“Make an effort, not an excuse” — Picture quotes
It may sound hard to believe, but sometimes, as we age, we get a little set in our ways and start making excuses for why we can’t make changes or improvements. “This is the way I’ve always done it,” or “I tried that and it didn’t work”, or “It’s easier the way I’m doing it now.” That was kinda me as I went into the handstand bootcamp with Kyle Weiger. I wasn’t consciously giving myself permission to entertain those thoughts — but they sure did try to take over when I needed to make tweaks to my handstand.
The first tweak I resisted was my hand placement. Before we began practicing, Kyle went over various stretches, and then was very specific on how to place your hands: “Index fingers pointing forward like the number 11.” Yet when we began kicking up, I automatically placed my hands in their usual (more comfortable position) with the index fingers pointing in, middle fingers forward. Luckily, my spotter LeeAnn wasn’t having it. “Remember what he said?” she scolded. “Turn your hands so your index fingers are like the number 11.” I sighed, maybe even whined a little, and then begrudgingly repositioned my hands. This new way seemed harder and gave me something else I had to think about (along with shift forward, press, lift, etc.), and besides, I’ve come a long way in my handstand — were index fingers pointing forward really such a big deal?
And then there were my ribs. “Pull in your ribs.” “Pull in your ribs.” Pull in your ribs.” Pretty sure I heard this 92 times over the course of the boot camp. “I’m trying!” I said over and over again while upside down. I was already more than aware of my banana back and how it causes me to flip over rather than make a straight line with my body, but having someone bark at you about it while simultaneously poking your rib cage — all this while you’re upside down desperately trying to hold a handstand — really brings the point home. I’ve watched many a video of myself handstanding with an arched back, but I’ll confess that prior to the boot camp, I wasn’t really doing much about it — other than hoping, wishing, dreaming, that it would magically right itself.
Wasn’t this why I went to the boot camp? To learn how to get better at handstands even if it meant letting go of bad handstanding habits? How do I expect to get better if I keep hanging on to the things that were keeping me from improving? Plunking down the money for boot camp, driving to Nashville, and then showing up for six hours of training may have seemed like a lot of effort, but the real work is taking what I learned and then applying it: Making changes in the way I place my hands; consciously pulling in my ribs each and every time I do a handstand.
I didn’t attend boot camp just to go home and continue doing handstand the way I’ve always done it. Nope. I did it to get better. Now I look down at my hands each and every time I prepare for handstand and am happy to report that after consistently reminding myself to reposition my index fingers, the new hand placement is becoming natural. I’m also doing one-minute wall sits (squatting against the wall while pressing my lower ribs and belly back as tightly as possible) at least twice a day to help train myself to pull in my ribs and correct my banana back. Even if it’s hard, and even if it hurts a little, and even if I have to quit making excuses and convince myself to do it.
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