Handstand help? Pic included

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sgnsp235

Member
Oct 19, 2008
112
New York
photo.php


How can I improve? I know im arched, and my toes arent pointed, but how can i fix that? Everytime i try to get hollow in a handstand, I pike or dont go up all the way

:confused:

Help please??
 
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gymfan4ever95

Coach
Gymnast
Mar 29, 2009
635
North Carolina
To get hollow in a handstand, i would just do it on a wall to make sure that your body positions are correct. Then i would have a spot on some, and have them fix your arch while you are in the handstand, and then try to balance on your own. That will help you get used to they correct form. And all i can think of to fix your flexed feet is to point them! Hope this helps some!
 
G

GymVamp

try to reach out that makes it so you can't arch as much and do the handstand to the wall too like gymfan said. hope
i helped
 
G

gracefulone

Against the wall, are you practicing back to the wall? If so, I would try a nose and toes handstand instead; cartwheel into the wall so that your stomach is facing the wall. With your head in neutral, your nose will be right near the wall and the only other body part touching should be your toes.
 
M

Mack_the_Ripper

Try to stay hollow AS you kick up, not once you are already up in handstand. You will need to kick up more powerfully. To reduce piking, squeeze your butt and core. You might FEEL like you're piking when you're actually hollow, though.
As for toes, just point them.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

Staff member
Gold Membership
Coach
Jan 21, 2007
4,489
Baltimore, MD
The pic isn't showing up, but I'm going to guess you have the two problems that most people have with archy handstands.

Problem #1, the first that needs to be fixed, is most likely not in the back -- it's in the shoulders. If the shoulders are not fully extended, the back will be arched 99% of the time, and it is generally inneffective to try to fix the back without fixing the shoulders. The best way I've found to work on this is to practice the position while standing on your feet. Arms by your ears, tight tall body just like a handstand, back very slightly hollowed. Now, without allowing your back to arch, try to open your shoulders more, pushing your fingertips back towards the wall behind you. This is what your shoulders need to be doing in the handstand; they need to be pushing open, not simply relaxing.

Once you've developed a feel for this, THEN it will be much easier to address problem #2: the arch itself. Remember that the hollow should not be in the lower back, it should be in the chest and upper back. I find the easiest way to think about it is to think about keeping your back round. And remember, it should be a very very slightly hollow -- just enough that you know you aren't arching. Handstands with your belly against a wall can sometimes help this -- the goal being to get your hands as close to the wall as possible without falling. This forces a straight body, since any bend will pull your weight away from the wall.
 

gymalex

Member
Jan 3, 2009
75
Dallas, TX
ok, I don't mean to sound patronizing, but this actually works.
I used to tell my preteam kiddos this:
Pretend that you have some bird food on your toes. Now, kick up to a handstand, and push all the way to the ceiling so you can feed the baby birds just above your toes. Make sure you push tall enough, because those little birdies are hungry. :)
Sometimes a silly visual is the best thing....!
 

bogwoppit

Gold Membership
Feb 26, 2007
16,891
Admins, why isnt the picture showing up??
Help?
Its from facebook


YOu need to upload the picture to this site or to a site like photobucket and then use the embed pphoto feature. You can't hotlink photos fromother sites, just doesn't work.
 
G

GymnasticsAddict

I can't see the picture, but I'm just going to assume you have an arched back by the replies you've recieved by other people.

I would practice it against a wall, like some of the others said, or try doing it laying on your back on the ground. Have someone come and stick their hand under your lower back to make sure you're hollow and pressing your back into the ground. Another good one would be to kick up to handstand, have someone catch you in it by the calves, and ask them to (gently at first) push you downwards towards the ground so it puts more pressure on your hands. That will help you know if you're tight in the core or not, because if you aren't, you'll sag and won't be able to contain the handstand.

Just remember to be careful with it, though, I don't want you to hurt your back! Stay really tight in the core, push through your shoulders, amd squeeze your butt and everything else in your body.

Good luck!
 

sgnsp235

Member
Oct 19, 2008
112
New York
ok, I don't mean to sound patronizing, but this actually works.
I used to tell my preteam kiddos this:
Pretend that you have some bird food on your toes. Now, kick up to a handstand, and push all the way to the ceiling so you can feed the baby birds just above your toes. Make sure you push tall enough, because those little birdies are hungry. :)
Sometimes a silly visual is the best thing....!

