The Tiger Bend

The Tiger Bend!

On top of being a skill to work towards on its own, the tiger bend is also a good way to work up to a full on handstands. Since you are resting on your entire lower arm and hand you have a bigger base with which to balance.

When you get over the fact that it can be an odd position to try and get into, the benefits of the tiger bend start to shine. All the main points of holding a handstand are still there, like keeping tight, but you may have to arch your back a little more for this one.

Though it is a lateral move to the handstand, its also an advanced move that can increase the control and variety of skills you have in your library. It involves going from the Forearm Stand up into a Handstand. With a little overbalancing and strong triceps you can get there.

Since this is a move that can’t be pulled off quickly, here are two easier ways. Do the negative movement which is dropping from a Handstand into a Forearm Stand. When you go for this don’t just fall into the position but control it as much as possible.

You can also do Tiger Bend Pushups. Get in a normal pushup position except you are resting on your forearms instead of the hands. Without any rocking motion pushup on to your hands to the top position and lower back down.

These moves aren’t performed often but that doesn’t mean they aren’t great.

Stay Inverted!
-Jonathan Magno

P.S. For the more advanced inverted artist, you can try to duplicate Johnny Weber’s one arm Tiger Bend. Find out how to do it in The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing. The picture above is of Sig Klein from the same book.

 

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The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing

For many people, today is a special day. I’m not going to get too deep into it, but it does involve a heart, candy, and maybe some stuffed animals.

What I am going to get into is a book on hand balancing that can be used as a starting point to learning the handstand correctly as well as a look into the history of hand balancing. This book is called The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing.

The authors of the book, Professor Paulinetti and Robert L. Jones, have a combined experience of 70+ years practicing and teaching hand balancing and gymnastics. In the 1940’s they wrote THE book on this art.

Although we have many guides of information here, this book gives you an inside look at how this skill gained a following in the earlier years. This book is filled with information and insight on hand balancing

Happy Valentines Day and pick up The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing today!

Stay Inverted!
-Jonathan Magno

 

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Refining your Handstand Push up

Earlier we talked about the two types of handstand presses. Today, we’ll go a bit more into an often utilized bent arm version. The handstand pushup.

Many people begin their hand balancing against a wall. This was the case for me and I know its the same for many others.

On top of that holding a handstand while doing pushups is one of the ultimate bodyweight exercises for your upper body; with or without a wall.

Think of the upper body strength attainable by being able to rep out a freestanding handstand pushup. You can find many admirable people with supreme strength attain this move. These range from the different BAR groups like the Bar Brothers to the movement groups like GMB.

Whichever method you choose, one thing is for certain. Strength and balance are key.

One thing I noticed that tends to throw people off is their hand and arm position.

If you were to kick up against a wall to do pushups what position would you take? Is this the same position you’d take away from the wall?

Play around with the width and angle of you hands and arms and you will find you can change the difficulty of handstand pushups considerably

Discover the newfound strength in your presses with our Ultimate Guide to Handstand Push-ups Bundle.

Stay Inverted!
-Jonathan Magno

 

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The Division of the Handstand Press

When you finally understand the mechanics of the handstand, it no longer takes that much strength to perform it. But if you want to start building some inverted strength, start progressing to the handstand pushup.

handstand pushup variation

Handstand pushup demonstrated by Logan Christopher of Legendary Strength

 

Handstand Presses can be broken down into two main groups. The straight arm and the bent arm press.

The various bent arm presses take a high degree of strength in the shoulders, triceps and also the chest in many cases.

Straight arm press-ups still take strength but in different areas. Also you will need flexible wrists, hamstrings, and the ability to compress your body in half. In fact the more flexibility you have the less strength you will need.

For all these reasons most people will be better at either straight arm or bent arm presses. There are many people who can do the straight arm variety but will fall on their face if they have to bend their arms.

On the other hand most strong people can do many bent armed presses. These take tremendous arm and shoulder strength to pull off successfully as you have to hold your entire bodyweight in mid air for a length of time. But for these people the straight arm presses can be elusive.

