handstand

How coach Courtney gained 2 inches on her S-wave in just 5 minutes per day!

I have been in my gymnastics coaching role for 12 months. Even though coaching seems to be predominantly teaching, I have found that it is more about learning.

I learn from my mentors.. Kat and Ev teach me in depth about the "why" behind what we do. They also help me develop my coaches eye for gymnastics movements.

My clients force me to learn, grow and adapt very quickly. If they don't understand the way I have presented something I need to re-frame for them. The same approach doesn't always work for each client in a group, so I have to be prepared to change my approach with each individual.

Finally, my own journey of skill acquisition teaches me lessons everyday!

Since October 2017 it has been my goal to be able to do a Handstand walkover. After testing the skill initially, I realised my thoracic and shoulder mobility would need to improve dramatically if I was to achieve my goal. 

I took it down the very basics, I did all the exercises that we prescribe for our squad groups for warm up and shoulder pre-habilitation. 

Week 1 included the S-Wave, I have known for a long time that I am a lot more limited on one side compared to the other. My end goal was not to improve my s-wave specifically, but it happened :)

Based on the feedback and questions I received after my instagram post, I know this is a huge issue for many of our readers also. 

These are the main changes I made that contributed to my results:

  • FRC (functional range conditioning) exercises. We use the FRC approach in our squad clients, particularly for warm ups.

The aim of FRC (functional range training) is to expand the body's range of motion and teach the nervous system how to control that new range. 

It focuses on learning how to move a joint independently before dependently.
Eg- you should be able to move your wrist independently, without having to rely on your elbow or shoulder joint to help you with the desired action. 

It has helped me understand the importance of how my joint is supposed to move compared to how it moves now. So now, I really know where my limitations are.

The FRC exercises I incorporated were wrist CARs, face down shoulder CARs and thoracic CARs in a kneeling position with my elbows raised on a box. 

  • The swimmer exercise- I made this more challenging by using a dumbbell as an obstacle. It acted as a reminder to lift my arm up as high as I could. Actively expanding my range of motion.

  • Additionally, I progressed with very strict form on my upper body pulling and pushing and diligently worked through my walk over progressions which included back bridges.

Noticeable differences

1. My hands can now make contact in the s-wave! The new range of motion feels incredible. Check it out here.

2. I have noticed a decrease in my pins and needles (could also be from my increase in swimming) and more ease in moving my arms overhead. 

3. My left wrist does not hurt any more. Previously I had pain when I did high volume gymnastics and CrossFit work.

4. Improved active range of motion in wrist extension. 

5. Better alignment in my handstand- more shoulder and thoracic range for a better position and more stability through my shoulders. 

6. Better receiving position in my muscle ups and rings dips. 

Closing note

By doing something every day, it becomes a habit. Consistency is key - 5 minutes every day is all I did. Sometimes on my own, when I was coaching at Crossfit class, or a Dalecki Strength program. Now I even add it into my one on one sessions with clients. 

Need help with your movement? 

Book in a private session using the form below. We will assess your range of motion and develop a specific action plan to improve and increase it.

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A little mistake that CrossFitters are making today, costing them years of frustration down the track!

A little mistake that CrossFitters are making today, costing them years of frustration down the track

There so many variations of skills in CrossFit gymnastics movements.

Which is the most efficient?

  • Bent leg versus straight leg TTB? Or using the scoop?

  • Straight or Scorpion Handstand?

  • Butterfly or kipping pull up?


Your answer can be found right here. Firstly ask yourself these questions:

  1. Why are you learning it? Is it to perform workouts RXd? Is it for competition?

  2. What comes after mastering this skill?

Hint: Always look ahead.
To steer you in the right direction, think along the lines of similar movement patterns.

Example: Handstand —> Handstand walk —> HSPU —> Ring HSPU

Before we get to handstands, let’s first take a look at the process many follow to learn and understand new movements.

If you wanted a heavier snatch, what are the first things you would be likely to do? Obviously you’ll first seek a coach and refine technique.

You’re also likely to head to YouTube, watch professional lifters, analyse their technique, striving to look like “one of them”.

Improved technique generally will lead you towards a heavier snatch in the long term. The Weightlifting element in CrossFit is far more closely replicated in the sport of CrossFit in comparison to gymnastics. There are CrossFitter’s that are now competing at high levels in both sports.. it’s incredible.

SIMILAR

Weightlifting in Weightlifting looks like this..

Blog Weightlifting Snatch.png

Weightlifting in CrossFit looks like this..

Blog CF Snatch.png

VASTLY DIFFERENT

Gymnastics in the sport of Gymnastics looks like this..

Blog Gymnastics HS.png

Gymnastics in CrossFit looks like this:

Blog CrossFit HS.png

Now let’s look at CrossFit and Gymnastics. A skill commonly sought after by CrossFitters is the handstand walk. If you follow the same protocol, at some point you’ll be researching, looking at others technique.

Here’s the problem, what is right, what is wrong? You cannot look at an Olympic level gymnast performing handstand walks, butterfly pull ups and kipping TTB because..

They do not perform those movements.

You’ll then look to professional CrossFitters, who walks the fastest and longest distance. Some have their legs bent over, others have a major scorpion shape and the odd one will be walking backwards. Although your coach has told you that a straight back is the way to go…very confusing huh? Are you going to learn scorpion or straight HS?

Back to our two questions:

  1. Why do you want to learn the skill? Is it for a competition? Is it because your ultimate goal is to get fast HS walks for long distance on your hands?

  2. Once you master the skill, what else would you like to learn? This is so important!

If you’re answer leans towards harder more advanced skills, Handstand balance, Handstand on the rings, freestanding HSPU you need to look at the technique that’s going to get you to that.

Now it’s about the best technique that is transferable across skills to higher level skills. This is the straight handstand. If your ultimate goal is a fast handstand walk- in a straight line- and that’s as far as you want to take it then the scorpion may be a better option for you.


How we teach a CrossFitter:

  1. Joint movement and control

  2. Strength through required range of motion

  3. Body awareness

  4. What skill are we working on now? What are we working toward in future?

  5. Breaking down the skill into small components.

Want to ensure you’re learning the right technique? Register your interest for the next Dalecki Strength Squad term below.

 

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Having trouble with your handstand? Maybe it’s your wrists…

Having trouble with your handstand? Maybe it’s your wrists…

Article by Jeremy Salcedo

Meet Jeremy,  our new superstar coach! He has an extensive Capoeira background, has been training with Dalecki Strength for 2 years and he’s also a Physiotherapist. Jeremy has a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to movement and health.