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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’S STORY: LEARNING HOW TO HANDSTAND

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!!

BECOME THE NEXT SUCCESS 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!

-Chris

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!

Strong Sam: A Mixed Martial Arts Fighter Who Achieved a Handstand in 30 Days

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Sam Kickup

Meet Sam, the MMA fighter who achieved his first handstand.

When Sam found the 28-Day Handstand Challenge, he was already training MMA for 10 hours a week.  While he doesn’t compete, his workouts are always geared towards improving his performance for his sport.

And like most MMA fighters, Sam enjoyed reading good books on solid training.  He figures that if he is going to spend his time doing something, he might as well achieve his fullest potential.

So, when handstands caught his eye several months ago, he was hesitant to start.  He assumed the time commitment to get a freestanding handstand was gargantuan.  With a schedule filled with school, MMA training and family, there was no room for hours of handstand training.

Then he found the 28-Day Handstand Challenge, and my program, The 15-Second Handstand: A Beginner’s Guide.

He saw a program from a legitimate, trusted author that said 5 minutes per day was all that was needed. The time constraint was no longer an issue. That meant there was no sacrifice.  He could achieve a freestanding handstand with no risk, and no drawbacks…he started working on them immediately.

His first session was the standard 5-minutes per day.  Having a strong fitness background, learning the handstand was a cake walk. Within the first week of purchasing The 15-Second Handstand, he was holding 60-second handstands against the wall.  By his second week, he was solidly working on his kickups.  Within three weeks, he was holding 5-second freestanding holds.  At the 28 day mark, Sam was holding 18- to 20-second freestanding handstands.  The mission was accomplished within four weeks.

More important than these accomplishments, Sam felt like he was progressing.

Sam felt successful.

This is his story.

Sam’s Story

Sam Gym

Chris: Thanks for sharing your story Sam! To start off, who are you and what do you do?

Sam: I am a 21 year old professional student, but when I am off of school, I generally train MMA for 1-2 hours a day, 4-5 days a week.  My workouts during the off-season (when I’m in school) are also geared towards improved performance in MMA.  I also enjoy reading good solid books on training.

Chris: It sounds like you train a lot, so did handstands ever work their way into your training?

Sam: I didn’t train handstands immediately prior to reading your book [part of the The 15-Second Handstand: A Beginner’s Guide].  I had been working towards handstand pushups against the wall, but I stopped doing these at the end of last year.  I had been working on them for a really long time, and felt it was no longer a productive exercise as my progress had all but ceased, regardless of what I tried.

Chris: Your progress on handstand pushups halted, but you still wanted to learn freestanding handstands?

Sam: Since I participate in a sport where body control and spatial awareness are crucial, I figured handstands would improve those qualities immensely. Also, I don’t really have consistent access to weights, so I need ways to strengthen my body with nothing but itself if I want to be consistently improving. Handstands in and of themselves get you stronger, but more importantly they are the gateway to movements that need freakish levels of strength.

Chris: But before you started using The 15-Second Handstand: A Beginner’s Guide, you hadn’t worked on handstands at all….so what was holding you back from trying to learn freestanding handstands?

Sam: I assumed the time commitment required to get a freestanding handstand was gargantuan. As such, since handstands weren’t on the top of my priority list (largely due to time constraints), they didn’t make the cut of what I could spend my limited time working on.

Chris: Most people grossly overestimate how much time and effort is necessary to achieve the freestanding handstand. It definitely holds them back.  There is also a fear of wasting time on something that is not achievable.  Did something change for you?  What prompted you to finally get started?

Sam: When I saw a program from a legitimate trusted author that said 5 minutes a day was all I needed, the time constraint was no longer an issue. That means that I didn’t have to sacrifice any of my other goals to achieve a freestanding handstand, so I started working on them.

Chris: …and then you hit your first 20-second handstands within 30 days of using my methods.  Mission accomplished in less than one month!  I received a lot of videos from you doing handstands near your friends and family.  How did they react when you started throwing up handstands everywhere?

