Handstand-Protocol #2 – Unexpected Challenges

InBody, Handstand, Movement
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Now that the second week is done I can see some very clear improvements as well as some new flaws that I wasn’t aware of before. But one thing is quite clear by now: If I should fail this whole thing, then not for the lack of trying.

That’s it for the intro this week. Wait, that’s all? Yup. No fancy words? No creative anecdotes?
No, but instead I drew this awesome duck for you. Happy now? Great, so let’s go.

Training-Routine

  • Handstand: Heavy focus on one arm holds (5 Finger / 1 Finger).
    • Workload: 40 sets
    • Goal #1: Eliminate all movement, while in this position.
    • Goal #2: Develop calm breathing, while in this position.
    • Goal #3: Get used to entering/exiting with a Press Up / Press Down.
    • Goal #4: Get used to lifting the supporting hand up, not out.
    • Goal #5: Keep the hip locked correctly on both sides.
    • Hints: Shoulder and head should be one unit. Pull stomach in for additional stability.
  • Weight-Lifting: Exercises with pulling motions (rowing, pulldown, front lever)
    • Workload: not yet specified
    • Goal #1: Learn the Front Lever
  • Other: Yoga and other classes are welcome, if enough energy is left

  • Handstand: Heavy focus on one arm holds (5 Finger / 1 Finger).
    • Workload: 40 sets
    • Goal #1: Eliminate all movement, while in this position.
    • Goal #2: Develop calm breathing, while in this position.
    • Goal #3: Get used to entering/exiting with a Press Up / Press Down.
    • Goal #4: Get used to lifting the supporting hand up, not out.
    • Goal #5: Keep the hip locked correctly on both sides.
    • Hints: Shoulder and head should be one unit. Pull stomach in for additional stability.
  • Weight-Lifting: Exercises with pulling motions (rowing, pulldown, front lever)
    • Workload: not yet specified
    • Goal #1: Learn the Front Lever
  • Other: Yoga and other classes are welcome, if enough energy is left

  • Handstand: Heavy focus on one arm holds (5 Finger / 1 Finger).
    • Workload: 40 sets
    • Goal #1: Eliminate all movement, while in this position.
    • Goal #2: Develop calm breathing, while in this position.
    • Goal #3: Get used to entering/exiting with a Press Up / Press Down.
    • Goal #4: Get used to lifting the supporting hand up, not out.
    • Goal #5: Keep the hip locked correctly on both sides.
    • Hints: Shoulder and head should be one unit. Pull stomach in for additional stability.
  • Weight-Lifting: Exercises with pulling motions (rowing, pulldown, front lever)
    • Workload: not yet specified
    • Goal #1: Learn the Front Lever
  • Other: Yoga and other classes are welcome, if enough energy is left

  • Handstand: Less intensive workout.
    • Workload: About 20 sets
    • Goal #1: Keep the move alive, while getting some rest.
  • Weight-Lifting: Less intensive workout.
    • Workload: not yet specified
  • Other: Yoga and other classes are welcome, if enough energy is left

  • Handstand: Heavy focus on one arm holds (5 Finger / 1 Finger).
    • Workload: 40 sets
    • Goal #1: Eliminate all movement, while in this position.
    • Goal #2: Develop calm breathing, while in this position.
    • Goal #3: Get used to entering/exiting with a Press Up / Press Down.
    • Goal #4: Get used to lifting the supporting hand up, not out.
    • Goal #5: Keep the hip locked correctly on both sides.
    • Hints: Shoulder and head should be one unit. Pull stomach in for additional stability.
  • Weight-Lifting: Exercises with pulling motions (rowing, pulldown, front lever)
    • Workload: not yet specified
    • Goal #1: Learn the Front Lever
  • Other: Yoga and other classes are welcome, if enough energy is left

  • Handstand: Heavy focus on one arm holds (5 Finger / 1 Finger).
    • Workload: 40 sets
    • Goal #1: Eliminate all movement, while in this position.
    • Goal #2: Develop calm breathing, while in this position.
    • Goal #3: Get used to entering/exiting with a Press Up / Press Down.
    • Goal #4: Get used to lifting the supporting hand up, not out.
    • Goal #5: Keep the hip locked correctly on both sides.
    • Hints: Shoulder and head should be one unit. Pull stomach in for additional stability.
  • Weight-Lifting: Exercises with pulling motions (rowing, pulldown, front lever)
    • Workload: not yet specified
    • Goal #1: Learn the Front Lever
  • Other: Yoga and other classes are welcome, if enough energy is left

