Being upside down has never been a strong point of mine , it requires such control and I’ve a tendency to be pretty gung-ho and over enthusiastic when it comes to my hand stands ( bounce and thud against the wall) . Quite a few months back myself and Michelle had a handstand session with the fantastic Ornagh from More Chalk which gave us both a real taste for wanting to improve on our gymnastic skills.
Over the past few months I’ve been working on building my core strength & shoulder strength and stability with a view to progressing my gymnastic skills . I’ve seen great progress in my pull ups and dips which has given me the confidence to start working on those upside down gains again!
With that in mind I attended a private group session at Cut2Fitness which had a focus on hand stands. I enjoyed it so much I signed up for a handstand workshop 3 days later. The work shop was a 2 hour session with 2 coaches and 15 attendees. The smaller class size ensured we would all get the attention required to progress according to our abilities.
Mark and Scott showing how its done!
I had to give this workshop a shout out asap as it was a truly fantastic experience. Both Scott Mifsud (Cut2Fitness) and Mark O Dwyer (Movement by MOD) are extremely accomplished coaches who have trained in several disciplines and between them teach a combination of but not exclusively – Strength and Conditioning, Mobility and gymnastics .
From start to finish it was a learning experience with challenges and options tailored to all our abilities . The attendees ranged from CrossFitters like me to yogis , dancers and people who just loved gymnastic style training.
We were taken through a diverse range of mobility drills first from finger tips to wrists , back and shoulders ensuring everything was ready for the transition to upside down!
We then worked positions lying flat belly down on the ground engaging into a hollow body position making sure we understood the engagement required when we went into our hand stands. From finger tips, pelvis tilted under, glutes engaged to pointed toes! Everything needed to be switched on.
The next step was working wall climbs so they could gauge abilities and stability upside down . Then came the bit we were all waiting for HANDSTANDS!
For me the initial kick up was a focus and I saw a vast improvement from my 2 sessions . Once I continue to set my position and keep consistent , I feel this will only continue to get more graceful and controlled. On advice of Scott consistency in your start position is vital to getting it right . The aim is graceful and controlled and that can take time and practice but it will come. I am going to force myself to always start my handstands with my hands firmly on the ground before I kick up , no more bouncing.
I found the cues of gripping the floor ( white knuckle time ) then clench your bum and point your toes to be hugely helpful. These points help you to engage and stay tight . Then try to push out/away from the ground with the weight on your fingers to give you more control .
This video was a big one for me , for the first time I truly felt in control of my body and like I could hold a freestanding handstand . Mark was spotting me and gave me the fantastic cue of squeezing his hand when he placed it between my calves. It really made me brace and take control over my legs ( which are what I lose control of).
This was one of many useful tips and tekkers that we picked up on the day and I highly recommend if you want to improve your handstands do workshop with these guys. The skill , strength and control it takes will lend itself well to any other discipline you train. No matter our experience or ability everybody was challenged and helped to progress.
It was a very positive process , everyone gained and left feeling accomplished while also knowing what needed to be worked on.
Closing thought of the day- If you want to get good at handstands , you need to do a lot of handstands!
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