How to manage frustration when learning handstands

Well, it was a great session at the MoveGB showstopper handstand class in Bristol today, attendance is growing every week. We spent some time holding handstands against the wall for endurance conditioning. We then practised kicking up and taking it in turns to spot each other with several different exercises. The class is quite fast paced and the hour flys by! 

There is no easy way around it, handstands are difficult. It takes hundreds of hours of practise to get a solid handstand, but the journey is fun and should be enjoyed.

The fact is you will fall over thounsands of times, you will need the help of a spotter or a wall for years. If you don’t find a way to be patient and enjoy the journey then frustration will creep in.

Some people have plenty of strength but limited flexibility, some people have plenty of flexibility but limited strength, and both must be worked on.

It may surprise you that just because somebody does yoga does not necessarily mean they have all the flexibility that is required for handstands. They often have good forward bend but limited shoulder opening (falling short of the straight line which is needed along spine and arms). Or they might have tightness around the front hips and lower back which causes the pelvis to tilt resulting in a curve in the lower back which they struggle to flatten for a straight spine… and all that’s before we even begin worry about balance!

We do conditioning and stretching exerxises in the class but there is no shortcut, it just takes lots of practise.

It is vital to approach your handstand practise with a playful attitude. Anybody who expects to walk in and master it on day one is going to be diapointed. The body will not build control that quickly.

Attending a handstand class makes the process fun because there is a lot of interaction. It’s possible to attend yoga or fitness classes for months without really getting to know anybody because talking isn’t part of the class format, but in handstand or acro classes where people are put into pairs there is a lot of communication and team work.

I keep rotating the partners to ensure everybody gets a chance to work with each other. Not only does this give people a cance to meet each other but they also get a chance to see different people’s handstand abilities and observe the different limitations and abilities that everybody posses. The challenges that one person faces will be different to the next.

Also people get to experience difference spotters and can communicate differently with each person about what kind of phisical support they need. 

Like anything in life, it’s helpful to have some detachment from the goal, enjoying the processes ensures you will progress towards the goal without the urgency of needing it to happen today.

Choose manageble tasks for each traing session. Aim to increase your endurance agains the wall by an extra 10 seconds. Or aim to hold a freestanding handstand for an extra few seconds. Or aim to do 10 extra reps or an extra set on a conditioning exercise. 

I like to post progress videos on facebook and youtube becuase the knowledge that friends will be seeing it motivates me to give it my best shot. 

Find what works for you, above all else, be patient, be consistent, and enjoy the journey.

Ben Lowrey

about.me/benlowrey

Class times > tiny.cc/cia

Bristol & Bath, United Kingdom