(function(w,d,s,l,i){w[l]=w[l]||[];w[l].push({'gtm.start': new Date().getTime(),event:'gtm.js'});var f=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0], j=d.createElement(s),dl=l!='dataLayer'?'&l='+l:'';j.async=true;j.data-privacy-src= 'https://www.googletagmanager.com/gtm.js?id='+i+dl;f.parentNode.insertBefore(j,f); })(window,document,'script','dataLayer','GTM-5GSGBTH');

S1 Episode 36: Training in Hard Times


In this Episode of the Handstandcast, Emmet and Mikael take a break from the regular scheduled programming to talk about managing your training load, while also trying to deal with the state of the world. Sharing their experiences of how the current situation has affected them, as well as how to approach training for yourselves and ideas for training at home.

We hope you enjoy it!

S1E36 – Training in Hard Times

Love the podcast? We’re 100% coffee fuelled, so if you’d like to help keep us going you can easily support the Handstandcast by buying us a coffee here:

Buy me a coffeeBuy me a coffee

This podcast is brought to you by Handstand Factory, and is produced by Motion Impulse. To keep up with our weekly episodes, and help us spread the word, make sure to follow and subscribe to the Handstandcast wherever you listen to podcasts!

Love the podcast? We’re 100% coffee fuelled, so if you’d like to help keep us going you can easily support the Handstandcast by buying us a coffee here:

Buy me a coffeeBuy me a coffee

Transcript of Episode 36: Training in Hard Times

EL: Hello, and welcome back to Handstand Cast with me, Emmet Louis, and my co host Mikael Kristiansen.  Before we get started, I’d just like to say that I love our intro music.  It’s fucking awesome.

MK: It could definitely be a Mega Man stage, exactly how I wanted it.

EL: I play it sometimes just for myself when I’m at home, a pick me up when I’m working.

Anyway, let’s do the episode.  How are things going?

MK: Not too bad.  I just got into artistic residency again, with my circus group, the Right Way Down company.  As I talked about before, we are endlessly creating the show called Vald, which will hopefully premiere in February, depending on how all kinds of Covid things go.

As of now, we are basically confining ourselves here in the space in Sweden, not meeting almost anyone since we want to make sure we stay Covid-free, and can get our work done without any implications from that.

We just did the prep days, setting up the equipment.  We got our new canes, which are really fucking nice.  The space is set up and we’re basically ready to immerse ourselves properly into the process.  We have a lights designer coming in about a week, our musician is here.  This is when we dig deep and really get into the chunkiness of it.

How about you Emmet Louis?

EL: I am back in lockdown in Dublin, as usual.  We’re back to March the 952 of July.  It’s also the eve of the US presidential election, so we have that comedy/horror.  Is that a genre?

So we wake up tomorrow in a very different world.  Or the same world…who knows?  We’re in Europe anyway, so we shouldn’t care about this.  Unfortunately it consumes us.

I need to be in residency, fending off Corona on the sides.

I have to say, one thing on the canes I noticed, they’re like a fucking rollercoaster, super bendy.

 MK: It wobbles a lot.  The thing is, for the show, we have several different lengths and thicknesses.  I was on one of the longer pairs that are mainly for some of the lighter girls.  There are some pairs that are even longer than the ones Emmet was referring to, from a post I put on Instagram.  There are some that are even longer, and it will be complete wobble fest if I go on them.  The girls working them are primarily working on those canes, and they’re probably 20kg lighter than me.  So it will be a lot neater and nicer for them.  The ones I’m on are slightly thicker, or shorter.

EL: You were perfectly stable, but the amount of movement on that cane compared to any other set of canes…

MK: I can of course balance fine on those canes, but I’m not so comfortable.  There are several moments where you don’t feel the balance so much and just let the cane do it.  I don’t really enjoy that sensation.

Certain things are fine to do, but any high position like legs together, which I was doing there, sometimes it feels like you stay but don’t know why.  I’m not a fan of that feeling; I like it a bit more sturdy.

EL: There should be some amount of noise cancelling thing in a set of canes.  It’s interesting to watch it; they were moving a lot.

 MK: It’s funny when you see Imogen on them, since she’s very petite.  When she’s on them, they move but it has a completely different quality.  It’s far from as violent as when I’m on them.  More than 20kg of weight difference make that happen.

EL: Imogen is a mutant as well.