Haha thats cute! But its helping me "extend" my shoulders.
Thanks!
Im a very visual learner
=P
 
B

BlairBob

Shoulder looks pretty open but head is out and toes could be more pointed.

I'd bet good money you aren't squeezing your cheeks and sucking in your belly button. I tell'm " Suck your gut, squeeze your butt" unless of course I think they may be self conscious about the gut thing.

Lay on your front with your arms extended. Squeeze your butt and attempt to pull your belly button off the floor. This is the pelvic tilt you seem to be lacking as your lower back is arched in your HS.

In a HS, try to push your shoulder into your ear if possible. It may not be possible for people with poor shoulder flexibility. You shouldn't have that problem.
 
E

emacmommy

The pic isn't showing up, but I'm going to guess you have the two problems that most people have with archy handstands.

Problem #1, the first that needs to be fixed, is most likely not in the back -- it's in the shoulders. If the shoulders are not fully extended, the back will be arched 99% of the time, and it is generally inneffective to try to fix the back without fixing the shoulders. The best way I've found to work on this is to practice the position while standing on your feet. Arms by your ears, tight tall body just like a handstand, back very slightly hollowed. Now, without allowing your back to arch, try to open your shoulders more, pushing your fingertips back towards the wall behind you. This is what your shoulders need to be doing in the handstand; they need to be pushing open, not simply relaxing.

Once you've developed a feel for this, THEN it will be much easier to address problem #2: the arch itself. Remember that the hollow should not be in the lower back, it should be in the chest and upper back. I find the easiest way to think about it is to think about keeping your back round. And remember, it should be a very very slightly hollow -- just enough that you know you aren't arching. Handstands with your belly against a wall can sometimes help this -- the goal being to get your hands as close to the wall as possible without falling. This forces a straight body, since any bend will pull your weight away from the wall.

Based on your picture I agree with the above whole heartedly. You're not getting a complete "shrug" through your shoulders at the top and my guess through the entire rise to the handstand. At the top the rib cage must be in. Once I started using the rib cage in correction on many of my own girls their handstand postition on all events improved tremendously.

Like gracefuleone said, HS against wall in both direction, making sure the entire body is touching when you are back against the wall. Hands close enough to the wall so you can go back of head, shoulder, back, lower back, butt, thighs, calves and heels against the wall. There really should be no space between you and the wall. It is hard to figure out at first, and you need to be able to eventually get there immediately and hold it. The immediate is important because you have to find that position quick as you rise for the handstand and then are at the top. If you are still kicking up and the wiggling to find the right spot it will be unrealistic of yourself to think you can find it at the top of a cast immediately.

Keep practicing and do LOTS OF NUMBERS of the wall handstands. As a team we really improved on this as it was a point of one of our yearly coaching goals.... better quality handstands as a gym. The nose & toes HS's improved us the quickest. Don't get discouraged, this improvement is a hard one to get quick.
 
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GetaGrip

Active Member
Jun 26, 2009
570
California
I agree. I used to have really arched handstands too, but my coach told me to bite my leotard. As silly as it sounds, it actually works pretty well! As for your toes, just remember to continuously think about having them pointed. Having pointed toes almost always means straight legs!

-GCG
 

ACoach78

Coach
Feb 22, 2007
112
USA
Can you stand up straight?

Take a picture of you just standing with arms down and arms overhead.

Based on my initial observation, you have quite a few muscular imbalances affecting your posture. So, if you can't stand up straight, I don't see how you're going to be straight when you're upside down.

From the looks of it, you are lacking shoulder range of motion. Most gymnastics coaches look at this and say - tight shoulders, so let's stretch the heck out of the shoulders. The reality is that may only be part of the problem. Scapular position plays a huge role in the ability to lift the arm overhead. If you have poor scapular control, this may be contributing to the problem. In addition, it is very common for people to lack mobility in the upper back - thoracic portion. So, you are probably lacking in thoracic extension. Then, the next thing is tightness of pecs muscles, typically it's the pec minor that really causes problems. It could be some latissimus dorsi ("lat") tightness as well. It wouldn't hurt to stretch both regularly.

Now, let's look at the hips. It appears that you are in anterior pelvic tilt. In other words, the pelvis tilts downward and pulls your lower back into hyperextension. This is typically the result of tight hip flexors, weak glutes/hamstrings, short/tight back extensor muscles, and weakened abdominal/core musculature. Which is the greatest culprit is difficult to determine.

