Tag Archives | Shoulders

Gymnastic Handstand

The gymnastic handstand or straight handstand is a more difficult move then the natural or curved handstand. For that reason I believe a beginner should work on the curved handstand first and once they become proficient at that then they can move onto the straight handstand.

Working on the straight handstand will take a good bit of dedication as you must learn to maintain a straight body while upside-down, something that certainly doesn’t come natural. As with any move its best to learn it in the easiest possible way first. For that reason we go to the wall.


Gymnastic Handstand

When working on the gymnastic handstand it is better to face the wall with your body rather then have your back to it. This makes it easier to get into the straight body position. You can cartwheel into position or walk your feet up the wall.

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

Once you are in the handstand get your hands as close to the wall as possible. Stick your head through your arms. This alone will help your back to stop curving. While keeping the arms locked push through with your chest to open up the shoulders. If this is difficult you may need to work on shoulder flexibility.

Another key part is the lower body. You want to maintain what is known in gymnastics as a hollow body position. That is you tuck your pelvis in. Think as if you were trying to reach your tail bone to your navel and shorten that distance. You may need to practice this position while not in a handstand if it is unfamiliar to you.

Once you have a good position hold for time against the wall. Work up to 2 minutes for multiple sets. If you can do this you have good endurance not just to hold the handstand but to keep your position while you do it. At that point the gymnastic handstand should feel natural to you.

The next step is to transition to freestanding. Instead of just kicking up out in the open start in the straight handstand against the wall and come off a little bit to find your balance. But that will have to be an article for another time…

Good Luck and Good Hand Balancing,
Logan Christopher

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Planche Pushups Training

This question from Paul concerns planche pushups training.

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

“From a beginners perspective, what exercises would you recommend to working into a full planche pushup?”

That depends entirely on how much of a beginner you are. If you are really just starting out there is going to be a ton of work before you get to the planche and finally a planche pushup.

Suffice to say, you’ll need a strong planche before you can approach doing planche pushups.

There are two drills that come to mind to help on the pushup portion. Even if you can’t do the planche yet you will be able to do this planche pushup training and get started.

One involves having a friend hold onto your feet. Now, you don’t merely want to do pushups in this position. That would make this nothing more then an elevated pushup. Instead, lean far forward in advanced of your hands, that is to assume a planche position.

With your partner holding your feet you won’t have to support all your weight, but the goal is to do as much as you can on your own.

From this position you do your assisted planche pushups. The key is to do low reps and really maximize the effort that goes into each one.

The second drill is similar though it doesn’t require a partner. This is to do what are known as pseudo-planche pushups. You get on the ground and get into a normal pushup position.

Like before, you will lean forward so your shoulders are forward of your hands. Your feet are on the ground but you will be working in a similar planche position.

There are other methods but these will help you out big time. Along with them you’ll really need to be training your planche and making it strong.

Much more on the planche can be found in The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing.

Good Luck and Good Hand Balancing,
Logan Christopher

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Over and Underbalancing in a Handstand

“Hey Logan, just a short question on the handstand, how do you get control when you go towards under balancing ( I think…I’m new to all this, hehe)? Because when I over balance I just push the floor with my fingers, but when I under balance I just have no idea what to do.”

Thanks,
Sebastien V-G

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

“Hey Logan, I felt like trying a handstand today, and I tried it. I think I did pretty good, but before I can even hold it for more than a few seconds, I lose my balance and fall forwards. I have read most of the articles on this website, and I have tried the handstand again, but I still keep falling forward. Any Help?”
-Andrew

Thanks for the questions Sebastien and Andrew. They are common ones and are really all about what it takes to stay in the handstand.

To begin with if you are overbalancing you will press your fingertips into the floor. If you are underbalancing you can’t really press your palm into the floor, but you’ll want to raise your fingers up.

This old article has more details on the science of balancing.

There are also other methods of saving your balance whether its over or under. Read this article on shoulder weaving. As Bob Jones recommends this is not for beginners.

Learning this control whether by action of the hands or shoulders takes lots of practice. It’s a fine skill and will take time to develop or else everyone would be able to hold a handstand with ease.

That’s why I developed my Secrets of the Handstand Quick Start DVD. Using lead-up stunts will better help you to develop that balancing skill. And this review from Julia shows you why.

“Hi Logan, I appreciate your interest and support.  You probably have the best support system I’ve seen for people using your products.

“The DVD is great, and I think it’s a valuable tool for anybody who wants to have a strong and stable handstand.  I can really see the value of the lead-up stunts, and why a freestanding handstand is a bad idea until I get my frogstand under control.”

Thanks a lot!
-Julia

If you can’t control you handstand for more than a few seconds check out the Secrets of the Handstand Quick Start DVD.

Good Luck and Good Hand Balancing,
Logan Christopher

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The True Planche

An older hand balancer recently sent me a CD full of pictures of himself and others hand balancing. There are some amazing pictures and I thought I’d start off with one of the best. And there will be many more coming posted up here. Without further adieu meet Rafael Guerrero.

A Planche in the best form.

What most people don’t realize is how to do the planche correctly. While any semblance of a planche is a great display of strength and skill, when you can pull it off in this form its that much better. Of course to do it like this being a much smaller size is a plus!

Here’s a small section from The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing talking about the correct form of the skill.

