When Running Gets Old, Try it on Your Hands! (Here's How)
It’s time to give your feet a rest and let your upper body do the work! Handstands are by far, one of the coolest gymnastic exercises on the planet and they will be absolutely essential for your future GSTTM progress.
On the road to improving your handstand proficiency, you will inevitably run into roadblocks; some which, may even bring your progress to a screeching halt.
Here’s where handstand wall runs make their grand entrance: an excellent exercise to help you improve your overhead stability and address weakness in your upper back and shoulders.
Coach Christopher Sommer first discovered this beautifully efficient handstand drill as a happy accident. During his years of coaching at the Junior National Olympic level, one of his athletes was unable to join the rest of the team for their running warm-up drills. Coach Sommer jokingly told his athlete to run on his hands for the duration of their warm-up. His student took him quite seriously and the result culminated into one of the best exercises for handstand development.
First Things First: Learn to Walk Before You Run
Before we learn to run, we must first learn to walk. In the case of learning handstand wall runs, we must first learn the wall handstand. While this may seem like a logical first step, it’s easy to become overly enthused with your handstand practice and skip to juicy stuff. Don’t let this distract you from the task at hand, which right now is mastering the basics.
A solid 1-2 minute wall handstand is a necessary prerequisite BEFORE attempting to run on your hands. This is done preferably with your chest facing the wall to ensure that your back is flat and your shoulders fully extended. Imagine trying to squeeze your ears with your shoulders and you will be in the correct position. Once you can hold a straight wall handstand for 1-2 min you can give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back.
You are now ready to explore new and exciting ways to build some tremendous upper body strength and greater competence in your handstand.
Find a Yourself a Wall and Start Running On Your Hands
Not only do handstand wall runs look really darn cool, they are an extremely functional exercise that are worth their weight in gold. This invaluable training tool, from the GB Handstand Series, is quite possibly the best way to build extreme power in your traps (upper back muscles) while enhancing your shoulder girdle strength and stability.
With the right training tools, from our GB Handstand Courses, you too can show off your hard-earned GymnasticBodies physique to go along with your fresh set of handstanding skills.
When first attempting to perform handstand wall runs, make sure clear out an area next to the wall in case you need to bail out of your handstand suddenly. To get into position, simply walk into the wall, belly side first and find your handstand. Make sure your back is flat and your shoulders are shrugged to your ears. From here, shift your weight to one side while lifting your opposite hand to tap your shoulder before setting it back down to repeat on the other side.
Try to aim for 10 reps on each arm at first, then build yourself up from there.
[Alert]: You may experience rapid increases in total upper body strength, which may result in the development of superhuman athletic abilities.
Troubleshooting Your Handstand
Not quite ready for handstand wall runs? Not to worry, GymnasticBodies has your back! With our GB Online Courses, we’ve laid out the foundation to build your perfect handstand from the ground up.
Build a Strong Base of Support by Strengthening Your Wrists
“You are only as strong as your weakest link”. This is especially true when it comes to your handstand training. While upside down, your hands serve as the base to support your entire bodyweight. When attempting wall runs, you will momentarily need to support your entire bodyweight with just one arm. Now that’s a big job for a weak and under-trained wrist to handle.
Our Solution? Build strong, resilient wrists that effortlessly tackle any task you throw at them. The simple, yet effective, wrist stretches and strengthening exercises from our Handstand Series will turn even the most frail and brittle of wrists into hand-balancing machines.
Open Your Shoulders for Greater Alignment and Posture
Does your handstand resemble a banana rather than a solid straight line? If so, then chances are you could benefit from stretching your upper back and shoulders. Without adequate flexibility in these areas, your handstand alignment will suffer greatly, ultimately resulting in wrist pain and compression through your shoulders and lower back.
This sounds like a recipe for disaster. Ouch!
Don’t let the “handstand blues” get you down! Light up your world with the Thoracic Bridge Stretch Series to open up your chest, upper back, and shoulders to reveal a new and improved you.
Develop Core Strength for Superior Stability
For the sake of keeping your handstand straight, you should be working towards building your gymnastics core. The essential core training component of GST will inevitably be the determining factor to whether you are able to hold your ground while upside down.
There are many handstand specific drills incorporated into our GB Online Courses, but planks are a good place to start. Learn how to win with your plank and improve the shape and stability of your handstand.
Once you put the pieces together to improve your handstanding abilities, you are ready to give wall runs another go. Give your feet a rest and let’s get you running full speed on your hands!
Gymnastic Strength TrainingTM goals just wouldn’t be complete without a rock-solid handstand. Develop your GymnasticBodies handstand runs one step at a time with our GB Handstand Courses, and run towards greater pressing strength and proficiency.