Handstand walks have appeared at the CrossFit Games two years now and will most probably return. They are a great test of strength, agility, and coordination and should most definitely not be avoided. It took us some time as babies to learn how to become bipeds and it will take us adults some time to invert and perfect this skill. There are some great videos with different progressions to master this skill.
The above Carl Paoli video is one of my favorites. First of all, if you don’t know how to kick up to a handstand, check out Carl’s Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 videos. Once you can kick up comfortably into a handstand, we can start to work on walking. Also, make sure your shoulders are capable of safely holding supporting your body inverted (see this post for proper shoulder mobility).
To sum up Carl’s video, the progressions are:
1. Kick up to a wall with your hands 1 feet away from the wall. Stay tight, but begin to feel comfortable in what he calls a globally extended position, which means that your feet are slightly in front of your center of gravity, but your body does not hyperextend in the back (a la superman exercise).
2. Kick up to a wall with your hands 2 feet away and do your best to “kiss” the wall with your feet. Mastering control in this position is key because like POSE running, you’ll be learning to fall forward with your body while your hands catch up.
3. Find a waist high surface to put your feet and mimic a handstand from the waist to your hands. Shift your hips to the left and walk your hands to the left. Repeat to the right. Feel how your hips dictate where you hands go.
4. Kick up to the wall again 2.5 feet away. Before your feet reach the wall, take a few “steps” with your hands until your feet touch. Repeat from further away.
Watch Part 2, which discusses how to properly bail out if you lose your balance. With enough practice, you can aspire to walk across the gym, down the street, or even down the Santa Monica stairs like this guy here (who incidentally is Woody Harrelson’s brother).
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9 Clusters (135/95)
9 Muscle Ups
15 Chest to Bar Pull Ups
21 Front Squats
21 Pull Ups
Cash Out: Handstand Walks
**A Cluster is a “squat clean” to a thruster