matt grant

standing on my hands

About 8 months ago I started to get interesting in learning to do a handstand.

I’ve been focussed on gymnastic and bodyweight oriented strength training for around 5 years but had never really considered handstands.

When you’re young and first getting started in gymnastics, handstands are something you spend an large amount of time doing. The shoulder strength and stability that they build along with the balance and control required serves as a basis for a wide variety of movements.

So I decided to go back to basics.

There’s no secret with handstands. Once you understand the body, line and form cues it’s just a matter of practice. To understand of this and for some input on how to structure my practice, I sought out experienced hand-balancer and acrobat Yuval Ayalon.

Since then, it has become how I start every day.

Like many skills, it’s a non-linear process. There can be a tendancy to get obsessed with the goal. To get frustrated with the lack of progress. Some days I even seem to regress. But I’m learning to step outside the ego-dominated frame and recognise that being able to do a handstand isn’t really what it’s all about.

It is about the journey and not the destination.

I have to constantly remind myself of this. I feel the anger creep in. But it only makes things worse. I tense up, my kick isn’t smooth and my alignment is rigid and forced rather than controlled. So I have to bring myself back to the present, treat each attempt as it’s own entity and when it’s over, forget about it and move on to the next.

It’s now a sort of meditative space. The handstand is just a by-product. Progress comes, slowly. But I’m ok with that. I’m getting there.

When you try something new, it’s not just about whether or not you like it. It can turn out to be valuable in ways you never imagined.