When a friend of mine showed me a picture of herself doing a one-armed handstand against a wall, I was equal parts in awe and intrigued: I could do that if I wanted, couldn’t I?? I run 13.1 miles for fun! Surely I could just throw myself up against the wall and balance there with my feet against the wall for safety, right?
Well. As it turns out, I most certainly cannot.
SO, being the stubborn Polish girl I am, I took to the interwebs in search of a “handstand challenge” because I will not stop until I get fully inverted too. There were a few interesting plans out there, but I chose the free plan offered by Chris Salvato. He gives you a LOT of information, and I won’t give away all the details (it is free though, so why not go sign up yourself?), but the bulk of his plan boils down to a simple 2-step process:
- Wall Planks, progressing into…
- Wall Handstands
That’s it! That’s all there is to it. It’s really just about overcoming the fear of being upside-down first, while building up the arm strength to hold yourself up.
At Day 1 I was only able to hold one :55 plank before my lungs felt like they were being crushed. And while I felt like I was in total danger of tipping over and cracking my skull open, the photo evidence above suggests that I was more in danger of falling flat onto my tummy than anything!
Seriously, it’s a real trip to realize how much your body will resist going upside down!
By Day 2 I progressed to 2 sets of :45, but I only made it a few inches closer to the wall. And my lungs were still none too pleased with being compressed upside down. But I kept at it, aiming for a few more seconds or one more set each day. I also followed Chris’s “Never two in a row” rule (never skip more than 2 days of practice in a row) and used my rest days from running as rest days from handstands. I also started videotaping myself to check my form, and I’m loving it!
Keeping my practice to the same area now is a great way for me to see how much faster I can get up, and how close I can get to the wall. I’ve gotten up to 5 sets of :45 and will keep doing this for the next week or so, until I’m ready to face the other way and try kicking up to the door. My main concern now is having an exit strategy: the closer I get to the door, the less room I have for a controlled exit, and the greater my fear of falling out of the handstand. If I face the other way, I’ll be able to just gracefully land out of position when I’m done (in theory).
Wherever this takes me next, I have to say that I’m loving it! I’m working new muscles that I forgot about and finding new courage to push closer to the wall and to hold for longer than the day before.
How about you: are you currently doing any extra challenges along with your training? Can you do a handstand already? I want to see! And how did you solve the “graceful exit” problem I’m faced with now? Inquiring minds want to know! 🙂