Sam: They weren’t surprised at all. They’ve viewed me as a fitness nut for a long time, so they’re already desensitized to my unhealthy obsession with stuff like this.

Chris: Being a nut like that is a good reputation to have…I should know.  A lot of people are scared of what others will think – but most of the time people are pretty positive.  That aside, what was the most important change to your handstand training that helped you to succeed?

Sam: Training the handstand in the style of skill training (5 minutes per day, 6-7 days a week), as opposed to workout style (for example, 3 days a week for 15 minutes).

Chris: This is definitely one thing that most people overlook, but its so important.  Handstands are a skill and need to be trained frequently!  But even with a small 5-minutes-per-day commitment, its can be hard to stay motivated.  How did you stay in the zone, and stick with handstand training?

Sam: I enjoyed the process itself (usually), but on the days I didn’t, knowing my goal would be achieved within 40-60 days kept me going. Knowing there is a definite end in sight (and knowing to expect that end) is critical to continued effort and progress.

Chris: But did handstands help with your MMA?  Or was it just this cool parlor trick you learned?

Sam: While my handstands were going from “iffy” to “okay”, my footwork in MMA improved dramatically. By no means did I do a scientifically sound experiment, where I eliminated all other variables and determined the only reason for improvement was working handstands. There were plenty of other things that could have been the cause or contributed to my footwork improvement.  The improvement however did coincide with my handstands getting significantly better. Do with that information as you see fit.

Chris: Based on all you learned, what would you tell someone who is just starting to consider training freestanding handstands?

Sam: Everyone has 5 minutes somewhere in their day. And it’s not like you’re committing to 5 minutes a day for the rest of your life. Just 4 weeks, 28 days. Five minutes a day for 28 days is almost a laughable commitment. If you told someone that was your New Year’s resolution, they’d give you a nice sarcastic round of applause. I have class from 7:30 am to 10:45 pm. What’s your excuse?

Chris: There is no excuse really.  If you have a goal, you should go out and achieve it…epecially if it only requires a small time commitment!  So what’s your next goal, Sam?

Sam: I think handstand presses are next in line, because they’re really cool, and they’re a great body weight exercise for your lower back.  Exercises like that are very hard to come by.

Become The Next Success Story

Sam Handstand Press

Does Sam’s story sound familiar? Do you find yourself consumed by your sport, your life, your family, your commitments and responsibilities?  Where do you find the time for learning things that will enhance your life?  Things enable you to hit lifelong goals?

Fortunately, there are several people like Sam that inspire us.  They show us that it only takes a small (almost laughable) time commitment to achieve things that you have been putting off for months or years.  Even if you think you are “too busy” like Sam, retired like Lyle, or big like Greg.

If the handstand has been on your list of goals for a while, people like Sam show us that it’s still possible to squeeze it in.

Sam was able to adapt his training and create a system for handstand success.  Sam came from an MMA background, and already had a solid foundation of strength, so he only needed to take a few key steps to hit his goal.

This isn’t some sort of “quick fix”.  Sam still had to put in a month’s worth of consistent training.  But these small changes have a huge impact, not just on handstand training, but in all aspects of living a fit and impressive life. It’s usually only a small set of changes that have the biggest impact.

Sam took action:

Sam set aside time: Sam felt like he had too much in his schedule, and that handstands were going to take a lot of time.  Once he learned that you can get to your first handstand by training for just 5 minutes per day, he carved 5 minutes out of his busy life to train his handstand.  Maybe that was before breakfast every day, or after dinner.  Maybe he wasn’t so regimented…but he did fit in his handstand training, 6-7 days a week.  And once he had the habit in place, it turned into an addiction.  Because you can train handstands nearly anywhere, he was training for much more than 5 minutes every day.  He would throw up handstands here and there and everywhere.  It didn’t feel like a burden at all.  This is typical for people who develop the handstand habit.