In the end true mastery comes from being able to do both. In order to do this you must train for both.

Presses are not easy, especially if you haven’t been training as a gymnast. But it can be done.

If you’ve ever wondered why hand balancers are so strong this is one of the major keys. So start pressing.

If you need some help in getting started with presses, why not check our Ultimate Guide to Handstand Push-ups Bundle.

Stay Inverted!
-Jonathan Magno

 

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Autoregulation – A Framework for Building Skill

In a previous post, I covered overcoming hurdles and changing things up. I even discussed an interesting buzzword; autoregulation.

I didn’t want to get too deep into autoregulation at that point because I wanted to keep things simple. Although I think today is a perfect time to discuss what this whole autoregulation thing is about.

Autoregulation in its base training terms means to adjust the training session to the body’s needs at that point in time. First off let me say that this doesn’t mean to jump into every session without a plan and guns shooting. That is off course from what we are looking for in our own training, although having time to play while you train has its merits.
What we are talking about is having an adjustable framework to work from.
Lets take our wall assisted handstand as an example. To add to this, lets set a simple baseline to follow while your understanding this method. There are many methods to autoregulation including those from our friends at Gold Medal Bodies.
To start off, lets take the ideas of quality, quantity, and time. Say that our chosen training activity, the wall assisted handstand, will be given a time frame of 20 minutes. In that 10 minute time frame, I set a goal(quantity) of a 30 second handstand with a quality of a controlled kick-up lightly touching the wall and straight line. I have an added base point of stopping after not being able to hold a quality 20 second handstand even if its before the 20 minute time frame ends.
So what I’ve done is set up some “soft” parameters that i can play with in order to adjust my body accordingly to the task. This is important when building a skill, because you are learning to utilize your body. We have the added biological mess, that your bodies current state is a result of stimuli received previously.
You can look up more on the subject by doing a quick google search. But if you want to get a tasted of auto-regulated skill training, test out one of the many Gold Medal Bodies training programs.

Stay Inverted!
-Jonathan Magno

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Do you Have Sensitive Hands?

Oddly enough this is an actual question that I’m asking you.

Our hands are incredible tools. According to a book on hand dynamics, it takes a third of our motor brain to control the hands. And by the fact alone, we are able to manipulate tools and thus build an advanced civilization unlike any other animal.

When you think about it, our hands are very amazing instruments. They have so many dynamic ranges of movement they can achieve, that its mind boggling. They can create art, play musical instruments, hold large weights, massage another person, and much more.

Hand balancing doesn’t just take strength. That’s an obvious thing to anyone who has ever tried a handstand.

In order to balance you need sensitivity. Being able to feel minor movements in your body and weight distribution and correct them by manipulating your fingers and wrists.

Let me leave you with a final thought.

Sometimes you need to concentrate on the big picture. Other times you need to look at the very small details.

The next time you are inverted, give some added thought to the slightest movements in your hands. It might help you out.

Stay Inverted!
-Jonathan Magno

PS If you want guided path on your hand balance journey, check out our Handstand Mastery Course.

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Do you Roll Forward or Reverse Engineer it?

Rolling on the floor. It seems like a simple task. But many people seem to have a tough time with it. The simplest reason why is because they dive straight into it without the right body feel.

When somebody is  initially taught the roll, they start off in a kneeling position, and the first point of contact tends to be their shoulder. Following the contact with the shoulder the next point of contact tends to be the lower back or rump. This is usually exemplified by a large thump or possible yell.

So why does this occur? The two culprits are body kinesthetic and flexibility. When a person is rolling they need to be able to feel the connection of their back to the floor. On top of that, they need to be flexible enough to round out their back to create the shape necessary to roll.

Where does a person start to gain the tools necessary. They should begin at the point of contact that most of the issues occur. That point would be the mid-back. Build the right body feel and flexibility in that area and the roll will be an easy task.

A great example on building this body feel comes from Ryan Hurst of GMB Fitness.  Below, he demonstrates a set of progressions that you can use to develop the right feel to easily develop your rolling skills.

