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S2 Episode 49: Twisting


In this Episode of the Handstandcast, Emmet and Mikael discuss the much maligned twisting in the handstand and how, when trained intelligently, it can be beneficial and add an interesting dimension to your handstand training.

This Episode comes with a very proud announcement that we’ve updated the Push Harder program for learning the Straddle One-Arm Handstand. Now with 3 new videos, 50 pages of extra theory and completely new and upgraded training templates.

We hope you enjoy it!

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.

S2E49 – Twisting

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Transcript of Episode 49: Twisting

EL: Hello, and welcome back to the Handstand Cast with me, Emmet Louis, and my cohost

Mikael Kristiansen.  How is it going Mikael?

MK: Same shit as last time, not much changed.

EL: We’re still in Rona, 905th of July.  Maybe we should end the Podcast exactly when Rona finishes.  That will be it.  We started just when it was kicking off, and we can end it as a Rona induced fever dream of someone.

MK: Maybe it’s a prophesy and this is the last episode, then Rona ends.  If there were a correlation between these things, we’d be shutting the fuck up right now.

EL: I have news.  There will be no more seagulls in the background.  If you ever noticed the seagulls in the recording that appears sometimes that we cannot edit out, they will be gone.  We managed to find a new house to move to that has no seagulls.  Or junkies.

We have goats, but they don’t make noise.  The sheep were making noise – we have farm animals, by the way.  One of the sheep was calling for the others.  They’d just walked around the side of the stables.  Three of the sheep are on one corner.  The other one is having a near panic attack because it couldn’t see its friends, even though they were less than 3m around the corner from it.  Sheep possibly don’t have that kind of object retention.

How’s that origami going?

MK: The origami is going pretty well.  I sorted out the large wings today.  It was a huge success.  I basically…the crease pattern isn’t exactly what I want to do.  So I just went in and did some adjustments to make it look more like the thing I want to do with it.  That’s pretty fun.  Suddenly you need to both be thinking mathematically, which I’m not so good at when it comes to origami.  You also need to think of the shaping and refining the product, which I am better at.  It was cool to see, I want the wings large in these ways, and to have the tail like this,

I have to find some sort of solution.

I have one single picture to look at, and it doesn’t correlate with the pattern I have.  I have to find a way to make that worked, and I think it did.

I have 9 gazillion hours left.  It’s a huge thick mess of paper on the floor.  At least I can walk around my floor now.

EL: Can you bring coffee into the room yet?

MK: Yes, I have brought coffee in every single time.  That’s also the thing; I knew I was going to colour the model.  I coloured it with a brownish palate.

EL: A coffee colour, coincidentally.

MK: It is, because it is King Geedorah from the Godzilla franchise, and he’s yellowish brown.

He’s going to look cooler than that puppet figure in the movies.

What’s our topic today?

EL: We are going to talk about what is considered the forbidden direction in handstands.  Or the one that’s less done and considered very bad, but should be explored.  We’re going to be talking about twisting and rotating and all these things.

MK: Nooooooooooo-

EL: They sometimes have a negative connotation, because we like to keep our handstands very straight, only bend in two planes and all this.  But I think twisting opens a plane of movement that is worth exploring.

We tend to get caught up.  The way I coach handstands and introduce skills – once you get the handstand, we start moving the legs.  We start getting control of that.

Then we start moving the waist.  What I mean by that is, once we can move the legs a certain point, then we have the ability to flex and extend the torso, which is obviously the pressing and

Mexicans.  Then we have flagging, the lateral flexing.

But it’s less common to rotate and twist through the waist.  While it can pose a problem, it can lead to some very interesting funky stuff.  You see people exploring it every now and then.

Do you remember this act Demain, a big circus showcase in Paris, always looking for contemporary sort of stuff.  There was a contortionist act, from Ukraine, I think.  She was doing a lot of things of rotating through the shoulders to hands crossed handstand, rotating on the heels of her hand, doing handstands from a normal position then turning so her fingers would be on the same line.

MK: I can think of several people that did a lot of twisty stuff.  What I like with twisting is it both poses a problem and opportunity.  There are loads of shapes that directly require twisting, such as Figa, or a twisted flag.  They all require some sort of rotation in the pelvis or spine.  You have a bunch of different places to rotate, in the same way you have different places to flex and extend the body.

