How to use your Handstand Blocks
Blocks are one of the tools of the trade in handbalance training. They seem to make a universal appearance across the world of handbalance styles of coaching. The amount of their usage depends on the coach, ranging from blocks being the main tool in learning the one-arm handstand to having blocks as something to add in from time to time for some variety.
At Handstand Factory we think it’s good practice to get into using blocks sooner rather than later. For one, it's a good way to change up the grip, which can help reduce the risk of tendonitis due to over-using one grip position. Using blocks also requires less force of the fingers to correct the balance.
Later in your training, when approaching the one arm handstand, we find that the block walk is a great intermediate tool to add. Once you have control of the waist, hips and flagging action and understand the shoulder positioning, blockwalks can be a good way of training the lateral rebalance action, the diagonal hip position as well as combining the two with the shoulder push. As you can see, handstand blocks will come in handy at any stage of your handstand training so long as you have sufficiently tackled the beginning stages of finding balance.
There are two main finger positions that are most common when using the blocks. It will mainly come down to personal preference, so try both and see what is more comfortable and feels the most natural for you.
Hand position 1
Three fingers forward
Hand position 2:
Two fingers forward
Once you can comfortably balance a handstand on the floor and on the blocks, you can begin training what we call the fingerless handstand.
This is one of the key skills when it comes to refining the placement of the weight in the hands. When graduating from beginner to advanced beginner there can be a tendency to hold the weight too far forwards, and with constant pressure in the fingertips.
Working on this skill will help correct this. A key thing it will teach as well is the correct center of pressure for pressing exercises and how to exert force downwards without excessive lean.
To start this exercise you need to be comfortable on blocks to some degree. Get set as normal and then lift the finger tips off the block. As you get advanced you can kick or press with no fingers. And for the very advanced: chin on chest shape changes with no fingers are some of the ultimate placement drills.
Instructions on how to use your blocks by Handstand Factory, a complete syllabus of Handbalance training for all levels, taught by Mikael Kristiansen and Emmet Louis. Find out more about their online programs, handstand podcast and training intensives on handstandfactory.com.