411: headstand to handstand
This challenging sequence has two fundamental components that are pre-requisites to the final skill:
Strength-wise, you need to be able to perform a straight press with the equivalency of your own body weight. For training purposes, use free-weights (this helps with balance), and train until you can perform a clean press of your body weight plus 10 pounds, in good form. So, if you weigh 135 pounds, you need to be able to perform a controlled standing press with a 145 pound barbell. The most difficult portion of the strength component is the initial extension, essentially the part which transfers the weight from the head/hand/hand tripod to a two handed bipod.
You need to be able to perform a kick handstand and to maintain a solid, freestanding balance for a bare minimum of 60 seconds, while keeping your hands in a stationary floor position.
Once you have achieved the required strength and balance, you’re ready to begin training for the full move. At this point its really about mind over matter, and shattering your mental blocks. I’ve broken down the actual move into a gradual sequence of practices that, completed in order, will have you doing full press handstands in no time! Seriously, the hardest part is the strength and balance!
- Learn the movement in reverse. Begin getting used to the muscular movements needed to elevate your body. Focus on the movement and the strength without balance. Do a kick handstand up against a wall, your back facing the wall. Begin with dips (essentially pushups in full vertical form), bringing your head as close to the floor as you comfortably can, then returning to full vertical extension. Do sets of at least 10 vertical push-ups. Once you can comfortably do those,
- Back away from the wall. Repeat the same exercise with your feet completely clear of the wall. This builds the necessary balance plus strength plus the movement pattern.
- Power Up. Next we’ll focus on the most strength intensive portion, the first few inches of initial thrust from headstand into hand balance. For this segment, begin in a headstand tripod position with your abdomen facing the wall. Your hands should be within a foot of the wall. Walk your feet up the wall until you are fully vertically extended, toes reaching for the sky. Using the wall for balance, power up from headstand tripod to handstand balance. THIS TRANSITION IS THE CORE OF THE PRACTICE. Once you are fully extended into a wall-supported handstand, *slowly* lower yourself back down to headstand. Repeat three or more times.
- Bust a Move. Finally, once you are comfortable with the full flow of step 5, perform the exact same movement, free of wall support. That’s it! You’re done! Congratulations!