a bit away from your level, but you want to develop your hand balancing, check out our handstand mastery course.

Stay Inverted
-Jonathan Magno

 

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The First Stunt of 2017: Part 2

Elbow Lever

A couple of days ago we talked about the Elbow Lever and gave you a quick lesson on how achieve the skill. If you missed, out I’ll include the lesson at the end of this post just in case.

Today, I’ll be talking to you about a different aspect of the lead-up stunt. The Benefits.

Why is this stunt helpful? It trains the balancing aspect on your hands from a low center of gravity. You also have to keep a decent arch and your body tight or else you will touch the ground with more than your hands.

Internally, these lead-up stunts help to fill in the foundational blocks to understanding how to control your body. Logically, you should strive toward building small successes. The more consistent you are at being successful and learning the intricacies of the moves, the closer you’ll get to that freestanding handstand or more.

Before I forget…

Elbow Lever Quick Lesson:

To perform this lead- stunt kneel on the floor, bring both elbows together and place them in your stomach and turn the palms of the hands facing upwards. Now lean forwards slowly and place the hands flat on the floor with your fingers pointing backwards. Arch your back slowly until your toes leave the floor and you will be doing the elbow lever.

You will find the balance a little difficult at first but just keep on practicing. The stunt can also be performed on the edge of a table or on the end of any ordinary bed.

Stay Inverted
-Jonathan Magno

Hand Balancing Made EasyHandBalancingMadeEasy_on_Amazon

P.S. If you want to own your elbow lever or your other hand balance lead-up stunts check out our handstand mastery course.

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The First Stunt of 2017: Part 1

There are a number of different possibilities that will lead up to your first handstand. In fact we recommend 5 different lead-up stunts or body skills that can help you achieve this feat.. Whether its the Frogstand, Headstand, their variations or even today’s topic; you’ll gain a valuable piece of information that will help you progress to your goal or even build up to other goals.

Honestly, these lead-up stunts aren’t necessary to get your first handstand, but they build a pathway that can make it easier. All of these body skills share common traits to the handstand and therefore pave the way towards good handbalancing.

The different skills each put you into an inverted position,  develop strength, balance and the motor control necessary to perform a handstand.

So without talking the skills up too much and not delivering, lets give you more insight on the move at hand:

The Elbow Lever

Elbow Lever

Don’t let this move scare you. It is an advanced Hand balancing skill and I’m only starting off with it to give you a long term skill to shoot for. Also, if what I’ve been saying is true, you’ll be able to gain some valuable experience towards you hand balancing Journey.

To perform this lead- stunt kneel on the floor, bring both elbows together and place them in your stomach and turn the palms of the hands facing upwards. Now lean forwards slowly and place the hands flat on the floor with your fingers pointing backwards. Arch your back slowly until your toes leave the floor and you will be doing the elbow lever.

You will find the balance a little difficult at first but just keep on practicing. The stunt can also be performed on the edge of a table or on the end of any ordinary bed.

Now that you know how to do an elbow lever, we challenge you to go ahead and give it a try. Also if you want some pointers, try posting a video on our facebook page and we’ll be there to direct and support you development in your hand balancing journey.

Stay Inverted
-Jonathan Magno

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

BTW if you want to skip some of the process and guesswork toward building you hand balance skills, check out our handstand mastery course.

 

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A broom, your body, and handbalancing!

Everyone has done this at one time or another. A broom is a common item but any long straight object will do just fine.

Put one end on your open palm with the other end straight up in the air and keep it there by balancing.

This is not very difficult and let me tell you why. The broom is straight and solid. Your efforts at balancing it from the bottom translate straight up to the top so it is quite easy to keep it in the air.

Of course, this is related to hand balancing. However, there are some big differences.

Your body is not just one straight long object. You have mobile joints at your elbows, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles. And then there’s your spine which has many moving pieces.

This is not an anatomy lesson. My point is that your efforts of balancing on your hands may not directly translate to keeping your feet in the air.

Your target must be keeping your body from wrists to toes unmoving so that you can balance.

Keeping your body tight is the key to holding a quality handstand. Any leak means getting out of proper position and a much tougher time getting back in.

So stay tight, but don’t forget to breathe.

In the beginning all this is not as easy as it appears, especially when you are in the unfamiliar upside down position. But keep practicing.

When you can keep your body rigid then handstands are a piece of cake.

Stay Inverted!
-Jonathan Magno

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

P.S. Although this post is about keeping a straight line, sometimes you need to be a bit more bendable or flexible. Increase your body’s strength and mobility by working on your handstand pushups.

 

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