Endurance training is one of the most important elements of handstand training. With every new piece of the handstand puzzle you learn and understand it is always your endurance that will be holding you back. Each part of technique needs to be trained for endurance to make it possible to progress to the next level.
Your goal with your endurance practice is to continue as long as you can with the intention of perfect form. As you get tired your form with fall apart, but as long as you’re pushing towards the correct position your practice will pay off. You are allowed to fail only if your muscles give out, but don’t quit! If you’re failing eccentrically with proper intention then you will still be gaining strength.
When working on endurance, you can choose many different positions to focus on different elements: face down on the floor, stomach against the wall, spotted free handstand, or unspotted free handstand. You can also do the endurance progressions in front support, ½ handstand with feet elevated, etc. I have provided a variety of ways to try but there are so many more. (Get the full e-book for more variations)
Regardless of your level, it’s worth training in each of these positions. Whichever level you decide to start with, if you fail during your set then fall back to an easier position. For example, if you start your set with a handstand against the wall and you fail, finish the set with your stomach on the floor. Make sure when moving to an easier position that you always maintain the intention of perfect form.
The very first way that most people learn how to get into a handstand is the sticky bug. Start with your back against the wall, place your hands on the floor in front of you, and walk your feet up the wall.
Once you have the strength, and confidence to move your hands with your feet on the wall, you want to walk your hands in as close as you can so that as much of your body is touching the wall as possible. Then your goal is to achieve the correct alignment; hands making a W shape, elbows stacked over the center of your hands, shoulders elevated, looking at your hands, earlobes touching your shoulders, pressing your armpits towards the wall, ribs away from the wall, hips into the wall, legs straight and glued together, toes pointed and glued together.
The closer you are to the wall the easier it is to hold because your skeleton will be stacked over your hands.
Scorpion with the Wall
Go into your L-Frame handstand and then extend one leg towards the ceiling. As you extend the leg up, make sure that your ribs stay in, and your leg goes straight up, and you don’t loosen your lower back. You want to focus on making sure that your vertebrae stack all the way to your tailbone. It is very common to stack your tailbone over your shoulders and skip all the vertebrae. This will take you off balance and put more of your weight into the wall.
Once everything is well placed, then you can start to anchor the leg that’s on the wall towards the floor. This means that the tension of that leg will start to pull towards the floor, without compromising the shape that you’ve created. If you are in the correct position, you will start to float into a free handstand.
Make sure if you choose this variation you train both sides. Alternate legs each set.
This is the point in your press to handstand that fatigue usually wins on your press to handstand journey. Even when you progress to working on stalder press this will be the most difficult part. If you have the strength and technique but don’t have the endurance you won’t have enough energy to push past this point.
When you place your hands, you want to think about where the balance point is and start stacking your elbows over top of that point, and then your shoulders, and then vertebrae by vertebrae all the way to your hips.
If you can’t make it for the full amount of time you can regress to feet elevated or front support. The key is to continue with the correct intention. If you continue to work on your endurance at pushing the floor away from you, you will gain the muscular endurance required to get you where you’re trying to go.
For some different types of endurance programming check out this article on 3 ways to train your endurance.
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