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Mad Hatter

Mad Hatter does handstands

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17 hours ago, KB Girl said:

Really it looks like quite a lot of progress to me, especially when you consider the journey can take years, this is a lot for one month. 

Thanks! Maybe consistency pays off? :P 

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Of course it's too much to ask for two good days in a row. :P Class was so so, it took a bit of time to get my shoulders locking in properly, then they got tired quickly. Also our hip warm up was really hard!

 

Warm up

  • Ball on a string exercise 1: Kneeling, follow the ball with the palm of the hand
  • Ball on a string exercise 2: Horse stance, avoid the ball with your lower body
  • Pancake folds: rotating legs in on the way down, rotating legs out on the way up
  • Sitting in half straddle -> get up to side lunge without hands -> side lunge on other side -> sit down in half straddle -> switch bent/straight leg -> side lunge -> repeat ad nauseam. 
  • Standing to sitting 90-90 stretch: While lowering down we'd gradually shift our weight onto the sides of our feet, so that one leg becomes internally rotated and the weight gets on the inside foot, and the other leg becomes equally externally rotated and the weight gets on the outside foot. In the final sitting position the body is in a 90-90 stretch. We could use a rubber band attached to a gymnastics ring for support, but even then it was super hard. My hip rotation is remedial at best, and moving transitioning requires a lot of hip strength on top of that. 

Drills

  • Back to wall tuck HS
  • Back to wall tuck -> straddle HS - I managed this a few times, but not back to tuck again. It's so sensitive, the tiniest shift in the rotation of your pelvis and you come down!
  • Short freestanding handstand practice after class
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Wednesday - acro class! We worked on back handspring prep, and back tuck prep. I felt pretty comfortable doing the exercises, like my awareness is slowly improving. :) 

 

There was one prep exercise where we had to kick up against a mattressed wall, but with the hands on a block, around 40 cm high. That was quite the mental battle - not because it was scary, but because I'm so used to kick up into a handstand one way, and with the hands higher up it requires significantly more force. Eventually I managed to get into a handstand, but then I struggled with arching over to catch the wall! It felt so wrong to purposefully arch and get off balance. I did get it after a few sets, a nice little win for the day! 

 

Class ended with conditioning - 2 rounds, 5 exercises, 30 seconds each of 

  • Band assisted pull ups (I'm sad I can't do pull ups anymore...)
  • Pike push ups
  • Tuck jumps on air track
  • Single leg hops onto a box
  • Weighted duck walks
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8 hours ago, KB Girl said:

interesting! where did you put the weight?

I just held a (10kg, but could happily go higher) weight plate in my hands in front of me, I saw someone else cradling it. Keeping it overhead would probably be killer! :D 

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Thursday: Back on the MyFlex train (I hope!) Did the straddle module and 80% of shoulders and upper back. I skipped a few exercises because I wanted to do it as prehab rather than a complete backbending session.

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Friday: Had an excellent handstand day, I'm so happy! :D Something definitely clicked last weekend, and the sense of stillness has remained and is there in most handstands now. I still notice it when I kick up poorly and it takes a long time to stabilise, and when my shoulders get tired and I lose the lock. But overall my handstands feel completely different now! Speaking of kick ups, I did TWENTY handstands on the first try IN A ROW! :o My previous max was like... 5, on a very, very good day. I don't expect this to be the norm from now on, but it's a clear sign something's happening. Of the 25 handstands I did today, around a third were in the 20-30s range, which I'm also quite happy with. It gives me hope that maaaaaybe I'll be ready for the program once it comes out.

 

Then I did one set of push-ups, and 3 sets of squats, and that was all I had time for before morning coffee. ;) 

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On 10/4/2019 at 9:58 AM, Mad Hatter said:

Speaking of kick ups, I did TWENTY handstands on the first try IN A ROW! :o My previous max was like... 5, on a very, very good day. I don't expect this to be the norm from now on, but it's a clear sign something's happening. Of the 25 handstands I did today, around a third were in the 20-30s range, which I'm also quite happy with. It gives me hope that maaaaaybe I'll be ready for the program once it comes out.

