Want to swim faster, develop a stronger core, and look really cool? You need to be able to rock a handstand!
I am not a believer in quick fixes. That goes for getting strong, getting fast, getting flexible, getting ripped. Living my life by the ‘if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is’ motto has helped me avoid many scams and provided me with much needed reality. However, I believe that my challenge of mastering the handstand will help me to develop core strength, develop shoulder strength, and my final goal is to be able to do handstand push-ups. All this, and I have a goal of 2 months.
4 sets of 1-minute with the palms of my hands between 90cm and 1m away from the wall. By set 4 my body is shaking, my arms are shaking, and my core is screaming out. I was expecting to feel a lot more light-headed but it felt fine. Getting into position was pretty easy, walking up the wall and I didn’t feel off balance.
For day two I did the same but with my hands closer to the wall. I felt the same pains but at least I know I'm getting stronger!
On day four my palms are 70cm away from the wall; 1 foot closer than a few days ago. I'm now up to sets of 5 for 1-minute each and I am resting for 4 minutes between. The last 2 sets were very tough: my shaky arms were just screaming out for the minute to end. Oh, and the dismount (I’m guessing that’s what coming down off the wall is officially called) needs some work. A kind of splat at the base of the wall doesn’t feel very elegant.
Feeling fresh after the weekend, I got my palms to 60cm from the wall. Woah, feels a bit steep! But OK. Mixing this up with some press-ups and a few sit-ups, the minute timer on my phone could not come sooner by the third set.
A couple of days into week two and my palms are now just 50cm away from the wall. It seems a little easier to hold the minute today and my feet feel light against the wall. Feels to me like the beginning of a handstand!
After about 1 month my palms are more or less 30cm away from the wall. Mind over matter “I won’t fall over. I won’t fall over”. It is certainly a workout on the wrists from the lack of flexibility.Now in the second month (end of week 1) I have now dropped my rest intervals down to 3 minutes between each minute of handstand-planking against the wall. Repeating for 5 sets. Not sure when that slipped in but it has! (I am sure I started at 4). I am also only doing this week days. So I am feeling stronger and now I think ready to take the leap of faith into the second stage whatever that may be.
The TRX handstand is a real showstopper, combining strength, balance, coordination and proprioception. Just about every muscle in the body needs to work together to maintain a handstand, but it’s especially good for strengthening the core and developing strong, stable shoulders.
The best tip for TRX Handstands: Practice makes perfect.
Practice and patience are essential to master the handstand, it's a challenging move.
The first time you attempt a TRX handstand, it will feel scary, you’re turning your world upside down after all, but with practice comes confidence and you soon get used to viewing the world topsy turvy.
Benefits of the TRX Handstand
Strengthens stabilizer muscles
To hold your body over your heads it takes more than just the prime movers firing for example the lats (the big muscles across your back like wings) will be used to stabilise your body in the air as well as the shoulders and your core muscles.
Advanced coordination and balance
A handstand requires more coordination and balance than benching the same weight if not more. At first this may be tricky and you will feel wobbly, but it comes with time and practice.
As we spend the majority of our days sat down, EHOH encourages us to move every hour on the hour. See here: LINK https://www.sundried.com/blogs/training/77412101-ehoh. Flipping upside down for your EHOH could help to improve your mental focus at work and reverse the effects of constant sitting.By flipping your body upside down, handstands invert normal blood flow. This increases circulation to your upper body while relieving pressure on your feet and legs. Handstands benefit your spine, brain and pituitary gland. The flood of blood to your brain is energizing and calming at the same time, relieving minor depression and improving mood. A properly executed back bend during a handstand also invigorates your nervous system while energizing your body. The handstand position also allows gravity to act on the skeletal system from the opposite direction aiding in the maintenance of bone density and countering osteoporosis.
How to do a TRX Handstand
Keep your hands under your shoulders and spread your fingers to spread the force equally.
Try to really extend and engage the shoulders. This muscular tension will give you greater control. Think of shrugging your shoulders upwards or trying to push into the floor.
You’ll want to really extend and engage the shoulders. This muscular tension will give you greater control. Think of shrugging your shoulders upwards or trying to push into the floor.
Try to keep your body in a straight line by engaging the abdominals. Sucking your tummy button into your spine helps to engage the transverse abdominals whilst flattening out an arched back.
Avoid letting your legs flop about like limp spaghetti, it will throw off your balance and mess up the whole hand stand. Try to keep your legs together and as straight as possible.
Point them, it looks better and who doesn’t want to be more pleasing to the eye?
How to TRX Handstand
- Facing the anchor, hook one foot into the TRX.
- Bend over and walk your hands back as far as possible with one leg in the air.
- Once you can’t walk your hands any further, kick your supporting leg up to meet the leg in the air. You should now be in a diagonal handstand.
- Walk your hand back until they are underneath your shoulders.
- Now force your weight down through your hands, spread your fingers, suck your tummy button into your spine, point your twinkle toes and hold!
P.S : Don’t forget to breathe, this moves challenging enough without having to hold your breathe!
The following photos will demonstrate how to get in position. Start off with a vertical plank (or close to it).
Starting position with hands on the floor and one leg in the TRX
Before taking your other foot off the floor to meet the raised foot, work back as far as your flexibility will allow.
You may want to spend some time in a plank vertical position. When you feel comfortable walk back on your hands.
A near vertical handstand is a great position to work on your strength and build up confidence.
Before you fully commit you may want to work on your body being upright and bending at the waist. Use a mirror, or your phone to see how straight you are.
Start with aiming for 10 seconds and gradually increase the amount of time you hold in position. To dismount slowly walk the hand forward, then bring one leg down, followed by the other when you are ready.
If you can’t do a full handstand to start with work on holding in the diagonal position and gradually aim your way back, you’ll get there eventually!