If you pike, you can simply bend the knees and bring the weight backwards, for example.

Then you can bend the knees and start extending the hips as well, to bring yourself further.


In the rotational axis, you have the hips, spine, all the way through the spine.  You have the upper part of the rib cage, and the shoulders themselves can turn.  It offers a lot of different places to control.  It’s something I really love to use with intermediate to advanced practitioners, just getting people to twist a lot.  I often give them this drill where you start twisting the legs.  When the legs come to a stop, you continue with the hips.  When the hips come to a stop, you continue with the spine.  In the end you try to twist yourself so much that the shoulders literally shift axis.

If your shoulders are on the same line as the hands, you want them completely twisted the other way, so the line of the shoulders and hands form a cross.  It’s to challenge the ability to stay stable.

EL: I remember you had me doing them many years ago when we were doing some coaching.  They were interesting to play with.

It does lead into two ways to generate the twist in a two arm handstand.  Both of them have different things.  You can generate from the legs, or hips, and let it travel downwards.  That leads to your rotational control drill.  Then you have the other one where you twist the shoulders, and it spirals upwards.  These are two things to try out and they generate two different looks to the handstand, almost, even if you push them to the limit, they end up in the same place, give or take.

At the same time, it looks very different visually.  In handstands we think static positions a lot of the time.  The things that are more interesting in some ways is what happens in between those static positions.  The transition from the top down twist to the bottom up twist.  It’s very different.

MK: There’s another element I thought about when it comes to the rotation I did.  It sets you up with a lot of potential energy for unwinding and creating momentum.  The most obvious reference for this is power moves from breaking.  You twist the hips so you’re ready to initiate loads of force.  Then you unwind and kick and that gives a ton of force to rotate with.  You could also do this with more ‘pure’ hand balance movements too.  You spiral the legs around then follow the momentum and walk in a circle, for example.  It can be done on blocks, canes, floor or wherever.  It allows for a different type of control and dynamic, which is really relevant and often overlooked when it comes to regular two arm game.  That is kept so linear for so long, and I think the earlier someone can start messing around with the rotational axis with some degree of control and understanding, the better.

It is a large part of what is going to inevitably happen with your body as you go into more advanced territory.  If you don’t have any point of reference, you’re basically losing out on a complicated type of control you have to learn later, anyway.

It’s a very important one to pick up on, as soon as you have reasonable control on two arms.

EL: I go through phases of playing with it, then forgetting.  I remember in circus school, there was…I think we robbed them out of a cleaning closet.  We had some kind of pads and dish cloth thing on the hands.  We were twisting and trying to get onto the heel of the hands, and doing twist steps.

If people are familiar with a step called a grapevine, crossing over, crossing over crossing over, it’s the same idea.  We’re trying to twist to the point that we got the arms crossed, let go of one, then spring that around.  You’re changing the handstand, like walking in a circle, generating a twist and spiral to the point your arms can’t go farther.  Or your head gets caught between your arms.  Then let go with one arm and hope you can kind of maintain the one arm.  It’s not a one arm balance; you’re surviving on one arm while the other flings around the side. You’d hold the dish cloths in your hands to try to get a slip on the floor that would allow this to happen.

MK: Sounds like 90s from breaking.  There you set up to specifically spin.  It’s exactly the same rotational dynamic there.  I think once you start understanding how this dimension works, it’s interesting to see what the legs start doing when people learn to rotate the hips.

The first cue I usually do is, you’re going to try to draw a large circle with your legs around in space.  That will be dependent on the person’s leg flexibility.

As you draw around, for someone who is quite new who might have control in other movements on the hands, that circle will be jagged and choppy.  They won’t have the sensation of pulling the legs in the outermost part of the circle.  It rotates a bit, then takes a shortcut, essentially creating some elliptical shape in the air with the legs, rather than a full circle.

When you can move that more smoothly, you start feeling momentums in your legs.  It starts pulling the rest of the body, and that’s an interesting control that comes in.  Then you can wind yourself up and kick with the legs a little bit, to get a whoosh and momentum in the legs.  Then you need to stop it.  That action of stopping it, you’re literally setting yourself up for chaos.  You don’t exactly know where you’ll end up or what you have to do, because you unleashed that force then need to control and handle it.  It’s an interesting type of proprioceptive control.

