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Old 06-06-2011, 05:06 PM   #1
David Hansen
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Handstands without natural athleticism?

Here's an odd question. Has anyone here who did NOT participate in childhood/adolescent sports ever succeed in learning how to do a handstand?

I believe after incessantly failing to get a handstand through any means whatsoever, including kicking up, walking up, use of parallettes, etc, that this is a movement that is simply impossible because I never developed the kind of balance or coordination required while my cerebellum/musculature was still relatively plastic. And that now, it is too late.

So, in order to gauge whether a defeatist attitude here is justified, I'd like to know if any non-athletes have ever succeeded in learning this skill as an adult.
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Old 06-06-2011, 05:21 PM   #2
Renee Lee
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Re: Handstands without natural athleticism?

yes. i was a fat slob with a terrible fear of being inverted until 3 years ago and can kick upto a handstand whenver i want now.

I think it requires two things:

1) some, but very minimal overhead strength/stability
2) confidence

if you kick up with your legs bent and flopping around in the air, you're not going to make it. stay tight, stay stiff, and kick up HARD.
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Old 06-06-2011, 10:48 PM   #3
Veronica Carpenter
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Re: Handstands without natural athleticism?

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Originally Posted by David Hansen View Post
Here's an odd question. Has anyone here who did NOT participate in childhood/adolescent sports ever succeed in learning how to do a handstand?

I believe after incessantly failing to get a handstand through any means whatsoever, including kicking up, walking up, use of parallettes, etc, that this is a movement that is simply impossible because I never developed the kind of balance or coordination required while my cerebellum/musculature was still relatively plastic. And that now, it is too late.

So, in order to gauge whether a defeatist attitude here is justified, I'd like to know if any non-athletes have ever succeeded in learning this skill as an adult.
A HSPU is more about midline stability and upper body strength than athleticism. Don't make excuses - get back on the wall!

You can build your core strength with squats, standing overhead lifts, planks, overhead lunges, handstand holds, etc....
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Old 06-07-2011, 05:46 AM   #4
John McCord
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Re: Handstands without natural athleticism?

Just did my first handstand last week. I noticed that when you start using the wall you will learn that to get up you kick harder that you think you need to, almost enough to go past vertical. This is where a wall is very usefull.

Once you realize that your standing there and your feet are off the wall it gives you the confidence you need to keep trying.

I did learn fairly quickly the I needed wrist support for handstands, but thats just me, may not be the same for all.
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Old 06-07-2011, 10:57 AM   #5
David Hansen
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Re: Handstands without natural athleticism?

I may have spoken too soon. I got my first handstand with wall support this morning, but only after getting into a headstand first, placing my feet on the wall, then pressing up. I suppose this also counts as my first HSPU.

Of course, then I promptly fell over. It seems I have absolutely no normal sense of balance or proprioception when inverted. I don't even sense that I'm falling over until I'm already halfway down. Sufficient strength does appear to be available just fine, though.

I still can't get into position by kicking up, but I'll keep trying. Thanks everyone.
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Old 06-07-2011, 02:03 PM   #6
Yahya Kohgadai
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Re: Handstands without natural athleticism?

Well, I dont know about free standing hand stands but I'm pretty good at hspu's against the wall I was always horrific at sports and as a result avoided playing outside or playing team sports w/the other kids.
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Old 06-07-2011, 02:30 PM   #7
Mauricio Leal
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Re: Handstands without natural athleticism?

The secret to handstands is to do them often. Everyday or at least several days/week, multiple times per day, little to no warm-up/prep necessary for the uninjured. Grease The Groove - no need to go to failure unless you are in workout/test mode. It works because it's an isometric hold with little range of motion, so it does not induce as much soreness/fatigue as doing the actual handstand push-up would. When I was in college I used to mess around in between classes, at the bus stop, and take random breaks while studying. When the wall becomes easy start tapping away from the wall and working it with stomach facing the wall. Developing the forward somersault out of it and pirouette will help you over come the fear of falling over. By the time you've got a solid minute hold you can think about freestanding (will take longer to get), and trying some HSPUs.
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Old 06-21-2011, 05:02 PM   #8
Charles White
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Re: Handstands without natural athleticism?

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Originally Posted by David Hansen View Post
I may have spoken too soon.
Nice job! Do it again!

What's the next step?
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Old 10-12-2011, 03:54 PM   #9
David Hansen
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Re: Handstands without natural athleticism?

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Originally Posted by Charles White View Post
Nice job! Do it again!

What's the next step?
Sorry, didn't see this until now. Well, it's a few months later and I still can't remain in a handstand for longer than a second or two. I always fall over.

Doesn't matter, though. I ended up giving up on the aspects of CF that require coordination/balance/rhythm. I'm focusing on strength, power, etc now.
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Old 10-13-2011, 06:48 AM   #10
Ash Smith
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Re: Handstands without natural athleticism?

33 years old, just got my first one against the wall a couple days ago. I had worked on frogstands and planche progressions as part of my warmups for several months. Those seems to get me mentally prepared for having my face and head precariously near the ground. I never did any gymnastics as a kid, nor did I do any very serious team sports.

I find it's easiest to first try them while facing the wall, where you can walk your feet up vertically until you get comfortable with the inverted body position. I did that numerous times before finally committing to the HSPU position, which is facing away from the wall (kicking up over your head, heels to wall).

The balance is the hardest part for me, not the strength and stability. There's a reason our heads are on top of our bodies, including the inner ear--it makes for great, instant feedback on our balance when walking, running, squatting, etc. When you're in a handstand, you almost have to ignore your ear and focus objectively on what your body is doing.
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