Bristol’s Sunday Handstand Class proving popular with MoveGB members!

It’s only week 3 and people are showing increasing interest in the MoveGB handstand class at Bubalu on Gloucester Road! Most participants attend for free as part of their MoveGB membership but anybody is welcome to drop in for £5.

People usually develop an interest in handstands for a variety of different reasons. There are a number of prominent public Yoga figures on YouTube such as Kino MacGregor who regularly show us what is possible and this inspires people to want to incorporate handbalancing into their own yoga practise. 

  
Some people wish to incorporate handstands into their crossfit & functional fitness tournaments. There is an increasing expectation for people to develop a variety of full body abilities and many have seen the world’s top competitors doing long walks on their hands and are keen to emulate this themselves.

Some people are interested in calisthenics and “bar work” which is a street form of gymnastics bar skills. 

Some find handstands through Capoaera and Break Dancing. These players tend to be more intuitive and flowing in their abilities but they often lack the strict form and body tension required to hold a stationary straight handstand. They often make up for it with impressive flowing spinning movements as they dance in and out and through handstands.

I found handstands through the Circus Acrobatics route. Bristol has a thriving circus scene not least because of Circomedia but also because of other performance collectives such as the Invisable Circus and countless other groups. 

I began attending handstand classes in June 2013 and eventually moved into a house with other professional circus acrobats who heavily influenced my training style. I have always been keen to pursue strict form and achcieve a stable straight handstand. 

“Hand balancing” is the formal name of a circus handstand performer. A hand balancer might typically perform a routine which lasts several minutes, often on canes, and might include walking on their hands, going on to one arm, and moving in and out of different body positions whilst being on their hands. In some cases they may be on their hands for minutes at a time without even resting. 

Whatever the reason you are curious about handstands, the class is suitable for beginners so why not come along and try it out.  If you have enough strength to hold a plank or downward dog for 30 seconds then the chances are you have enough upper body strength for a handstand.

Ben Lowrey

Showstopper Handstand Class – 2pm every Sunday at Bubalu, Gloucester rd. Bristol. Uk.

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Handstand Shape Examples – Shoulder, Hip & Back Flexibility

Here is my attempt to explain the basic handstand shape and the limits of shoulder and hip flexibility that effect most people. There are several different configurations but once you watch this video you will see there are a limited number of scenarios which are easy to understand. It most cases the average person will have a shape like number 2 or number 3 due to limited shoulder and hip flexibility.

All of us need to continue to stretch out our shoulders to open them out, and we need to stretch the quads and hip flexors to open out our hip angle, and we need to stretch our back bend to allow us to do more interesting shapes, and we also need to stretch our forward bend to stop the hip tilting lordosis which makes the bum stick out and contributes to the hip angle having to close to compensate.

Anybody who is serious about handstands will need to spend significant amounts of time progressing their flexibility, even to achieve a straight handstand!

Ben Lowrey – Bristol, UK.

 

New Block of Handstand Classes begins at Funky Monkey Studio. Bath

Today was the first handstand class in the new 6 week block at Funky Monkey Studio, Bath. I arrived to find 11 people waiting to begin learning handstands. A record turn out! 

  
Funky Monkey is a Yoga, Pole and Aerial Fitness studio on the lower Bristol road.

I had just collected a new car after a drunk driver wrecked my last one and had spent some extra time parking it carefully where nobody could drive into it! I arrived just in time to begin the warm up and meet the new students.

We spent plenty to if time warming up, stretching out hamstrings, hips, wrists and forward bend which is all very important for handstands. The better forward bend you’ve got the easier it is to lift up. 

Several people were complete beginners so ee practised the basic straight handstand shape laying on the floor, enguaging the abs, glutes, pointing the legs and toes and straightening the arms.

After that we practised holding a straight handstand facing the wall with nose touching the wall. This encourages a straight shape.

After that we practised tucks and regular kick ups spotting each other. With so many people in the class there was a lot of energy in the room and it kept me on my toes. 

Everybody had fun and we’re all looking forward to next week. In the mean time I will be attending Pole dancing classes at Funky Monkey because it’s difficult and fun!

Ben Lowrey 

To check class times in Bristol & Bath go here tiny.cc/cia

benlowrey@me.com

07747571426