Today’s CrossFit WOD: handstand walking sprints and lunges.

The handstand quite a tricky movement to learn.

And you know what they say about old dogs and new tricks.  So most people don’t even bother to try.

Is the handstand walk a functionally necessary skill?  I don’t think so.  But it does require an incredible amount of core activation, shoulder strength and full body coordination.  And those are certainly desirable attributes.  If we look at the handstand walk as a means to develop those skills rather than an end in itself, its value is obvious.

That doesn’t make it any easier.  For years at CrossFit Vancouver I struggled without any success while more capable athletes made it look effortless.  It looked like I might never master this movement but summer 2014 I rededicated myself to practicing it.  After 3 months of daily practice I began to see incremental improvements and now I am developing some proficiency.  Not bad for an old dog.

Dangers has followed in my foot steps (hand steps?) practicing diligently until his handstand walk has become quite good and he was able to Rx the WOD.

For the rest of our Dunbar Street crew it didn’t make much sense to put a timer to it.  Instead we used the WOD as  a practice session utilizing various modifications depending on where each athlete was at.
CrossFit Empower on Dunbar
For Dauntless and Auto that meant dumbbell shoulder presses to develop shoulder strength.
For many we used a hand-to-hand weight transfer with feet propped up on the window ledge to practice core integrity while developing shoulder strength.
CrossFit Empower
Practicing hand-to-hand upside down against the wall allowed BFG, Dr. T and G-Money to occasionally walk a step or two from the wall while maintaining balance, a first step in transitioning to a free standing handstand walk.
CrossFit Empower Group Class
Bruiser did the same but with her back against a box so her feet were clear of the wall and by the end of class she had a very good vertical posture.  Sandman practiced with Dangers without the wall and his form got tighter and tighter as he developed better balance and awareness.

For complex skills like this there are so many levels of progression that no matter where you start we can move you closer to the end goal and whether you ever achieve a handstand walk or not you will reap the athletic benefits along the way as you transition from easier to more challenging progressions.

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