by Kristy Parrish | April 13, 2016 2:00 am
*Kicks up into perfect handstand*
*Walks 100ft flawlessly*
*Gracefully lets feet fall back on the floor*
“Wow, that was easy! That was my first try!”
^^^ Said no one ever.
While handstand walking might not be a “foundational movement,” it sure is fun.
It’s also beginning to show up more and more in competitions…
(Spoiler alert: Open 2017?)
If you’ve ever tried (and failed) you probably know the feeling: complete incompetence.
I remember trying for the first time:
No matter how much muscle or determination you have- there is absolutely no way to learn the handstand walk without one thing:
Not just any practice. You need to be smart.
It is nearly impossible to practice the whole thing as a “scaled” movement.
With box jumps, you can lower the box. With snatches, you can use a PVC pipe. With pull-ups, you can do negatives, banded pull-ups, or jumping pull-ups.
With handstand walks … you fall.
So today I am going to teach you the exact progressions that I used to go from this guy:(This is not me; I was much worse!)
To this guy:
Below is my 5-Step Progression for learning handstand walks. For those of you who prefer visuals, check out the following videos:
Yes, nose-to-wall. This is different than the traditional HSPU hold with outward-facing body position.
When you climb up (this is called a “wall walk”), try holding a handstand where only your nose and your toes are touching the wall. This will naturally keep you in a stronger hollow body position and it will allow you to support weight in your stable shoulders and not on the wall.
Try to accumulate 30 seconds+ unbroken holding this position. Remember to breathe! I like to program these in my warm-ups on a regular basis.
When handstand walking you don’t actually have two hands evenly planted on the ground. Instead, your weight is constantly shifting from one arm to the next as you move forward.
It’s just like standing vs. walking (on your feet). Sure, standing is great, but when you walk you are shifting weight from one leg to the next.
The shoulder tap drill allows you to practice this weight shifting in a controlled environment. You are learning how to shift weight from one arm to the next while also maintaining strong shoulders (and balance!).
Learn how to consistently string together 15-20 unbroken shoulder taps before moving on to the next progression. I love to throw these into an EMOM.
ex. EMOM 8 minutes:
1 “Wall Walk” (walk up into the nose-to-wall hold)
16 Shoulder taps
This is pretty much the same thing as shoulder taps, except you are demonstrating an extreme level of control and precision! You are isolated on one hand for a much longer time which teaches you how to maintain body control upside-down.
Once you can string together 10+ of these in a row, you will be ready to kick some serious butt!
Now that you have established lateral (side to side) balance, it’s time to work on vertical balance (staying upright).
In this step, you simply use your feet to kick away from the wall in order to hold a handstand. The best part is that the wall will give you a “safety net” for your feet to come back down. Practice holding for a few seconds at a time and slowly increase.
*NOTE: When you first try this, find a spotter to make sure you don’t fall forward. Otherwise this can get ugly and turn into some really awkward forward rolls.
This is where it all comes together! Kick your feet off of the wall and allow yourself to be “pulled” forward by your body tipping past 90 degrees. Don’t over-reach your steps. Feel your balance slightly falling forward and then follow that by walking your hands forward to keep up.
After getting the hang of walk-aways, you are ready to “go RX’d”! Get out there and try some handstand walks! Don’t be afraid to practice all of these progressions on a regular basis to keep your skills sharp.
I hope that you apply this simple progression to your training right away. If you do, you will see major progress. Sooner or later you’ll be handstand walking through your house, gym, and local grocery store (yep, I’m guilty).
The best way to practice is with a friend, so make sure you share this article with someone with whom you are going to practice.
Last but not least, feel free to leave a comment with any questions. I am happy to help and can’t wait to help you achieve your fitness goals.
(If you want more free coaching and accountability from me, click that link!)
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