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S1 Episode 28: Q&A with Emmet and Mikael


In this Episode, Emmet and Mikael answer more questions from our listeners, discussing hand position in the handstand, conserving energy in longer handstand holds , different shoulder positions in advanced handstand position and handstands and longevity.

Want to have your say on the Handstandcast? You can now leave us a voice note here with your Q&A questions for Emmet and Mikael! If you have any specific topics you’d like us to cover, or want to send in questions for our Q&A episodes, please get in touch via our contact form.

S1E28 – Q&A with Emmet and Mikael

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Transcript of Episode 28: Q&A with Emmet and Mikael

EL: Hello, and welcome back to the Handstand Cast with me, Emmet Louis, and my co-host Mikael Kristiansen.  I would say, “How’s it going Mikael?” But he’s in the middle of a yawn.  I think that sums up my question.  How’s it going Mikael?

MK: Not too bad, I guess.  Could be worse.

EL: Cool.  His biceps are immense.  You should see the pump he has going on from his workout earlier.

MK: It’s enormous!  I’ve stopped hand balancing, and getting into bodybuilding now.

EL: Gonna become a swole-dier.  I kind of hope that you do that.

MK: I think it’s not going to happen.

EL: I don’t know.  I think you’d look good with the orange face paint.  You have to think of the fake tan as becoming the Ultimate Warrior.  He uses a lot of fake tan and is cool.

MK: At least he took enough gear to be a competitive bodybuilder.  Nah, I think I’ll skip it.  No competitive bodybuilding for me.

EL: First off, I’ll need to find the name of this person.  The person who sent us a picture of their Corgi and Siamese.  They’ve done us one better: check out my dog and my cat.

MK: That is good.  You have a dog and a cat, and you send us, you get plus one on strength.  I give you my blessing.

EL: Thank you for sending so many stories and tagging us in them.  Now we have a very difficult time finding who this person was.  He sent us his corgi.

I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed this about corgis, but I showed Mikael this, and you can look it up online: if you crossbreed a corgi with another dog, it just looks like a corgi is in disguise as that dog.

MK: Yeah it was rather weird.  They just get short legs and look corgi-fied.

EL: We’ll just have to leave it.  But thank you for the picture of the corgi and cat.  He had a siamese that wasn’t as bald as other siamese.

Anyways, let’s give those animals a rating.  We’ll give them 13/10, would pet extensively.  Feel free to send us your pets for ratings.

MK: Now we’re going to get a fuck ton of pets.

EL: Last time we only got one, so we’re trying again.  Send them to @HandstandFactory.  Okay, where are the questions for today.  We are doing another Q&A where we answer your questions.  If you would like to ask a question about anything related to hand balancing, handstanding, or anything we talk about, please feel free to send them to @HandstandFactory on Instagram, or the contact form on the website.  Or if you want to be edited into the podcast, like you were here with us in the studio, you can do a voice question on Anchor.FM and find us there.  Yeah, and phone ins are cool.

First question for today is a very simple one: hand positions for handstands – tenting fingers, or flat hands?

MK: Tenting, I guess that is first knuckle up?

EL: I’d call it first knuckle up, but other people would call that cambered, where you have the first knuckle down.  Other people would say this.

MK: Find a hand position that you like where you can apply pressure on the floor with nicely.  Don’t ever think about it again.

EL: Yeah it really is that simple.  I think a lot of people are too managing the micro.  Whenever I hear someone say, in hand balance, or any kind of skill, that you have to do it one day, and no other option…they’re generally wrong.  I can generally find a counter example.

MK: If you can find the counter example of someone being good with another hand position, it’s likely that that hand position is not the defining thing.

EL: I can probably find an equal number of people with the hand completely flat on the floor and fingers spread super wide, and an equal number of people who at the extreme, do the ultra pyramid hand style.

MK: It’s more rare with that.  We’ve talked about this before, but it’s likely to a degree down to a structural thing, in terms of bones and all this.  Maybe some in terms of muscle insertions or tendons; it’s hard to know.  As well, it’s just habits and what you feel you’re comfortable with.