If you found this tutorial useful. Check out the GMB Vitamin Course to gain more skills similar to the roll.

Stay Inverted!
-Jonathan Magno

 

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Training Differently in Your Routines

Last week I posted about adding weights to your hand balance training. Its a great way to build up the necessary muscles and stimulate the right activation. But, what do you do if you keep training in the same manner but reach a standstill. I can get into processes like autoregulation, but I’m going to make this simple and say just change things up!

There was a time when I would spend about 30 min 5-6 days a week on my hand balancing. Not including the periodic times during the day.

Luckily, I have a nice open floor to train. Although working on the freestanding handstand is great, constantly working on your bailout isn’t. In other words it doesn’t help if you cant keep the hold.

I could have probably tried to power through it. If you quit every time something gets difficult you won’t ever achieve anything great. But I’m more a technical guy than power.

So I decided to test and change things up. I tried variations off the fall, different surfaces, and even stalling from cartwheels.

This creates the dual effect of shocking your body and refreshing your mind. If you ever feel tired and stuck a small or even big change-up is what you may need.

As long as you stay consistent you will get better. All you might need is a little alteration.

There is so much variety in hand balancing, if you stay creative, you’ll never get bored.

If you need some help in getting started, why not check out our Handstand Mastery Course.

Stay Inverted!
-Jonathan Magno

 

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Hand Balancing and Cross Training with Weights?

Will weight-lifting help you with your hand balancing skill? That’s a tricky question, although not too difficult. The answer is YES and NO.

I’m going to expound on the idea. First off, weight-lifting is a ranged term which can involve power lifting, olympic lifts, bodybuilding, or old-fashioned strength training. A big qualifier on your results is in how you lift.

Certain exercises are going to help you out. And others won’t do much for you.

Specifically for pressing movements. It requires a tremendous amount of strength to be able to push your own body overhead. You need strong triceps, shoulders, and core.

Since many of the inverted presses take you through different planes of movement; not strictly overhead work, like the frogstand press, you will also need strong pectoral muscles in addition to the core.

So strengthening these muscles will make your stunts easier.

Then again hand balancing takes a huge degree balance. While weightlifting can help your coordination, it is nothing compared to what you need to stand on your hands.

Being able to press a heavy barbell overhead has no carryover to being able to hold a handstand.

A handstand is a skill and needs to be practiced in order for you to get good at it.

These days many people are moving away from weights because they think they are not functional. You know what? It just depends on what you’re doing with them.

Whether you decide to build you upper body strength with barbell presses or with handstand pushups is up to you. They both build strength.

So in short, look at what your own goals are and see what will work best for your situation.

If you need some help in getting started, why not check out our Handstand Mastery Course.

Stay Inverted!
-Jonathan Magno

 

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The Path of the Shaolin Monk: Training with your Fingers

What’s interesting to me is about how many people have embraced the benefits and fun of being inverted. You can catch people training at a park or even at you’re local gym. Although, if there is one form of hand balancing that you don’t see much of today, its training with your fingers.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t practice it.

Let me start off with a word of caution. The fingers are small and fragile. You have to start off by being mindful of your body while beginning your training; otherwise you may end up breaking them, snapping tendons or any number of bad possibilities. So be careful.

Starting with a fingertip handstand is probably too much for most people. Even this most basic move must be worked up to. And fingertip pushups are the best way to do that.

Even without practicing finger balancing, your hand and finger strength will improve over time. Just from the practice of balancing on your hands you can’t help but gain some strength in your digits.

But for true fingertip stunts you need to do them in one form or another.

If you are ready for the fingertip handstand then I suggest using a wall on your first go. Holding your body weight on your fingers is one thing. Balancing is another.

Not only do you have a smaller base of support but you must add pressure in order to stay balanced. This makes your fingers support your weight and then some.

If starting with your finger is still a bit away from your level, but you want to develop your hand balancing, check out our handstand mastery course.

Stay Inverted
-Jonathan Magno

 

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