September Workout Calendar and Handstand Challenge
Just as promised, I have a blank workout calendar printable for you below in addition to a month-long handstand challenge. Handstands have become more popular in the fitness world, especially with the rise of Cross Fit. Cross Fit champions handstand pushups, but I think that would be another challenge to work towards after perfecting the handstand. I used to do gymnastics when I was really little and then moved on to tumbling and competitive cheerleading. I could do roundoff-back handspring-layouts and standing tucks, but never got the handstand down very well.
I still love to kick up to the wall and hold a hand stand for a few seconds, but I have pretty weak wrists and hate the feeling of the blood pooling in my head after a minute or so. I would love to be able to kick up into a handstand and just hold it in the air for at least 10 seconds. If you want to try this challenge with me, watch the video below on handstand progressions (I don’t love her voice, but lessons are great!) and follow along with the calendar, progressing to the next move after you perfect each step!
- Walk-out: I call this the inch-worm in my group fitness classes. This exercise helps you develop the strength for a handstand and is great for preparing your hands and wrists for the body weight of a handstand. Perform for 10 minutes/day or every other day if you’re sore.
- Incline Inversions: Grab a box or step with a few risers on each side. The height of the box will depend on your strength and flexibility; the more flexible you are, the higher the box will be! Put your feet on the box and hands on the ground, kind of like a decline pushup. Then inch your hands toward the box so that your hips are directly over your shoulders. Walk back out, and repeat! Perform for 10 minutes/day or every other day if you’re sore.
- Backing up the wall: This is like the training wheels move to a handstand. With your stomach facing the wall, place your feet against the wall in a squat-like position and slowly crawl your feet up the wall until you are in handstand position. If your feet start to topple over, don’t panic! Just come out of the handstand in a safety roll (it’s best to practice these before you perform this training exercise). Perform for 10 minutes/day or every other day if you’re sore.
- Blocking: Take your block, box, or step from Step #2 and this time, you are facing the block in a standing position. Keeping your legs straight, tip over and put your hands on the box in front of you and kick your legs up, but not all the way. This is a good exercise to practice full extension of the elbow and tight body position while keeping your joints locked, feet glued together, and toes pointed. Perform for 10 minutes/day or every other day if you’re sore.
- Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board: This is just a good training exercise to do throughout your handstand training. You will need a parter to help you with this one. As you lie on the floor face-up, keep your body completely tight (stiff as a board) as the partner lifts your legs into the air. Your body should remain tight the whole time (see video at 4:15 for a better picture of this), which is how your body should be when inverted in a handstand. Perform for 10 minutes/day or every other day if you’re sore.
- Kicking Up to the Wall: Standing a few feet away and facing a wall, lunge and place hands on ground about 6-8 inches from the wall while kicking your feet all the way to the wall. The wall acts as a spot for you. Gently move feet off the wall one foot at a time to hold a handstand. If your feet start to fall, just dismount the same way you kicked up. Perform for 10 minutes/day or every other day if you’re sore.
- Partner-Assisted Handstand: In your last progression, have a parter spot your handstand in an open space. Make sure you tell them which leg is kicking up first so they can be on that side ready to catch your legs. Make sure you communicate to them when you want to come down from the handstand so that when they let go, you are ready to dismount safely. If you fall forward, remember the safety roll. Perform for 10 minutes/day or every other day if you’re sore.
- Handstand on your own!
More Practice Videos:
- Faster handstand progression with form tips
- Another “how to” handstand video (some of this uses gymnastics equipment)
- Training for Crossfit walking handstands
- Crossfit handstand pushup with progressions