MK: She does very interesting stuff.  All of us are trying to do new and interesting stuff in the show.  This week, the plan is to finish the direction of the show.  We’ve had the conceptual framework sort of clear, now it’s really properly clarifying and we’re becoming able to…without creating a narrative, we’re finding the lens with which we want to present the material.

A lot of the physical material is there, but how are we presenting it?  How are we creating relationships and situations and things happening on stage, rather than….this type of show could easily become a bunch of pretty movement sequences and balancing skills.  Of course we want to do that, but be able to create tension, intention as well on stage, due to various situations occurring.

We’re working a lot with organic metaphors, growth, decay, forest, organisms, and so on.  To be able to create situations and things happening in the framework is what we’re looking at digging deep into now, with the material we have.

EL: I’m looking for the premiere if it happens in Feb, definitely will try to make the trip.  We should have an official Handstand Cast official fan club.

MK: Hoping the premiere will actually happen.  If it doesn’t happen there it will happen somewhere else.  I’m essentially taking everything as being cancelled.  If it isn’t, I’m like, oh shit this is really cool.  Low expectations to brace myself, then suddenly you’re very pleasantly surprised.

EL: We should get on with the episode.  We had a special request from one of our team, to do a training at home, or in your limited space environments due to lockdown, episode.  We’re going to talk about everything you might want to think about: space, equipment, progress and stress in these times.  We’re still dealing with societal collapse, to a certain degree.  We’ll ramble around.

The first thing is how do you make space to train?  It’s different for every single level of person we’re dealing with.  The space requirements for a beginner are very different than the space requirements for Mikael.  It also depends on your size.

I know, slightly offhand, in my home space, I can’t do a straight handstand because I’ll touch the ceiling with my toes.  So I have to work tuck and straddle.  That’s all I can do.

It’s something we didn’t think about when we got the apartment.  We just assumed other stuff…now it’s enforced indoor training.  Guh.  I can do those ten minute one arms, where I wedge myself against the ceiling, and put ankle weights on my hands to keep the position…

MK: Our next program.

EL: Yeah, so I suppose we should start with walls, for people still using walls.

MK: It’s the obvious starting point.  Making sure…the primary concern is asking, am I comfortable getting up and getting down?  If you are in a situation or space where you doubt whether or not you’re capable of getting up and down safely every time, that is an indicator that it is a concern you should perhaps have.

As soon as you’ve got the confidence and skill needed, it becomes a given.  It’s not uncertain.  You need to have the amount of space, so if you’re kicking out of handstand from the wall, you’re not kicking down the vase.  I think the worst thing I ever did years ago, when I was a student in uni.  I was in my tiny little student dorm room, going to kick into handstand.

The room had a desk, a bed, and a tiny table with a TV on top.  We’re talking like early 2000s TV, one of the thick chunky boys.  It was heavy, and I remember it because I bought it from some fucker and carried it home, didn’t use any public transport, and it was miserable.

Anyway, I kick into handstand, swing the legs up full force, but casually.  I slam my heel into the table, underneath it.  I remember a massive bang and the TV kind of jumped.  I got a big cut in my heel.  Putting on shoes and taking them off was super miserable, so painful.  Make sure you’re not kicking into things.

When you kick into handstand, it’s a full body, committed movement with the whole body moving in space.  It’s so much more painful than if you’re smacking your foot into something.

I feel that kind of feeling of kicking into things in handstand is very similar to when your head is half an inch from a door or wall, and you turn your head and it feels like you’re SLAMMING your head into the wall on purpose.  All you’re doing is moving your head 2cm, but because your intention was to move your head far farther than your surface, it’s like being shot with a death beam in your head.

So, have enough space.  Don’t kick TVs, don’t kick things.  Not great for you, or them.

EL: In all our handstand training, we have an entry point to the skill.  How are we getting into it?  Then we have the exit point.  This is what I think fucks up a lot of beginners as well, because they can’t judge their capacity.

I want to get in, don’t kick anything.  Watch out for your animals and children.  One of my clients booted her cat with that kick up technique, hard.  The poor cat fucking flew.

MK: I recently saw a video of a guy doing an air flare, and the cat attacks him mid air flare.  The cat gets slapped by the arm, flies off camera, and lands on the camera.  I thought it was fake for ages but it was shot in the early 2000s with a shit camera.  You can see the paws of the cat coming into the camera before it gets black.  It must be real, search air flare cat on YouTube and you’ll find it.

