Guest Post // Handstands with Stephanie

I'm excited to have Stephanie from The Event Crashers here to guest post about doing handstands! As you know, I just learned to do a handstand, now my goal is to get handstand push-ups and one-handed handstands like her! Here's Stephanie advice for others trying to do their first handstand, too!

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Hello all!  First I want to send out a very special thank you to Sara for having me as a guest on Fit For a Bride today!  Sara’s journey is so inspiring to me and although we’ve never met for reals, I love that we can connect and share a love for all things weddings, CrossFit and a healthy lifestyle.  

I started my CrossFit journey in January of this year thanks to a deal on Groupon and the desire to get a little more fit for a Warrior Dash I signed up to participate in later in the year.  I knew I could struggle through the three miles, but I was a little bit worried about the obstacles.  (In reality, I only signed up my whole family for this run because of the mud and beer. :))

I went to CrossFit Uncompromised and was immediately welcomed by a great group of individuals, but panicked (I think I almost turned around) when the skill for the day included handstands.  What the heck kind of gym is this!?

Before I knew it mats were being laid on the ground and we were flinging ourselves onto the wall.  After I few failed attempts, lots of encouragement from my classmates and my coach, I finally understood that this uncomfortable feeling was okay, normal, and a great milestone in the CrossFit journey.  Little did I know that this first day would lead to a love for a new workout program and the completion of many milestones in the months to come.

Like most movements and exercises in CrossFit, everything can be scaled to your own abilities.  So I’m sure you’re asking how can we scale the handstand? Here are some tips and tricks that I found that helped in my progression

1.  Become comfortable with being upside down.

This could be something like kneeling on the mat near a wall and supporting yourself as you lean forward and begin to invert.  Don’t be shy to start out this way - even the pros had to start somewhere comfortable for them!

 2.  Put some force into it.

Getting upside down on that wall isn’t an easy task at first!  You’ve got to put some umph in as you kick up onto the wall.  (Not too much that you put a hole in it, though!)  When I first started getting up there I tried to get a solid line of momentum from hand placement to kicking up and let the wall kind of catch me.  As I progress, I try to use a little less force and a little more arm strength and control each time.

 3.  Balance and strength.

It’s no doubt about it that a handstand requires a lot of balance and upper body strength.  Start by relying on the wall to help with your balancing, then as you progress try to pull yourself off the wall to continue to build your balance.

4.  Don’t be scared, lock in your core and shift your balance.

When I was making the transition from handstand to one armed handstand I was nervous as heck!  One thing is for certain though - tighten that core!  As I’m sure you’re aware, so many CrossFit movements require a strong and tight core.  Once you tighten up it’s easier to shift your balance over your stronger arm and begin working to bring up your other arm.

5.  Baby steps.

Perfecting the one armed handstand might not come naturally and you’ll probably fall over a ton of times (we all do!)  Try raising your hand slightly off the ground to start and for a few seconds at a time.  As you get more comfortable with the movement and find the balance point that works best for you, you’ll find it easier to raise your hand higher and higher until it’s up alongside your body!

 6.  Keep going!

Just because you’ve gotten the handstand or the one armed handstand, doesn’t mean you should stop.  There are a ton of progressions you can make and skills you can work on to keep your CrossFit journey going.  Consider aiming to do successful free handstands without the assistance of the wall or using all of that arm strength to begin working through the handstand pushup progressions!

While I am not a certified coach, I do know what worked best for me through the encouragement and teachings of my box’s staff.  I hope some of my tips and tricks help you during your CrossFit handstand journey!

What are your CrossFit goals?  What movements are you struggling with?

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Steph is the lady behind The Event Crashers, a full focusing on celebrating all of life’s moments from birthdays to weddings.  When not at her full-time job or behind the blog, she can be found creating the perfect soundtrack to couples’ wedding days at DJC Productions and WODing out with her CrossFit Uncompromised family.