That’s the primary thing.  Find a hand position where you feel your application of force into the ground is strong.  That is the practical reason of having your hand on the floor and using your fingers.  It’s not the surface area of the hand, but the forces your hand is able to exert on the floor.

That is why this high pyramid looking hand can work.  It’s still applying force to the ground in an efficient manner for that person, not how large the surface area of it looks.

EL: Yeah.  If you look at what we’re trying to do with the hand, we’re grabbing the ground.  You don’t really grab a ball with flat hands and try to keep your knuckle down.  The hand curves.

If you can’t get the force to your finger tips with a completely flat hand, as a lot of people say you must do, then curving the hand will probably work for you.

If on the other hand, you feel you can control and your sense of balance is very refined, then a flat hand could be very useful.  It’s up to you.

MK: Look for being able to utilize the pressure of your fingers and stick with what you feel good with there.  It’s not a detail that will change significantly; it’s largely an individual thing.

EL: Cool, our next question: I am trying to work towards 3 minutes on two arms, and feel like I waste a lot of energy making tiny fidgeting adjustments to my shoulder position.  I always want to make it a little more stacked, a little lighter.  I think it wastes more energy than sticking with what may be a little less ideal position.  Any thoughts or suggestions to break this habit?

MK: To me there’s two elements in there, kind of in opposition to another.  One is pushing for 3 minutes and feeling that you’re breaking form…what about aiming for 1 minute without breaking form?  That could be another way to look upon it.  If you’re looking for a stacked and very calm handstand, find the minute in that handstand first before aiming for 3 minutes or 2 minutes or whatever.

Trying to achieve a certain number is more about the specific achievement of such, or of getting strong and having enough endurance to do so.  If you feel yourself fidgeting too much, make sure you’re more in control with a lot shorter holds, perhaps.

EL: With endurance, if you’re trying to make the time, then you have a different thing than making the time with perfect form.  Say your max at the moment is 2 minutes and you’re trying to push beyond that, once you start getting to 2:20, 2:15, things are going to get sloppy and you’re going to have to grind through it.

It’s also, if we think of all the various muscles of the upper back that control the balance, forearm, or anything involved in balancing the handstand, they all get tired at slightly different rates.  When they’re fresh you can attain a perfect line.  They might need to deload and unload, stuff like this.  If you can break the line a little bit, it’s like hanging and trying to beat your hanging time.

If you’re hanging from the bar, take one hand off and shake it off a little, then grab back on, it allows you to stay longer than a fixed shape.

If you’re going for max endurance – say you want a 3 minutes handstand – then my advice would be to slowly let your form get worse, then restack to take a break, that kind of thing.

If you’re going for perfect form, you’re aiming to be super easy in the form.  You’re trying to find your weak points as well.  Is it your forearm fatigues first and you can’t balance correct?  Try it on blocks and see, as you’ll have an easier grip.  If you can hold 3 minutes on blocks, then it must be the forearms and you need stronger forearms or better endurance.

Generally, with all my students who can do much longer handstands and balances on two arms, every single one of them is really good at one arm and has really strong presses.  Getting really strong in stronger exercises will transfer to your endurance.

MK: That’s also the question: why do you want 3 minutes?  For me, on two arms, anything beyond standing for 2 minutes is for me the interest of standing longer on two arms.  You could then funnel that same amount of energy you spend on building to 3 or 4 or 5 on working on your one arm or press or whatever other skills.

This is up to interest.  There’s nothing wrong in wanting to do a 4 minute handstand, but it’s a specific interest that won’t necessarily carry over much further to other skills.

I’m a perfect example of that.  I probably couldn’t pull off a 5 minute handstand right now unless I trained a week for it or something.  There are people who can do 5 minute handstands who aren’t even close to my level on one arms or presses, or most advanced vocabularies.  There’s diminishing returns on what you’re going to get out of it, in terms of carryover.  But it’s up to you, what you want to do with it.

