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Timothy Aiken

Hs Form And Alignment Critique

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Timothy Aiken

 I know my form is bad. Can someone isolate what specifically I am doing wrong, and right?post-4060-0-01740700-1356329156_thumb.jp

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yuri marmerstein

closed shouders, ribs out, back arched, hips pikes, knees bent.  Are you balancing in the position?

 

The thing is you cannot isolate one thing that will fix the problem.  All the joints of your body have to work together to create a proper line. 

If you were to only open your shoulders you would fall towards the fingers.  If you only flattened your back, your body would tilt the other way and you would fall towards the palms. 

 

You need to do 3 things all together to achieve a good line: open shoulders, ribs in, open hips.  Knees straight would go along with this as well

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Timothy Aiken

Yes I can hold a handstand pretty solid in this position (consistently 40+ seconds. Will my head need to be neutral for a great handstand? By great I mean a solid launching point for other moves like OAHS.

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yuri marmerstein

Head position is irrelevant if you get your body in the right position.  One arm handstand is easier with the head out rather than neutral but it's all personal preference. 

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emos

My handstand has similar problems - although maybe not as pronounced. Anyone can see in what ways his form is improper, but how would you suggest he fix it? What drills and exercises can help?

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yuri marmerstein

basically all of them.  Alignment drills against the wall and floor, stomach to wall handstand completely flush to the wall

 

get spotter and have your spotter jam their knee into your shoulders, and poke you in the ribs and glutes.  Or, since you already have a good sense of balance, get into your handstand and start playing with your shoulder position.  As you start opening your shoulders, the rest of your body will have to compensate to keep balance.  It's probably going to feel wrong

You can also check if mobility is an issue for opening your shoulders or not.

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Timothy Aiken

I am pretty sure mobility is a problem. Do I fix that with the wall handstand facing in?

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Vagabond

The handstand facing the wall would definitely help with the active flexibility required to lift your chest up, but you will probably need to throw in more work than that to get a straight position. You'll need to stretch your shoulders a lot to be able to open them (stretch them against a wall with two different hand positions, palms facing forward and thumbs pointing back, and also practicing bridges while trying to push your shoulders passed your hands would be very beneficial too), and I recommend doing coach's wall slides (I really love them, I make my students do them between hollow body sets to improve their shoulders mobility), and scarecrows but stomach against the ground, in a hollow position. By combining all that with the handstand facing the wall and possibly extra exercises if needed, you should be able to get a straight body, if you don't have "mechanical limitations" (shape of the shoulders).

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Joshua Naterman
Head position is irrelevant if you get your body in the right position.  One arm handstand is easier with the head out rather than neutral but it's all personal preference. 

I think that at your level, you are absolutely right.

 

My personal experience, so far, is that it is much easier for me to activate my upper traps (instead of levator scapula doing most of the work) and have them do a considerable amount of work when my chin is tucked towards my chest. This helps me not arch my back, which forces me to use my upward rotators to move the scapula into a position which allows a more open shoulder position.

 

I think that this is an issue for someone at my level of HS development (definite beginner) when, like me, the muscles I need are too weak to lift me into position. Holding the handstands with these muscles doing a lot of work is a near-maximal effort for me right now, but I am seeing improvements and visible muscle growth in the upper trap region along with improved posture and improvements in overall shoulder function.

 

I'm pretty sure there are a lot of people who have upper traps proportionally stronger than mine are in the beginning, and for them this may be less of an issue.

 

For me, as soon as I try to loop at my hands I lose the upper traps, levator takes over, and my back starts to arch ever so slightly. At this point I can hold a handstand for 45+ seconds, but it's my old activation pattern and one I now know is not correct.

 

I think once I'm as strong as you are, relatively speaking, it won't matter where I put my head.

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Vagabond

Joshua, I know I'm not in your body, so you might be right, but I don't think you lack strength to look at the ground while doing your handstand. I think that what happens (you might have explained it in terms I didn't get, if it's the case, sorry about that) is that you feel more tension in your upper traps for two reasons:

 

1. The head more out brings more weight forwards, which is compensated either by a tilt of the body, by arching, or by bringing your shoulders more forward. The shoulders forwards and the tilt of the body would put the shoulders and upper traps under more tension.

 

2. Mobility. It's easier to open the shoulders with the head tucked in than out, but I think it's related to the rotation of the shoulders. When I tuck my head in, my shoulders have a tendency to rotate inwards, while when I have my head out, my shoulders have a tendency to rotate externally. The amount of flexibility in the shoulders vary in both positions, with the external rotation allowing less of an opening than the internal one, according to my personal experience and observations. However, I think it is better to have a slight external rotation than an internal rotation.

 

So my thought is: if you can hold a handstand for 45 seconds, maybe you should now practice the variation that you find slightly more challenging while keeping up with your shoulder mobility drills beside it (you know a lot about training, so I'm 100% sure you're doing shoulders mobility drills) and improve your posture and abilities by the same occasion? Cause at the end, I think that the reason why you feel like having your head more out is not a lack of strength, but because you're at the very limit of your range of motion, so you basically fight yourself and not only gravity. It's like lifting your leg in front of you. You can strain your muscles as much as you want to get your leg higher, but what you need is not more strength, it's a better mobility (better flexibility and increased range of motion). What do you think about that?

 

(All of that written with respect. You obviously know your stuff, but I think that on this one you might misinterpret what you feel.)

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bella9091

Im really grateful to recieve information from experienced people and i hope that this post will help others aswell !