 Oh, remember the guy who got the shit kicked out of him?

EL: One of the very first viral videos, remember?

I think he was doing an air flare, or windmill to 90, with the legs flying out to the side, and kicks the kid.

MK: That kid flies.

EL: You intended to swing your legs to generate enough momentum to spin around, but unfortunately here the force transferred into a child, and the child flew.

Watch out for your animals.  Send us your funny animal videos when they go wrong.  We got some great ones lately.  Thanks to everyone who sent them in.

The other thing you want to consider is your exit.  One of my clients was doing handstands, I think between a wardrobe and chest of drawers.  She had enough space to walk in; she was doing chest to wall holds.  She didn’t really consider, if she pushed it to failure she’d have to do a cartwheel out.

She was perfectly capable, it was conditioning at the end of the workout.  Alas, she couldn’t cartwheel out, and had to do a face roll plant out, but couldn’t because the bed was in the way.  There was some weird collapsing face dodging chin scraping adventure.

Have an entry plan, and an exit plan.

MK: Or you might end up on the Instagram page, @NotSoAcrobats.  Shout out to Kevin who runs it.  It is by far the best acrobat failure compilation page you’ll ever find, so check it out.

EL: I hate when things are too close to home, I don’t want to get wrecked.

MK: One of my favourites is a guy who’s going to do a backflip but doesn’t jump.  He literally..his rotation is good.  The rotational momentum he creates is good, but he doesn’t jump so he just flies backwards and eats it super hard.

On topic again, make sure you have a safe way of getting down.  Getting up is easy to underestimate, in terms of what you can kick or what can happen.  It’s more obvious that when you’re upside down and have to come back down, it can be an issue.  Particularly when working with limited space.

 The obvious number 1 thing to do is try to find a good space.  If it’s warm enough, and you do have a garden, grab a plank, something to balance on.  Put it by a wall outside or something.  If you have to do it at home, somewhere there’s enough space around you so whatever method you have of getting up and down is instinctively the easiest for you and always possible to do.

EL: I remember one time many years ago.  I was learning one arm.  Someone told me the technique for learning one arm by yourself without a spotter: position yourself at the corner of a room.  Then you flag down to the side so you can feel the wall, flag back up.  You’re not supported by the wall but can touch when you need to.

I don’t recommend it.  It was terrible, but I tried it.  Someone in my house decided to come into my room when I was practicing this technique.  I was using the corner where the door was.  As you can imagine, someone bursting in, the door fucking took me out, good and proper.

It was also completely unexpected.  I was back to wall, back to corner, not chest to corner.  It was like a big slap on the ass from the door, then collapse on the floor.  Fuck that shit.

So make sure your house mates know what you’re up to, if you have house mates, children, partner, or anyone, and that they know not to disturb you.

 MK: Another thing to consider if you’re confined and can’t do your regular practice is, and let us say you’re even at the level where you’re really stoked and interested in training the handstand.  Suddenly your ability to do so is significantly compromised by whatever is going on.

What I would suggest is, if you live in a very small space and can’t do much, certainly handstands, you can definitely rethink things to work on your hands, like practicing tuck planche, working on your L-Sit.  For someone at a higher level of development, if they work on press walks a lot, if that’s all they have space for…you can get things done by simply focusing on things where there is no risk of falling, and you don’t have to consider space around you.

EL: On that note, if you are looking for safer things as well, there are whole families of arm or low balances where you do supported stuff, like breakdance freezes, crow, crane, croc…if you haven’t got handstand space, now is the time to start learning them,  They are transferable.

MK: All those things are low to the ground; there’s less risk of falling over.  Particularly nowadays, if you’re stuck at home a lot, you might have less interesting things to do than you might have had before.  These can be small side projects, good to work on.

For more advanced people, I certainly find myself, during these times, there’s loads of things I don’t get to practice so much.  Yes, smaller space, I might not have access to equipment I want.  What I’ve been doing is basically trying to find a couple of things I’m able to work on.  I’ve also struggled with a shoulder injury during this time, so I’ve literally had to limit things to work on.

One doesn’t need to always work on everything.  There will be a time after whatever limitation you might be on, Corona or vacation with your family, and instead of getting too stuck in how you do your practice – that is something to watch out for.