Strong Sam turned skillful: Like most MMA fighters and serious athletes, Sam was already strong enough to hold himself upside down for 45-60 seconds.  He had a good foundation of strength – just the foundation you need for hand balancing.  But he didn’t realize that the handstand is mostly a skill at that point.  Once he realized that, he was able to change the way he thought about his training, which opened the door to consistent training, and nearly-obsessive practice.

Sam practiced daily: Nearly everyone I have ever worked with overlooks the value of consistent, habitual practice. Sam was no exception.  Sam used to look at the handstand as a feat of strength, thinking it needed to be trained in the same way as a pull-up or deadlift: taxing workouts that require rest and recovery.  The handstand is different, though.  Handstands are a skill, and skills need to be practiced regularly.  As Sam told me in one of his first emails: “The main thing this taught me is there’s no comparison between 5 minutes/7 days a week and 15 minutes/3 days a week.”  If you want to get to the handstand, you need to be consistent and frequent!

Sam asked for help: Do you ever watch those TV shows where celebrities learn to figure skate or dance in just a few weeks?  What about that guy at your gym who seemed to go from powder-puff to beast in 6 months?  Sure, these people aren’t ready for a pro career, but they are still crazy impressive. But how did they get so much better in such a short period of time?  Aside from consistent practice, they are locked in a room with a private teacher who answers all of their questions, and shows them the way.  They ask for advice.  When I first started training martial arts, I had stayed late every night to ask questions of my instructors.  I was doing advanced holds, and sparring with black belts within a two months.  Sam knew the value of having someone to ask for help, and reached out to me at least once a week with a fistful of questions.  I gave him answers, and he made progress with every email.  Don’t underestimate the value of having a trainer in your pocket.

Sam found his manual: Sam clearly knew the benefit of good information and going in the right direction, so he found a guide he could trust and followed it to the letter, immediately. Sam knew that he had classes, training and family consuming his time…he didn’t want to waste time researching random handstand progressions online – an effort that usually results in getting overwhelmed.  While most tutorials and videos are created with good-intentions, they are usually lacking in research and results.  The material in The 15-Second Handstand: A Beginner’s Guide has results and reputation behind it.  It set him in the right direction and spoke his language. He didn’t waste any time.  By taking this no-nonsense approach, Sam hit his goal within one month.  What progress have you made in the last month?

Congrats to Sam on achieving the handstand faster than anyone I have ever met! We are already working together to help him achieve his first handstand press, so he can continue to master his body for his sport.

When will you be sending in YOUR success story? (Seriously, I am getting in the habit of collecting these things.  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!)

If you think you’re too busy, then set aside the next 5 minutes to practice handstands.  Five minutes is less than most of your bathroom breaks, lets be honest.  Start with 5-minutes a day and a small step in the right direction.  You will make progress!

And then celebrate your success, like Sam!

-Chris

PS: I’m proud to say that Sam used the materials in The 15-Second Handstand: A Beginner’s Guide to help him succeed on his journey. Wouldn’t you be proud?  It enabled Sam to hit a major training goal in four weeks.  The guide spoke his language, laid out things in a step-by-step progression and gave him a blueprint for success. If you are struggling to learn the handstand, constantly get overwhelmed or think handstands take too much time, you are underestimating 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 program, as long as you pick one and hit your goal!

Amazing Lyle: How a Retiree Hit His Handstand Goal

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lyle-lewis-headshot

Meet Lyle, the retiree who achieved his lifelong handstand goal.

When Lyle retired from being a scientist and biologist, he wanted to run away and join the circus…!  He wanted to be an acrobat!

Lyle has been working on handstands for nearly 4 years. And, a few months ago, progress wasn’t coming.  Lyle purchased scores of bodyweight fitness books, scoured the internet for tips and tricks, attended to handstand seminars…and still couldn’t get away from the wall.

Lyle was frustrated. Lyle was stuck. Lyle was going nowhere fast.

But, through all of his internet searching and research, Lyle found the 28-Day Handstand Challenge. He accepted the challenge and immediately sent me an email.  He let me know the the number one thing holding him back…fear.

