THE LITTLE HANDSTAND PROGRESSION LADDER

THE LITTLE HANDSTAND PROGRESSION LADDER
The introduction will soon be here, written by an intelligent sharp-witted gentlemen, or Tom.

PROGRESSION 1: PRETEND HANDSTAND. FEET UP.
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VID

–> Hands must point straight ahead
–> Arms must be locked out
–> Shoulders must be elevated
–> Torso within 11 degrees of vertical
–> Breathing happening
–> No falling off until after allotted time

Waffle:

Most folks can do this. Sort of.

The lockout of the arms and the hamstring flexibility to make it look good aren’t always there at first. Many people who haven’t done this sort of training will find their wrists woefully lacking in ‘preparedness’ too.

So be patient if it looks easy but then feels like a massive shock to the system. It happens to the best of us. Once you’re over the initial few months of shock, you’ll most likely make rapid progress up the first half of this ladder. It designed it like that. Gives you time to get used to the whole ‘upside down thing’ before you need to be really strong.

PROGRESSION 2: 90 DEGREE HANDSTAND. FEET ON WALL.

 

–> Hands must point straight ahead
–> Arms must be locked out
–> Shoulders must be elevated
–> Torso within 11 degrees of vertical
–> Breathing happening
–> No falling down until after allotted time

Waffle:

Unless you’re one of those unfortunate sods who keeps sliding off the wall (barefoot perhaps), this should be quite easy after the first progression. It’s just her to make sure you’re ready to start climbing the wall.

PROGRESSION 3: STRAIGHT HANDSTAND. DIAGONAL TO WALL.

 

–> Hands must be within one metre of wall
–> Hands must point straight ahead
–> Arms must be locked out
–> Shoulders must be elevated
–> Body line must be straight
–> Breathing must be happening
–> No falling down until after allotted time

Waffle:

Now it looks like a handstand! Master this, then we get intimate with the wall.

PROGRESSION 4: STRAIGHT HANDSTAND. CLOSE TO WALL.

 

–> Hands must be within 10 cm of the wall
–> Hands must point straight ahead
–> Arms must be locked out
–> Shoulders must be elevated
–> Body line straight (or slightly piked asd long as ‘Dish’ position is perfect)
–> Breathing happening
–> No falling down until after allotted time

Waffle:

Here we move much closer to the wall…now it really could be handstand. Don’t forget a friendly spotter who has a vested interest in you staying alive and plan and practice your exit strategy well. When you’re just learning this, every step is that little bit more scary than before, that’s the challenge every bit as much as the strength. Don’t rush from one progression to the next, spend time allowing your brain to get used to the position and your shoulders, triceps and wrists will be glad for the time to get stronger too. Check your form criteria at each rung of the ladder, are shoulders still locked and externally rotated? Are your shoulders still elevated? Is your body-line straight or have you lost your posterior pelvic tilt?

PROGRESSION 5: STRAIGHT HANDSTAND. RIGHT AGAINST WALL.
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–> Heal of hands must be within 2cm of the wall
–> Hands must point straight ahead
–> Arms must be locked out
–> Shoulders must be elevated
–> Body line straight
–> Breathing happening
–> No falling down until after allotted time

Waffle:

If you are good at getting here quickly, this is easy once you can hold the last position. In this position, because you are so close to the wall you’re more stacked (more vertical: shoulders over wrists, hips over shoulders, feet over hips) so there’s actually less strength required than in a more diagonal position. The challenge, it’s in your head isn’t it? As long as your wrists are ready FYI:..listen to them, you need them.

PROGRESSION 6: ‘HEAD IN’ HANDSTAND. FACE TO WALL.