 

That's awesome!

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On 10/5/2019 at 12:21 PM, @mu said:

That's awesome!

Yeah! :D 

 

Of course, after two days rest and two great sessions last week, today's handstands were utter garbage. I fought through it as best as I could, doing some wall work, trying to not get too frustrated, but to no avail.

I tried some armbalances but they weren't going anywhere either, so I switched to push ups and deadlifts.

 

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Wauw! :) 

 

That does seem to be the way of the handstand, great and then sucky. But hey, you did it, frustrated or not. 

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16 hours ago, KB Girl said:

Wauw! :) 

 

That does seem to be the way of the handstand, great and then sucky. But hey, you did it, frustrated or not. 

Yeah that really does seem to be the case for everyone, including pros!

 

Funny this would pop into my inbox today. :D 

https://www.garagegymgirl.com/blog/handstands-ups-downs

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Yesterday's handstand class was unusually heavy on the warm up, it was basically conditioning. No complaints, except for exposing weak points. :P With all the handstands everything else is slipping a little. At least I'd like to think that it's slipped, when really it was probably stuff I've never been good at.

 

Warm up

  • Mini block exercise 1 (the blocks are about 5x2x1 cm): balancing on a stack of three blocks under each foot, keeping all joints fairly relaxed, so it's a balance with a lot of movement.
  • Mini block exercise 2: Single leg glute bridges, with a stack of three blocks placed under the foot. I regretted yesterday's deadlifts.  :P Also it was really, really hard! I think I managed all of one or two full reps without collapsing the stack! It was one of those moments where I could choose to either get frustrated or to laugh at myself, and I chose the latter.
  • Starting from a plank position with the hands on a medicine ball, the partner lifts up one leg and pushes and pulls the leg around for a hip mobility, core stability combo exercise. Kinda fun, but my abs definitely struggled toward the end.
  • Inch worms with the feet on a medicine ball.
  • Starting with lying down on the back, legs tucked at 90 degrees and balancing a medicine ball on the shins, you extend the legs as straight as they'd go and then back again. With a 6kg ball I was quite a bit off straight.
  • Shoulder activation drill 1: Kneeling, you lifts one arm up into a solid overhead position. The partner then pushes down gently, while you’re trying to push up and slightly toward your body in pulses of a few seconds each.

  • Shoulder activation drill 2: Similar to the first one, but this time you lift up both arms, and move them towards each other, while the partner provides gentle resistance pushing outwards.

Drills

  • Hands together handstand against the wall (always chest to wall unless I say otherwise) - felt a bit odd, but surprisingly I managed to balance it for a few seconds. I only tried to balance it once though, as it wasn't really the exercise. The next progression was to cross the hands, but I didn't feel comfortable enough to try.
  • (Medicine ball tossing interlude, standing then sitting)

  • One arm HS against the wall. We'd get into it by first moving the hands closer together, then shifting the weight slightly over to one side. Legs somewhat separated.

    The biggest cue here was to make sure that as the arm lifts off of the floor, you’re still pushing through BOTH shoulders. This is to keep the shoulders level so the handstand doesn’t end up as a super wonky X. (Tagging @WhiteGhost in case you're curious what progressions look like in class. :) Not to say that it's the only way, far from, many b-boys for example learn through experimenting with crazy shapes and "poor" technique.)

one-arm-handstand.jpg vs 46ff49d851d97ca3a796d78cac1ce057.png
My left side felt really good and I could smoothly get into it, the right side was much clunkier. It was like I don’t have the same push RoM on that side, and didn’t have enough space to lift the hand smoothly as a result. Instead it ended up a two step process where I got into a pretty heavily finger tip supported two arm handstand before being able to lift up. I’m not sure if that was actually happening, maybe I was compensating on the left side somehow and that's what made it feel much better. But I don’t think so, teach was super happy, and my left shoulder is way stronger from thousands of cartwheel bails… ;) It was also quite telling that I could comfortably hold my shoulder in a tight lock for 10+ seconds on my left, but only a few seconds on my right and with a weaker push too.

