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Marlon

11 consecutive one arm press handstands...

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Marlon

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I'm Fairly certain this is backstage at one of cirque du soleil's shows. From the description it looks like the guys name is Sukhanov Nikita, he was apparently a sports acro flyer at least up until 2004. Does anyone know anything about how they train hand balancing it that sport? It seems to me like your average flyer is a significantly better hand balancer than your average professional hand balancer.

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Brendan Coad

I don't have any information about this for you... but it is incredible.

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yuri marmerstein

I've had the chance to train with a couple acro people, so based on that I will give my best insights into the matter

Typically, acro flyers start training a lot younger than your typical circus hand balancers who end up choosing their craft a bit later in life. Unlike gymnasts who have to worry about six different events, acro basically divides their time between handstands/strength and tumbling. This gives the kids a lot more time to develop their HS.

On top of that, acro typically only trains right arm for OAH(why train the other one if you are not going to use it in competition, right?)

You can see how this would build some beastly balancers despite some imbalances.

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Vagabond

You were just a bit faster than me, Yuri! :) My current training partner used to be a high level acrosport athlete who performed banquine in Delirium. It's been like 5 years since he last trained seriously, and on our second day of training, he still could do a one arm press to handstand on the blocks.

We also have to take into consideration that acrosport athletes are competitive athletes who will drill over and over the important moves of their sport. It comes to no surprise they can do one arm presses to handstand over and over again, simply because they learned a very good technique and they repeated that technique several times every day. Acrosport is a very big sport in Eastern Europe, and their techniques and knowledge are quite advanced, while hand balancing is more "scarce" discipline to come around. Just think how hard it is to find a good teacher. While in places like Russia or Ukraine, you join acrosport clubs.

An other difference is that in acrosport, the male flyers don't do certain moves hand balancers do. Per example, they don't do mexican handstands, and if they can flag, the shapes they take don't vary as much, or don't require as much flexibility as those performed by certain hand balancers. Per example, in artistic gymnastics, you'll see still handstands, movements starting and/or finishing in handstand, strength moves that are balanced on the hands... But you'll pretty much never see "weird" shapes. It's just not part of the sport. One arm handstands and presses to handstand are a huge part of acrosport. They don't care about some of the strange poses hand balancers take. They're competing. Unless they get hired in the circus, they don't need to do anything else than what is part of their sport. And of course it gives better handstands. They drill their basics! That's the exact same way I'd train my handstands. First: learn the most stable one arm handstand possible, and become able to hold it for a long time. Second: learn to flag, to hold the flag, and to move from one arm handstand to flag back and forth. Third: learn one arm presses to handstand, and become very proficient to do them. Eventually, I'd have to do them from the floor or from a single block on the floor to spare my wrist. If you do that and become good at it, you've learned the advanced basics, and you'll become a very good hand balancer because you got strong bases to start with.

Here's a picture of the blocks my training partner uses:

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A very badass fact is that these blocks were built 30 years ago, in ex-USSR (now Ukraine). Tens of athletes used them to practice their handstands, and you can see groves in the wood where they placed their fingers. These blocks must have a lot of bagage. :D

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Marlon

Thanks for the info guys, that all make sense. If you're training a small range of hand balancing skills competitively since you were a kid you're going to get very good at them. I am shocked though that they really tend not to train their off-hand. I've noticed from several different flyers on youtube that their off hand is quite weak, but didn't realize it was an intentional training decision.

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Vagabond

Well, in competitive artistic gymnastics too, a lot of moves are only practiced one side, especially twisting movements. Or other movements like stutz on parallel bars, I'd be pretty damn scared of trying the side I didn't train.

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