Lyle Email

Lyle ultimately purchased The 15-Second Handstand: A Beginner’s Guide, which was a small investment compared to the other six books he purchased, and the seminars he attended.  That’s when I started working with him directly.

As I got to working with Lyle, I realized that this wasn’t just some run-of-the-mill fear we had to conquer.  Oh, no.  Whenever Lyle would get inverted, his world would spin.  He gut would wrench.  He would get severely nauseous.  Lyle was suffering from vertigo, and it was not pleasant.

On top of that, Lyle had undergone over 10 major surgeries in his lifetime, including four that addressed key handstand anatomy – the hands, wrists and facial sinuses.

With the deck was stacked against him, Lyle still had this goal.. and he really wanted it.  What’s most surprising is that it was only a few small changes that took him from 4 years of stagnation to his first handstand hold.

He’s lucky that he didn’t take the easy way out, and just write it off as impossible…

On July 19th, just over two months after he started  the 28-Day Hhandstand Challenge, I received a video that shocked me. Lyle sent me his first freestanding handstand video and it was one of the most impressive beginner’s handstands I had ever seen!!  

This is his story.

Lyle’s Story

Lyle's Handstand

Chris: Thanks for sharing your story Lyle! To start off, we know that you’re retired…but what did you do before retiring?

Lyle: Prior to retiring, I was a biologist specializing in endangered species.  During a 33-year career, I worked with many different species of plants and animals, but spent the most time on conservation efforts for bats and carnivores.

Chris: You told me you wanted to retire and be an acrobat! Is that why you wanted to learn to perform the handstand?

Lyle: I wanted to learn the handstand because the movement personifies strength, balance, body awareness, and coordination.  It also looks neat!

Chris: That’s awesome! But you really had the deck stacked against you.  What was the biggest help when you were overcoming vertigo and fears of falling over?

Lyle: The pseudo-vertigo condition I deal with significantly limited my pirouette bailing practice because of nausea.  Vertigo virtually eliminated the possibility of using a rolling bail technique.  I was also afraid that the rotational force on an injured wrist would be problematic.  There were three keys to finally succeeding.  One was definitely the pirouette bailing methodology prescribed in The 15-Second Handstand.  Another was the help and suggestions from your emails.  Most importantly, a great deal of perseverance.  As I gain more and more control of the pirouette bails, I have less discomfort.  I have found that the pirouette bail results in less rapid eye movement.  This enables me to practice more/longer with no ill effects.

Chris: It seems like you acquired a lot of information… I mean, you had emails with me, the 28-Day Handstand Challenge, my 15-Second Handstand book, half a dozen other books and handstand seminars… From all of these resources, what is the BEST piece of advice you received during your handstand journey?

Lyle: Consistent practice is the single most important piece of advice.  In the beginning of my journey, wall handstands were a strength movement.  I failed to recognize that.  By the time I could hold a 90 second wall handstand, moving to free handstands was actually a skill movement and required more regular practice. Before the 28-Day Handstand Challenge, I was practicing once every 8 days to do a free handstand.  It was an exercise in futility.  I needed to practice more frequently.

Chris: I heavily push daily practice in the 28-Day Handstand Challenge, and am always talking about it (like in this article, about CrossFit and Handstands).  When we were working together, you kept telling me that you had these “bad habits” that needed fixing.  Do you think you really had bad habits?  Or did you just need proper direction?

Lyle: There is no question that proper direction (as provided by The 15-Second Handstand) would have significantly shortened my handstand journey.

Chris:  Its amazing how many people over analyze the handstand.  Most times, you just need to simplify it down to a few key steps.. One question I get a lot is about finding a place to train…where did you practice your handstands?

Lyle: I have practiced handstands anywhere I could find a bare wall with some space in front of it.  The majority of my practice has been at gyms, home, and motel rooms and hallways.  I have much more freedom now that I am no longer confined by a wall.

Chris: Well, I find your handstand journey inspirational and awesome.  Not to mention, you have the best beginner’s handstand I have ever seen.  To wrap this up, why don’t you let everyone know your biggest handstand influence…?

