By Mike Campbell

 

In Part 1 of this article series, we introduced the concept of more advanced bodyweight training. The idea being to benefit the body both from the challenge, but also respite from a heavy, external load. I mentioned a few principles and demonstrated a tougher variation on the standard push up: the decline push up.

 

This movement is ideal if you want to graduate towards doing actual handstands and then handstand push ups (reserved only for the really serious guys out there!).

 

So, let’s start progressing...

 

The Handstand

 

Assuming you’ve mastered last month’s decline push up, I will next introduce you to the wall-facing handstand and the Swissball pike. You can watch my demonstration of these moves in the video provided, which also includes the big daddy progression: the handstand push up.

 

Wall-facing handstand The goal of this movement is simply to practice being upside down and to get used to balancing on your hands. Much like when we learn to walk as infants, we must continually practice the skill and condition our body to this new position/movement.

 

Simultaneously walk your legs up the wall and your hands towards the wall. Come to a position that sees you as vertical as you are comfortable with to start. With pointed toes, start with both feet on the wall. Once you’re a bit more familiar with that, remove one, holding it in a neutral position. Try and accumulate time up here, slowly working to remove the amount of pressure your feet have on the wall (one at a time, and then two, if possible). Either walk yourself down or twist and drop out (as shown in the video).

 

Swissball Pike (to handstand)

 

This exercise is to increase the strength of your abs in controlling your handstand from around the pelvis, as well as slowly learning to take the weight into your hands and arms from this position.

 

Start with your hands on the ground and lower legs on the ball, just below the knee. Slowly pull from the stomach and roll the ball in towards your hands as you raise your hips in the air and bring your shoulders over your hands. You should now be in a ‘pike’ position. The aim is to have your torso vertical, matching a handstand. Very slowly roll back out to start position and repeat. Aim for 10 reps.

 

Progression: As you can, slowly start trying to take the weight of your feet and legs off the ball and place more weight through your hands. From here the next progression is to take one leg off the ball and raise straight, eventually working towards a handstand - see video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WElcu_qN7ls and to read part 3 of this article series, click here.