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jutajata

Interview with Yuval Ayalon

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jutajata

Hello all again.

I've made another interview with a professional handbalancer from Le Reve which is a circus hosted in Vegas, the performer is a good friend of mine and i know him trough Ido who is a great friend of him. His name is Yuval Ayalon, was born in Israel and now lives in Vegas.

This second interview covers almost the same topics of the first one done with Mikael.(viewtopic.php?f=16&t=5456)

We can clearly see reading both interviews that are some common exercises that both of them consider very important giving us a 80/20 approach to the handbalancing art.

Hope this will be informative and can serve the purpose of clarify how the professionals handbalancers reach that level of control and strength.

Enter Yuval:

:?: Let´s start with the basics, you´ve trained gymnastics before start your training with Claude Victoria, so how was your handstand prior the gymnastics and how long did you take to achieve a really good 3 minutes two arm handstand?

:arrow: I was a competitive gymnast until 1998 (age 26). I stopped for a few years, and then in 2003 I started playing with one arm handstand. I was pretty much self learned (using my gymnastic background) and was able to hold a straddle, and feet together positions on both arms before meeting Claude. In my first week long training with him I basically received a basic template for my handstand training, which I have been following with some variations ever since. At Claude's I focused on alignment of the three basic positions (feet together, half straddle, and full straddle, on the floor and on the cubes. It is the base of handbalancing and I don't see a way around it. it is also something every handbalancer continues to work and perfect along the way (it never stops)

I made some adjustments from my gymnastics handstand to the equlibre handstand. Though I have to say that a gymnast that has a good handstand (open and hollow / optimal), will probably catch up with handbalancing very very fast - under good instruction of course.... I also believe that had my handstand been like it is today, I would have been a better gymnast...but that is a different story.

As far as endurance is concerned:

My record is 5 minutes, but this was is in a competition situation (In which I lost to a contortionist who had her feet over her head, in an arch... she didn't even sweat:-)

:?: And today how is your training volume and frequency?

:arrow: Since I'm a performer (10 shows per week) I have to be careful with my training, as I have my commitment in the show...I basically train for about an hour and a half (prior to the beginning of the 1st show), and try to fit my handbalancing training on the floor + press work. and then between shows I do 40 minutes technical work on the canes. On both trainings I have to make sure that when I go on stage following my training I'm not fatigued, and that my training does not affect my performance in a negative way. This is a limitation, but the lifestyle that I have been living is the bonus. I'm basically paid to do something I love, and train my handbalancing which is also something I'm very passionate about...

:?: If you can pick only 3 of them, what are the most important exercises or training routines on the handbalancing world?

:arrow: Since you have a very unique background, and already extraordinary flexibility, and alignment, I would use it in your handbalancing training. Strength is important of course, but I think that learning how to use your flexibility, along with an optimal technique in HS, will bring you very far, and faster. HS push ups, straddle presses, planche, are all important, which I recommend of course.

:?: What kind of advice can you do regarding the manipulation of volume x intesity x frequency for an optimal performance in handstands?

:arrow: In my current handstand training, I usually start with a one minute HS with the best form possible. I see it as an important qualitative work. I also do on a daily basis, a one minute set of 30 sec on each arm. The focus again is on quality, and maintaining the concentration for a long period of time. I try to play with different positions every day, as well as changing the environment (floor, cubes, chair, canes etc).

You can play with volume (10 straddle presses on the floor for instance is a great goal to achieve) but once you can start doing sets of one arm presses to handstand then the numbers change accordingly, and also you want to make sure that you don't injure yourself, or affect the other stuff you do.

I think that your training methods and time spent on handbalancing is something that will change and evolve, as you evolve as a handbalancer and an artist.

:?: Do you have any tipping point or "AHA!" moment that helps you in your journey?

:arrow: The "Aha" moments don't happen very often in handbalancing...

Of course there is the the first time of holding a one arm (back when I started... a great and memorable moment.

Then there are milestones and achieved after a long process of training like the one I achieved recently - a one arm press without a weight on the canes.

:?: What are your main goals and the next steps from where you are now?

:arrow: My ultimate goal is when I leave this show, my technical level will be high enough to build a number which I could then sell, thus continuing my career as a handbalancer.

As for specific goals: I will continue to perfect the basic positions, but am also working on achieve the one arm press from L, as well as searching the positions that best fit my body type and natural abilities...(then perfect them as well).

It's important to have long terms goals, and construct short term goals that are achievable, and serve as important building blocks towards the long term goals... (but I guess this is the case for not only handbalancing...)

As for me. I wish to be able to continue my handbalancing journey as long as I can. I also wish to translate my handbalancing training and technical ability to a form of artistic expression. that is perhaps my biggest challenge!!!

Again feel free to write to me with any questions!

All the best,

Yuval

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yuri marmerstein

Yes, I trained with Yuval when I was in vegas and I found his training methodology to be extremely helpful

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Cole Dano

Thanks again jutajata!