EL: I had a friend, just a quick note on endurance, who went to China in the earlier days when the Beijing Arts School had opened up for Westerners to come in.  She was pretty high level, good on her hands, could do one arms and was pretty flexible – all around pretty good.  They wouldn’t let her train one arms until she could do a 10 minute two arm.  I’m sure that was great for the 10kg kids who were training, but a 55kg woman, it wasn’t fair.

They’ve lessened up on the demands on Westerners now, because they think we’re lazy or don’t realize the difference.

When you’re approaching endurance, one thing to think about as well is, if you’re constantly going for max times, maybe you need a more structured program.  Build endurance in tuck shapes as well, to transfer into straight shapes.  Work on escalating density style.  Some days go for max straight shapes…if you think about training for endurance in middle distance running, how long are we running for?  It’s not just all out run the distance as hard as you can.  Some days we work a higher intensity for lower stuff, but still not doing 5 second intervals, but semi close in the zone.  You can think of it like that as well.

In general, figure out the bottleneck.

Question 3.  In one of the episodes Mikael and Emmet reference different shoulder positions in one arm handstand positions: regular one arm, flag one arm, straddle, and figa.  I’d be curious to hear more about that.

Maybe you could explain the three families?

MK: 3 or 4.  They are very similar.  The better you are on your arms the less you will feel a difference.  There will be certain things that will change depending on- the arm’s job is to stay vertical to the ground to some degree or other.  If you’re doing a deep flag, either you bend it or you might need to move the hand away from the face, meaning the arm becomes diagonal.  You’re still pushing into the floor to avoid your shoulder collapsing.

In the straight one arms, basically you shift your hip over your arm, press through the shoulder and the arm is basically…you can emulate that position by lifting your arm above your head and elevating the arm quite strongly and maintaining slight external rotation to be kind of doing a one arm shape with the arm.

When you’re doing a Figa, the best way I could explain the shoulder positioning there is: if you grab a weight and put it overhead in the same kind of position as you’d be in a one arm handstand, then you do a windmill.  What that does is, you shift your pelvis out to the side or backwards and have your hands sliding down your neck.  It’s as if you keep pushing higher slightly.  If you stand, you have your weight overhead and tilt your pelvis out to your side and do nothing, your arm will go diagonal.  This doesn’t work.  The arm needs to stay vertical.  Hence you push farther up to maintain that verticality of the arm.  This changes where the arm is slightly, in relation to the rest of the body, since the body pikes out to the side in a Figa.  You won’t see a change in the actual arm from a straight one arm, but in the body shape.  That means the shoulder gets placed slightly differently.

In flags, of course, you’re leaning your body out a lot.  You need to resist the tendency of the arm falling away from the head.  There is an inwards pressure.  You almost need to push your arm, not towards your head, but if you’re doing a deep flag and maintain your arm fully straight you feel it a lot in the bicep.  It’s similar to a planche.  Not really, but you’ll feel it in the bicep if you keep that.

The fourth family would be a press.  It’s very similar to a flag, especially if you’re good at both types of positions.  A press version is where you go into a flag position and pike the other leg.  It offers a bit of a different relation with the free arm, and how you reach with it to counter balance the fact that the legs are piking.  There’s a little bit of difference in the rotation of the shoulder as you do so, particularly if you go farther into a deep press situation, compared to a flag.

Roughly, those are four sorts of alignments of the shoulder where the changes in the lower body force you to change the shape you’re in and the shoulder.  Whereas if, for example, you do a straddle one arm to straight one arm, you’re not changing anything in the shoulder.  It just stays fully the same.  All it needs to do is be faster in the corrections as the legs go up, due to the higher centre of mass and shorter rotation of the lever.

EL: Just to add on to this.  The straight shape is basically going to be the same.  Flags are kind of interesting because in a lot of people, they have a different flavour to their handstand.  Don’t forget that.  What I see in a lot of people in flags is if you look at the shoulders, they’re normally at a bit of a diagonal angle matching the hip angle, for most people in a one arm.