In handstands it’s hard to let go of balance then rematch it.  The letting go, you know when.

When you fling a leg, you can’t be exactly sure how much force there is going to be.

EL: To take it in another direction, one thing I’m using with more advanced people is rotating into shapes.  A simple example that I’ve been using for a few people, is rotating from a handstand into a Mexican.  Some are pushing it all the way from a pike hover, go sideways, twist into a side pike shape, then you have to keep the legs as low as possible.  A lot of movement is coming from the waist, but the hips have to react as well.  It’s forcing…an interesting moment I enjoy aesthetically, where they are in side flag pike, like the take off position from a one arm press.  Then you reach the limit of the side bend and back arch; the top leg just flops over and has this…if some people have their legs kind of loose, a 1m long black dildo flopping over.  That idea.

MK: I was not expecting that.  Fair enough.

EL: You know what I’m talking about.  What’s that movie, “Beat them to death with a dildo”-

Lock, Stock, he’s flopping the thing around.  That kind of thunk to it.

MK: Is that Vinnie Jones?

EL: Was it not the bookkeeper guy?

MK: I always mix it up with Snatch.

EL: Bookkeeper is Snatch.  It’s the guy who was the English side of the American partner in Lock, Stock..

MK: The guy who plays Bricktop is also in that, isn’t he?

EL: He’s in the movie.  They reuse a lot of the actors.

MK: If you haven’t seen Snatch, or Lock, Stock, Two Smoking Barrels, and like trashy action comedies, go for it.  Very British.

EL: Anyway, dildo leg action happens in this transition.  Flops out.  It’s funny because it’s very forced; there’s a rubbery movement to it.  If it’s done right, they are in the Mexican and straddle Mexican.  The next stage is to come into a twisted Mexican.  The top leg doesn’t dildo over, it helicopters over.

MK: More flaggy.

EL: There are really nice movements in this taking a press and instead of going straight up you go into rotation.

MK: In breaking they call that move Around the World.  It doesn’t really have a name in hand balancing.  I know a couple of people who can do it super well.

I’ve also seen a version of the same move, but it starts in full planche, full flag, full Mexican, full flag, full Planche.  I’ve also seen full Planche, flag into contortion handstand and around.

Obviously you need a back to be able to do this.  I was practicing it for a while and could do it.  Whenever I get to Mexican I ruin the entire thing.  Flags were nice, pike was nice, then what the fuck is that?  Then nice flag, nice pike, what the fuck was that… it was like a Toronto handstand; it wasn’t pretty.  Certainly loads of twisting in that movement.

You’re going on the outer axis, letting the legs lead a long trajectory.  In most hand balancing things you go short trajectory, and control from hands and shoulders.

EL: To expand on something, there’s an idea in dance and general movement things, of the point of contact or focus.  What you get is, it’s like you pick a point of your body and that leads the motion.  Everything has to follow that, like it’s being dragged around by it.

In hand balance, a lot of the time we are very focused on our centre, everything reacting above that.  A lot of these twisty shapes, we can put the point of focus or contact into somewhere else, like the knee.  That pulls the movement around.  Or the foot, the outermost point, and everything follows the foot instead of the centre.  If the shoulders are going, everything reacts to that.  It’s interesting because it breaks what we normally do in training into something else.

MK: As we talked about before, in terms of it being both an opportunity and issue.  The issue isn’t really there on two arms.  Yes, you might experience you rotate out as you fall, but the rotation will usually be a consequence of you bailing or letting go of balance, and going over.

It usually happens as a cartwheel motion out of a two arm handstand.  The fall instead is rather


On one arm, the twisting is basically your entire life and nemesis.  Both when you can do it, but especially when you can’t do it yet, you will always twist out.

I remember very early when I was learning hand balancing, I was already theorizing a lot and trying to analyze and dissect and all that.  I was falling over into overbalance occasionally when I was learning.  Falling over becomes very rare when you’re very well placed and know your body upside down.

