How handstands gave me a different perspective on fitness

How handstands gave me a different perspective on fitness

How handstands gave me a different perspective on fitness OptiMum Health

Yesterday was a real fun day of practical learning for me. Often with my continuing professional development (CPD) these days there’s a lot of reading, research and written work. So to get a whole day of practical ‘play’ & fun is something of a treat….let alone with a coach as skilled as Andy McKenzie.

How handstands gave me a different perspective on fitness

We went through so much in the day – mobility drills, programming approaches, movement regressions, progressions and adaptations and more.

Part of the day though we spent on handstands – because they are cool!


Reflecting on yesterday, I realised three things in particular I learnt from the handstand section of the day:

1. The power of play 

I’ve been writing in blogs and eletters over the last few months on the importance of factoring PLEASURE and ENJOYMENT into your fitness and wellbeing approach.

Yes we all have to work hard sometimes and yes, we may need to put some effort into honing skills and hard graft to achieve whatever results we are seeking


We all need an element of PLAY in there. Ensuring there is a fun aspect to at least some of your training – whatever form that takes – ensures ENJOYMENT

If you’re enjoying it, guess what….you’re much more likely to want to do more of it. Then you also increase the likelihood of achieving the results you want. 

2. Sometimes if you need a different approach to get your results.

This was a bit of a surprise for me. 

Up until yesterday, I’d always (talking back in much younger wannabe gymnast days) kicked up into a handstand with my right leg leading.

Yesterday, we were starting with hands on the floor (taking out a certain amount of momentum from that initial kick) and kicking up from the floor, to whatever height we could. 

I’d had a few goes on my ‘usual leg’ with reasonable success. Out of interest, I thought I’d have a go kicking off with my left leg – the dopey one that needs that extra bit of attention and prehab. 

Guess what – I nailed it! Well not completely, but it was waaaaay better leading with that leg!

I had more power, more control and more balance. Maybe it’s because of all the work I’ve put in sorting out issues on that leg over the last year and a half – who knows.

The point is, sometimes we keep pushing and trying to achieve something the same way, over and over again and then get frustrated when we’re not progressing. 


How handstands changed my perspective on fitness

There’s Einstein’s saying on this: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Tackling a challenge, a weightloss plateau or a movement from a different angle may be just what you need. Maybe you need to take a step back and reassess how to approach this. Maybe a coach could help….


3. Leave reps on the wall.

This is a BIG ONE that you can apply across your lifestyle.

During our handstand practice yesterday, we went through a core mobility drill that crescendoed to a 45o handstand against the wall for 30 seconds, and then (if you still had enough steam in the tank) a vertical handstand, with your chest right up against the wall.

Andy stressed the point several times that you needed to “leave a couple of reps on the wall”. 

Initially I wasn’t sure what he meant. He went on to explain that if you used up everything in your reps/handstand/movement and ran out of strength and energy, how were you going to get down from being upside down against the wall????

Fair point, well presented!

It struck me this afternoon though, that this approach applies across the board….bear with me.

After a long day yesterday, I stayed over last night near the venue, got some work done and chilled out for a bit. I didn’t sleep terribly well (the cows and birds down near Bath seem to think that 0430 is an acceptable time to start the day….). I drove the 3 ½ hours home and took over child duty from the hubster who had to go off elsewhere. So 10 minutes at home to swap car seats into my car, grab a brew and take the boys off to swimming lessons.

Back home to make us a late lunch then I cut the grass. Half hour playing with the boys (more handstand practice!) then think about doing tea for us all…I was starting to flag but thought of all the other things I wanted to get done….

How handstands changed my perspective on fitnessfun fitness for women






Leave some reps on the wall….

Yes, I could push and get loads more jobs done. But then I’d probably be ratty with the boys at bath time, simply because I’d worn myself out. I realised that my ‘reps on the wall’ needed to be enough energy to get me through the rest of the day with 2 ‘boysterous’ children and perhaps even chat to the hubster this evening without yawning and snapping.

We’re all so busy these days, our first thoughts are what we ‘should’ get done in the time available. Often though, in pushing for this we don’t leave ourselves enough time or energy to actually look after ourselves properly

That may be in terms of preparing decent meals, sitting down to actually eat what you’ve made, having time to just ‘be’ or think.

So as you go through each day, make sure you leave some reps on the wall…..because crashing down on your head just isn’t fun. 

And we all need to have fun.

To find out how to make your fitness and wellbeing journey more fun for You, get in touch here.