Dynamic Dan: How Did He Learn How To Handstand Consistently?

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Dan Learning How to Handstand

Meet Dan, the full time nursing student who learned how to handstand. He now holds 15-second handstands consistently!

Dan is a busy guy.  He’s changing careers, is a full time student, and he likes to stay active.  He has been on the fitness scene for a while as a gym rat, kettlebell athlete and self-taught bodyweight trainee.

When Dan started learning how to handstand in March, he was cobbling together information from a few different sources, and trying to achieve solid, consistent handstand holds.  He made some good progress, and even learned how to try and kick up…but he couldn’t get his handstands to be more consistent!

Only on the rarest of occasions would he hold a freestanding handstand.  Aside from that, he couldn’t hold a handstand for even a few seconds.

It was frustrating, because he felt so close, yet so far.  And things stopped improving.

Then Dan started the 28-Day Handstand Challenge.

Dan saw a program from a trusted author that was getting rave reviews.  He saw others were making huge progress in learning how to handstand, so what did he have to lose?

He signed up for the challenge in July and worked just 5-minutes a day on his handstand holds.  He felt like he was finally progressing again.  The challenge was promoting consistency, fear conquering and super-simple progressions generate results.  All of this is crucial when trying to learn how to handstand.

After 28 days, he built the habit and was 100% sure that he was over his fears, but he was still lacking crucial elements of his technique.

Since he had such a good experience with the 28-Day Handstand Challenge, he didn’t have to look too far for the next steps – he knew where to find them. He bought my course, The 15-Second Handstand: A Beginner’s Guide without a second thought.

Within one day, I received this message from him, showing he was making huge progress in learning how to handstand:

I read Challenge #4 per your advice and I think I’m making a mini breakthrough already. I realized that I was jumping into the handstands which explained my inconsistencies with the kick ups. I am currently practicing The 4-Points Checklist and making sure that my kick up is smooth and controlled.

And exactly one month after that, I received another message, with valuable “How To Handstand” lessons for all newcomers:

I found out quickly that it was the small details that were eluding me. I was more muscling the handstand hold than relying on technique. And it’s through proper technique that more consistent and aesthetically pleasing handstands can be attained. My handstand ability improved more in the first few weeks of using this guide than it had in the previous 6 months of training. My handstands are far from perfect, but I now truly feel that my more advanced handstand goals are truly within reach.

Even though his handstand form isn’t perfect, Dan can consistently hold 15-second handstands. 

He made huge progress, learned how to handstand, and progress makes him feel successful.  Now, he feels empowered to pursue even more advanced goals because they actually feel within reach.

This is his story.


Dan Learning How to Handstand

Chris:  Thanks for sharing your experience with us, Dan!  Let’s get this started – who are you and what do you do?

Dan: My name is Dan, and I am a 37 year old full time nursing student.

Chris: A full time student?  Sounds like a career change…does that keep you very busy?

Dan: It definitely keeps me very busy.  When I started using your methods to learn how to handstand, I was only doing the bare minimum of 5 minutes per day because of time constraints.

Chris: So were you too busy to work out at all before trying to learn how to handstand?

Dan: Well, a few years back I started off as a typical gym rat obsessed with typical gym rat lifts like the bench press and all that.  I eventually moved into kettle bell training, which led to bodyweight/gymnastics training.  I moved over to bodyweight-only training a few years ago after that discovery, and that’s when I found the 28-Day Handstand Challenge for learning how to handstand.

Chris: I see, so you wanted to learn how to handstand as part of your bodyweight/gymnastics training…

Dan:  It looked like a movement that was not only functional and fun, but attainable as well. But I was just…stuck.  I had decided to seriously tackle the handstand for about 6 months and I was regressing.  On rare occasions I could hold my handstand for 20 seconds, but it wasn’t consistent.  Some days it would go OK, then there would be several days where I could only hit a very shaky handstand once in every 10 attempts.  I couldn’t learn how to handstand consistently.  It was really frustrating.

Chris: It can be very frustrating to get stuck or hit a plateau in your training for so long.  How did you get over it?

Dan: When I was doing the handstands with no guidance or while using other materials, my consistency was nonexistent. I was just about to give up on it when I decided to do one last Google search for any tip, trick or product that might hold the “how to handstand” key. That’s when I stumbled upon your course.