I noticed that whenever I got a lot of weight in a certain point of the hand and wasn’t able to respond appropriately, I would feel my hips spin and twist out of place.

This rotation was the one arm equivalent of arching, in a sense.  It doesn’t translate fully as a comparison, but it’s similar.  If you have a point of contact on the floor, and you send energy in a certain direction – you have your legs open in a straddle, say – it’s likely that both your legs will move at the exact same pace and trajectory is very low.  What will likely happen is one will start to move further than the other, and then often causing that to start rotating.  A lot of the stuff …[cuts out sound]….over balance.

EL: Yeah.  Let me throw in some of my own thoughts, then we’ll pick back up.

What I always think about in twisting, one main cause of it is it’s to do with shoulder placement.  There’s always a ripple up effect with the shoulders and the one arm.  One of the things I spot when coaching people, is people have this idea of irradiation.  Once you start contracting something, you want to push hard.  You will push hard and things will fire off if you intend to do something.

One of the causes is it pushes people, basically.  You push up, but you’re always push back, the shoulder into too open.  That’s when it feels like it’s contracting harder.  Once you start pushing the shoulder up and back, something on that side of the body is shortening on the back, but something on the other side isn’t.  Then we get this arch that travels up. It’s very subtle, but the second you take the hand off, if you pushed up and too open, then suddenly the shoulder’s gone forward, hip back, the diagonal opposite side.  Rotation begins to happen almost immediately.

This is the cause, almost two different rotations on the one arm.  One where you lose the shape into rotation.  One where the top leg comes over top.

The cue I’ve been giving people on this one, if you direct it from top down.  If we look at how we set up, particularly when using flexibility on one arm, we’re trying to go: legs apart, pulling with the glutei pretty hard to get the split.  In most cases, no one is really tensioning the front of the line, which is the short adductors and inner thighs.  There’s no balance of forces going on.

When I engage my shoulder, it connects to the opposite glute.  We’re familiar with this in physiotherapy, when there’s a problem in the shoulder, look at the opposite glute, yada yada.

Vice versa.

This kicks off this X connection and spiral connection of the body.  This generates the rotation almost immediately, unless the shoulders are placed correctly and pushing straight vertical, or you have this containment of the top leg counterrotating.  That gets missed a little.

If you’re quite tight and really pulling with the glutes to get as big a split as you can, once you get to the end, push inwards with your adductors.  This will actually give some tension to counter rotate against.

MK: It happens when the top leg goes over, which is most common rotational issue.  It has to do with shoulder position, a consequence of something going wrong further down.  Then again, if you’re not ready to do something and the leg constantly flops over, adding tension in the opposite direction is certainly something to try to do.

You simply want to keep the leg in that externally rotated position.  Very often in the set up of one arm, when flagging, the shoulder won’t be fully stable.  You start shifting over, shoulder isn’t stable, legs start doing funky stuff due to that.  One of the tricky things when it comes to this type of cueing is yes, it’s about shoulder position, and you need to fix that by keeping the pressure through it, sensing where you need to be in your hands, and so on.  But, the most tangible point you have to concentrate on in that moment is likely your leg.  Get the leg back under control.

This is where it becomes counter intuitive.  I’ve seen countless people say, your legs are rotating.  Then again, they come with “tense your abs” stuff.  Yes, it makes sense in practice to get your legs under control.  You need to understand the main consequence happens because you were not able to stabilize your centre of mass over base of support.  Then you are traveling somewhere, need to grab that leg, pull it back where it needs to be.  At the same time you’re controlling getting your shoulder back into place and keeping balance.

When I say all these things, it sounds confusing.  Because it is.  It is very confusing.  This is how it is to try to learn one arm.  You’re trying to understand what whatever I said means.

As I said this, I was thinking back to today when I was doing kick ups on one cane.  I was experiencing twisting, and usually do.  When you kick up onto one cane, there’s going to be stuff that happens.  You handle those things quickly, they’re fixed, on the way up – but they happen.

When I think about how I fix them, there’s nothing I can say.  It goes too fast.  It has become ingrained.

EL: A lot of the corrections..we can’t teach you a perfect one arm, but we can teach a lot of the constraints that make a perfect one arm come from it.  This is what is happening in twisting.  We give you some of the things to work with, some concepts.  When I talk about the top leg compressing downwards, we’re generating a compressive force along the frontline of the body, so the front of the shoulder has something to press against to stop it from going too open.

