Handstand-Protocol #3 – Getting Impatient

InBody, Handstand, Movement
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When working on any long-term goal I always keep this in mind: „It’s a marathon, not a sprint!“. So far these words served me well. But this week I still had to face it: My own impatience.

My mind kept telling me: „Hey! You have been training every day for the last two weeks. Your One Arm Handstand should be perfect by now! Let’s check!“. So I checked. Multiple times. It was not perfect. I was disappointed. Looking back, this sounds so ridiculous. But for what it’s worth: Right now I can write this with a smile on my face.

Overall getting impatient was an important experience I think.
It forced me understand what „trust in the plan“ really means.

I will do so and move on from here. One step at a time.
Because it is a marathon and not a sprint.

Training-Routine

This week I focused heavily on keeping the locked position of my hip. Especially when I’m on one arm, the position of my hip is not correct. I wrote down some more thoughts on this below.

  • 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

Monday

Oh man, this monday was hard. I could not complete the number of handstand sets I set for myself. And I feel a bit torn about that. On one hand it’s quite simple: I did not do the work. Period. I failed. But on the other hand, I think there’s such a thing as „achieving something with grace instead of grit“. I did the best I could today. And sometimes that’s enough. I will accept that with grace instead of feeling sorry for myself.

Apart from that I went to yoga class to improve my flexibility and I enjoyed that a lot.

  • 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

  • Seated Cable Row
  • Seated Lat Pulldown
  • TRX Bands


Tuesday

I had a great conversation with Coach Atlas, which (as always) brought some new clarity.

My sets felt surprisingly easy. And I think this is (in part) because I got enough sleep and healthy food. But what I’m currently wondering about: How much of that „felt ease“ was caused by thoughts and mind-stuff. I was obviously a bit „hyped“, since the talk with Coach Atlas. After that my energy was up. I felt good. My thoughts where positive. So did this talk get my mind into a certain pattern, that made my sets so easy and fun? And most importantly: If so, can I somehow get into that state on my own?

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

  • Seated Cable Row
  • Seated Lat Pulldowns
  • Piceps Curls


Wednesday

Rocked through my 40 sets. I’m getting the feeling, that especially the last 15 sets or so are where progress lies. Anyway, I’m feeling more and more control on one arm! And I like that

Oh, and I also went to a „Hot Iron“ class, which was especially hot since I replaced some of the weight-lifting exercises with some handstand-sets. 😀

  • Rowing
    medium Intensity – 10 Minutes
  • Cycling
    medium Intensity – 10 Minutes
  • Mobilization
    10 Minutes
  • Stretching
    10 Minutes

  • TRX-Bands
  • Seated Cable Row
  • Oblique Tiwst


Thursday

It’s a national holiday today, so I took things easy. Still did my sets, which is cool. A month ago I would have probably said: „It’s a holiday, so whatever. Let’s just sleep all day.“

  • None

  • None


Friday

For some reason the pain in my lower back has returned today. I’m not sure why. I had kind of a rough night and my warmup yesterday was a bit lackluster. Not sure if that’s the cause. Other than that I did do some extreme high kicks today which, might have been too much. I’ll have to keep an eye on this.

  • 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

  • Seated Cable Row
  • Seated Lat Pulldown


Saturday

Okay, wow, today was disappointing. I had focused on keeping my hip locked, when balancing on one hand (with 5 fingers down) for several days now. I could feel the stability improving day by day. So today I decided to give the full one arm handstand a try and film myself.

And guess what: As soon as I take my supporting hand away from the floor, my hip shifts back to the wrong position. Man! Looks like the years of incorrect training turned into a bad habit there. It will take some time and effort to break that.

  • 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


Sunday

Did some easy sets and worked on the front lever a bit.

After training I got a lot of sun and an amazing massage which I sorely needed both. A good end to the week I would say.

  • 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

  • Seated Cable Row
  • Cable Oblique Twist
  • Seated Lat Pulldown
  • Biceps Curls


Body-State

Neck: No pain.

