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Rachid Tahri

internal shoulder rotation in wall HS

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Rachid Tahri

A while ago I posted a video about my handstand line progress. I was very enthusiastic and happy with my new "line". Also other members congratulated me with the progress I made. To summerize: i felt a shoulder lock that allowed my to lock my shoulders while having a "hollow" position. I learned after a while that this "lock" was my shoulders being internally rotated (just like in shoulder dislocations), a trained eye can see that my elbows are flaring out and my lats get "folded" (don't have the right terminology for this).

 

After learning some posts of Handbalancer and other experienced people I came to the conclusion that most handbalancers externally rotate there shoulders. Also if I do freestanding handstand I tend to externally rotate.

 

If I do a wall handstand while internally rotating my shoulders I can hold this position much longer than if I do not allow this internally rotation, but my line is very good. On the other hand if I externally rotate my shoulder I feel very helpless in this position.

 

Any advice here?

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwmEnyhydwc

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Mikael Kristiansen

When I talk about externally rotating the humerus during handstand, it is not to an extreme degree, but it is to avoid exactly flaring out of the elbows and bending the arms. If you lift your arms overhead and elevate your scapula you will be more or less in the position you want. Your infraspinatus will be tense and you will be slightly exernally rotated, so like its nothing that you need to be especially mindful of. Internally rotating will maybe allow you to get a straighter line from your torso to your wrists because you are compensating for lack of specific flexibility by placing your scapula differently, but you wont be in position to balance your handstand very well. This is the reason that you also externally rotate during your freestanding, because it is more efficient and intuitive for your body.

 

I do not know how your shoulders are, but when you internally rotate you are shortening your subscapularis, which in a proper form hs needs to be in a more elongated position. Lack of flexibility there might be one of the reasons why you have a harder time to get 180 degrees between your shoulder and torso. The shoulder stretch while holding a stick with a supinated grip is a good one to work on it.

Either way, I would suggest that you work on getting your shoulder position in place first and work from there. It is almost always the weak/stiff link that inhibits progress of handstands.

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Rachid Tahri

Thanks for your reply! I had to come from a long way...my shoulders were terrible. In this video you can see were I come from. 

I have (general) question about this shoulder issue. If I lie on the ground I have to put in some muscle effort to let forearm touch the ground when my arms are in overhead position. If I relax then my arms come back up again. I guess my lats are pulling my shoulders up. So I was thinking: is this a sufficient test to know that the shoulders are really ready (forearms touching the ground in a passive way)? 

 

I know many people who never trained/stretched in their life and when they lie down, in the position described above,even their upper arms touch the ground without any muscular effort (I guess this is genetics). Knowing that you are an advanced hand balancer: did your shoulders also have this property from the beginning or was it acquired by hard work?

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Mikael Kristiansen

It can give some indication yes. Remember that the entire back needs to be flat when doing this and the chest is not allowed to pop out. 

 

I didnt have very stiff shoulders when i started because of breaking for some years, but I couldnt get a very good line in my handstand. I remember also that my presses had quite a bit of lean until I started school. I worked on my alignment, and stretched my shoulders a lot, but since my balance was very well developed already it was not very hard to understand how to straighten.

 

For most people it is a time consuming process and you will need a lot of passive stretching along with working your wall handstands. If you are able to balance freestanding, I would recommend working on that too. If you cant get in perfect position you will still need to develop the balance and sensation of being upside down. Of course strive to keep the best possible position, and keep working your wall handstand to build endurance and strength.

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Yngvar Halvorsen

I love seeing this post. Having the same issue, internal rotation gives me straight arms from a side view and a nice line from wrist to hips. External rotation gives me better stability, more muscles involved, but zig-zag form on my body from a side view.

I do have tight subscapularis, my external rotation is fine From being a bboy and stretchingbut my internal rotation is horrible, putting my hand behind my back makes my scapula stick out a lot. I have a hard time clapping my hands behind my back.

I'm looking for a better understanding of how to stretch and strengthen to clear up this unbalance. Searching on youtube, asking chiropractor with PhD in medicine and other profesdionals still dont give me a good picture of what to do.

My best result so far is lying on the side using a lacrosse ball behind and under the humerus joint. As far as i know im targetting subscapularis, teres major/minir and lats insertion by doing that. But im wondering if it could be a strength issue, bad habit and lack of activating serratus anterior in handstands and other moves.

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Alexander Egebak

I love seeing this post. Having the same issue, internal rotation gives me straight arms from a side view and a nice line from wrist to hips. External rotation gives me better stability, more muscles involved, but zig-zag form on my body from a side view.

I do have tight subscapularis, my external rotation is fine From being a bboy and stretchingbut my internal rotation is horrible, putting my hand behind my back makes my scapula stick out a lot. I have a hard time clapping my hands behind my back.

I'm looking for a better understanding of how to stretch and strengthen to clear up this unbalance. Searching on youtube, asking chiropractor with PhD in medicine and other profesdionals still dont give me a good picture of what to do.

My best result so far is lying on the side using a lacrosse ball behind and under the humerus joint. As far as i know im targetting subscapularis, teres major/minir and lats insertion by doing that. But im wondering if it could be a strength issue, bad habit and lack of activating serratus anterior in handstands and other moves.

If you have not already considered buying F1+H1 I would seriously do so.

 

In F1 hollow back press progressions there is a lot of mobility work targeting the shoulder capsule and teres minor. The rope climb progressions will have mobility work that will target your lats. Handstand work will have shoulder extension work involving pecs, chest and biceps.

 

You will also find that a lot of the exercises do not only strengthen your tight muscles but also gives you strength so that you can express your flexibility freely.

 

The stretch series will seriously accelerate progress, especially the thoracic bridge one, but I believe "the starter pack" is your best bet.

 

Also, your bboying skills will improve immensely should you choose to follow the programs.

 

We would also be in a much better position to help you pointing out specific exercises that you should pay attention to

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Jon Douglas

Welp, this is TOTALLY what I'm doing. Thanks a LOT for bumping this post, extremely timely. I have been wondering what's been going with my handstand; I felt really good about my line and comfortable 90s sets last few weeks until it was *firmly* pointed out to me that my shoulders have actually stiffened up in straight flexion/protraction.

Massively awesome to see these opportunities come up! :D

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Coach Sommer

Welp, this is TOTALLY what I'm doing. Thanks a LOT for bumping this post, extremely timely. I have been wondering what's been going with my handstand; I felt really good about my line and comfortable 90s sets last few weeks until it was *firmly* pointed out to me that my shoulders have actually stiffened up in straight flexion/protraction.

Massively awesome to see these opportunities come up! :D

Firmly pointed out to you? Anyone I know? ;)

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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Jon Douglas

Firmly pointed out to you? Anyone I know? ;)

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

 

Funny, Coach :P It's funny how several other coaches have let me get away with it, I guess that buttered me up some. Very happy to get my head back on straight.

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Mats Trane

Funny, Coach :P It's funny how several other coaches have let me get away with it, I guess that buttered me up some. Very happy to get my head back on straight.

This happens way too often!

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