There’s a lot more going on in this.  If we broke down every chain in the twisting we could probably figure it out.  It only clicked with me there, we’re actually compressing on diagonal there, and that keeps the body from opening into rotation.

MK: It says itself, I don’t know much about physics.  But I understand that circles are rather complicated things in terms of all the stuff that happens with them.  You are balancing a circle, and handling all these various angles.  The only way you can is putting your nervous system in the context where it can start to handle its shit.

Stand on one leg, have your arms spread apart.  The leg you’re not standing on is a bit away.  Close your eyes, very simple.  You can still stay there, no big deal.  Notice how much faster your foot blade is working to keep you under control.  Sense the movements in the pads of your toes, heel, entire ankle, adjusting back and forth.

From that position, gather your arms above the head.  Raise your centre of mass and decrease the rotational axis, so the lever is very short.  You will sense your foot blade working even faster to handle all the stuff that happens per second.  So many of these are rotational.

If you do the same, stand in that position, balance for a bit, then stop balancing, there’s very low chance you fall exactly backwards or forwards.  You will likely rotate at some joint in your body.

EL: Another realization about rotating and twisting.  When twisting on one arm, when you’re losing it, it’s almost like hurricane or tornado.  The point of contact on the ground is very small.  As you go up higher you get a bigger amount of deflection and effect… The twisting gather momentum or torque as it goes through the shape.  That’s what flings your leg over the top, or out.

MK: Very applicable in the scenario of standing on the foot, then gathering the arms above the head while having your eyes closed.  In that position, you have max hurricane, basically. You will feel the body almost shaking back and forth to keep balance.

With twisting, a lot of the stuff I’ve done for ten years since I got good at balancing – many advanced shapes are twisted.  You twist into….a Figa by definition is very twisted.  You have what I call the twist shape.  You rotate at the hips and put your legs in this front split type of position.  Many of the flags, more than you think, involve a bit of twisting, because it allows you to lock the hip more effectively above the shoulder, for a lot of people.

One arm pressing is entirely twisting, and all this rotation of the spine of the torso and shoulder and all this, becomes very relevant.  You put your body there.  It doesn’t matter; you’re not going to start twisting more just because you’re in a twisted shape.

It is not about the body’s twisting, but what causes you to go there.  When it’s a choice, you go there and balance.  It doesn’t matter.

When you lose it, even on the most advanced level, once they are too tired to keep centre of mass over base of support, something is going to give.  If they struggle and struggle to stay up, it is likely going to twist in the same way that someone who is just learning it does.

EL: To go and give more details on some of the more advanced twisting shapes, they’re more accessible depending on your physical capabilities, than some other shapes people go directly


As an offhand comment, when you see what the internet dialogue is compared to the actual practice practices, the internet dialogue: “straight shape is the best thing ever; you must be straight.  Straight line, straight line.”

But we tend to idolize people who are curvier, bendier, rounder, flexier, twistier, as the ultimate thing.  There’s a weird juxtaposition.

MK: They’ve transcended straightness.

EL: You can see it in Andrii Bondarenko, who has some nice sequences on two arms.  I’m not too enamoured.  He was one really nice sequence where he went up and pressed.  On the press he rotated through he body left and right, for some flare.  It was really nice as an add on.  He’s the ultimate straight handstand man.  But adding little rotation in looked really good.

I find some of the twisty flags an interesting point to start training flags with people.  I find the stretch across the body locks you into position better than relying on muscular control.  It winds things up like a bunch of rope and holds things into place, is how I think about it.

Does this flag have a name?  I always call it Twist Flag.  You’re basically doing a front split, it looks like a front split but the legs are split about 90º.  The bottom leg is rotating upwards.

In some ways, I’ve had a few people who were able to hold that for a decent amount of time much sooner than a straddle flag, even though they were flexible enough for a decent straddle flag.

They wouldn’t be able to transition into it from a straddle one arm, but they could set it up on two arms, take the hand off and hold it very soon after learning a one arm.  It’s an interesting shape.  You bend over, one leg starts coming over top – I’m flailing my arms like people are watching me….