Shoulder: No pain.

Lower-Back: By the end of the week the pain in my lower back had returned. I’m not sure what the cause of that is, but I definitely need to keep an eye on this. Apart from that I’m very interested what triggered this pain to return. Especially since it was gone completely. I have a few ideas, but can’t say for sure.

It took some conscious relaxation, some additional core exercises and a wonderful massage to get back into a pain-free state.

Nutrition

My nutrition was „mixed“ this week. Overall I ate pretty healthy, but drank alcohol on five out of seven evenings. Not much alcohol to be clear, but still. For me was a bit too much.

I think what troubles me is not the alcohol itself, but that I’m not sure where I want to draw the line. Yes, sleepless nights getting wasted are out of the question. I don’t even enjoy those. A few beers with good friends on the other hand sounds absolutely fine to me. But then: doing that on multiple nights per week? I don’t know.

Thoughts & Insights

Let’s just get right to it.

Adding some Science

On tuesday I talked with Coach Atlas about the current workload. More specifically about the fact, that I’m not doing a fixed number of sets per day. Instead I’m doing „between“ 35 – 50 sets, depending on how I feel. In regards to that he mentioned a quote that stuck with me:

If you treat your body like a science, it will respond like a science.
If you treat it sporadically, it will respond as such.

I never heard these words, but they rang very true to me. So I changed my training-routine to a fixed number of 40 sets (each side) per day. The important part was this: While the number of sets had to be small enough to be manageable long-term, it also had to be high enough to provide a challenge. Why? Because if I’m not challenging my body, what’s the point?

The Power of Mentorship

For the first time in my life I’m not on my own with my handstand-work.

This led to a very clear realisation this week: Having a mentor has immense power. Obviously because of the skill and experience he/she can pass on to you. But also (and maybe even more so) by just being there. By walking this path with you and standing by your side with knowledge and encouragement. Especially when things get tricky. I wish to be a mentor like that.

The Line

„The Line“ in handbalancing is what is considered both beautiful and efficient: Hand, shoulders, hip and feet neatly stacked on top of each other. While it looks indeed quite beautiful, this position also gives you a lot of kinetic stability. So it’s a goal worth chasing.

But in this quest for perfect symmetry lies a hidden problem:
Your body is a little asymmetrical by nature. This might be a biological limitation, the long-term effects of your job or your bodies response to a past injury. It’s normal.

In regards to handstand and handbalancing that means, that finding the perfect symmetry is only a secondary goal. It’s finding your balance within the asymmetry your body comes with, that is the key.

With that in mind I took a closer look at my line today:

Straight Handtsand

My line is not 100% correct, but overall I was pleased to see: it’s actually not that bad. I thought because of my anterior pelvic tilt, this would be much worse.

Weight-Shifted Handstand

To see my position, while I’ve shifted my wight onto my right hand was equally interesting. I wasn’t aware that I twist my hip so much.

Results

Mixed feelings about those results. I think I wasn’t very focused when I took those videos.

Basic Positions

Yup, pretty solid. I’m not sure it there’s actually any reason to keep this set in my routine, since it’s not very challenging anymore. Also: Messed up the entry.

Straddle

Same here. Doing those has become really easy by now. So maybe next week I should remove them in favor of something more challenging. Also: Messed up the entry here too! :-/

Weight-Shifting

My shoulders where shaking a little, but overall I’m happy with the result. I’ll keep this set for next week, since distributing my weight to one arm in a slow and controlled motion could use some more work.

One Arm (5 Fingers / 1 Finger)

It might be the perspective, yet I can’t help but notice that the position of my hip is slightly different on both sides. Damn, I need to put some effort into that. Also: Messed up the exit :-/

One Arm Handstand

Yeah, haven’t practiced those a lot this week, so I did not expect much improvement. I’m standing on one arm. But it’s definitely not what I would call solid and in control.

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