Meet Greg, the new handbalancer who achieved his first handstand in 44 days.
Just a few months ago, Greg found himself in familiar territory: he was messing around with handstands, but was scared to move away from the wall and wasn’t progressing. Long story short: he was stuck, and going nowhere fast.
But, by a stroke of luck, Greg found the 28-Day Handstand Challenge. He accepted the challenge, which means he made a few small changes, built a support system, and dominated. I got this email from him 44 days after he started the challenge:
“Hey Chris, just wanted to drop you an email. I’ve been practicing freestanding handstands since the 28-day course finished about 3 weeks ago. There were flashes of being close, and some decent holds. But yesterday, oh man. I kicked up, and everything clicked! My feet went to the right placed, my shoulders were engaged, I had control with my cambered technique – I felt like I could hang out there all day! I got a solid 10 seconds nearly still the whole time, and it was one of the coolest feelings I have ever had.
So thank you again for the course. It really did give me the mental confidence and motivation to practice this skill. If you had told me a year ago I would be excited to wake up and practice this stuff for 5-10 minutes every day, I would have laughed at you. But you said it correctly – you really get addicted to throwing up handstands!
All the best, looking forward to whatever you come out with next!”
This is his story.
Chris: Thanks for sharing your story Greg! To start off, who are you and what do you do?
Greg: My name is Greg and I’m an English teacher. I took the 28-Day Handstand challenge and made a lot of progress in the first 28 days, so continued on and achieved my first freestanding handstand in 44 days.
Chris: Most people think handstands are really impressive. Is that why you wanted to learn to perform the handstand?
Greg: The main reason I wanted to perform the handstand was because I didn’t believe I could for a long time. A lot of my training recently has been focused trying to do things I once deemed “never in a million years.” That, and it looks cool!
Chris: That’s awesome! You wouldn’t believe how many people think that they could never perform the handstand, only to surprise themselves. So, Greg, before starting the challenge, did you ever try handstands before?
Greg: I had done a couple of handstands for CrossFit against the wall, but with my back to the wall. I hadn’t tried the stomach to the wall technique, nor had I done freestanding handstands.
Chris: So you were heading in the right direction, but were you making progress? Was something holding you back?
Greg: It was really fear that held me back. I’m a big guy and the thought of potentially crashing down on myself was definitely holding me back. My two biggest fears were definitely not having enough strength to maintain the position (my upper-body strength was disproportionately low compared to my lower body) and the possibility of “over-kicking” and thus not being able to stop my rotation at the top when kicking up.
Chris: Most people have a nagging fear that they will get hurt, so you’re definitely not alone. Despite your fears, though, you decided to tackle the handstand. What made you accept the challenge?
Greg: I finally just accepted that if other people could do it, so could I – it might take me a while to get it, but it wasn’t impossible. Plus, the free tutorial seemed intuitive, and it was easy to make a promise for the 28 days. Glad I did!
Chris: A promise for 28 days is definitely a big and important first step. What kept you motivated through the first 28 days?
Greg: I focused a lot on just beating the time in the holds from the day before, or feeling more comfortable with the maneuvers like the pirouette bail. Once I got into the habit of practicing for at least 5 minutes after I woke up [anchor event!], it became easy.
Chris: That’s awesome Greg. It’s easy for people fall off when the challenge is over. What kept you motivated after the first 28 days?
Greg: I know that I could spend the rest of my life practicing movements related to the handstand, so each day after the 28 is one where I can work towards those goals. After I hit my freestanding handstand, I can start focusing on form. Then, maybe a handstand pushup. I like having different things to chase.
Chris: Great! You found some things to keep your sights on, and kept plowing through. With motivation out of the way, fear is also a big problem for others taking the challenge. What had the biggest impact on conquering your fears?
Greg: The pirouette bail, hands down. Having that tool made it easy to attempt the final parts of straightening out at the top without fear. Plus, it made it easier during the wall training to simply rotate out, rather than try to stagger out of it.
Chris: I’m glad that the pirouette bail had such a profound impact on your training! Did you ever get stuck and not know how to advance or improve? How did you get over it?
Greg: I got stuck at 40 seconds for a week for the hold – I couldn’t seem to get past that. I simply stuck through and kept up the practice, remembering that it wouldn’t all come in one day. I used the advice in The 15-Second Handstand: A Beginner’s Guide and eventually I started moving again.
Chris: When most people get stuck for a week, they try to move on and find another progression. Looks like you realized that its worth it to see things through, and that a week of stagnation can soon pass! Did you have any pain that you experienced during your training?
Greg: I had a little wrist discomfort originally, but I attribute this to being in a new position and training some other things at the gym. I stopped doing those things at the gym, and everything was fine with the handstands.
Chris: Wrist discomfort is the most common problem. I normally advise people to use parallettes or push-up trainers if these problems persist, but it looks like you didn’t need that! So you made big progress, but did you have any help along the way?
Greg: People at the gym supported me, plus my roommate – he had no choice in the matter after I started practicing in the living room because it had been raining. It was easy to keep going after seeing their eyes light up when I accomplished something.
