If you’ve been practicing Handstand at the wall and hit a plateau, I get it. This article will uncover a few things in your neurophysiology that may be holding you back!
First of all, let’s address the fact that practicing Handstand at the wall gets a much worse reputation than it deserves. The wall is NOT your enemy folks. It’s your ally if you know how to use it correctly. And depending at what stage you’re at in your practice, the wall just might be the thing that gets you to the next level.
That said, the wall does become the enemy of your progress when it is overused for too long, or for the wrong drills. Imagine building a house with only a hammer. Yes, the hammer is a useful tool for driving nails into boards. It’s also wildly ineffective for cutting a board in half, or welding two pipes together. In the same way, building your Handstand practice by using just a single tool repeatedly is going to create tons of imbalances as well.
So how do you know when to pause practicing Handstand wall and when to revisit it?
Well, this article is going to point out a few key things so you can start to progress your current skillset and balance without it.
Kicking Up: Ok. So this is a big one and I hear it over and over again…”I can kick up if I know the wall is there, but I can’t kick up without it.”
So much to talk about here…Where to start?
So if the presence of the wall is literally the ONLY thing that can get you to practice, then use it. It is the difference between practicing Handstand with some help and not practicing Handstand at all. The benefit here is that you are teaching your brain and body the act of kicking up, which is a good thing.
Where this gets tricky is how long you stay at the wall, and if you use the wall to stabilize before pulling your feet off. In other words, the wall becomes your safety net and begins to keep you from actually achieving balance. When this happens, you are now working against your actual Handstand.
SPOILER ALERT: If all you practice is Handstanding at a wall, you’re only going to get really good at Handstanding at a wall.
If you’re a “Wallstander” reading this article, I want you to really pay attention to this next part. This subtle mental shift will have profound and lasting changes to your physical practice.
What Are You Training? So this is the ultimate question when it comes to practicing Handstand. Are you training a Wallstand or a Handstand? If you can kick up to Handstand at the wall easily, and that’s all you ever train, you are now training a Wallstand.
The discipline is not in doing what you already know how to do, but doing the next progression that pushes you to the edge, and past your comfort zone. So the challenge isn’t kicking up to the wall anymore. It’s kicking up without a wall and knowing that you’re going to be ok.
This is typically the point where you ask “What if I kick up to the wall and work on pulling my feet off one at a time?”….and it’s a totally valid question. Again, I’ll go back to my battle cry of “What are you training?”…Practicing Handstand at the wall, and pulling your feet off one at a time, is training your body to kick your heels well past your actual Handstand line, and then to compensate with your belly.
Essentially, it’s the ideal training regimen if you want a Banana Back Handstand….
The drills and movements that you do repeatedly are what your nervous system recognizes as safe and familiar. So when it comes time to straighten out your Handstand into an actual line, it’s going to feel super weird if you’ve just been using the kick-up-to-wall approach.
So, what’s a more efficient approach to practicing Handstand at a wall?
Stay tuned for the next article to outline how to use a wall effectively to progress your Handstand fastest!
You got this.