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On 10/4/2019 at 1:22 PM, Mad Hatter said:

Thursday: Back on the MyFlex train (I hope!) Did the straddle module and 80% of shoulders and upper back. I skipped a few exercises because I wanted to do it as prehab rather than a complete backbending session.

I will sometimes skip the backbending part of the shoulders module as well if I just want to focus on shoulders and back mobility/conditioning

 

On 10/4/2019 at 3:58 PM, Mad Hatter said:

Friday: Had an excellent handstand day, I'm so happy! :D Something definitely clicked last weekend, and the sense of stillness has remained and is there in most handstands now. I still notice it when I kick up poorly and it takes a long time to stabilise, and when my shoulders get tired and I lose the lock. But overall my handstands feel completely different now! Speaking of kick ups, I did TWENTY handstands on the first try IN A ROW! :o My previous max was like... 5, on a very, very good day. I don't expect this to be the norm from now on, but it's a clear sign something's happening. Of the 25 handstands I did today, around a third were in the 20-30s range, which I'm also quite happy with. It gives me hope that maaaaaybe I'll be ready for the program once it comes out.

 

NICE!!!

 

23 hours ago, Mad Hatter said:

Tagging @WhiteGhost in case you're curious what progressions look like in class. :)

Thanks! I was actually quite curious so this is very interesting.  The second picture is probably as good as I will ever get because that width of straddle is already pushing the edge of my mobility limits.  I have come to terms that I will never be a performer, though, so lines are less important to me :P .  Some of those drills you described sound interesting but not sure how useful they would be given that I am already quite comfortable changing between hands.  I took a video during today's session so I will see if I can get that uploaded on my thread later today or tomorrow

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Free running class was SOOOO FUUNNNNN last night! It was raining and it's midterm so the class was whittled down to six people (out of 20+) on day one, which was great as I could demand more attention and translation from my teachers. ;) 

 

First we worked on fly away progressions, basically skin the cats with a one handed release. These didn't go so well, I didn't get a feel for the timing and it didn't help that I was trying to do it relatively slowly from an already inverted hang. My abs are too weak these days to even do skin the cats properly without touching the bar... It was still fun, but this is a skill that I'll add to the "one day" pile.

 

Then we did penny drops - and it was just so ridiculously fun simply swinging in knee hang! I haven't done that in a long time, and it was super fun. With a mat underneath I also felt safe to just go for it and really pick up speed. I was worried about face planting, but it's an easy skill and managed to land on my feet each time (though not necessarily prettily). The good thing about it is that it got me a little bit more confident with using momentum and hopefully I can apply that to other moves!

 

Towards the end of class the teachers took out some crash pads and air track to work on whatever we wanted. I played around with front flips. I kept landing on my butt in the same way over and over again so I asked the teacher how to make things more flippy, giving me the answer that I already suspected which was to jump higher. The difference this time was that when I tried to apply the cue, I did something different than always! I turned out that I can actually jump quite a bit higher if I concentrate on that part. Unfortunately I then forget about the tucking part. :D But that's not the point, the point is that I can feeeel that stuff is happening and my air awareness is slowly improving and that's really cool.

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4 minutes ago, WhiteGhost said:

Thanks! I was actually quite curious so this is very interesting.  The second picture is probably as good as I will ever get because that width of straddle is already pushing the edge of my mobility limits.  I have come to terms that I will never be a performer, though, so lines are less important to me :P .  Some of those drills you described sound interesting but not sure how useful they would be given that I am already quite comfortable changing between hands.  I took a video during today's session so I will see if I can get that uploaded on my thread later today or tomorrow

If we do more one arm drills I'll make sure to let you know! Looking at the more advanced students in class I think it follows the "standard" circus handstand protocol with spending a lot of time on finger tip holds, first all fingers, then removing one finger at a time. But that's just based on seeing what the other kids are doing, I'm sure there's more that goes into it.

