Hand-Balancing for Muscular Development by Bill Hinbern

Posted on Friday, September 30th, 2016 by John Wood
I used to fall flat on my face…
but NOW, I can hold a handstand like an expert
every single time!
Let me tell you what made the difference:

I couldn’t tell you the exact year, but I’m pretty sure I was around 10 years old or so… What I do very clearly remember was that it was on a Saturday afternoon when I found an article on hand balancing in an old magazine. My intentions were admittedly to be able to show off in a more dramatic manner…

I thought that holding a hand stand and being able to walk around on on my hands was just about one of the coolest things ever. I figured that with my new-found knowledge, come Monday morning I was going to impress all my friends at school (if I didn’t decide to run off and join the circus before then, of course!)

I didn’t bother to read the article though, I just jumped right in to trying to duplicate some of the exercises shown in the pictures. I did a lot more falling than balancing… It some how wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. What should come as no great surprise is that it didn’t go very well and my first hand balancing escapade ended in frustration after less than a half-hour.

This was a case of making several classic mistakes: the first was attempting to jump in at a level far above what I was capable of, the second was not having any kind of plan and the third, was completely ignoring the written directions (not that it would have done much good, given the other afore-mentioned issues.)

To these you can also add in my own unrealistic expectations so its pretty easy to understand why things ended up the way they did. Despite my initial lack of success, my fascination with hand balancing skills still remained…

An Oldtime Secret of Strength and Development

As I mentioned earlier, my initial interest in hand balancing was basically just to show off — and it’s a pretty good way to do so — but if you take a look back through the history of strength training you’ll notice something else about it that stands out. Many of the oldtime strength athletes used hand balancing as a way to build incredible strength and upper body development.

The list of strength athletes who were also great hand balancers reads like a “who’s who” of legends: Sig Klein, John Grimek, Doug Hepburn, Paul Anderson, Jack LaLanne, Bert Assirati, George F. Jowett, Steve Reeves, Otto Arco, Bert Goodrich and Clevio Massimo… just to name a few that come immediately to mind.


SIG KLEIN was a master
of many hand balancing feats
and valued it highly
There was a period of time when
the only training that JOHN GRIMEK
did was handbalancing
Big guys can learn handbalancing too: Doug Hepburn balanced with ease at a bodyweight of 305 lbs
Why it’s much easier than it looks
(If I can learn to do this, anyone can!)

It took a little while, a few decades, in fact, but eventually my interest in hand balancing came back in a big way. There were several factors which contributed to this: first of all, I got really interested in improving my overhead press, and hand balancing is one of the “lost” methods that the oldtime lifters used to use for doing so.

Second, as the time passed, I got a little more of this “stuff” called wisdom (which tends to accumulate over the years) and I grew up more than a little. One of the most important things that happened was that I no longer expected to become an expert over night…

I had the motivation and I had the wisdom, but what I was lacking was a plan. It an amazing stroke of luck that right around this time, (and thirdly), that Bill Hinbern also came out with a
fantastic training guide which outlined decades of hand balancing
knowledge. With this guide in hand, I was no longer in the dark as
far as how and where to get started. My “getting started” frustration
and anxiety disappeared instantly.

Introducing your Road Map for Hand
Balancing Success: Hand-Balancing for
Muscular Development by Bill Hinbern

Now, I know that hand balancing might look pretty complicated but once you understand the principles — and know which specific skills that you should be practicing — it’s actually very simple. This is the course that helped me get started. Here’s a look at many of the things that you will learn:

1. The very specific and exact ways that your body maintains a sense of balance and why understanding them will be
critical to your hand balancing success

2. How to quickly and easily solve the common problems of unbalancing and overbalancing (two of the most important things you can know)

3. The best ways to fall safely and correctly (info which you will NEED to know.)

4. How your hands and fingers must be positioned for the perfect handstand

5. The 16 preliminary exercises (with and without equipment) that you can use to build a solid
foundation

6. A selection of 7 barbell exercises to use in preparation for hand balancing workout, AND suggestions on the specific days of the week to focus on them


7. The 4 basic parts of the perfect hand balance and why you will end up flat on your face if you
leave out any of them

8. The 3 simplest ways to “get up” into the hand stand position

9. How to correctly use a wall for hand balancing practice

10. The best locations and positions for your gym mats

11. The Best “type” of surface for the
most effective hand balancing training — and which surfaces to avoid

12. The 2 keys to practicing hand balancing with or without a partner

13. How to perform “The Headstand,” The “Handstand,” “The Frogstand” and 7 more basic hand balancing moves

14. How to perform a handstand from a cartwheel

15. How to condition your hands, fingers, wrists and forearms for supporting your
bodyweight with a unique exercise called “The Gargoyle”

16. The finer points of “The Press-Up Handstand,” “Half-Lever Swing Up,” “The Chairstand” and 12 more
Intermediate hand balancing movements