With hand balancing, there are things that tend to lead people to be obsessive about their practice.

EL: Maybe you can’t handstand, but maybe you should start training your flexibility like you say you always should do.

MK: Hey!  I’ve been doing back bridges lately.

EL: This leads to one thing a lot of my clients and students have been struggling with lately.  This is this whole global systemic whatever going on, bullshit in the states, virus all over, work related stress from people not getting enough hours.  Uncertainty.  This is a big ass stressor.  Then you get all the Twitter-ati, the ‘Productive’ crew: “Make it the best lockdown ever!”

In some ways, there’s too much pressure put on people to be 100% operative.

Maybe the more type A personalities, the person who’s always ultra productive, always got their shit together and always inc control, then suddenly there are outside forces not in their control.  They try to re-establish control by doing all these things.  A lot of people are having a hard time.  Trying to force yourself to be productive in a time when you should be going, “fuck it.”  With lockdown and other stuff going on, they’re temporary. Shit will re-establish some kind of normality pattern.  But forcing yourself when you have a limited amount of resources.  Those you spend mentally will be the ones you could be using to spend on yourself physically.

 I’ve been dealing with a lot of my clients who are very physically capable, up to this point they had no problem.  Suddenly they’re developing problems, joint problems, and over training issues.  I’ve even struck peoples’ volume down massively but they still get issues.

When I talk to them and find out what’s going on in their lives, slowly you get the stories.  “I’m very concerned.”  “Very worried.”  Worry eats our resources.

 Putting some pressure like, “I must get better.  I must improve” – you will improve over the long term.  But maybe now is the time to say, I must maintain, I must do a little.  That is perfectly fine.  Also give yourself permission to not do anything.  That would be very helpful.

 Even, have your sessions or programs as laid out, and maybe do half of it.  Empower yourself to make the choice to say, I don’t have the resources to progress now.  The people who will make progress and thrive with this…I’m actually having a great time in lockdown because I can be consistent; my one fatal flaw is consistency in training.

I haven’t had to travel all year.  I can do shopping and know I’ll still be here at the end of the week to finish eating my shopping.  I can set training days and time, and do it.

For me it’s amazing, I can make great progress.  But it’s because my normal life is so in flux.  So I’m getting the other side.  At the same time, if it’s not for you, you have to recognize you are a different person.

There’s two of my clients I’m thinking of having issues with family and other stuff.  They say, normally I’m so strong etc.  You are strong and got this far in life without any real big issues.  Suddenly there’s a global systemic meltdown happening, and that’s what caused you to have a thing?  You can recognize you are strong, but it’s an outside context problem, no one has context for it in our generation.

MK: That’s a very important point.  I thought a lot about that during this time as well.  I guess most people in this time had too much time, either alone, or in confining circumstances, compared to what they are used to.

I live in fucking Scandinavia.  The consequences of Corona have been way less here than so many places,  yet you feel the change from normal is something felt in some way.

For me, I’ve sat alone so much since March.  It’s just not good for your mental health.  I’ve been sitting way way way too much, by myself.

 I can’t at all say I’ve been depressed but when I look at my thought patterns, things go pretty dark.  I’m very much an existentialist and easily fly into meaning of life things.  It gets really bleak when you sit around on your own.

Even this beautiful project I talked about at the beginning of the cast, I haven’t seen these guys in months.  You’re there week in, week out, and train, trying to keep stuff going, play video games, speak to people online.  I lose the drive and energy.

Last week, I was like, we’re going to work again with the group – ugh, I wonder if we can make anything nice.  In my head I know I will feel completely different, but in the moment, you’re just down.  That’s okay.

I haven’t had such a hard time telling myself it’s okay.  I’ve just seen, I need to accept this feeling of not feeling so great right now.  When it comes to my own physical practice, my achilles heel is the opposite of Emmet.  Mine is consistency.  I’m way too consistent, I train too much.

At this point, I’m very acclimatized to having both high level and frequency of my practice.  Suddenly these things are confined; it’s harder to get it done.  I also have physical issues, like my shoulder and all that stuff.  You try to push through too hard, get set backs and rehab.  All this crap just happens.

 It’s been a nice learning experience since April.  I was rehabbing and hit the peak rehab, hit it a bit too hard, and bam, back to the same spot as last summer.  Then you’re walking around with everything going on, then in the end, accepting this is a period where I can’t.  I perhaps shouldn’t even strive to be at peak level.

