This is the article that no one wants to read. It’s not fun, it’s not sexy, but it can save you from injury. Since injuries are not only painful but can take away from your ability to pursue these skills further than you really should pay attention.
Hand balancing can be dangerous. But then again any form of exercise is potentially harmful whether its jogging, wrestling, or weightlifting. While injuries may occur there are a number of things you can do to prevent them.
Gravity is here to stay. This force and the ground tend to be the big things that cause any problems when hand balancing is concerned. But there is nothing you can do about these facts, so don’t fight it, just learn how to work with them.
Here are five guidelines to follow to keep yourself safe while practicing these skills.
1. Know what you are doing
2. Never push beyond your abilities
3. Practice in a safe, open area
4. Have basic athleticism and movement skills
5. Don’t take additional risks
Know what you are doing
Do you know what you are doing? Your potential for harm is much bigger when you don’t. Do you have sufficient knowledge about the move you are trying to do and your own body to even begin going after it?
I have watched people that try a handstand for the first time ever come down on their head. Just seeing someone else do something does not constitute the knowledge of what it will take to perform it. For many people there first time upside down disorients them in such a way that there body will collapse into a heap upon the ground. Don’t let this be you.
Likewise with a more advanced move or acrobatic skill such as a backflip. You should take the proper steps in working up to any of these skills. In some cases the only way to properly learn is with a trained professional teaching and spotting you in addition to using an inflatable landing mat.
Proper instruction can not only save you time in learning any skill but will lessen the chances for injury.
Never push beyond your limits
The first time I ever kicked up into a fingertip handstand against a wall my fingers were not prepared for it. I suffered the consequences when my thumb buckled and I came down on my head. Luckily I have a thick skull.
Many people getting started may have some prior injuries or weak spots to work with. While these should be trained and rehabbed, pushing past your limits will only further add to the injury.
I just saw a video of a large man doing handstand pushups against a wall. Trying to get one last rep he couldn’t quite make it and came down. He didn’t get hurt but he could have. I am all for pushing yourself as hard as possible but try to do so safely.
Practice in an safe, open area
I know that this one will be ignored by many people simply because of lack of a good place to practice. I myself do a lot of my hand balancing in my bedroom which is not a very large area. However if you do choose to do this be prepared to pay the price.
I have came out of a handstand kicking my foot down hard on a door knob. I have watched my friend kick up against a door that opened up and he fell through. These are just two examples of what can happen.
The more aware you are of your surroundings the better off you are. Though a mat or grass is probably the best spot to perform hand balancing it can be done anywhere. Sometimes you may lose a balance and not make it to your feat. In some cases your shoulder or even head may take the brunt of the fall. Just know that a softer landing surface will hurt less.
If there are objects around you know where they are at the very least. Stay away from them if possible.
Have basic athleticism and movement skills
Hand balancing and acrobatics are not for an out of shape individual. It takes balance, coordination, and strength to pull of these stunts. If you are severely lacking in any of these abilities then you need to begin an easier training plan before you take on hand balancing.
If you can not perform basic tumbling skills like a somersault, shoulder roll, or backwards roll you should work on these first. Sometimes to save your body when you come out of balance the only way you can do it is by rolling.
Likewise basic amount of strength and flexibility are needed. You should have a decent back bridge and be able to perform at least 20 normal pushups. The more strength and flexibility you have the better.
Don’t take additional risks
Every so often you will hear about or read in the news of someone falling off of a tall building to their death because they tried to do a handstand on the edge or on a railing. Can someone say Darwin Award?
There is no reason to do something like this. No benefit is gained and you don’t get bonus points for doing it. Leave the death defying stunts to the professionals if they want to do them.
Now this doesn’t just apply to doing handstands on top of tall buildings. Don’t do hand balancing on ground with broken glass. Don’t cross a busy street on your hands. There are many other cases I that fall into the categories of common sense. As they say common sense ain’t always so common.
Everyone who has practiced any physical culture will have there share of stupid stories and painful mistakes they have made. I am no different and in all likelihood neither will you be. But try to minimize your risks and minimize the chances of deadly or highly injurious encounters with the ground.
Have fun but be safe.