Chris: You said that you were about to give up, then decided to do one last Google search…after trying to learn how to handstand all on your own.  What made you say, “OK, this isn’t working – I need some help”?

Dan: Basically, when I got to the point where I could hold a 20-second handstand out of the blue, but then wouldn’t even be able to hold a handstand for even 1-second over several days. It was all or nothing. This went on for a while. I got so frustrated that I tried kicking up for 30 minutes in the park, under the hot sun, just trying to get one before I left. I ended up feeling very faint for the rest of the day with a massive headache. I still have sore wrists from that day as well, which I’m still working on. I had no blueprint for doing handstands. I had the will, but didn’t have a plan to learn how to handstand.

Chris: Since you had the will, I assume it was easy for you to stick with the first 28 days of the 28-Day Handstand Challenge?

Dan: To be honest it was mostly stubbornness that kept me going.  I wasn’t sure if anything would help me learn how to handstand at that point. The 28-Day Handstand Challenge was free and looked like a really easy read. At that point I had made a deal with myself to start over and give it one last shot. I used the spreadsheet at first to make sure I was setting the habit, but I made sure to do several 5-minute sessions everyday.

Chris: You gave it one last shot, and then the 28-Day Handstand Challenge finished.  You still didn’t hit your goal yet!  So what pushed you to see it through?

Dan: Success. Pure and simple. Although I still wasn’t hitting every single kick up attempt I was getting solid handstands every day. I felt like I was closer to learning how to handstand. This was in stark contrast to when I would go days without hitting even one shaky handstand. This motivated me to keep going and brought back the fun that was what motivated me in the first place.

Chris: Success is a great motivator.  It usually only takes one small change to our training (or our lifestyle) to have a massive impact and create that success.  What was the most important, small, daily change you made that helped you learn how to handstand – to help you hit your handstand goal?

Dan: Just establishing a habit or a trigger. Sometimes, when I have more time available, I’ll plan out how many sessions I want to hit for that day. Other days I’ll just use the trigger of taking a study break to just attempt one handstand. Sometimes it’s just any break in my routine. For example, if I’m going to be leaving the apartment I’ll try to kick up once. When I get back I’ll try to kick up into another. It’s not fancy, but it allows me to keep some consistency and not go days without even attempting one. It doesn’t sound like much, but it can add up to 10 or more attempts on days that I would have normally chalked up to not having enough time. I still don’t hit every single one, but I hold far more handstands than I don’t these days.

Chris: What would you tell someone who is just starting to learn how to handstand for the first time?

Dan: I would tell them that if I can do it, anyone can. I wasn’t the smallest guy at 230 pounds when I first started, and not all of that was solid mass, either. I could have stood to lose about 20 pounds. I also have terrible shoulder flexibility, which is posing a challenge as I try to get closer to achieving a more aesthetically pleasing handstand. I’m not the worst off, but my body type is definitely not what people would envision for a handbalancer. I was still able to get consistent freestanding handstands after 4 weeks of using the program.

Chris: I want to talk for a second about fear.  We all face fear as we learn how to handstand, but that seems to get ignored by teachers and new students alike… Did you have any fears when you started learning how to handstand?  Did you overcome them?

Dan: My main fear was the same as a lot of people. Injuring myself. I overcame this by learning how to pirouette bail as you outline in your course.  Hands down this one technique allowed me to practice almost anywhere and way more often. It’s so simple and easy to learn. Before your program, I was bailing by rolling, not pirouetting. I needed a lot of room for this and it wasn’t always pain free. I would come thudding down onto my upper back and shoulders sometimes. I replaced my roll-out bail with the pirouette bail and there was no looking back. Once you know that you can escape a bad attempt with ease, with no chance of injury, you will increase your practice sessions more and more.

Chris: With fear out of the way, and the handstand under your belt, what is your next goal?!

Dan: My goals are to press up into the handstand, do a freestanding handstand pushup, and even walk on my hands. Just to keep getting better and better and continuing to have fun with them. My other bodyweight goals include the human flag, a full planche and a strict muscle up on rings or the bar.

Chris: Thanks Dan!  It was awesome to hear your story!!


Dan Learning How to Handstand

Does Dan’s story sound familiar?  Do you think that nagging injuries or training plateaus mean you won’t ever hit your goal?  Do you feel you’re “too busy” or “too big” to waste your time on something like learning how to handstand?

