Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Handstands 101: Kaitlin Hardy

cmxfit welcomes Kaitlin Hardy, former Parkettes Gymnastics Junior Olympic National Championships Qualifier, NCAA Division 1 Gymnastics Varsity Letter Winner at Cornell University, as a contributor. Handstands 101, a must read:

Handstands 101:


A handstand is not a strength move; holding a handstand is about technique and body awareness. Crossfitters place a lot of emphasis on perfecting form in each of the Olympic lifts, but perfect body alignment in handstands, handstand walks, and handstand pushups rarely gets talked about. 

In the crossfit box, most athletes practice handstands with their back against the wall. But in the gymnastics world, athletes always practice handstands with their stomach facing the wall because this forces them into a better body position. Training with your stomach against the wall makes it easier to focus on the following points:

1. Your head should never be in a neutral position. Instead, you should always be looking at the floor space between your hands. Focus on pulling your head up just enough to see your fingertips.

2. Work on eliminating any space between your shoulders and ears. In order for an overhead squat to be successful, your shoulders need to be engaged to brace the weight of the bar. Apply the same principle when you’re upside down. Work on pushing through your shoulders as much as you can to make yourself as tall as possible against the wall.

3. Maintain a straight bodyline, with your wrists as close to the wall as possible, you should work to have your shoulders touching the wall, your stomach off of the wall, your hips touching the wall, and your feet about an inch away from the wall. Someone watching should be able to draw a straight line from your wrist to your toes.

Perfect body alignment on a handstand can turn the dreaded handstand walk and HSPU into your best exercise!

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