 

Criteria:

–> Chin must be tucked, eyes looking up the wall
–> Hands must point straight ahead
–> Arms must be locked out
–> Shoulders must be elevated
–> Body line straight
–> Breathing happening
–> No falling down until after allotted time
–> Heal of hands must be within 2cm of the wall

Waffle:

For the next progression, you simply have to get yourself in the same position as last time, but now you have to move to the ‘Head In’ position. It’s not much different strength-wise through the shoulders and arms, but your abs will probably do a lot more! It’s a good training position to work your Dish as it’s easier to tuck your pelvis with your chin tucked. We make you do it for the stocach strength and the confifence and awareness that comes from being able to hold a handstand whilst looking up towards your feet. It’s a bit scary at first, so the usual cautionary points apply: plan your exit strategy, use a spotter, move to the position bit-by-bit.

PROGRESSION 7: MOSTLY ONE-ARM
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VID

–> Weight must be shifted to one side
–> You must be able to do it on both arms (haha)
–> Your body must be aligned in the correct position, hips centred over the working arm
–> Heal of hands must be within 2cm of the wall
–> Hands must point straight ahead
–> Arms must be locked out
–> Shoulders must be elevated
–> Body line straight
–> Breathing happening
–> No falling down until after allotted time

Waffle:

As if all this wasn’t good enough, for this progression and those beyond, we work towards holding a one-arm handstand on the wall. Both strength demand and the awareness and control needed shoot up massively, so progress slowly and patiently please. Maske sure you casn DOMINATE each stage before testing thje next, yoiu don’t fluke this stuff, you master it step-by-step. It’s growing list of criteria now, I’ll give you that!

PROGRESSION 8: ONE-ARM PLUS FINGERTIPS.
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VID

–> ‘Spare hand’ must only have fingertips in contact with the floor (yep, hence the progression name).
–> Weight must be shifted to one side
–> You must be able to do it on both arms (haha)
–> Your body must be aligned in the correct position, hips centred over the working arm
–> Heal of hands must be within 2cm of the wall
–> Hands must point straight ahead
–> Arms must be locked out
–> Shoulders must be elevated
–> Body line straight
–> Breathing happening
–> No falling down until after allotted time

Waffle:

Getting pretty serious now. If you’ve mastered the last stage, you should be able to ‘soften’ your ‘spare’ arm and lift the heal of that hand leaving only the fingertips in contact with the floor. Don’t suddenly try to lift the hand, those fingers are probably doiong more than you think for now! Stay here, master this position and focus on pushing down as hard as you can through your working arm and completely controlling your body in this position.

PROGRESSION 9: ONE-ARM WALL HANDSTAND.
————
VID

–> ‘Spare hand’ must be off the floor and not gripping the wall
–> Weight must be shifted to one side
–> You must be able to do it on both arms (haha)
–> Your body must be aligned in the correct position, hips centred over the working arm
–> Heal of hands must be within 2cm of the wall
–> Hands must point straight ahead
–> Arms must be locked out
–> Shoulders must be elevated
–> Body line straight
–> Breathing happening
–> No falling down until after allotted time

Waffle:

Firstly, if you’ve got this…bloody well done. You can either do it with the spare hand out to the side, or help against your l;eg — whichever you prefer. Held out to the side probably feels safer at first, but squeezed into your thight feels more solid to some (helps you maintain body tightness) and looks pretty heroic too, if you’re into that.

Secondly, I bet we’ve got you practicing a few handstands in the open too by now too, right? If not, you should be. Anyone who can do a real one-arm handstand is sure to live a good life.

When I started learning to handstand, being able to handstand on one arm was a bit of a pipe dream. Four and a bit years later–at the time of writing–I’ve managed a genuine 1.5 seconds each arm and I’m (finally) close to mastering the free standing one-arm handstand. That’s without huge amount of focus on it or time spenmt practicing, just consistently working and chipping aweay over years.

Not sure what my point is really, just that, as I always say, if you’re consistent, if you don’t get distracted, if you narrow your focus to a few key strength skills, over time, you can master some pretty amazing moves. You are going to need to train for the longterm anyway (you only get one body), so why not stay on track and master these ladders?

You don’t need to be an amazing athlete naturally, I’m certainly not.

You don’t have to be the most hardcore and never mess up (I’m not, and I do).

But if you’re smart and consistent, you will go far.

Cheers.

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