Body awareness & engagement for handstands
Updated: Sep 26, 2019
In previous blog posts, strength/endurance, mobility, balance, and body awareness/engagement were introduced as the four physical capabilities that play the biggest role in Handstands.
While it’s impossible to isolate each of them completely during our practice, in order to understand them and to train them efficiently they will be broken down and explained individually.
Body awareness & Engagement
While body awareness refers to the ability to know where our body and body parts are in space, and how is their state in terms of tension, range of motion, etc; engagement refers to the actual capacity of controlling those different aspects of the body and body parts.
This ability plays an important role in handstands as we need to be familiar with where our body is in space and control its shape, not only without looking at it but also while holding it and balancing it upside down. The more we want to refine our technique, the more this skill becomes relevant.
Some basic reflections that can challenge your perception during handstands can be: Can you feel if your elbows are bent? Were your legs straight while kicking up? Were you holding your breath? Did you manage to get vertical?
From there, we can get much more perceptive trying to identify and control smaller things such as: Pelvic tilt, shoulder/thorax articulation, elevation of scapulas, rotation and tension of the legs, mid-back/lower-back articulation, and much much much more.
One of the best strategies to start practicing and improving in this skill is quite simple: Divide and conquer!
First understand your body in an isolated manner, one body part at a time, so then you can integrate them together. At the same time, make it simple and start practicing standing up with some visual queue (aka mirrors), then take it to the floor, and then the wall, so finally you can apply it in your handstand.
Let me know down in the comments what are your thoughts on this topic!