I’m actually working on my handstand, but this was the picture that had the most of me in it!
For two years I’ve been trying to do a handstand and the planche also known as the Peacock. Two years is a long time to work on something and still not be there. It can be frustrating. My failure at the planche is lack of strength. I’m just not strong enough in my shoulders, back or glutes to support myself in that position. And I can’t find my balance point. The handstand, on the other hand, has nothing to do with strength. I’m strong enough. I just can’t figure it out. If anything I’m not sure my shoulders are flexible enough for me to get in the right position.
I’m not giving up though and that’s the point. So far my experimentation with these exercise has been pretty regimented. Must have strength. Must follow this prescribed format. That has been helpful, but it’s only gotten me so far. My current mode of operation is to be more playful when I’m working on these exercises.
That’s helpful in a couple of ways. I’m less stressed and frustrated when I try. I’d gotten to the point that when I went to work on them, I started irritated and with a negative mindset as if I knew I wouldn’t be successful. I tend get really focused on strength in my own body, but that can make me rigid. I need to be a little more relaxed without losing the strength—a hard balance to find. But trying to have fun and be playful helps with that a bit.
Yesterday I watched a kid try to do a handstand. She was fearless. She went too far and flipped herself into a backbend which is exactly the concern that holds me back. I’m pretty sure if I did an unanticipated backflip I might snap in two. But she wasn’t worried or scared going into the movement. She wasn’t disappointed when she didn’t get it because she knows she is still learning.
My new line of thinking got me out of the box I was in. I’ve searched a lot online for how to do a handstand, no one I found recommended up against the bed. Falling onto the bed made me feel a lot better about a potential backflip, making me a little fearless. But it also gave me feedback in a whole new place in my body. And I’ve had the most success with my handstand so far. Sometimes we have to come at a difficult movement or situation with a new perspective. We can get stuck in our body and our mind.
I’m not there yet, but I have a new outlook and approach and that makes me a little bit closer.
The two steps I took that are helping me improve the most:
Using the bed instead of the wall (although I think the wall is still a good place to play).
And taking a video of myself. A client actually suggested this. When I watch the video I can see my form and make adjustments accordingly. I now have a lot of grainy videos on my phone of my wall or half my body. Getting the camera lined up right is perhaps more challenging than the handstand. In this rough shot, Matt gets home from work just in time to pass in front of the camera.