Become The Next Success Story
Does Greg’s story sound familiar? Do you find yourself putting off the handstand, not making progress or lacking motivation?
Fortunately, Greg and others show us that it can be done. By making smart adjustments to your lifestyle and attitude, you can make real progress and achieve things that you thought couldn’t be done “in a million years”.
Greg was able to build a system for his success, starting with the 28-day handstand challenge. This wasn’t a quick fix, like a health magazine six-pack shortcut, or diet gimmick, these were real changes that start with taking a challenge and building positive habits.
Plus, Greg was also able to inspire others, as he saw his roommate’s eyes light up when he accomplished something…all within a few weeks!
Greg took action:
Draw a line in the sand: Greg got tired of seeing other people do it and not doing it for himself. After all, if other people could do it, why not him? There are big guys and small girls alike who can all perform handstands, so why not him? Why not you?
One day at a time: Before Greg took the challenge, he wasn’t training the handstand seriously, and just practicing against the wall. He had no idea how to practice but took the first step in the challenge which is staying compliant. You just need to complete 28 days of practice for every day, and be a little further along than when you started. Fit it into your routine, create an anchor event and train, train, train. Even when Greg faced a week of stagnating progress he stuck through it and saw results. At the beginning of the challenge, each day was a conquered obstacle, but over time it turned into an addicting habit.
Greg educated himself – but didn’t overanalyze: When Greg hit a sticking point, he pushed through it. He read and reread the materials in the 28-Day Handstand, and The 15-Second Handstand: A Beginner’s Guide. He found the information he needed and applied it. Instead of falling short by overanalyzing his form, he asked directed questions and got precise answers without overwhelming himself. He didn’t read article-upon-article and tutorial-upon-tutorial – he avoided paralysis by analysis. Then…he made progress. Greg learned to fail differently – which is a big lesson to learn. He understood that in handstand training, a week of stagnation could still mean he is progressing, and he would only need to switch programs after a much longer period of stagnation. It’s easy to fall victim to paralysis by analysis, but Greg didn’t fall into that trap.
He challenged himself: This is what separates Greg from the crowd. It’s what separated him from thousands of people who take the challenge and then let it fall to the wayside before they even get started. Greg saw that this was a 28-Day Handstand Challenge, not the 28-Day Handstand Shortcut or How To Get A Handstand In 28-Days With No Effort. To kickstart his journey, Greg took the challenge that he could dedicate 28 days to some handstand practice every day. Faced with the prospect of failing himself, Greg decided “hmmm, no, I’ll just be awesome and see this challenge through,” even when progress stagnated. He ended up completing the challenge, building a handstand addiction and achieving a goal he had though he would “never accomplish in a million years”.
He made himself accountable: Accountability systems work. When Greg originally took the challenge, he sent me an email saying that he was dedicated to getting the handstand. This announcement made him feel accountable, and I stood in contact with him as he was learning the handstand. As soon as he hit his first freestanding hold, he sent me an email. He knew he had somebody to lean on if he had questions, somebody to share his successes with, and somebody that wanted him to achieve. Aside from me, Greg also had the support of other gym members and his roommate. Once you let people know your goals, they may not understand…but as they see that you are making progress and are serious about hitting your target, its amazing how much power comes from their support and inspiration. After all, when you do amazing things, people will be amazed by you. Constant accountability made sure Greg stayed on that tiny straight and narrow path he needed to succeed. Put an accountability system in place!
Greg found his manual: After making a little progress Greg realized he needed a step-by-step guide. Let’s be honest, researching what needs to be done is a lot more difficult than following specific, effective instructions…but we can talk ourselves out of anything if there are too many choices or too much uncertainty. The material in The 15-Second Handstand: A Beginner’s Guide took thinking out of the process for him and spoke his language. Greg didn’t want to worry about the fact that there are a million different resources or ways to get the handstand (which can overwhelm anybody); instead, he found a resource that made sense to him and gave it a solid chance. 44 days later, he’s achieved something he never thought possible. What progress have you made in the last 44 days?
Congrats to Greg on hitting an amazing goal. I’m confident now that he’s hit this goal, he will move on to the next one, and become even more impressive.
Do you have any questions for the man? If so, leave a comment below.
When will you be sending in YOUR success story? (Seriously, I love success stories, even if you didn’t use my book – send me your story so we can feature you on the site too!)
Start with small commitments. Just 5-minutes a day to start and you can train the handstand anywhere.
And then dominate, like Greg!
PS: Of course, I’m proud that Greg used the materials in The 15-Second Handstand: A Beginner’s Guide to help him succeed on his journey. It spoke his language, laid out things in a step-by-step progression and gave him a blueprint to manage. If you are struggling to learn the handstand, get constantly get overwhelmed or simply want to be more impressive, don’t underestimate the importance of picking a plan that makes sense to you. I don’t care if it’s the The 15-Second Handstand: A Beginner’s Guide or any other plan, as long as you pick one and stick with it!