MK: you should see me and Emmet doing these podcasts flailing around, a god damn clown show.

At least we don’t do the Sauron and Death Star backgrounds anymore.  We need to fix that.

EL: Then we go into a straddle, a deep side bend, as deep as you get it.  One leg starts going down, then around.  I’m always cueing people to get the thigh to the belly button, or that kind of direction.

At the same time, the other leg comes up over the top.  Then there’s an interesting rotation that happens when you’re trying to push through.  It’s like you’re trying to show the top nipple to the ceiling.  Not that you really do it, but open the body along that to get the stretch.  That locks the shape in, if you can keep the shoulder in the right position.  Not too open.

MK: There is a feeling of those types of flag positions.  Sounds dumb, but dump your ass on the other side of the shoulder and that counterbalances with your torso.  The fact that there…I remember Sacha used to say to twist, or screw.  That little kind of allowing the hip flexor to be open and backwards is how I felt the most comfortable with my flags, allowing that lengthening of the hip flexors backwards.

If I do that kind of flag, the really twisted one like that I rarely do, but I usually have that back leg traveling in that direction.  It makes it easier to lock on top of the shoulder, compared to…

It’s the same with the full flag, except the full flag takes more strength.  There are other flags that don’t do that as much.  For example, a tuck flag, you have weight on the other side of the body due to the knees.  It doesn’t have as much lock sensation as those that are more stretched out.  Or if you bend one leg over and allow that hip flexor to twist into the shoulder.

This is kind of out of my physical understanding because it won’t happen in this lifetime, all the contortion flags that literally put the butt on the shoulder, where it looks like they’re bending higher up in the waist than others, primarily ladies that do that.

That kind, you very often see correlate with people with crazy back flexibility.  It looks as if they’re twisting into the back in a contortion sense.  The backwards bend flexibility helps them.

EL:  If you look at them from the flag angle, it looks like a flag.  If you look at them from a side angle, you can see the back bend pushed them into a question mark shape.  Interesting solution to reducing the lever length required to do the flag.

Then a lot of girls who hold them have an open and level shoulder position.  It’s not as diagonal as normal.  They have this pseudo vertical alignment on them.  I’m trying to translate what’s in my head into geometry.

A flag for me always has a sideways and inwards push.  These have a vertical push, even though they are very not vertical at all.

MK: I find those to be extremely fascinating.  You have people who put the ass on the shoulder, and the legs are completely vertical downwards.  This is high end extreme level contortion.  You rarely see that except among the best of the best.

It’s also questionable how healthy that is longterm.  Then again, most people who do that are young and in damn good shape.

EL: You really almost want to go to the rhythmic gymnastics clubs, abduct some of the girls and make them do handstands.

MK: That’s what a lot of them do in Eastern Europe.  Not necessarily rhythmic.  That, or sport acro.  I don’t know those circuits, but it seems those communities are obviously connected due to the similarity of their practices.

They do have some pretty fucking crazy flexibility, no doubt.

EL: Rhythmic has a theory on flexibility where they push it to the highest level.  Also, the weirdest things.  The higher level modern vocab has lots of twisting, to facilitate a lot of the spinning.  You’d have people who are very twisty, I knew a girl who could turn her torso.

She could do a slightly straddled forward fold, about 90º, go down, and turn so she’d get 180º twist through the spine.

MK: That stuff…

EL: There’s some cool pressing stuff I’ve seen.  Set up the press, rotate, put the hands on the floor, then press up and the legs come around the other way.

MK: I used to do things like that, put the hands the wrong way and rotate press up.  My friend Lisa does those things extremely well.  She can do that kind of rotation, plus she has shoulders that are barely attached.  She can twist another level on top of that.

It does allow, in hand balancing vocab, some of the most extreme movements there are come a lot from that twisting.  Pressing on one arm is entirely, if you have a crazy rotational twist like you describe there, it helps a lot.  Also, the kind of people that press from Crocodile.  They basically get on top of the shoulder by twisting the hips to an extreme degree from the Crocodile position.  That allows them to actually engage and get something to push with, compared to lying in Crocodile and straightening the arm into a planche.  I’ve seen it happen but it’s very rare.