17. The 5 different types of “floor bars” and why you may or may not need to train with them

18. Why “The Tiger Bend” is one of the most effective exercises and how to use it to build strong, powerful arms (a favorite of Sig Klein)

19. Twenty Advanced Hand balancing moves guaranteed to impress anyone

20. Seven different methods for progressing to the one armed hand stand

21. How to perform “The Snap Down” – a spectacular way of finishing off your hand balances

22. Four different variations of “The Planche”

23. Methods for Mastering the Press-Up from Planche to Hand Stand

24. How to walk up and down stairs on your hands

25. “Hopping” on one hand, two hands, and stacking and removing blocks

26. How to perform a hand stand from the seated position

27. The most difficult part of the Backward Roll up into The Handstand and a quick tip for conquering it easily

28. Details for mastering the MOST impressive hand balancing feat of all…

29. The hand Balancing movement that is also one of the very best for building abdominal strength

29. Four different stretching exercises for maintaining strong, flexible shoulders

30. The One most important thing to remember above all else for hand balancing success

31. An Anatomy chart of all the major muscle groups

32. A Full resource section for all equipment described and used throughout the course


Hand-Balancing for Muscular Development by Bill Hinbern
__________________$29.99 plus s/h

Does it work? Here’s the Proof:




The Basic Hand Stand: All other skills can only be accomplished by mastering this movement. Not bad for a former nose guard with zero previous gymnastic experience!

If you’d have seen me when I started you would never have thought this was even possible.

Yes, it took plenty of practice to be able to do this. Hand balancing is a lot like riding a bike, after a while you just “get it” and you wonder why it ever seemed so difficult in the first place…

Staggered Balancing: Another challenge is to hold a balance with your hands at different heights. One of the most popular methods of doing this is using a common kitchen chair but you can learn to do it just about anywhere.

Yes, that IS a classic MILO globe dumbbell under my right hand (in the interest of full disclosure, it was “blocked” so that it didn’t roll but the ability to hold it otherwise is not too far off.)

The “Figure Four”: Once you get pretty good at the basic hand stand, you can move on to more challenging skills. This intermediate move is called “The Figure Four” since the body looks like a “4” when viewed from the side. You’ll find it discussed in detail on page 41.
Narrow Balancing: Adjusting the width of your base is another way to work on different skills. Look closely and you’ll see that my thumbs are touching, a surprisingly difficult balance. If you want to improve your overhead press, this movement builds tremendous shoulder strength and stability.
So Get Started Already!

You wouldn’t have read this far if you didn’t mean business… It took roughly two decades between the time I first got interested in hand balancing to the time I was actually able to accomplish it but I could have condensed that down to only a few weeks if I knew the right place to begin…When I started, I had the desire and the motivation, but I lacked the know-how. Today, the know-how is now right in front of your face. I can only dream of where I might be if I had Bill Hinbern’s course way back in the day. You have a chance to not just get started, but to get started at the best possible place and know exactly what you should be doing. It is like the difference between taking the long, slow, frustrating road which may or may not get you to where you want to go… or, on the other hand, you can take a straight-line “shortcut” right to the top.

Yes, there will be work involved, there’s no way around that, but there sure won’t be any more work than what is necessary… Hey, if I can learn to do this, anyone can, take the plunge and order your copy of Hand-Balancing for Muscular Development right now and maybe one day you will run off and join the circus!

Hand-Balancing for Muscular Development by Bill Hinbern is a paper and ink printed course and is not available in e-book format.

The course is paperback, consiste of 72 pages, profusely illustrated with dozens of rare pen and ink drawings and has a heavy-stock cover. An Anatomy chart, kilo to pounds conversion table and full list of resources are also included.

The contents and topics covered in this course can be found else where on this page.

Order now!Hand-Balancing for Muscular Development by Bill Hinbern
___________$29.99 plus s/h
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2021 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2021 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Grimek’s Handstand

Posted on Thursday, October 15th, 2015 by John Wood

For a period of a few years, John Grimek didn’t touch a weight of any kind… no barbells, no dumbbells, no nothing BUT he still continued to maintain and even enhance his impressive physique by focusing intently on his hand-balancing skills. The great thing about hand-balancing is that it’s a lot like riding a bike, once you learn how to do it, you never forget. This classic shot of Grimek looks like it was probably taken in Bob Hoffman’s back yard in North York, PA.

All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2021 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2021 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Grimek The Handbalancer

Posted on Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 by John Wood

You can count John Grimek among the many great strength stars who were also expert handbalancers. There were periods of time in his life when Grimek didn’t have access to barbells and dumbbells and regular handbalancing practice allowed him to still get in a great workout just about anywhere.

