Ambitious Handstands at Funky Monkey Studio – Bath.

Today we tackled some more difficult handstand shapes in the handstand class at Funky Monkey Studio. We worked on closing one leg at a time in straddle, we also worked on the diamond shape, and we worked on an elegant transition which goes through tuck then diamond before splitting into straddle. 


My handstands were inconsistent today because I had been bodybuilding in the 2 days prior which causes noticeable muscle fatigue & impaired control. It is an interesting point that our energy levels, mood and mental focus greatly effect our handstands because balance is such delicate thing. 
There were several instances of showstopping where people were balancing for a few seconds on their own unsupported by their spotter. We can be positive and pretend it's easy but the truth is it takes most people years of practise to get a solid handstand. After learning for 2.5 years and only just developing a solid handstand (still inconsistently!) I would agree that it does takes year.

I am keen to keep introducing new moves into my own practise which I can then pass on to people in class.

- pressing up from crow or headstand into handstand.

- straight arm crow up and back down

- walking on hands

- walkover into bridge and kicking back from bridge into handstands 

- handstand into forward roll on hard floor

- one-arm handstand

... are all things I intend to be able to do in the coming months. I do intend to be a performing hand balancer one day and so it's important to me that I keep progressing. 

 If you would like to attend future classes check out my page

Ben Lowrey


Bristol MoveGB handstand class proving popular!

It could finally be time to begin an additional mid week handstand class in Bristol! The Sunday 2pm slot is proving popular with MoveGB members and I don't think it will be long until I could justify a 2nd weekly class. Check out this video from last Sunday's class at Bubalu on Gloucester rd.


There were several beginners in the class today and I'm thinking of giving different exercises to different people depending on their level. It's hard to predict how people's bodies will handle handstands until they try. Some people have plenty of strength but limited flexibility, and their body will respond very differently to somebody who has plenty of flexibility but limited strength.

22-11-2015 - MoveGB handstands




I am keen to keep introducing new exercises. We've focused primarily on straight handstands but I think working on a variety of different inversions such as arm balances, head stands is a good idea because they contribute to general upside-down body awareness, control, and endurance.

Something I realise more and more is that flexibility is crucial for good control. A person who has a lot of flexibility will be able to press into a handstand with much more elegance because they can move through the required range of motion without jumping.

22-11-2015 - MoveGB handstands 5

I have been working hard to practise new moves so that I've got more to teach the people who attend. I've been working on forward role from handstand, and I've been working on an elegant way of getting from straight handstand to straddle through a tuck and diamond. Also I've been working on one-arm and walking but those aren't ready to show yet.






22-11-2015 - MoveGB handstands 19



22-11-2015 - MoveGB handstands 22

For further details go here.

MoveGB members can search for the Showstopper handstand class on Sunday at 2pm or anybody can drop in for £5. 

Ben Lowrey

2016 Funky Monkey classes set to begin in January

Hi folks. We are half way through the final 6 week block of 2015 funky monkey handstand classes, set to conclude in mid December. The first block of
2016 classes will begin January 2016.

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Use this discount code to get a slight reduction on the next block BL15BJKW.

Funky Monkey Studio is a yoga, Pole dance and aerial fitness school on the lower Bristol road in Bath. There is a packed schedule of classes, you can subscribe to individual blocks or become a member which allows you to attend several classes per week.

In session 3 we worked on balance, stag leg shapes and diamond handstands. Several people in the class were finding balanced when placed in the right position. In almost every case it's a lack of shoulder flexibility which inhibits people's progress. If the shoulders do not open straight then shoulder strength from the delta is needed to support the weight of the body, but if the shoulder s will open straight then the weight of the body is stacked nicely on top of the vertical arms and the handstand is easy.

Also good body tension makes the handstand much easier. In almost every case people's handstand improves when they tense their abs and squeeze their bu, Without this body tension it's like trying to balance a big wobbly jelly, very difficult.

If the body is tight, the student should be able to press in the fingers and support their own weight in a balanced handstand. Using the wall is great way to practise this if you don't have a spotter.

MoveGB members to get Personal Training for only £10 in Bristol


Personal Training now available to MoveGB active passport members in Bristol for only £10 per hour (£15 to non MoveGB members)

Ben Lowrey will work with you on a 1-to-1 basis to help you burn fat and bring out visible muscle definition. Your body will transform to have a more athletic and toned appearance and we will work to develop your strength, fitness, posture, flexibility and athletic abilities also. Personal goals will be discussed and we will create a training plan to suit you. Diet and eating habits will be addressed.

Sessions will take place primarily at Ministry of Fitness, Douglas Road, Kingswood, Bristol. BS15 8NH.  Home visits can be arranged. Please note, there is £6 gym entry charge for sessions taking place at Ministry of Fitness

MoveGB is a new fitness concept. Instead of a membership to one gym, your MoveGB Passport gives you use of all the best gyms and fitness providers in the city. You just turn up tell them you are a MoveGB Passport holder, provide some ID, and you're in.

Please remember Ben Lowrey showstopper handstand classes are also available to MoveGB members at no extra cost.



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Funky Monkey Christmas Showcase 2015! Ben Lowrey to perform. Tickets available.

Guess who's going to perform a Pole & Handbalancing routine at the Funky Monkey Christmas Showcase 2015?? Yeah you guessed it! Air Balloon Road's most celebrated Tent erector, Hen Party entertainer, and Handstand Teacher.

Ben Lowrey performing Pole and Handbalancing at 2015 Funky Monkey Studio Christmas Showcase

Ben Lowrey performing Pole and Handbalancing at 2015 Funky Monkey Studio Christmas Showcase

7:30pm. 12th December. £16.50

Saint Peters Terrace, Lower Bristol Road, Bath BA2 3BX

Tickets can be booked >> HERE
Facebook event >> HERE

An evening of festive entertainment for friends of the Funky Monkey Studio provided by a few of the monkey tribe.

Please note:

Doors will open at 7.30pm ready for the show to start at 8pm
There will as always be drinks and nibbles available which are included in your ticket price.
This is an adult only event.
Funky Monkey does not allow photography at events so leave your camera at home.
And remember the whole of funky monkey studio is a shoe free zone so leave your shoes in the storage provided on arrival.

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.  

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