Fortunately, Dan and others show us that it can be done.

Everyone who has had success with the 28-Day Handstand Challenge had an epiphany: they realized that small changes make a huge difference.  It’s often a small, smart change to your training or your lifestyle that will push you to the next level, that will make you hit those goals that you just can’t reach today.

Dan was able to build a system for his success.  It wasn’t a quick fix, either.  It took Dan about a month for the changes to pay off, and for everything to finally “click”.  But a month of consistent progress is a lot faster (and a lot more fun) than years and years of plateaus and frustration.  You just need to focus on proper direction and consistency.

These small steps won’t get you to learn how to handstand overnight, but within a few weeks you will surprise yourself at how much progress you will make.  These same habits will take you way beyond learning how to handstand, just like they have for Dan.

Dan took action:

Identified His Goal: Dan was already pretty experienced when he started to consider handstands.  But when he moved over to bodyweight-only training, he realized that learning how to handstand was something that he wanted to do.  And he set out to do it.  Often times, we forget how important it is to explicitly say, “I will do <some goal>!”… but it can make all the difference.  This declaration is the first commitment, the first step.  It is crucial to success.

Solid Stubbornness: Some may call it stubbornness…I just call it perseverance. Dan hit road block after road block and he wanted to give up. Seriously, he was on his last straw.  But he DIDN’T give up, and that makes all the difference.  You already know that it takes small changes and gradual improvements to blast through plateaus – but it can take months or years to find that one small change.  If you give up, you will never find it. If your goals are important to you, then giving up is unacceptable. And anything less than daily practice won’t cut it.

Abandon “Tutorials”: Dan tried tutorial after tutorial, video after video, book after book.  Dan shows us that tutorials, progressions and lists of tricks and tips are easy to find, but not reliable.  In fact, tutorials and progressions are often only a small part of what generates success. You need much more than tutorials.  You need systems that work – that focus on the major obstacles.  Dan had a technique for bailing (the rolling bail), and he still had fear of falling over.  No tutorial addresses that fear, no set of tips can help you overcome it.  It’s the system that is tested on thousands of people that generates results… not dogmatic tutorials based on one guy’s experiences or beliefs.

Dan felt successful: As soon as Dan started the challenge, he started marking a red “X” on his handstand commitment sheet every day.  But after a few days, he started seeing improvement and allowed himself to feel successful.  Focusing on the positives in your training – the small wins – lets you feel successful and accomplished.  You feel rewarded, and you want to keep going.  It’s like you’re a labrador who just received a treat after rolling over. (Good dog!) You have an incentive to keep going, and so you do.  Then you hit your goal, like Dan.

Dan found his plan: After banging his head against the wall for years, Dan found 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. Dan had already read a million different resources or ways to learn how to handstand (which can overwhelm anybody)…but when he found a resource that made sense to him and gave it a solid chance, he hit his goal within weeks.  What progress have you made in the last few weeks?

Congrats to Dan on hitting his long time goal.  I know he is already moving onto his next goal and will become even more awesome!

Do you have any questions for the man?

When will you be sending in YOUR success story?  I don’t publish everyone’s story, but I love hearing about everyone’s successes…no matter how small.  Able to stick with 5-minutes-per-day for a week?  Held your first 15s wall plank?  That’s good work!

Share your success!

If you start with small commitments, you can do anything.  Just 5-minutes a day.

And then celebrate your success, like Dan!


PS: Of course, I think its awesome that Dan used my course The 15-Second Handstand: A Beginner’s Guide to succeed.  It spoke his language and laid out things in a step-by-step progression.  It gave him a plan that works. If you are struggling to learn how to handstand, get constantly get overwhelmed or simply want to have more fun and 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!

One Response to “Dynamic Dan: How Did He Learn How To Handstand Consistently?”

  1. shareka wallace February 5, 2015 at 12:54 am #

    thank you, as a young older woman, lol … fear was holding me back … mostly in embarrassing my kids, but I’m attempting to take you up on the challenge, hopefully to the top, parkore and all … one step at a time of course… if i can, accomplish this that’s just proof it’s all in my mind how far i allow myself to go, and I’m tired of holding me back !!! I’m always holding the camera while everyone shines and smiles. I want to be in the picture the big picture, its always “mommy look at me”… i don’t regret anything but how can i continue to teach my kids “you don’t know till you try”.. if i don’t try … wish me luck !