Handbalancing is certainly a worthwhile skill to practice for every strength athlete. The increased shoulder stability helps build pressing power. You sure won’t find a handbalancer who isn’t impressive in either strength or muscular development.

All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2021 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2021 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Keller The Handbalancer

Posted on Friday, July 25th, 2014 by John Wood
Jules Keller “The Upside Down Man” was a handbalancing star attraction in the early 1900’s. We have long said that the regular practice of handbalancing will build unusual strength and development in the forearms and this example is certainly case in point. Supporting the entire bodyweight on the wrists and using the fingertips to maintain balance trains the lower arm musculature in ways that no other method can match.

Keep in mind, Mr. Keller only weighed 150 pounds, has there ever been a more impressive display of the development of that muscle group? (even a hundred years later?)

All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2021 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2021 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Sig Klein’s Greatest Handbalancing Feat

Posted on Friday, January 3rd, 2014 by John Wood

Sig Klein's Greatest Handbalancing Feat

We’ve covered Sig Klein’s handbalancing feats before. Above you’ll find what ol’ Sig thought of as the ultimate handbalancing feat, or at least the one that he was most proud of. Not only could Sig hold a handstand on a freestanding globe barbell, he could roll the whole affair across the floor while doing so ~ That’s pretty awesome!
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2021 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2021 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Sig Klein’s Hand Balancing

Posted on Thursday, February 28th, 2013 by John Wood
Sig Klein's Hand Balancing
The fact that Sig Klein has been mentioned so many times throughout this blog should tell you that he was a jack of all trades — and he most certainly was. Name a classic training discipline and ol’ Sig was a master: muscle control… kettlebell and barbell juggling… heavy weight lifting… posing … the bent press … the list goes on and on.

One of Sig’s absolute favorite types of training was hand balancing, and he mentioned it often as the way he trained in the days before he got his weight set. Sig felt that hand balancing was not just for show but was a fantastic way to build size and strength — a viewpoint that we certainly agree with. Sig also believed that regular hand balancing was a great way to improve the press …and the results speak for themselves.

All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2021 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2021 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Luigi “Milo” Brinn

Posted on Thursday, January 24th, 2013 by John Wood
Luigi 'Milo' Brinn
Milo Brinn (born Luigi Borra) performed feats of strength and took on all comers as a wrestler at the famous Folies Berger in Paris. Brinn’s act at the Folies consisted of tumbling and gymnastics, hand balancing, figure display, heavy juggling and feats of supporting and carrying weights. He could perform a crucifix with 66lb. in each hand and could do a one-leg squat holding 60 kg.

As a wrestler, Brinn won the amateur world’s title in 1887 and supposedly once defeated Sandow in a match.

Sandow’s Somersault

Posted on Sunday, July 29th, 2012 by John Wood
Sandow's Somersault

Here’s one you probably haven’t seen before… Behold, one of the few images of the great physique star Eugen Sandow doing something athletic: performing a back somersault. Sandow used to do a back somersault was often the exclamation point to finish his act, showing the audience that his muscles weren’t just for show. In fact, many people are more impressed by a back somersault than lifting a heavy weight.

Sandow could perform a back somersault with a 56 pound dumbbell in each hand which is pretty amazing when you think about it.

Like many early strongmen, Sandow’s early training consisted of basic gymnastics movements, calisthenics and hand balancing — all of which continued to serve him well throughout his career.

All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2021 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2021 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Joe Nordquest, The Ashtabula Strongman

Posted on Monday, June 4th, 2012 by John Wood
Joe Norquest, the strongman from Ashtabula, Ohio, lifts a heavy globe barbell overhead.
One of the true unsung strongmen is undoubtedly Joe Nordquest from Ashtabula, Ohio. His name is rarely mentioned at the top of the list of all-time greats yet his strength feats would certainly rank him among them.

Joe Nordquest could jump from a table to the floor while maintaining a handstand position, curl 180 pounds and bent press 277-1/2 pounds. He could military press 124-1/4 pounds with one hand, an American record at the time and did a “bridge press” with 388 pounds (breaking Arthur Saxon’s record.) Keep in mind that he did all this and more on only one leg, having lost a limb in an accident as a boy. Joe’s brother Adolph was also an excellent strongman.

Clevio Massimo

Posted on Friday, February 3rd, 2012 by John Wood

Italian Strongman Clevio Massimo Lifting a Giant Kettlebell

Now THAT’S a Kettlebell! …Antonio Clevio Massimo Sabatino, professionally known as Clevio Massimo, was born in Opi Labruza, Italy in 1895. When only a small boy he immigrated into the US and made Buffalo, New York his home. Shortly after finishing high school, Clevio Massimo toured the country performing strongman feats, hand balancing, adagio dancing and muscle control and for a time, even ventured into professional wrestling.  You can find out more about Clevio Massimo in The Mark Berry Bar Bell Courses.