 

The reason why you see most people doing straddle one arm handstands is not for aesthetics, it's supposedly the easiest variation as it lowers the centre of gravity. :) 

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4 minutes ago, Mad Hatter said:

If we do more one arm drills I'll make sure to let you know!

Yes please!

 

5 minutes ago, Mad Hatter said:

The reason why you see most people doing straddle one arm handstands is not for aesthetics, it's supposedly the easiest variation as it lowers the centre of gravity.

Haha, that makes total sense but I wouldn't have guessed that.  I always assumed it was that way because it looks so fancy :D 

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1 minute ago, WhiteGhost said:

Yes please!

 

Haha, that makes total sense but I wouldn't have guessed that.  I always assumed it was that way because it looks so fancy :D 

I think once you get into figas you get into the fancy one arm handstand territory. :D 

 

bdcff39333c0b2dd1c48b4dc61848484.jpg

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Also why is it that as soon as you do something good for you that you haven't done in a while (deadlifts) the DOMS gods conspire and make all teachers add really hamstring intensive exercises the following days? :P I could barely walk home yesterday they were so sore. :lol:

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Thursdays are usually rest days but I had loads of energy and since free running class didn't involve any pushing my shoulders were good to go for handstands. :D I'm still focusing very much on the basics and I'm mainly practicing straight handstands. I tried for 25 again as that seems to be a good number, but my 23rd was suuuuuper long, 50+ seconds(!) and when I realised that it was that close to a minute I started to fight really, really hard for the last seconds, which completely fried out my shoulders for a while haha. :P That was a freak one though, I got one 40+ seconds and most of the rest were probably only around 10s, with typically 1-2 kick up attempts to get into them. After a bit of rest I did some straddle handstands for variety, but at the end of the session is less quality work so I only did a few.

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Guys, I'm having a bit of a movement of I WANNA DO ALL THE THINGS RIGHT NOW ALL THE TIME again. 

  • I feel like I need to add more strength work as all I'm doing right now is basically pushing through my shoulders. When I have time I occasionally add in one or two strength movements, but I think I need a little more than that. I want to be able to do pull-ups again, at the moment I can only just about grind one out on rings. And I don't like that I struggle on basic stuff like tuck inverts/skin the cats without touching the bar.
  • We don't have classes next week, but we did get homework in free running class to do lots of handstands and bridges. And I'm like YAY homework, I like this homework!
  • When talking to my teacher about how to get more flippy, he did suggest a bunch of jumping exercises, so now I wanna do that too!
  • I'm getting a little jealous of the bendy people in my handstand class. :P I wanna be bendy by (casual) circus standards, not only by muggle standards haha. Ok, that's not a good reason, but really, I could benefit a lot from more straddle, i.e. butt work.

I have calmed myself down a little bit, I'm not going to switch focus from handstands now, I've only just got started, and I'm not going to do all the things. If I don't spend all my times on handstands (and don't dawdle) I can easily get back to doing my mini strength protocol at the office gym. I can also add in a few jumping sets in my warm up. I don't have to do a lot to benefit! My mobility is decent enough, so I'm trying to remind myself that I don't have to spend a lot of time on it right now. I'm also trying to remind myself that if I want to increase volume I should do it slowly.

 

Buuut I still want to do all the things, halp?! :lol:

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MOAR handstands! :D I had way way too much energy this morning so I couldn't resist morning gym despite everything hurting. :P A very reduced training session, but again I managed a 50+ second hold! SO CLOSE! I also had a super nice whole set of 30+s handstands. The best thing though was that I'm FINALLY beginning to conquer my nemesis which is tuck and straddle jump into handstands! I didn't quite manage to get into a balance yet, but it's very, very close, and on a few attempts I managed to straighten out my legs from the tuck. It's such a simple thing, but for some reason it's always eluded me. Most people suggest I'm struggling because of fear, but I suspect it has a lot more to do with shoulder stability and being able to push at the right time. Anyways, I'm excited! It's so cool when consistency pays off. ;)  

 

I also did a few sets of plyos and depth-jump->tuck jump rebound in the warm up + push-ups and squats post handstand.