To find out a little about your hip flexor tightness, you can perform a Thomas test, which will test for shortness of the psoas major, rectus femoris, and tensor fasciae latae (TFL). If you do a YouTube search, you can see how this test is conducted. Basically, you lie on your back, hold one knee to your chest while the other leg is down. If the leg is elevated, it suggests that you have psoas tightness. If the leg is extended at the knee, it suggests tightness of the rectus femoris. If the leg drifts outward, it suggests tightness of the TFL. It's a good way to pinpoint some things.

To test for weak abdominals, do a plank test. I'd say that for an average person, a one-minute hold should be the minimum and for athletes, I'd say that 2 minutes should probably be the standard. The key is to make sure that you are not "rounding" too much in the upper back. If you do this, you will be cheating by using your upper back muscles to hold yourself up. The best thing to do is to take a stick, broomstick, or piece of PVC pipe and lay it across your back and maintain three points of contact - back of the head, upper back/thoracic spine, and sacrum (top edge of your butt). This will ensure proper positioning. Then, see how long you can hold that.

You can use a side plank to test for oblique weakness. The obliques are actually very important for depressing the ribcage and often weak in most individuals. Lying reverse crunches are an exercise that really seems to target these muscles well according to EMG studies.

To test for glute strength, do a glute bridge and the single-leg version. If you don't know what these things are, just do a YouTube search and you'll find a video. The single leg version may be called a "Cook" hip lift after therapist Gray Cook. Be careful to stabilize the core and the pressure should be through the heels when you raise up. If you feel anything in your lower back then you are substituting lower back extension for hip extension. This is very common in most individuals, especially gymnasts. This is why I feel that a lot of gymnasts have so many back problems. Females in general are very weak on their back side - posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings). This has been shown in the research as to why females are typically 6 or 7 to 1 in comparison to males with regards to ACL tears/ruptures. Those muscles play a big role in controlling the moevement of the femur (upper leg) and keeping pressure off of the ACL during landings, cutting maneuvers, etc.

So, work on your posture in an upright position and you might be surprised at the dramatic changes to that handstand :)
 
E

emacmommy

That was quite the in detail analysis. I think I may use some of that info to help prove weakness in some of my gymnasts. Some of them think they are very well rounded strength wise, but a) they're still too weak overall and b) some have some obvious imbalances.
 

enginesmilez

Member
May 17, 2009
58
it looks like your belly is sticking out a little bit which is causing your head to slightly come out. you may be like me and have that arching problem, but try to push up as hard as you can and pretend that you are about to touch your toes to the sky.
 

sgnsp235

Member
Oct 19, 2008
112
New York
Again, thanks so much for your help guys!!!

I mulled over a lot of your advice with my coach, and we decided to put a rolled up t-shirt under my neck for me to squeeze, so that I kept my shoulders out and my head in.

And it was the most unnerving handstand Ive ever done!

He said it was great but it was terrifying! I guess when you do something the wrong way over and over again, and get comfortable doing it the wrong way, its 10x harder to do it the right way, and in my case, it completely threw me off
:p

So Ill practice it more, and will post a new pic soon (hopefully) :)

Ill also work on my strength and flexibility. I have terrible flexibility, from my hamstrings, to my hips, to my glutes, etc. But i "passed" the Thomas test, with my legs bent...but not with my leg straight (i can barely get my legs past 90 degrees straight-flexibility is that bad :eek:)
 

ACoach78

Coach
Feb 22, 2007
112
USA
Ill also work on my strength and flexibility. I have terrible flexibility, from my hamstrings, to my hips, to my glutes, etc. But i "passed" the Thomas test, with my legs bent...but not with my leg straight (i can barely get my legs past 90 degrees straight-flexibility is that bad :eek:)


Legs bent? I don't think that you did the Thomas test. The Thomas test is a test to determine shortness of the iliacus/psoas, tensor fasciae latae (TFL), or the rectus femoris.

You sit your ischial tuberosities (right under the gluteal fold...right under your butt cheeks) at the edge of a table, lie back, and pull both knees to your chest. Then, you allow one leg to extend while still holding the opposite side knee. If the leg remains elevated, then the test is positive for iliacus/psoas shortness. If the knee is extended (versus being bent), then you are positive for tightness in the rectus femoris - the big quadriceps muscle on the front of the leg. If the leg drifts out to the side (abducts), then the test is positive for shortness of the TFL.

Here's a link to the test.

YouTube - Using the Thomas Test with the post rehab client
 
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