For me, due to my years as a performer and my high consistency of practice and my very high…being lucky enough to not be injured enough at any point.  I was only injured once in my life that stopped me from practicing for a bit of time.  The rest were smaller injuries I could work around.  It just made it so it’s so habitual, identity, community.  Bam, suddenly everything is gone.

Accepting that, fuck, it sucks.  For the first couple of months, I felt pretty good.  Yeah, I’m gonna do my thing, train, blah blah blah.  Now, I’m going to do a bit.  Eventually I’m going to do more.

The last week, I felt a bit inspired to do a bit more.  But I’m not going to try to force it into the higher echelons of achievement.

One, why do that right now?  I’m not in the community or situation that makes me happy to partake in the activities that bring me there.  This is important to consider.  Like you said, stressors are stressors.  You might feel unaffected in one aspect, but it might impact you in another.  This will be different for different people.  It’s incredibly important to perhaps not chase progress in all phases or times in one’s life, regardless if that is Corona or something else taking up your time or physical, mental or emotional energy.

Whenever there’s something rough, it might impact you.  Finding acceptance is definitely key.

EL: I think it’s important to be said.

 I was going to do this segment towards the end, but now is a good time to put it in.  If you’re training by yourself and finding it…from my own personal experience, I normally train in normal gyms.  I don’t go to circus gyms since there aren’t any around.  I used to train in a gym in Dublin.  I had my training crew of powerlifters, bodybuilders, just doing their own thing.  But they were people I knew, we’d each do our training, but I knew I’d see the same people there every single day.  It was more of a social club than anything else.  I really enjoyed it, it was one of the best training times I had.  Now it just doesn’t exist.

It can be hard to motivate or have people to train.  So I want to talk a bit about Zoom or video classes.  There’s a slight ulterior motive to this, full disclaimer.  One of the things is, on a Zoom class, either a 1 to 1, or a group one, you can build up a bit of a social community and get a social outlet with people who want to do your activity.

You could either organize and train with your friends.  I know people who will put Zoom on the TV at the same time as their friend, train, and chat while they do it.  This is a good outlet.

My ulterior motive and slight pitch here is, there are a lot of coaches in the handstand community who are a bit down on their luck and aren’t doing in person coaching.  A lot of them are probably running classes or would be available for classes.

If there’s anyone you might have wanted to coach with or train with over the years, now might be a good time.  You can’t get to their workshops, but see if they’re running a class or can do something.  There are a lot of people doing this; it is a good opportunity.

My girlfriend Elise, who’s also our producer, has been doing classes with coaches she’s wanted to train with over the years, on Zoom.  It wouldn’t be a possibility normally.  It’s kind of, this exists.  Find a class or thing, or make your own social video bubble.  These are cool things to do.  You have the technology.

I like this Zoom training times where you just put it on, do your thing, and chat with the person between your sets.  It can be that simple.  It can also give you a bit of motivation or consistency or something.

MK: I know people who would do literal hang outs with their friends, chit chat while you practice so you have something social going on, doing the thing you’d perhaps do with someone.

There’s so many people doing classes out there now.  A lot of these people are artists that got mega fucked by Covid, and are losing their jobs left, right, up and down.  There’s basically no end in sight for them at this point in time.

If you are looking to do classes with people, look them up.  Find people.

There’s a lot of professional hand balancers right now offering such classes.  Why not?  There’s tons of knowledge out there.  You’ll both benefit.  Shout out to everyone basically trying to keep their heads above the water in that sector now, because it’s bleak.

EL: It could be a bit of a golden era as well.  There are a lot of artists doing their thing.  If you like someone’s style, you can have someone teach your the artistic side of hand balance as well.  Hopefully it won’t be pushing your technical abilities too far into the danger recovery zone.

 MK: That would be an interesting challenge for artists too.  If someone contacts me to develop some sort of artistic practice and want online help, what would I do?  What kind of tasks would I give them, what sorts of time frames?

This is a good takeaway from all this garbage.  Things such as that aren’t necessarily thought of without this limitation.  Of course it’s better with community and real life meetings, but in the eventual aftermath, you might have access to both of them.  You might have developed new tools, in terms of teaching.