In a flag, the opposite shoulder will come down, so the shoulders end up more horizontal.  Depending on how flexible you are on your sides, and your own individual proportions, if you think of the shoulders counterbalancing the weight of the legs, that comes down to keep it see-sawed on the other side of the pivot point.  It will also need to move horizontal away.  When this horizontal goes away, particularly in the straight flag, one of two things will happen.

You will see people bend the elbows slightly.  This will set up the diagonal humerus to the scapula.  Or, they’ll open out the arm to about 30-40º away, whereas before it might be 15º.  It opens up to get that counter balance needed for flag.

One of the things for Figa is the shoulder position is pretty unique to everyone.  We have some general ways of teaching the exercise, but you see some really weird positions in Figa.  You see people who have their arm basically in what would be an overhead squat position, if you can imagine that.  You’ll see people where the opposite scapula is basically stacked vertically in line with the arm, like Andrey Moraru.

MK: When he does the legs together Figa, it’s as if he does a lateral abduction of the arm to 90º.  That is in relation to the body because he’s so folded together; it’s incredible.  I tried replicating it holding onto a bar, and there is nothing I can do with my body to get into that extreme of a position.  It’s definitely one that’s a bit up to proportions, but also up to flexibility.  Particularly there are some ladies that are very flexible in the low back and stuff.  Rather than doing this kind of closed pike, when you pike the legs in a similar way to press to handstand, where you compress the legs hard towards the body.  Some of them arch the low back, setting the hips behind and then just pull the legs in from there.  It allows you to change the shoulder a lot less, because you can move from the pelvic area.  It does seem like all the segments up through the spine, the spinal rotation, and flexion of the shoulder, and also the elbow structure will matter quite a lot in the Figa.

If you see it from the side, very often the elbow contributes significantly to the flexion you need.

I think it’s definitely the most complex position in terms of variation between people.

EL: A lot of the other handstands we can have a generalized technique that looks similar for different body proportions.  Even then, people have nuances.

With Figa, we have the drills to teach you.  You do the drills.  Then you come out the other side of the Figa maze and that’s your Figa.

MK: It’s a tricky one to learn.  I’d also like to say briefly about flags- I know several people, who have excellent full flags, that like to drop their shoulder a bit when doing full flag.  They’re not as elevated.  They kind of allow the shoulder to go down, bringing the chest a tiny bit out.  This allows for more rotation through the spine as they bend over the side.

Again, it’s very much an individual preference, and also how flexible you are in the sides and all that.

EL: Do you have an extra rib?  Do you have that big rib space we spoke about in the anatomical quirks episode?

We basically solved the problem by coming up with our own ideas, our own ways of doing it, I suppose.

Question 4 – this is a good one: I haven’t heard you cover it yet, but I’d like to hear your perspectives and thoughts on handstand and longevity.  What are some of the longterm benefits and negatives?  How can we keep hand balancing to an old age?  What are some of the oldest hand balancers you’ve seen?

MK: I think it’s one of the disciplines you can keep longer, if you compare it to circus and other things.  It’s not so plyometric, there’s not many fast movements.  If you do a high level hand balancing practice and compare that to, on average, a high level tumbling practice, the kinds of injuries you’d be getting from long term stuff like tumbling, especially with ankles and all the repeated impact over the years, or the spine, and so on.

It seems that people who do very dynamic types of disciplines need to slow down earlier than the ones that are slower.  Hand balancing is a slow one and can be done with effective technique, flexibility, and also strength.

One thing that I’ve found fascinating now that I’m in my 30s is also seeing in a lot of these strength sports, such as weightlifting.  You often see guys that are older lifting substantial weights.  Some of the strongest people aren’t 22.  It does seem similar to hand balancing, in that you can keep quite a lot.

