HANDSTAND—3 KEY ACTIONS
“Squeeze in, turn in, tuck the tail.” These are the 3 key actions for handstands that Matt explains are a must. These may sound like simple cues, and they may even be easy to execute if you’ve already mastered kicking up into a handstand; however, if the pose is brand new and/or you’ve been working at it but still can’t “crack the code,” doing these 3 key actions in addition to all the other steps to prepare yourself may be what you’re missing. Layering on the specific techniques and muscle activations that Matt lays out for you is an essential part of your journey to kicking up into Handstand.
It’s impossible to skip the steps required when the intent is to kick up into a handstand position. This actually pertains to any posture, but if you’ve practiced with Matt before, you’ll know how much he stresses that it’s the foundations and the repetition of those foundations that really prepare the body for the desired outcomes. When you repeat these actions over and over again, you build the patterns into your body so that when it comes time for more robust movements and shapes, your body will respond.
HANDSTAND & MEDITATION
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- Learn the most effective drills to safely build your Handstand
- Practice essential meditation techniques to break through mental barriers and build confidence
- Improve focus and breath support right side up and upside down
- Build strength and the necessary skills for balancing Handstand
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HANDSTAND PREPARATION 1 & 2
Here are the steps for Handstand Preparation 1:
- Place your hands on the ground
- Set up your blocks behind your forearms
- Straighten your elbows
- Elevate the scapulae (push the floor away and bring your shoulders up to your ears)
- Lift your heels as high as you can
Handstand Preparation 2 is a continuation of the process and includes lifting one leg up.
Here are the steps:
- Inner leg lifts up to the sky as high as you can
- Look up to the lifted leg; when you do this, it’s common for your weight to shift back. Your weight needs to go forward
- Lean forward into your fingers (or more specifically, into the metacarpals)
- Lift the bottom heel as high as you can
- Push through the arms (lifting the shoulders up)
What muscle engagements are happening? The gripping of the ground leads to activations in the muscles in the forearms. The elevation of the scapulae leads not only to the activation of the muscles of the shoulders (deltoids) but also to the contraction and use of the trapezius muscles.
This action of elevating the scapulae also helps you avoid shoulder impingement.
As you lift the shoulders up, you are getting longer through the sides of your body, which creates length and stretch through the latissimus dorsi; however, it’s the upper fibers of the trapezius that you want to strengthen in order for you to rely on the strength there rather than on the stretch in the latissimus dorsi. Additionally, contracting the abdominals will assist in bringing the ribcage back and into better alignment, reducing excessive spinal extension. The action here is to contract the abdominals while expanding. You can do this by pulling your front ribs down as you continue to push strongly through your hands.
WATCH THE VIDEO: KICK UP INTO HANDSTAND
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