Lyle: Over the last year, I’ve been working out with some acroyogis and acrobats.  Nothing but perfect form is acceptable (if you can’t make it look nice, it isn’t worth doing).  They are almost all 30+ years younger than me and fairly idealistic, but a lot of fun nonetheless.  As a result, form has taken precedence over success.

Chris: And whats your goal as you go beyond 15-Second handstands?

Lyle: Once I have developed more consistency with handstands, I would like to learn to press into a handstand.  The movement takes all the positive attributes of the handstand to the next level.  The ability to press into a handstand would be an(other) incredible accomplishment.

Become The Next Success Story

Lyle Pirouette Bailing

Does Lyle’s story sound familiar? Do you doubt yourself or your abilities because you are “too fat”, “too frail” or “too old” to perform a handstand?

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

By making smart, small 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”.  Things you have been working on for months, years or even decades.

Lyle was able to build a system for his success. This wasn’t a quick fix…these were real changes that start with taking a challenge and building positive habits.  It’s focusing on proper direction, and consistent progress.

These small steps won’t get you the handstand overnight. BUT you can build a system of habits to get there in just a few weeks…and these same habits will take you way beyond handstands.

Lyle took action:

Continued Perseverance: Lyle hit road block after road block.  It took me over a year to get my first handstand – but Lyle was trying for nearly four.  When something wasn’t generating results, of course Lyle was frustrated, but he kept looking for different approaches, until he found one that worked for him.

Consistent, Steady Practice: Before Lyle started on my programs, he was only practicing once every 8 days.  It took him years to realize that handstands are mostly a skill…and all skills need to be practiced regularly.  Switching over to daily practice and making handstands a regular habit are crucial to success.  For any skill, you want to train as frequently as possible.  Once Lyle had that epiphany, it only took him a few months to hit his first handstand.

Lyle educated himself: When Lyle hit a sticking point, he would back up and try again.  He would find another resource, and read it voraciously.  (When I think of people doing handstand research, I think of an acolyte reading tomes of parchment by candlelight.  I think I am reading too much Game of Thrones…). He would find another expert, and get all of the information he could out of them. This is why Lyle’s form is one of the best I have seen in a new hand balancer.  Lyle really knows where all of the pieces fit, and puts them together beautifully – but thats not an accident.

Lyle fixed over analysis:  This is what separates Lyle from the masses who try and try but don’t achieve…or the people who get so overwhelmed that they give up.  Lyle was bombarding himself with information.  This helped his form, but destroyed his confidence.  He kept thinking he had “bad habits” that didn’t exist – when he really just needed to know the one thing he should be working on at any given point.  And since I lay this out step by step in The 15-Second Handstand he was able to fix his over analysis and break through his plateau.

Lyle surrounded himself with his heroes: Do you know the #1 predictor of the time of your marriage?  Don’t know?  It when all of your friends are getting married. What about the #1 most effective way to quit smoking? Suddenly surround yourself with non-smokers.  Your environment is a powerful thing.  When Lyle retired, he wanted to learn more acrobatic skills…and he changed his environment.  He sought out acrobats and acroyogis.  He attended seminars for bodyweight fitness and hand balancing.  He emailed me personally to discuss his handstands (and, as I always do, I responded personally back to him). Surrounding yourself with positive people who are a few steps ahead of you is a surefire way to make progress and stay committed.

Lyle found his manual: After banging his head against the wall, Lyle 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. Lyle had already read a million different resources or ways to get the 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 8 weeks.  What progress have you made in the last 8 weeks?

Congrats to Lyle on hitting an amazing goal. I know he is already moving onto his next goal and will become even more impressive!!

Do you have any questions for the man?

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. You can train the handstand anywhere!

And then celebrate your success, like Lyle!

-Chris

PS: Of course, I’m proud that Lyle 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!

Incredible Greg: How He Got His First Handstand in 44 Days

Greg V (2)

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.

Greg’s 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!

-Chris

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!