Recap of our handstand workshop in beautiful Patmos, Greece!

Patmos Warriors have a fantastic spot! A small old school “just-what-you-need” gym with a padded floor that invites people to play safe. We were joined by 10 students. The workshop started with a mobility warm-up, core and shoulders activation, followed by some drills and finally playtime!

One thing that we focused a lot on is teaching people how to spot each other and learn not only from the coach’s cues, but also from observing one another. Beyond observing one another, learning how to team up and play with handstands in a safe manner was also part of the programme.

We placed an emphasis on understanding the mechanics of handstands. How to perform them with the minimum effort, without making aggressive movements, how to stay in a correct position once we are upside down, and of course how to be safe when coming out of a handstand. Alignment is paramount to all of this as is breaking down any fears.

The class was broken down into four sections:

Part 1 – Full body warm up and mobility session.

Warming up the body correctly is imperative. We start from the neck and go through all our major muscle groups. Handstands are particularly demanding on the shoulders so there was a large emphasis on shoulder warm up.

Neck rolls
Full shoulder warm up
Hip mobilisation followed by good mornings and squats
2 sets of 20 seconds hanging from the pull up bar in a hollow position

Part 2 – Wrist warm up

Handstands are very heavy on your wrists, especially for those who are new to going upside down. It is very important to warm up the wrists properly in order to avoid injury.

Part 3 - Core work

Many underestimate the importance of a strong core for handstands. To  prepare for going upside down we did a bit of core work, working on the different positions of the shoulders and the scapula from a plank position. Whilst in plank you can also continue to warm up your wrists by loading more weight onto your wrists. We also worked on the hollow position with a focus on correct alignment for handstands. Working on our core allows us to work on correct alignment which creates a stable and easy-to-control environment for handstands.  

Part 4 - Animal movements

Animal movements are a fantastic way to train, they are an extremely playful way to move that help to teach us better body awareness. We worked mainly on frog and monkey movements, both of which teach us how to better shift our bodyweight.

Part 5 - Going upside down!

Hands down feet up! We started by working on wall kick ups to build a little confidence upside down and to correct positions before moving on to partner drills and supported free handstands. This is when the real play time began! Confidence plays a large role in handstands so play is extremely important. We have to learn how to feel comfortable upside down. Emilio helped each student to find their correct position upside down, how to fall out of a handstand, and how to support each other when trying.

The workshop was a great success, everyone did extremely well and completely embraced playing. Fear can often be a big hindrance but by taking progressive steps we managed to break down a lot of doubts. We can’t wait to come back for the next workshop!!