Everything that is kind of the edge of a person’s maximal ability will be what goes out first.  You will of course, if you do this kind of thing for a very long time, you will experience the “issues” such as shoulders, wrists, and possibly you’re so trained in one specific way of moving that…for example, me, I used to have pretty good shoulder extension and haven’t worked on shoulder extension since I stopped straps several years ago.  So my shoulder extension is garbage.  It hasn’t bothered my shoulders much, but it’s probably good to keep some variation in it if you want longevity, though it’s hard to pinpoint any specific protocol that will keep you uninjured.

It’s good to do more things, I would say, if you want to keep it.  In terms of age, I’ve seen many people in their mid 40s to 50s.  Yuval Ayalon, for example, is..I’m not sure how old, but middle to end of his 40s, and he’s keeping at least a 5-6 days a week practice.  He’s a high level hand balancer.

I remember Ricardo Sosa, an ultra contortionist, who has the worst hips I’ve ever seen, in the way he can bend them.  He was doing pretty crazy stuff and I think he was in his 50s.  I saw him press one arm on the floor, and I think he was in his 50s.

Also that guy, Yury Tikhonovich, he had some acts on YouTube years and years ago.  I think he was in his 50s when he was doing croco to one arm, like 50 times in a row on a box.  He was at least in his late 40s.  So I would assume both these guys are still pretty capable on their hands.  I think it’s ultimately to what degree you’re able to keep practicing, and keep yourself healthy in general.  Of course, you need to be more careful and there’s a difference in practice when 22 versus your 40s.  You need to take that into account if you want longevity.

EL: I think, as Mikael covered it, handstands are so controlled.  Hopefully there’s no real risk if you’re keeping practice, barring catastrophic injuries.  So that’s pretty good.  It’s not like we’re doing olympic weightlifting and there’s a risk every time you lift that bar up, that you might miss.  Even if it’s a weight you should be able to do.

It’s pretty much that, in terms of speed of execution.  The other thing you want to think about is having generalized physical preparation.  Handstands is a very specific discipline with specific needs.  It doesn’t cover all your fitness bases.  It won’t.  It is just too specific.

So you have to think, what are the basic things?  We need a bit of cardiovascular training somehow.  We need a bit of general physical preparation.  This is when things get nebulous.  What I mean by that is a workout routine that covers general exercises – push ups, pull ups…Bench press could be done, military press, maybe using some weights.  A bit in variety in this, aiming to obviously get stronger and maintain muscle mass as you age.  Does it need to be pushing your strength to the highest limits?  Probably not, because that’s when things will blow.

Longevity isn’t always athletic.  People think, I’ll train like an athlete – and don’t get me wrong, it’s very good to have athleticism – but to train like someone doing a track and field or powerlifting contest does not have longevity in it.  To train generally in the manner they might could be very useful.  A bit of yard work never goes down wrong.

These kinds of things.  Staying active, but not super active.  Making sure you pay attention when you start getting all these joint niggles, and other things.  It’s not letting small things, which you will get if you practice, become big things.  That means doing your rehab properly.  These will give you longevity in a discipline.

The other thing.  I think the two oldest disciplines I see people regularly doing in circus is handstands and contortion.  Oddly enough people think contortion isn’t, but I’ve seen a few who are 70 but would rinse both of us in flexibility terms.  It comes down to genetics and everything, but they do have a very good practice.  They do pay attention to all their strength ratios, they know what they’re doing, and they’re not pushing things.  You will reach a peak at maybe mid to late 30s, you reach your ultimate level.  Once you reach there, you can sustain that for quite a long time for a discipline like hand balance.  The oldest hand balance act I’ve seen with a guy who was pretty good was 70 something.  He was in a trad circus so I didn’t get to speak to him outside the show.  70 something, still doing handstands on cane, presses, one arm, shapes.  He finished the act with one of the highest block drops to canes I’ve ever seen.  The highest impact handstand trick you can do, 6 or 7 blocks high.  He was doing a bit of flag spinning on the feet.  It was a pretty high skill act, but done flawlessly with a smile.  A few wrinkles.