EL: that kind of twisting off Crocodile and into press – the only non Chinese people I’ve seen do this, with a bigger build, are almost twisting with legs leading from crocodile to generate a twist momentum to overcome inertia.  At the same time, they push the chest the opposite direction out from the legs, then roll on top of the press.

MK: It’s a very…you need access to a lot of side bending and back bending to be able to start initiating such movement.  Most people I’ve seen do that, or basically all, use that.

When I was training with this Chinese girl in Stockholm a couple times, she told me that she was doing some exercises for some strange pressing stuff, grabbing onto a bar, like doing a one arm press on canes.  Instead of piking and lifting into Straddle L, she grabbed the bar, twisted her back the other way, and lifted up.

When she was younger she could do stuff like Croco-press.  She’s 32 and still the best hand balancer, or top 10 in Europe still.  She’s absolutely a tank.

She said, I have pain and am old, but when I was small….

If you look at breaking, a lot of weird new moves coming out there has so much strange twisting of limbs and torsos and whatnots in there.  I don’t even understand what’s going on a lot of the time, and I’m used to looking at that stuff.

For me, the spiral and rotational dimension is certainly the most interesting of all of them.  It also incorporates flexion and extension and all that.  It’s basically, rotation happens when you add several forces together.  It will likely end up as rotation.

Within various..gymnastics and all that, it’s all rotational forces.  In dance and ballet, you come back to this generation of forces and circles.

EL: I just thought of something.  In ballet, you have turns on one leg, you’re spinning around and kick the other leg out to generate the momentum, kick out and pull in, kick out and pull in.  I want to see you do that in a handstand.

MK: I can’t, I’m shit at 90s.  But you can go and watch Malish do 50 rounds of 2000s.  It doesn’t matter.  He basically…

EL: What’s the difference between a 1990 and a 2000?

MK: A 1990 is when you spin on one hand.  A 2000 is when you put one hand on top of the other and do it.  Then you have a reverse 90, also called a dead man’s 90, for some reason, when you spin on the opposite hand.  You spin in the thumb direction.

The 2000 is when you put one on top of the other and spin.  There’s this little Russian kid, Malish, who’s 9.  He broke the world record in 90s with like 42 rounds.  Then he broke 50 rounds of 2000s.  It’s interesting to see him because he isn’t unstable, with the look that others have where it’s powerful but wobbles a bit.

It’s hand balance-perfectly straight.  He spins until there’s not enough drive left to keep him going.  He’s only 9.

EL: Puberty will kick in, growth plates will fuse, and he’ll have no more talent left.

MK: That’s the thing; so many of the guys that are total beasts now in their mid 20s started out somewhat like him.  Not as power move monsters, but a lot of them.  A guy from the states, El Niño, kept on going.  I remember him from Freestyle Session 3, doing head spins and taking off his shoes and shit.

Sadly, the kids are better and stay better.

EL: This is the problem with the internet.  Someone needs to tell these kids these moves are really difficult and constantly reinforce that it is really hard, slow them down a little.

I think that’s a good point to wrap it up.  Twisting in handstands; hopefully we gave you some things to think about.

MK: Go and try to twist in handstand.

EL: Tag us in your twisting, let’s see what happens.

MK: I want to see someone twist really far, so far that it looks like trash, then return to a perfectly nice controlled handstand.

EL: Who was that person doing twists all the way down to elbow stands, then twisting out of


MK: I’ve seen a few, with walks and without.

EL: Give us some of that, but the jankest you can imagine.

Other than that, I’m Emmet Louis here with MIkael Kristiansen.  Thanks for tuning in.


EL: HI, Emmet here.  One thing we forgot to mention during the episode is that we have recently updated our Push Harder program.  One thing we’ve included is a big tutorial on how shoulder position affects the one arm handstand, and all the various mistakes you might make of twisting, falling out, not high enough… It’s quite a detailed tutorial.

On top of that we added another couple of exercises based on your feedback, and also expanded the manual.  We doubled its length actually, not even expanded it.  It’s now twice the length it was before.  There’s a lot more information.

If twisting is a problem for you in one arm handstand, we have the solution for you in that program.  Thanks for supporting us.


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