Want to swim faster, develop a stronger core and look really cool then you need to be able to rock a handstand! OK. Maybe you just want to do a handstand. Whatever the motivation here is my personal challenge (still ongoing)
So bodyweight training is cool. Gymnastics are for pros and yoga is for people with flexibility you only dream of. Oh and handstands are for 10 year olds with no fear and an amazing ability to conquer gravity. Do you feel like the above is true?
It’s not (apparently)… I am not a believer in get rich quick schemes. And that goes for getting strong, getting fast, getting flexible, getting ripped. The list goes on. Living my life by the ‘if it sounds too good to be true it probably is’ has avoided many scams and provided me with much needed reality. But I have a few goals I want to achieve by working on this little personal challenge. One is to develop core strength. One is to develop shoulder strength and aim for some handstand push-ups. But one is to see if it is possible to actually get up into a handstand having never attempted (so no muscle memory whatsoever).
Get Rich Quick…. Here we come. From zero to hero in 2 months (or shorter). Can it be done? I am going from a pretty solid starting point. Can squeeze out 40+ pushups and not much body fat. From reading a few websites and how to guides I am going for what sounds to be the safer approach for a novice with the fear of face planting. Starting with a wall plan and adding a bit of gradient every day.
(Beginning of July)
Day one… 4 sets of 1 minute plan with the palms of my hands between 90cm and 1m away from the wall. Set 4, body is shaking. Arms are shaking. Core is certainly screaming out but pretty happy with this (it was after press ups as well). 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.
Day two… (don’t worry, I wont bore you with the detail every day) the same as above but taking it 5-10 cm closer to the wall with the hands. Is anyone impressed yet? My 4 year old daughter is, but then she pulls out a wall plank that puts mine to shame.
I’m going to keep this up! Surely I am.
Day 4. Palms are 70cm away from the wall. 1 foot closer than a few days ago. The sets of 5 for 1 minute each I am resting for 4 mins between. Will try and drop that down soonish but too tough right now. Last 2 sets were very tough. Shaky arms 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. Got to bore my sister in law last night with my desire to achieve a handstand. Anyone else not interested?
Week 2 - Fresh after the weekend (yes I had Sunday off from the training for this) so 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 a few week gap for holiday it is back to the challenge.
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 handstandplanking 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!