Friday Inspiration – Learning the Handstand

Handstand training begins in earnest this weekend.  To figure out how I should go about the progression, I’ve been watching some youtube video.  Despite the low budget quality, I think this is one of the best.

Dude’s advice on using a doorframe to practice the free standing handstand is genius.  I wonder what E is going to say when I’m kicking up to a handstand in the doorway to our closet?

2013 Goals – Bodyweight Exercises

In order of priority the three kinds of physical activity I am focusing on are running, body-weight work, and rock climbing.  Being me, there are  of course tons of other types of exercises I dabble in, including cross country skiing, cycling, tennis, swimming, boxing, lifting, the list goes on.  But I’m not taking any of those particularly seriously.  The only activities I’m setting goals for this year are running and body-weight.  I enjoy climbing immensely, and hope to do more of it in the coming year, but I am also realistic enough to know I am never going to be able to give the sport the time needed to get truly good at it.

I’ve already written about my running goals, here are some thoughts on body-weight training.

Body weight training has always appealed to the minimalist in me, I love the simplicity, and I aspire to have the grace and strength to weight ratio of people like Jim Bathhurst from Beast Skills.

How to get there?  I’m taking a four pronged approach – research, strength building, increased flexibility and skills training.

Research

First, I’m researching, thinking, watching and reading.  Soon I’ll be doing a lot more writing.  I’ve been dipping into Overcoming Gravity, the best book I’ve found on body-weight training.  I’m watching tons of youtube videos and I’m pestering Joe at movementmovement for help.  I have a lot more to learn. For now I’m going to focus on building strength at the major body-weight exercises, improving my flexibility, and developing two skills – one upper body and one lower body.

Strength

For strength, I’m going with  four foundational body-weight exercises – push ups, pull ups, dips and squats.  I’ll be doing these every other day with goals of 100 push ups,30 pull ups, 50 dips, and 100 squats in single sets.  I’ll be doing all four exercises in a single session three times a week, tentatively on Tuesdays, Thursday, and Sundays.  Lumping them all together in a single day will likely slow my strength progression, but such are the breaks.  For the push ups I’ll be using the 100 push up challenge program.  For the other exercises I’ll just be slowing inching up the reps.  This program starts tomorrow.  I’m excited.

Flexibility

There is substantial debate about whether increased flexibility is good or bad for endurance athletes.  This is what I know – stretching feels good and the more flexible I am, the better I feel.  When I was coming back from Achilles injury last year, flexibility played a big role in my recovery.  I’m going to keep that up and make a commitment to extensive stretching every evening, with special attention to my hamstrings, hips, ankles, and shoulders.  I’m still toying with this routine.  I’ll post more details at some point.

Skills

Finally, this winter I’ll be working two longer term skills – the free standing handstand and the pistol.  I chose the handstand because its foundational for so much else that I want to do, and it’s a fucking bad-ass move to pull out at picnics.  The pistol is an incredible test of strength, flexibility, and balance.  Plus, it is supposed to help my rock climbing.

For these skills I’ll be using the tutorials Jim has on Beastskills, plus some guidance from my good buddy Joe.  For now, I’ll be working these skills at the start of my body-weight workout sessions.  Once I have some strength, I’ll probably start working the handstand and the balance aspects of the pistol every day.

I know what you’re thinking – “Geesh Sean, that’s a lot. How are you going to fit all this all in ?”  Here’s how I’m thinking it will break down:

It could be I am biting off more than I can chew, I’ve been known to do that.  If I have, I’ll regroup.  But for now, this is the schedule.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
AM Easy Run AM

Easy Run

AM

“workout” Run

AM

Easy Run

AM

Easy Run

AM

Long Run

AM

Rest

PM

Stretch

PM

Bodyweight/

Stretch

PM

Stretch

PM

Bodyweight/

Stretch

PM

Stretch

PM

Stretch

PM

Climb/ Bodyweight/

Stretch

Although they are boring, and no one reads them, I’ll going to be bringing back to weekly training total posts to track my progress.  Here’s to a year of injury free fun!