How do you structure a format that can convey something in that way?  I’m not used to doing that unless it’s in person.  It’s a challenging thing to teach online, but it’s certainly possible, and does require a lot of reflection for the teacher, without hands on and being present and showing so much, be able to bring across…condense the concepts and bring them across.

EL: I don’t really do one to ones, just for people I already know.  If you’re doing online training with someone, we’re going to be working together for 3, 4, 5 months, you have a chance to develop a training dialogue.  We figure out how to work together.  If you’re doing a one to one class, it’s in person.  If it’s not working you can spot that.  On video, how do you get it across?

It’s a communication challenge for both people as well.  We have the video but you don’t get the full picture on video, though you get a lot of it.  You, the person doing the class, have to translate your experience to something they can understand.  They have to translate the solution to your experience to a different format that you can then try to digest and format.  It’s definitely and interesting one as well.

We got slightly off the order I wanted to do things in.  One thing I wanted to go all the way back to is equipment.  What sort of equipment do you need to train at home?

It’s a bit of a joke.  In the fitness industry, if I remember my figures right, running is the biggest gear selling side of the fitness industry, with the most turnover and gross profits.  Running equipment.  You’d think, you need to run.  No, no,  You need the pants, the head band, the bottle with that handle.

 For handstands, well, it’s the thing where you don’t even need shoes, yet we’re going to recommend some equipment.

First and foremost you need a floor or a consistent surface.  The handstand plank is your friend, any flat unfinished piece of wood.

MK: Get yourself a piece of ply and you’re done.  Don’t let anyone sell you a plank,  Many times I’ve taken a bit of shelf.

EL: I had an Ikea shelf for quite some time.  I don’t even know if they make a shelf like this anymore; it was just plywood and no finish.  I think nowadays all their shelves are that hollow board stuff.

MK: Other pieces of equipment…any type of…in a broader sense, a lot of basic calisthenics and conditioning things are rather available to do in a home space.  If you have a door frame chin up bar.  If you have the possibility to drill into the ceiling you can put up a couple of rings and some bolts, parallettes.  You don’t need a lot.

I’ve done planche push up work on chairs a million times.  It’s very simple to use, easy with stuff you have as long as it’s sturdy and won’t break under load bearing.

There are tons of things you can use to set up pretty decent and effective practices with rather basic stuff.

EL: You can’t go wrong with elastics and ab wheels.  Put it that way.

MK: Ab wheel is underestimated.

EL: Did I show you my ab wheel when you were here?  It’s my most ghetto piece of equipment I’ve ever made.  It’s amazing.

Basically I got some heavy duty lawnmower wheels.  They could probably go on a golf cart.  I got some slotted treaded rod.  It wrecks your hands so much without my fat grips.  You can put the rod through it.  It’s the fat grip, with wheels on each side.

MK: Oh shit, that’s what those wheels were.  It looked awful.

EL: Then it’s bound together with a bit of duct tape.  I’ve had them for 15 years, it’s amazing.  I made a lot of equipment over the years, and it’s definitely one that has survived.  Good quality wheels.

Bands in particular, I won’t even talk about exercising.  But in terms of having something to do stuff with, it can alleviate the boredom.  You can even train legs if so inclined: squats, good mornings, stuff like this.

Two chairs or parallettes are always useful.

A set of canes or blocks as well.

MK: Canes are a bit more of a pain in the ass inside.  I set up my canes in here.  I was doing jump switches in here on my small cane once.  I felt my foot just brush the ceiling as I switched.  After that I didn’t anymore.  Imagine me kicking the roof as I switched, sent myself shooting down into oblivion.  No thanks.

EL: Yeah it depends on your situation.  But Christmas is coming.  A set of canes will always be good.

MK: I guess that’s mainly it.  In general, you will always be well off on the floor regardless of who you are.  It will give you very honest feedback and be the primary surface which will be the test of your mettle.

On average, for most people working on the floor will go a very long way.  If you’re working prep, or even mid to late one arm prep, the wall can be useful for various set ups.  Make sure you do have space for that.  If not, finding somewhere you can is certainly useful.

 EL: OH yeah, speaking about flags and learning one arms.  A great tip I used to do when learning.  If your bed is kind of separated from the wall on either side, and you haven’t got space, you flag, or half diamond flag, so you come up to the bed, get your bedside table out on either side.