You can keep going quite a long time.  Will you be doing all your hardest tricks at the highest level?  No.  Can you have a sustainable lifelong practice if you pay attention to your body?  Yes.

MK: There’s the guy I also saw in a show in France by a Russian bar guy.  If you don’t know what Russian bar is, go on YouTube and search for Russian bar circus to find out.  It’s basically a kind of thing where if you make a significant enough mistake, you’re…pretty injured, or dead.  You fly very high.

The guy flying was 64 I think.  He looked like was made out of granite, more ripped than most 25 year olds training really hard.  He pulled out a triple backflip on the Russian bar.  He was also doing an act in aerial chain – basically aerial rope, but a chain.  He was doing full twists on it, three in a row.  Instead of doing the temple swing you usually do, he’d just hang and pull himself up to a front lever really quickly, turn, catch again and lower down, then repeat 2 more times.  He was just an ultra monster.

It’s very rare with those cases of course.  Definitely an outlier but it’s certainly possible.

EL: I think people have a negative concept of aging in the West.  I’ve been to Asia a lot, and people are just more active over there.  They’re in great shape and are doing things that would put Westerners to shame at the age we’re in.

I remember one time in Bangkok we were doing some training in the park.  This little old Chinese man came up to us, “What are you doing?  I do workout too, street workout.”  We were like, cool.

He starts busting out one arm pushups after saying he did them.  I was expecting him to do a kind of bad form twitchy one.  No, no, no.  He did 20 one arm push ups, with a form that was wrecking my feeble 5 reps.  It was just like, okay.  Then he was like, “I do these jumping clap one arm push ups!”  And he starts doing one hand, fingertip superman pushups.

It was really nice because we got chatting for a while.  He said, “I go swimming across the river every day.”  He points to the river, and it’s like a mile wide.  Then he told us he swims back as well.  “Some days I don’t, when I’m in a rush.  But every day I swim across the river.”

Then he’s like, “Check out my mother.  She’s 90 and playing basketball.  I was teaching her basketball the other week; she’s never played before.  I was like, mom you’re 90, you have to learn basketball.”  I’m making this guy sound young.  He was young.  He had an old body, but he was young.  He showed me a video of his mother playing basketball at 90, and she was a 90 year old…playing basketball.  Let’s not imagine Kobe Bryant here, but she was playing basketball at 90.  It is Chinese people and they do exaggerate their age a little, but this guy looked like a prune and was pretty wrinkled.  Even if he was 50 doing these things, he was still in savage shape.  Maybe he was 70.  Benefit of the doubt.  They always add 20 to their age, apparently.

Now that I’ve worked with a few older people, and have some clients in their 50s who came to me with nothing, were never super flexible but: got splits, got head to toe, handstands, press handstands.  For me, it was like, we have some people and I’ll train them as an experiments but my expectations were not great.  I’d say that’s my own personal bias.  But I trained them just as I’d train anyone else.

The only thing I noticed in the 50+ year olds was what it would take normal 20, 30 year old clients to achieve in 2 training phases, of 4-6 weeks, would take 3 phases.  What a younger person could do in 12 weeks would take them 18 weeks to do it.  They’re still doing it.  You’ve seen Ritta at the retreat, doing chair splits and everything.

MK: When you said this about aging in the West, we base our ideas on athletic ability.  Of course we base it around the competitive athletes we see, like football players and gymnastics, and sprinters, and so on.  Of course it will be young people doing all these things.  Then they retire.

We also have a generalized societal structure too, where you do your education, then you get a job, and go into the stable life.  I think this kind of shapes our ideas of how this athletic practice and progress has to be done as well.  You start early, then peak at a certain young age.  If you’re a competitive athlete at the world level, and there’s a chance you can’t even hang with the top 10 anymore, people start to fade out and quit.  Being a competitive athlete at the highest level is about trying to win the thing.