Did Yuval detail the difference between the Gymnastic and Handbalancer's handstand?

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sasquatch

Very cool. I was at Circus Cirus a month back, it was really cool watching all the circus acts in person.

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Alvaro Antolinez

These are both great interviews, very enlightening!!! :D . There is one question I would like to add (if is possible to get an answer eventually). As they are training handstand (therefore pressing strength) full time, are there any exercises that they use to compensate for pulling strength or is not necessary?

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jutajata
These are both great interviews, very enlightening!!! :D . There is one question I would like to add (if is possible to get an answer eventually). As they are training handstand (therefore pressing strength) full time, are there any exercises that they use to compensate for pulling strength or is not necessary?

I think this words from Handbalancer on another post clarify your question.

"Of course, other re/prehab and exercises, depending on the individual training schedule might be needed. I do straps, so I get a heavy share of pulling work(both lateral and horizontal), which I believe very healthy to balance the extreme amount of overhead pushing, but I know many handbalancers who do next to no pulling exercise, and they seem to be very well off. Of course they all have very good shoulder flex though."

viewtopic.php?f=17&t=4966&p=46093&hilit=+pulling#p46093

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acegerter

I also trained with Yuval in early january. Hopefully my back will be healed up by march so I can audition for the show :-)

He said the main difference between gymnastics and handbalancing handstands has to do with why you are in a handstand. handbalancers are in a static position for extended periods of time so they must find the optimum balance point and stay there. from what i understand, they also try to use the least amount of brute strength to hold the position. gymnasts on the other hand use handstands as a transitory position. for example on PBs, you swing to handstand, hold 3 sec and then must re-engage all your support muscles again to swing through the bottom. I've tried to incorporate handbalancing principles to my gymnastics with some success but I feel like it has a different and feel.

Im not an expert on handbalancing, this is all from my experience so take it with a grain of salt :-)

something else interesting to note... when I had my lesson with him I was 4 weeks out of a fracture in my L2-3 facet. I told him I might be limited in the amount of sets I could do. He told me not to worry because if I did the HS with proper technique all the pressure on my low back would go away (he had a similar experience). after a little tweaking of my alignment I was able to do over an hour of work with absolutely no pain. I've been working HSs everyday since then and my back has never been bothered by them. My athletic trainers said that it makes some sense as long as the low back doesnt arch or twist, although they are still skeptical. food for thought!

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yuri marmerstein

yes, well put ace. Another thing I will add is that because gymnasts only have to pass through the handstand position, it is more common to see gymnasts do handstands with their heads tucked. However in equilibre, because the cues for balance are visual, hand balancers will be looking up in between their hands or somewhere around there.

if you think of it, the force on your spine during a handstand is not unlike being in an inversion table, so doing proper handstands is actually good for your back, again as long as you don't twist or arch.

Also, mikael has gotten me interested in straps so I've been practicing some one arm straps techniques on the bar or rings. I agree that this is a great way to balance out all the pushing you do with hand balancing.

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Alvaro Antolinez

Thank you Jutajata for that, I have missed that post or at least that part

if you think of it, the force on your spine during a handstand is not unlike being in an inversion table, so doing proper handstands is actually good for your back, again as long as you don't twist or arch.

Yuri I don´t know if handstand is good or not for the spine(I suppose at least it is working quite differently) but during HS the spine is stacking its own weight + legs to the shoulders, in an inversion table you are hanging from your feet so the vertebras are getting less or no compression IMHO. What do you think?

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Cole Dano

Ome is right on that yuri... there is less weight , since the legs weigh less than body, arms and head, but its not like pseudo traction.

still its very different sensation in the back going from arched to stacked, and i feels very relieving to me as well.

(When i can manage it :( )

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yuri marmerstein

yes, there is still compression you are right. I may have spoken with too much haste

but way different than standing upright

I still think handstands are the cure to all ailments

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Cole Dano
yes, there is still compression you are right. I may have spoken with too much haste

but way different than standing upright

I still think handstands are the cure to all ailments

You know even the yogis of old thought that! They thought it was the pose that activated all the Chakaras.

And as poor as i am at them, its my go to 'pose' it just is fantastic to work on, and i'm with you, its medicine. Handbalancer also notes how healthy handbalancers are in general, and with low incidence of injury.

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Alvaro Antolinez

All this is very interesting! is there any study regarding hand balancers rate of injury?

Lately I feel the need to go to a handstand when I miss a couple of days of practice ( accounted in minutes not in hours of course :oops: ) really it is slowly becoming a necessity for me. I am hooked!! :D

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Marcelo Lara

Thanks for the interview, Jutajata.

When I watched this Demo I felt totally amazed. I really watched some things that I've never seen before.

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vincefort

Thanks for those interviews Jutajata.It is very helpful and inspiring. I was very curious about how long yuval could hold a 2 hand handstand. 5 minutes is very impressive.

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