The wall to the bed is generally pretty clear for a lot of people.  You can set up on your flag, bend down, touch the bed, come back up.  Then walk to the other side of the bed and do your flag on the other side.

MK: That reminds me of something I was doing in a hotel room once.  I was lying in bed on my computer, and leaned to the side so my hands would fall down to the floor.  I would lift to handstand, do a set, then belly flop on my stomach, roll over and do more computer.  It was a glorious set up.

EL: If you haven’t got a lot of wall space, the air space above the bed is generally pretty good.

MK: How about flexibility training then, Emmet?  I know there’s loads of exercises with weights, Jeffersons and things people tend to use in gyms.  Anything specific for home training?

 EL: People would normally say floor sliders.  Floor sliders are great.  What I think is a better to have is something to control the friction of the floor surface.  Getting intimate with whatever floors you have.

If you have wooden floors that are really sliding with socks on, and when my feet are the right amount of sweatiness I get a bit of slide.  When I wear a pair of shoes, I don’t slide at all.  Or I have certain shoes that slide, but controllable.

If you’re working iso splits or sliding into splits you have a way of controlling the intensity.  This would be the big thing.  The other thing I really like, and everyone will hate me for suggesting this, but adjustable ankle weights.

They can be a bit pricey, like 50-60 quid, a bit too expensive.  But you’ve used my ones.

MK: Emmet’s ankle weights have tiny nuclear fuel rods you put into them.

EL: They’re like 100g and go up to 10kg.  Maybe you don’t need that, but you’ll never go wrong working leg lifts and flies with weight, treating it like a resistance exercise.  You can progress.  Working that stuff where you lift your legs to the front, back, sides, with a set of ankle weights, most people have the space to do this.

Say you haven’t got space in your apartment to do splits because it’s tight, or you have a studio or something, that’s fine.  You can always lift your leg up if you can step forward.  Playing with angles, leg lifts, ankle weights, 30-40s holds are good here, add weight when you can do 3-4 sets of that.  This will go a long way for your flexibility.

In fact, the missing gap for people is the ability to lift the leg.  It is what we need to do.  You will suffer because your quads will cramp, but it’s definitely worth doing.  It’s very simple stuff.  There’s a lot of decent, no equipment stretching.

Equipment in stretching is a new thing, with people using weight, but people didn’t before.  They’d just do the positions with their bodyweight.  We can go back to that as well; it’s definitely something as well.

Bands are a double edge; they’re very difficult to set up or get the right level of intensity.  But you can play and find stuff that will help you.  You can never go wrong working your bridge, if you have space for it as well.  Mikael?

 MK: I’ve started to get back into twisting into bridges.  Now my shoulders are kind of happy about it.  Twisting in and out of a jank bridge on both sides is fine.  It hasn’t been fine on my right arm for quite some time.

I’m talking about putting the hands on the floor and doing bridge rotations.  I used to be really good at that, it was my preferred method of getting into a bridge.  My wrists absolutely hate pushing into a bridge from lying on the back.

 I’m always doing that a few times during my warm ups now.  It’s certainly feeling healthy for my shoulders to do that.

 Speaking of this period with less access to gyms and stuff, I’ve also been at my home town in the mountains, up at my mom’s place.  My practice has become extremely one sided, I’ve done way too much of only the same stuff.

 It’s rather ridiculous.  If I think back to a year from now, there are loads of things I’m significantly better at doing than I was a month ago.  Why is my body so stiff here and there?  Then you think, I’ve only sat, walked, done a bit of this and that, and a ton of handstands.  I haven’t had a chin up bar, or much else beyond a highly specialized practice of mine.  It’s certainly felt good to identify that and start to consciously do other things as well.

 EL: In Dublin, your SPP was too high compared to your GPP.  Specialized physical preparation was higher than his general.  Something to consider.

 Other than that, I suppose we should wrap it up there.

 If you’re training at home and want something to follow, we have our episodes available at Handstand Factory, which allows us to do the podcast.

 If you have any questions for a Q&A, shoot them over to us at @HandstandFactory on Instagram, or to Mikael or me.  We’ll get to them.  There’s also a contact form on the website; send them in that way.

 If you find our podcast on Anchor.FM through the website, you can also send us a voice note question.  We will definitely use them.

 Send us your animals as well.  That’s mainly it for me.

I hope our rambling has been useful this week.  Have a good lockdown.  We will see you in the future.


Latest Episodes