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jamesters

Head Stands

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jamesters

I basically taught myself a head stand, but I'm wondering if there's any training advice for this. I'm assuming body should be neutral (no arch or pike), where should the eyes be looking? Also, I notice that some chinese acrobats train with something similar to this:

Is it worth trying to learn the balance really good in an equipment like that first, then learn on flat ground, or is training on flat ground from the start okay?

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Mikael Kristiansen

For free headstand you should have a slightly hollow body, much like a handstand. The way you actually balance when done properly is by keeping the weight SLIGHTLY front, and then pressing back with your head. Doing it on a "donut" as they are called, helps a lot since you get much more surface to balance on, and it makes it easier to find the balance point. In the begining everyone balances by very big motions with the legs and arms, but later on it becomes very small movements that keeps you in balance. Keep your eyes forward, what you look at does not really matter, but I like to keep them unfocused.

Proper circus technique for headstands is hard to explain, as they are usually trained with a coach for placement, etc. but dont let that stop you. I have seen some bboys who do excellent headstands on the floor, who obviously learned themselves, so keep working it

You can pretty easily make a donut. You can take a normal leather belt which you make into a tight spiral(keep maybe 1-2 inches of space in the middle) which you glue together. You then cut it with a good knife into a concave which fits your head. Finally you tape it all the way around, and there you go. The dimensions vary a little, so you might want to experiment a little if you have some spare belts.

Hope it helps, keep training!

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jl5555

Jamester are you going for the no handed headstand as in the video? It's not impossible but make sure you get enough practice time with it to make sure your neck and upper back can support your weight.

Since from prior videos it's clear you have good core strength my suggestion would be to enter the headstand with piked legs, don't kick up. This, for me, ensures that I've got proper shoulder/back alignment.

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Nick Van Bockxmeer

learn headstands with the arms held straight in front of you and then work them out sideways till you they form a straight line with your head. Do pike and straddle presses in these positions. I'm not sure if this is the most effective way, but it is what I am doing for it (with the eventual goal of a free headstand i suppose). In fact you can probably already do this, and just need to reduce the spotting of the arms.

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Cole Dano

Nice thread! Fun question and great input from Handbalancer. I'm going to have to make a donut myself, up to now, i've only managed it against a wall.

I've often wondered how much the shape of the top of the head matters, mine isn't very flat and that seems to make it harder, i think the donut will help with that allot.

Its surprising how unsteady it feels from side to side. The obliques really have to work for me anyway.

Jamesters, i know you can get this. Only thing i can add is just to be sure you've put the groundwork in with building up your neck with plenty of arm supported headstand variations as nickvb suggested.

BTW that video was amazing!

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Jason Stein
Is it worth trying to learn the balance really good in an equipment like that first?

James,

Personally, I only train on chalices of finest silver.

The equilibrist with whom I trained had rolled up a belt very tightly and then taped it up, and used that for his no-handed headstand work.

Can't wait for the videos.

best,

jason

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jamesters
For free headstand you should have a slightly hollow body, much like a handstand. The way you actually balance when done properly is by keeping the weight SLIGHTLY front, and then pressing back with your head.

Do you think body position is the same for head spins? I always practiced head stands and head spins with a pretty vertical body, never really tried putting the way slightly in front, though it happens when I've messed around with straddle press head stands.

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Mikael Kristiansen

Headspins are pretty different from free headstands. When you spin you create the balance by the centrifugal force combined with your legs. In a proper headstand you stay on putting the weight SLIGHTLY front and then neutralizing it by the "backwards" push of the head. Your spine needs to stay straight all the time, and the head is straight under it. With legs spread, you want them a little in front. The "weight forwards" position is most evident when you do with legs together.(there is a video of 2 girls doing head to head where you can see excellent form, I will see if I can find it) The reason you do this is because if you go even the slightest backwards and arch your back, you will fall as you have no way of utilizing any pressure to balance with.

It is very complicated to describe in text format, you your best shot without a coach is to train it a lot, as well as filming it, both from the front and the side.

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jl5555

Ah, gymnasticbodies.... So the other night at the gym I was doing gatherings and handstands, yada, yada. And I remembered this thread. I tried it again and was quite "wobbly". I started from a headstand with my legs piked, toes touching the floor. Pick one arm up, then switch to the other arm. Ok, then both arms, toes still on floor. Test the neck, etc...

It felt ok so I brought my legs up into a headstand with legs split. I tried gradually to take the pressure off the hands one at a time. It was a limited success due to the noted wobble above. I think Handbalancers advice will help somewhat. What I take from his advice is that the "backwards" head motion will ensure a stacked spine alignment. If you allow the chin to come forward you start arching the spine and will quickly roll out as the spine in that position really cannot correct itself.

While I was doing all this I had my back facing a wall but given Handbalancers advice I might try next time going with my chest facing the wall and sort of work my toes up the wall...

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Nick Van Bockxmeer
there is a video of 2 girls doing head to head

:shock:

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Mikael Kristiansen

This is head to head done EXCELLENT, and without a donut, which is crazy! Notice the slightly piked form of the flyer.

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tyciol

I admire your courage for attempting this difficult feat Mr. Jamesters. I believe if done properly the head stand could perhaps harden our skulls and increase our neck stabilization ability.

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Seiji

Wow, that head to head video is amazing.

I was reading a yoga book today and tried a few things. I've done headstands before, so I tried the way in the book. It was a headstand with elbow support... it told to interlace your fingers, so I did. I was ok for a little... then I fell forward onto my interlaced fingers. It felt like someone had just hit my hands with a sledgehammer. >:( I'll do them the my way from now on.

Tyciol, I think me and you are onto something...

KiVJSSgXZfY

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Cole Dano

In yoga this is the primary form of headstand. One reason is that is allows one to protect the neck by using the forearm/hand to take some of the load. As such its a great neck pre-conditiner as it allows time for the neck to get used to supporting weight and find the best balance point.

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palmcron

Some of you might be interested in this video of yoga headstand-variations:

qwEO-PIkgMw

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