“As exemplified by Paulinetti, the planche on two hand’s finds the body straight, flat and horizontal from throat to toes, and especially from throat to pelvis. Since the chest is thicker than the waist, this means that the shoulders are decidedly humped, corresponding very much to the hips. The position is much as if the performer were lying on a bench with chin and toes extended over either end–there is no arch in the back, and the hips are NOT flexed at all. This is where much of the trouble comes in, just as in doing the straight handstand with the head between the arms. Usually the performer gets the chest fairly well positioned, but instead of leaving the hips straight and then flexing the waist area of the spine slightly, he leaves his arch in the back and jack-knifes the legs forward (pretty much as in Figure 6) in order to get the feet down into line with the trunk. Again, in trying the planche–especially if endeavoring to get the flat chest effect–he neglects to thrust the chin forward and as a result has his face looking right at the floor instead of raised about 45 degrees and looking straight ahead.

“All in all, the correct position is decidedly not a normal one to attain, especially to a balancer accustomed to arching his back, and nine out of ten aspirants never even approach it. They usually wind up in nothing other than a “horizontal handstand” position–back arched, head up, and latissimus muscles hooked against the triceps. Understand, this is much of an accomplishment in its own right…but it is not the true planche.”

If you want to find out much more on the planche the read the full chapter in the book for the full details. But now you know some of the specifics for what it takes to do a true planche.

Good Luck and Good Hand Balancing,
Logan Christopher

P.S. There’s still time to take the short survey so I can find out exactly what you want. Click here.

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

“Hey, I’ve been working on my planche and I went from the frogstand to the tuck planche and I’m kinda stuck there, so anything you got to help would be appreciated.”
Mike

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

Without seeing a picture or video I can’t tell exactly how your tuck planche is looking. But most people when they first do the move, its challenge enough just to raise the body off of the ground with straight arms.

But once that becomes easy the next objective is start moving towards a real planche position. Of course, this needs to be done in small steps. The first one is to keep your back straight.

Then you need to raise your hips. You want to get them on level with your shoulders. And this involves leaning forward to where the shoulders pass over the hands.

This is a great progression to follow to work on the planche. Combined with a few other planche training moves you’ll eventually get there.

Good Luck and Good Hand Balancing,
Logan Christopher

P.S. For more on training the planche be sure to check out The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing.

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Mako Sakamoto's Handstand Pushup Record

Mako Sakamoto is not likely a name you have heard. He was a US National Champ in the 1960’s and has coached many successful gymnasts, including Olympic Gold Medalist Peter Vidmar.

One day during the athletes training they decided to find out how many freestanding handstand pushups they could do on the parallel bars. Mind you that these were full range, dropping down to the shoulders, not the head, and pressing back up. Coach Sakamoto got 19 on that day.

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

But he continued to train for many years. Twelve more to be exact, when he was 50 years old he set a new record. 163 consecutive full range freestanding handstand pushups.

One Hundred Sixty-Three!

He is over 60 years old now and still trains every morning. Though he won’t be breaking that record he can easily do 75 handstand pushups in the same manner which is far and beyond what most people would dream of doing.

To most people who can’t do a single rep or hold a handstand, that number seems unfathomable. But with the right training and true dedication it can be done.

I learned of this amazing feat from Coach Sommers over at www.GymnasticBodies.com. Check out his site and especially the new book Building the Gymnastic Body for great gymnastic training information.

Good Luck and Good Hand Balancing,
Logan Christopher

P.S. If you want to get started on your first freestanding handstand pushups you can get it in this month’s Acrobat Accelerator.

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Acrobatics outside Gymnastics

I received an interesting comment from Jonathan when he order a copy of The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing and Tumbling Illustrated.

“Thanks a lot! I’m an ex high-level gymnast, I just stopped competing, but I’m still training really hard, just for myself, just for fun, and now, I can finally train any kind of skills I want, I’m not anymore obligate to train only for winning competitions. It’s nice to find products about acrobatic training!”

First off, I think that’s awesome. While I’m a fan of gymnastics, it is in a sense a very narrow path, meaning that there is so much more right outside the boundaries.

In the world of acrobatics there are many moves you’d never see when watching a gymnastics competition.

And I have to agree with the statement ‘I’m training really hard, just for myself, just for fun.”

Not to say you can’t focus on any competition. If you are more power to you, but there is freedom when you can do what YOU want.

Just cracking open a copy of Tumbling Illustrated I found a variety of moves, that you sure won’t see in gymnastics. See if you can do some of these moves:

Backwards roll into a forearm stand

Headspring…without the hands (be very careful with this one)

One hand back handspring

From a hand balance, lowering down to the shoulders and kipping up to the feet.

Just a few examples from the 248 moves you’ll find in the book. I know you’ll find plenty to work on when the book arrives Jonathan, and I look forward to hearing how it goes.

Trampoline Handbook
Trampoline Handbook on Amazon

No matter your level of ability you too can find many moves in Tumbling Illustrated to work on. Grab your copy now.

Good Luck and Good Tumbling,
Logan Christopher

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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

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

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.

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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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.

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.

Hand Balancing Made EasyHandBalancingMadeEasy_on_Amazon
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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

Trampoline Handbook
Trampoline Handbook on Amazon

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.

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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