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Timothy Aiken

I don't think making a new thread for alignment is a good idea so I'll just post progress here from now on. My request for critique obviously still stands. Any and all assistance is appreciated :)

 

post-4060-0-17856700-1367125377_thumb.pn

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yuri marmerstein

imagine someone poking you hard in the ribs.  Contract there and it will help flatten your back.  Now if you only do this your slight pike will send your weight too far past the heels of your palms and you will fall.  To compensate for this you have to remove your pike by completely opening up your hips at the same time you pull your ribs in

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Timothy Aiken

Thanks for the advice! I will apply this in my training session tomorrow and report back with how it goes. I'll try and get a spotter to hold my while I do this, and if not I'll just use my old friend the wall!

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Timothy Aiken

Well... I think my chest is a BIT more pulled in, and my back is definitely straighter. But my darn legs are bent!!!! I'm getting to the point where I can't point out many flaws in my HS form, not because it's perfect or anything, but the general closed shoulder, arched back critique is mostly resolved so I need to get a new set of things to work on (while still keeping the aforementioned points in mind obviously). Any and all advice is great! 

 

A note on how this feels, for anyone who is working on the same thing I am, is that when I straighten my back out, the pulling feels like it is in my sternum, not my lower back. Also, straightening my back is all due to the kick up. I do not yet have the muscular control to pull into this position from an arched handstand.

 

Here is my progress thus far. I won't upload unless more progress is made, and won't be videotaping too much. Yuval Ayalon says feeling the position is the most important part. \

 

post-4060-0-37787200-1367290575_thumb.pn

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Marko Petrunic

Aiken, shoulder-angle and elbows look really great. As for further development, I would suggest a method I occasionally use. Copy the picture in some editor program and draw a straight line beginning at your wrists and going up to toes (also, take a picture showing your whole body).

 

Obviously, the goal is to have all joints (wrists to toes) aligned on the same line. As for your position, I would say your knees are out of the line and, subsequently, feet. As Yuri said, everything is interconnected. So, try to pull your legs back a bit, while keeping the shoulders opened and back flat, fully extend the knees...and see what happens. 

 

A note on transition from an arched HS: try to keep your back flat and pelvis posteriorly tilted from the moment you lift your legs. It doesn't require much strength, just control. Looking forward to your progress mate! ;)

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Jon Douglas

imagine someone poking you hard in the ribs.  Contract there and it will help flatten your back.  Now if you only do this your slight pike will send your weight too far past the heels of your palms and you will fall.  To compensate for this you have to remove your pike by completely opening up your hips at the same time you pull your ribs in

A-ha! That's what I needed.

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Redwan Haque

Aiken, I have the bent legs, slightly leaning over problem too. I recently improved on it significantly it after reading a post by Yuval on his FB. It's pretty simple but it helped a surprising amount - make sure you are actively pointing your toes, hard. Maintain the tension in your feet, calves and inner thighs and it should straighten out your legs at least a bit.

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Timothy Aiken

Thanks! The pointing of my toes has really helped with my hips. Also, with HS>PE5, my hollow is really improving. I also noticed that when I really actively elevate my shoulders, that the hollow position becomes easier to achieve. I'm not completely elevating my shoulders to the end of their RoM, but enough that I can keep tension and stability, while still getting a pretty good deal of elevation. The sweet spot of scapular elevation, per se. It seems that is what handstand training is, finding various "sweet spots" to help with alignment and balance. 

 

My next thing to work is narrowing my hands to the width which is: Most aesthetically pleasing, most stable, and easiest to transition into other movements. 

 

The handstand has moved me so far forward in terms of proprioception and body control. This move is one of the most rewarding and fun to practice moves that I am able to do currently, and I am sure it will stay there throughout my gymnastic training journey. My handstand still has a long way to go though and I am looking forward to progress to come.

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Timothy Aiken

My legs look bent, but I am actively straightening them in each clip. My toes are not shown, however they are pointed. I can get my back straight, but my hips are overextended. If I try to close my hips, I also create a strange hump in my lower back (it's an ugly thing). Sorry about the obvious fatigue, this was after my F7 workout. I would wait till another day to get a video but I am going to Colorado without any internet for a week and would love to have some new ideas to apply to my training while I am there. Any tips?

 

Also, sorry about the sideways third video. I flip the videos in Premiere but that doesn't carry over to the encoded file. If anyone has tips on that, that would be cool too. :)

 

[flash=]

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Timothy Aiken

If this is obnoxious, sorry but here goes: bumppity bump bump! I am at a stalemate in my training.

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low001

Hi guys I'm new here. Aiken54 I have the same problem not exactly the same but I have a big shoulder angle and my low back has a huge arch.Can you perhaps tell me what you did to fix or straighten out your back? In terms of mobility stretches, wall and floor drills please if you would be so kind.

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Alessandro Mainente

that's line is very good, probably you should add more protraction to increase the hs hold, in that way you can more some weight in the opposite direction of the kick up and you will feel the body exactly over the palm. for the kicking up i suggest to you to try it from a lunge position creating a T shape from arm to the first feet you lift while holding hollow position and elevated shoulders.

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Timothy Aiken

Been kicking my training into gear like I should have a couple of years ago. Restarted Foundation with much more rigor due to plateus on higher level PEs, and restarted Handstand with more rigor on the iMs. Been hitting the stretch courses three times per week and my body has been adapting really well. Currently this is my handstand.

 

My back is straight but my legs dangle over no matter how much I squeeze my legs or butt. This problem has plagued me for a while now. My theory is that because my traps are too weak to open the shoulders by themselves so my legs hang over to pull them open. Is this correct or am I unprepared elsewhere?Also, I see that my chest is a bit out and I could be more protracted, but I'm unclear on what to do to improve this.

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Alessandro Mainente

You should learn how to modulate the coordination between hips flexor and butt muscles in order to avoid the hyperextension. I suggest a bit more of chinese handstand.

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