every single time!
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…
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
the only training that JOHN GRIMEK
did was handbalancing
(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.
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:
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
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
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
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…
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.)
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!
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.