  • Handstand: Less intensive workout.
    • Workload: About 20 sets
    • Goal #1: Keep the move alive, while getting some rest.
  • Weight-Lifting: Less intensive workout.
    • Workload: not yet specified
  • Other: Yoga and other classes are welcome, if enough energy is left

Note: I can’t do a proper press-up yet, so I’ll have to (more or less) do jump-ins for now. I’m curious how fast my body can get used to this. The front lever will also be a huge challenge for me. I never ever tried that move and I can do about 5 – 10 pull ups max. But I’m sure that I will do the impossible!

Monday

Despite not being able to sleep last night, I went to the gym and did my sets. And they where pretty good. Yay! Apart from that it’s getting sunny again. I’m thinking about training in the park instead of the gym, to get some sun. But for some reason I’m not sure if I dare to do so yet. Hehe, we’ll see. Now that I write this, it’s probably a good challenge to go out of my comfort-zone.

  • Running
    medium Intensity – 5 Minutes
  • Cycling
    medium Intensity – 10 Minutes
  • Step
    medium Intensity – 5 Minutes
  • Mobilization
    10 Minutes
  • Stretching
    10 Minutes

  • Seated Cable Row
  • Light Lat Pulldown
  • Light Dumbbell Row


Tuesday

What a long day! Pushed through 30 sets on one arm and felt one amazing improvement: I can breathe relatively freely in that position now. Wohooo! I could never do that before. Pressing up (with closed legs) into Handstand is still quite a challenge though.

Apart from that Coach Atlas told me to start practicing the front lever. I tried. And so far I can proudly say: I can hang from the bar like an old sack of potatoes.

  • Running
    medium Intensity – 5 Minutes
  • Rowing
    medium Intensity – 5 Minutes
  • Cycling
    medium Intensity – 5 Minutes
  • Step
    medium Intensity – 10 Minutes
  • Mobilization
    10 Minutes
  • Stretching
    10 Minutes

  • Lat Pulldown
  • Seated Cable Row
  • Biceps Curl


Wednesday

Did my sets and some additional exercises. But, heew, I feel tired! Definitely looking forward to a more relaxed day tomorrow. I also had a skype call in the evening, which left me feeling pretty sad and lonely. I wonder if this will affect my training tomorrow.

  • Running
    medium Intensity – 5 Minutes
  • Rowing
    medium Intensity – 5 Minutes
  • Cycling
    medium Intensity – 5 Minutes
  • Step
    medium Intensity – 5 Minutes
  • Mobilization
    10 Minutes
  • Stretching
    10 Minutes

  • None


Thursday

Did an easy workout to recover from the last few days. Handstands feel good and solid. And while I still have to jump a bit, I can feel improvements with my press-ups/press-downs. Yay!

  • None


Friday

Wohooo! Completed 50 handstand sets on both sides. On top of that I did my warmup, mobilization, and a pretty intense weight-lifting routine. I feel amazing. But man, that took time. Anyway, my handbalancing has imroved quite a bit I think. Plus: I’m startig to get used to the press-ups/press-downs to go in and out of handstand.

  • Running
    medium Intensity – 5 Minutes
  • Rowing
    medium Intensity – 5 Minutes
  • Cycling
    medium Intensity – 5 Minutes
  • Step
    medium Intensity – 5 Minutes
  • Mobilization
    20 Minutes
  • Stretching
    20 Minutes

  • Seated Cable Row
  • Cable Oblique Twist
  • Standing Cable Butteflies
  • Biceps Curl
  • Barbell Squats
  • Lat Pulldowns


Saturday

Okay. I had the great idea to eat a large kebab, right before my workout. Brilliant. Still (somehow) did my sets though!

