“Why would you want to do that?” I’m frequently asked when people hear I’m practising a handstand. “Well, why not?” is my flippant response. But there’s more to it than that.
I’ve spent years believing I couldn’t do physical activities; doing a handstand wouldn’t have entered my head. I don’t even remember doing them as a child. I certainly didn’t attend gymnastics club; it wasn’t for me - or so I understood.
As an adult I’d (eventually) joined a gym and worked with various personal trainers, with limited success. Then, a couple of years ago, I met the right coach. And what a revelation that was. I improved my fitness and, importantly, started to believe I could achieve anything if I worked for it. I may not be “naturally athletic” but I realised anything’s possible with practise.
With an improved mindset, I set about learning new physical skills. For the first time, fitness became fun. When I saw a workshop for beginners’ calisthenics advertised, I decided to give it a go. My enthusiasm was at a high.
Then, as the workshop approached…. bam, I was filled with self-doubt. I hit my first hurdle before I even started. Consumed by feelings of inadequacy, all my fears returned - I wouldn’t be able to do anything; I’d make a fool of myself; people would laugh at me …… the list of reasons I shouldn’t go went on.
But, bolstered by words of encouragement from my ever-supportive coach, I determined to honour my commitment and headed to the workshop. It still took me three passes of the door to pluck up the courage to enter! But enter I did. And so my handstand adventure began. I didn’t find it easy but I did have immense fun. I may have had limited success on the day but I did, with help, get upside down. And I was delighted.
Determined not to forget what I’d been shown, I set about practising some of the drills. I didn’t have the nerve to try an actual handstand but there was plenty I could work on. My ultimate goal of a handstand may have been a way off but I’d fallen in love with the process of getting there.
My next step became finding the confidence to handstand alone. If I couldn’t do this, I knew my opportunities for further development were limited. So, I went along to a second workshop. I left having again had a ton of fun, armed with more knowledge and, significantly, with more self-belief. And now I’m regularly found practising handstands in a commercial gym.
I still need a wall but I’ve worked up to being able (sometimes) to hold away from the wall for around five seconds. It doesn’t sound much but it’s a long way from where I started - and my handstand has better shape too.
In addition to learning the value of fitness being fun, I’m benefitting from the increased confidence I’ve gained. It’s very empowering being able to hold upside down - and the added bonus is this extends to my life outside the gym.
I’ve still a long way to go to reach the vision I have in my head - but I’m fine with that because I’m having a ball trying.
Sunday 4th February 13:30 - 15:00
Learn how to transition from complete beginner to an up-side-down pro with our series of regressions to improve your balance and build your strength.