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Nice, so much handstand progress.  I am starting to think there might be something to this consistency thing :P 

 

8 hours ago, Mad Hatter said:

I WANNA DO ALL THE THINGS RIGHT NOW ALL THE TIME

Haha, I feel like that all the time.  I have looking for focus a bit recently for a bit but I think I have finally decided on a direction for my next challenge :) 

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On 10/8/2019 at 7:13 AM, Mad Hatter said:

Yeah that really does seem to be the case for everyone, including pros!

 

Funny this would pop into my inbox today. :D 

https://www.garagegymgirl.com/blog/handstands-ups-downs

 

:D the TRUTH

 

Awesome progress coming up, keep that feeling in mind, it will come again!

 

On 10/11/2019 at 6:21 AM, Mad Hatter said:

Buuut I still want to do all the things, halp?! :lol:

 

You can do all of this (strength, flexibility, jumping) while focusing on HS. Just don't add too many items (1-2 max per "feature"). That might not sound enough for progress, but it does have an impact.

You can put some in warmup, before your main HS skill(s), and some in conditioning afterwards, and finally stretch at the end. And then you can alternate your HS main skill, eg focus once on strength (press progression), another on flexibility (bananas, side bends), another on consistency, another on endurance.

 

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17 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

Haha, I feel like that all the time.  I have looking for focus a bit recently for a bit but I think I have finally decided on a direction for my next challenge :) 

Cool! It's been so good for me to focus on one thing, that's why I want to suppress the urges a little haha. I've really found it helps with consistency.

 

9 minutes ago, @mu said:

:D the TRUTH

 

Awesome progress coming up, keep that feeling in mind, it will come again!

Good thing the random fluctuations don't last for very long. :) Well at this point, we'll see when the first plateau comes.  

 

7 minutes ago, @mu said:

You can do all of this (strength, flexibility, jumping) while focusing on HS. Just don't add too many items (1-2 max per "feature"). That might not sound enough for progress, but it does have an impact.

You can put some in warmup, before your main HS skill(s), and some in conditioning afterwards, and finally stretch at the end. And then you can alternate your HS main skill, eg focus once on strength (press progression), another on flexibility (bananas, side bends), another on consistency, another on endurance.

Excellent advice, especially the limit per feature. :lol: I think the focus of the day is a really good way to go, but I think I'll wait with programming that in until the program comes out. For now endurance and consistency is enough, together with class, for another few weeks. Now I'm at least pretty confident that I'll be more or less ready for the program! Pressing can also wait until that program comes out (at the end of the year? can't quite remember, that was an impulse add on haha). I'm building a little strength for that anyway simply through doing straddle handstands and from the jump entries and press walks in my warm ups.

 

The jump drills in the warm up yesterday were really good too, it's skill work plus it gets me warm. I already do a little bit of strength work post handstands, all I have to do there is perhaps add or alternate so I don't miss out on core and pull-ups. I'm considering bringing my rings to the office, for pull-ups, as I find both bars off-putting compared to the nice feel of my rings which makes me not want to do them.

 

I did find it worked well to put in a short MyFlex session in the evening, I can easily do that without much recovery penalty. I just need to remember. :P Maybe schedule a day. 

 

Since we don't have class next week and we got homework (handstands and bridges!) I might depart a little in my handstand practice and take a session or two to play with dynamic moves like cartwheels and walkover progressions. :) That should scratch the itch of wanting to do all the things while at the same still keeping focus. ;) 

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1 minute ago, Mad Hatter said:

Since we don't have class next week and we got homework (handstands and bridges!) I might depart a little in my handstand practice and take a session or two to play with dynamic moves like cartwheels and walkover progressions. :) That should scratch the itch of wanting to do all the things while at the same still keeping focus. ;) 

 

Yes, it still definitely qualifies as hand balancing imo, so it's in!

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