Handstands and the lessons they hold

I have always thought handstands were awesome, but I have never been very good at them.  I guess that’s a relevant term; I have been better at them than many people, but not as good as I wanted to be.  In my head, I wanted be able to handstand walk across the basketball court and do flips across the room like a ninja.  Haven’t quite got there yet.

So, I do the skill level thing (see my previous blog post) and handstands have been on my top-priority list for a couple of years now.  When I say “top priority” that is code for “low ability”.  My top-10 are the 10 skill tests I’m worst at, and therefore the 10 things I emphasize most in my own training programs.  Handstands have been there from the beginning and I have learned a lot of lessons from them.

Lesson 1  – Handstands mean standing on your hands.  Duh.  So, you have to have strong hands, good hand and wrist mobility, and you have to actually spend a lot of time upside down in order to get any good at them.

Lesson 2 – In a handstand, your entire body is upside down.  Yeah, obviously, but there are some things there you probably never thought about before, like having excellent thoracic spine mobility in order to achieve a straight alignment while inverted.  You also have to have great core stability to keep your middle in line (think plank holds upside down). And it helps to point your toes and engage your legs actively in an effort to stretch them to the sky.

Lesson 3 – You can’t get get good at anything by avoiding it.  To see improvement with these, I have had to practice them every single day for months and months and months.  That’s like thousands of handstands now just to show a marginal improvement.

Lesson 4 – Perseverance pays off. Those thousands of handstands also came with thousands of falls and thousands of attempts to kick-up or tuck-up where I couldn’t find the balance point.  The failures held as many lessons as the successes, and the repeated attempts taught me volumes.

Lesson 5 – It feels good to improve.  Last week, I recorded a 62-second handstand, my longest ever.  I felt great.  It gave me an emotional boost I needed in the middle of COVID lockdown.  Accomplishing a long-held goal is highly rewarding, but it only happens if you work at it, and don’t give up, and continue to learn.

Published by nicnakis

Nicholas |nik-uh-luhs| n. a male given name: from Greek words meaning "victory of the people" John |jon| n. a male given name: from Hebrew Yohanan, derivative of Yehohanan "God has been gracious" Nakis |nah-kis| n. a Greek family name derived from the patronymic ending -akis (from Crete) Amha |am-hah| n. an Ethiopian given name meaning "gift", from Geez Selassie |suh-la-see| n. Ethiopian name meaning "trinity", from Geez

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