When you are on the quest of Calisthenics Self-Mastery there is no better place to start than the handstand.
It is a skill that combines strength, body alignment and balance.
If you have ever devoted yourself to practicing it you know how difficult it can be. You spend hours upon hours, days upon days, trying to kick up into that perfect balance point but alas you fall over.
During the summer, I decided to work on a full calisthenics routine. I got pretty far into it but realized I needed to take a step back and focus on perfecting my handstand.
My inability to master the handstand was hindering my growth in other skills.
I knew that accountability was super important for progressing in the handstand so I created an accountability group on Facebook. It is now hopping with over 100 calisthenics devotees working toward their handstand.
The other thing I did was joined Lift.do. It has become one of the single most important factors for my growth in the handstand. The site helps you develop the habit of practicing the handstand.
Here is a screen shot of the 49 times I’ve logged my handstand practice session.
The DiSSS Method for Learning The Handstand Faster
After reading Timothy Ferriss’ book “4 Hour Chef” I realized that I could be achieving my handstand even faster.
In the book, he talks about an accelerated learning technique that he uses to learn languages, shoot 3 pointers, master cooking and other skills… within weeks or months (not years!).
The technique is called DiSSS or Deconstruction, Selection, Sequencing and Stakes.
Deconstruction means breaking down a skill to its core components.
For the handstand, that means: balance, strength and posture. When you are learning the handstand you need to incorporate these 3 elements into your practice.
Selection means choosing an exercise to help you work on just that one component.
For the handstand, I have selected the “supported handstand against the wall” to learn posture and build strength. I selected the “handstand against the wall but with my feet kicking slightly away” to learn balance. And I selected the transition move called the “kick up” to put it together.
When you focus on practicing each of these moves separately you allow your body and brain to memorize what it feels like to be in that single move.
You simplify things which accelerates learning.
Sequencing means putting together the right moves in the right order.
In the video, I show you exactly how to sequence the moves for you to learn the core elements of strength, posture and balance.
The last letter of the acronym stands for Stakes.
I don’t describe this in the video but essentially this means, “What are you going to stake on learning the handstand?”
One thing you could stake is your reputation. You could join our group and tell the group “By August 9th of 2014 (eh em, my birthday ;)) I will be able to hold an unsupported handstand for 60 seconds.”
Then when the date gets closer you have more of an incentive to force yourself to learn the move. If you don’t get it you are embarrassed.
This simple act of “announcing” to the world that you’ll do something keeps you accountable for actually doing it.
After I started applying Tim’s technique of DiSSS to my handstand practice I noticed a dramatic improvement in a short period of time.
I hope it helps you with your handstand practice!