Then of course people stop their activities.  I think that creates the idea that by the time you’re 30, you’re basically in a massive decline.  Also if you read that really old handstand book, The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing by Paulinetti, I think he writes that he started hand balancing at 26.  He was a tumbler and he hurt his ankles so bad that he had to stop tumbling.

It’s a good example with tumbling, because if you sustained bad enough damage to your ankles, it might be very hard to actually do much, since it requires you to have the plyometric ability of the feet and ankles, to even be able to do anything.

I think he wrote in the book that he peaked around 44, and that was his best age.  So, I mean, it’s certainly possible to keep a rather high level towards at least the later stages.

I remember in that old video of Yuval as well, when he does what he calls the 40 set, with 10 stalders, 10 handstand pushups, 10 pike presses and 10 straddle presses in one set.  It took him 4 minutes, for his 40th birthday.  It’s a pretty damn rough set.  I couldn’t pull that off without pretty substantial training for several months, I think, if even then.

EL: Let’s put Yuval in context, for people who don’t know him.  He was a competitive gymnast, quite a way up.  He learned circus, had a full career in Cirque, had back surgery?  Shoulder surgery?  He’s in a place where potentially his body would have been done the athletic career, stopped after a full career in gymnastics, time to go get fat.  No, he did circus as well, and kept that going for 10-15 years.  He’s moved into teaching now, but still pretty good, and I think he’s getting better, actually.

MK: That is a good point.  I was speaking with him not so long ago.  It’s kind of a perfect example.  If him, or even an athlete of 20, tried to do a 40 set like he did, on a regular basis, then you’re putting yourself in an immense risk zone.  You’re doing super heavy loads.  That is maybe not the best idea to do when you are aging, all the time.  Of course, it’s a challenge.  He completed it and then left it alone.  It just proves that you can be able to do very, very crazy things, even as you age.  But would he repeat that every week?  Probably not, because it’s not a good idea.

EL: It’s like training for a marathon, I suppose.  You do a structured training plan, which I know he did.  He did a plan he was following, titrating up in load and intensity, and all this, working on components and details.  Then, tada, he got the feat.  It’s just like running a marathon; you have your peak level, but don’t train at that every day.

I always tell people, pick what skill to work, and in handstand work, 70% is awesome.  You can sustain 70% for a very long time.  That just means you can’t chase glory every single set, and have to back off and possibly leave the workout when you feel like you haven’t done enough and are ready to go and do a bit more.  You’re probably at the right point then to leave the workout.

MK: Also referring to competitive sports, they train to peak at the competition, and then they can take it easy.  That is different from a daily practice kind of thing, or a performer’s cycle.

One example I love to take is if you take a ring gymnast and ask them to do their Olympic level routine, they can do that, and can perform it and it can be flawless.  But you couldn’t take that Olympic level world championship routine and put it into a circus show, for example, where you have to perform 5-10 times a week.  It wouldn’t work; you don’t have the time for recovery, so the difficulty is not something that is viable in that kind of context.  That is why also performers can’t structure routines in ways you would be doing if you were a competitive athlete.  That is something to remember when trying to learn all these things.  You don’t need to chase the hardest of your achievements every single day.  You’re just operating in an extra risk zone, basically.

EL: I lost my train of thought.  Rip that out.  That was the end of our questions for this evening, actually, so I think we’ll wrap it up there.  If you want to ask us any questions on anything handstand or similarly related, you can always send your questions to us on @HandstandFactory on Instagram.  If you want to send us your cats or animals and want us to rate them…send us your ferrets as well.  If anyone has a ferret please send it in.

MK: Or trash pandas.

EL: Yeah those are cool.  Anything fluffy or animal like.  Anything bald and animal like.  Reptiles are acceptable.  Fish too.

Other than that, if you want to support our podcast, or take your hand balancing skills to the next level, please check out our programs on HandstandFactory.com.  Other than that, we’ll get back to you next week.

Enjoy staring at the floor.

MK: Cheers.


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