  • Running
    medium Intensity – 5 Minutes
  • Rowing
    medium Intensity – 5 Minutes
  • Cycling
    high Intensity – 5 Minutes
  • Step
    medium Intensity – 5 Minutes
  • Mobilization
    10 Minutes
  • Stretching
    5 Minutes

  • None


Sunday

Intetesting day. I didn’t eat enough for breakfast. So when I wanted to record myself a few hours later I felt pretty much like this. As a result I wasn’t too happy with the sets I got on camera. I feel a bit sad to end the week like this. 🙁

  • Cycling
    high Intensity – 10 Minutes
  • Step
    medium Intensity – 10 Minutes
  • Mobilization
    10 Minutes
  • Stretching
    10 Minutes

  • Some light weight-lifting

  • Some light boxing


Body-State

Shoulder: Overall very little pain, despite the added workload.

Neck: My neck began troubling me a bit at the beginning of this week. Probably from all the time I spend „looking up“, while in handstand. By the end of this week the pain was gone, but maybe I should do some of my sets with a neutral head-position from now on.

Lower Back: While it has lessened quite a bit, I still have some small pain in my lower back from time to time. I think my job as a programer took a toll and I have developed a anterior pelvic tilt. It’s a somewhat common problem in our society today, so I’ve decided to do some research and write an article how to fix that.

Nutrition

I’ve added kre-alkalyne and a protein powder to my diet plan. Both are probably a good idea to support my body for the weeks to come.

Apart from that I’ve stared working with my good friend Bünjamin on my diet. I had a detailed first talk with him about my current diet and goals. In addition to that we will take the next week and just track everything I normally eat. Then we’ll work from there.

Thoughts & Insights

Overall it has been an interesting week.

Leaving the Comfort-Zone

Coach Atlas added some exercises to my routine, that definitely take me out of my comfort zone. Namely the Press-Up & Press-Down for going in and out of handstand. I could never ever do those. Not even remotely. It will take a lot of time and effort to make those „elegant“. But after seven days of working with those movements, I can actually begin to feel some kind of control and understanding.

Better Breathing

I am finally able to breathe calmly, while standing on one arm. I’m also pretty sure I’d be able to carry on a short conversation in that position. I know, I know. Breathing, huh? While not being a very „flashy“ thing to achieve, I feel really happy about it. I could never do it properly and always either held my breath or had to force it. Both not good options.

Wrong Posture

While taking a closer look at my weight-shifts I noticed some flaws in my posture. Especially when I’m on my right arm, there is no straight line from hand to shoulder to hip. This was a real eye-opener for me. It’s no wonder I’m loosing most of my kinetic stability one I lift my supporting hand up.

Right Side

Now this one is just wrong in so many places. That’s a bit of a downer, since it’s my main balance-hand.

Left Side

While the left side looks a it better then the right, it’s still not 100% correct, as far as I can see.

Exercising vs. Training

There’s one thing I experience firsthand right now:
There’s a fundamental difference between exercising and training.

Exercising: Those last few years I have been doing, what I would call „exercising“. To me, that means moving and working out more or less at random, with only some vague goal somewhere in front of me. Today I would describe this as „unfocused busy-work“: I was in the gym, doing something. But what exactely and for what purpose, I did not really know.

Training: What I’m doing now is what I would call „training“. To me, that means working towards a clearly defined goal, by taking a planned and almost „scientific“ path towards it. This makes all the difference to me, and while I notice all the phisical improvemens I also find a lot of happieness in that. Especially with the right mindest.

Results

I left the week a bit disappointed, since I wasn’t happy with the videos. But to be fair: I was extremely hungry and tired when I shot them. Next time I need to plan things a bit better.

Basic Positions

Ah well, the press-up and press-down entry and exit are not exactely beautiful. It will probably take me another week or so to improve those.

Straddle

Straddles are looking good and feel very controlled. At the moment I’m thinking about spicing this exercise up a bit to make it more challenging.

Weight-Shifting

Pause the video while my weight is on my right hand. There is no straight line from hand to shoulder to hip. This definitely needs to be improved.

One Arm (5 Fingers / 1 Finger)

It might be the prespective, but it looks like I’m arching my back and twist my hip, when I’m on my right arm. The technique doesn’t look right.

One Arm Handstand

Again not a very good execution. I was extremely tired and hungry. Still about 6 seconds. I won’t complain. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

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