Humid Hell(en) And Handstand Holds

According to my shiny new plan, I wasn’t supposed to go to CrossFit Austin today, but you know what Robert Burns said about best laid schemes, mice, men, etc… (No? Read it here.)

At 6:45 a.m. yesterday, I walked to the car – strength training workout in hand – only to find that our car battery was dead, leaving me no means for getting to the gym. I indulged in a fair amount of pouting and foot stomping.

And that’s how I ended up at CrossFit Austin this morning, facing down Helen and handstand holds in the humidity (84%) of the burgeoning Austin spring. Holy Hell!

The last time we did Helen at CFA, I used the wider blue band (wider = more assistance) and my time was 13:00. Digging back through my archives, I found posts about my previous Helen experiences here (where I also talk about ‘cheating at solitaire’) and here. Generally speaking, I’m slowly chipping away at improving my time and getting closer to dumping the pullup bands. Some day. (Congratulations to my classmate Nick for going sub-10:00 with a 9:14!)

3 rounds:
400m run
21 swings, 16kg
12 pullups, red band
My time: 14:24

3 rounds:
1:00 handstand hold + 1:00 rest
accumulate 1:00 in tuck on rings, minimum :10 at a time + 1:00 rest

My real triumph today was my handstand holds. December 6 was a big day for me because that was the day I finally, FINALLY pushed my fear aside enough to kick up into a handstand against the wall. I know for many people wall handstands were a staple of childhood playtime, but while y’all were upside down on your hands, I was sitting somewhere reading a book or forcing my brother to play Library with me.

Anyway, I’ve been practicing a :30 handstand hold at least once a week so I can grow more comfortable and stronger upside down. This morning, I did all three 1:00 handstand holds unbroken. HELL. YEAH.

I like to pretend I looked like this while I was doing it:

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  • Wild Runner says:

    Oh, ye gods, my capoeira instructor wanted to focus on handstands yesterday since there were just two of us and it would be tough to play a game. My shoulders hate me this morning. I kicked up into a handstand for the first time last night. It was awesome. Then I had to hold it there and work on alignment. Less awesome.

    So I kinda feel your pain.

  • Morgan says:

    I always tried to get my siblings and cousins to play library with me as well and they didn't "get it". Sigh.

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Wild Runner –> I fully expect my shoulders to be screaming tomorrow! KB swings, pullups, handstands, and ring work?! Yikes. CONGRATULATIONS on kicking up into a handstand! WOOT!

    Morgan –> We word nerds gotta stick together!

  • The Wells Family says:

    Awesome! Good for you on the holds! Those took me forever to do too, because of my fear of being upside down like that! And for some reason, I had a helluva time kicking back out of them. I'd just kind of crumple to the floor.

    I've never tried a red band! I'm still on blue. WOOHOO for you!!!

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    It's always kind of shocking to me when I kick DOWN out of the handstand… like, "Oh! It worked! I'm on my feet!" Crazy, disorienting stuff!

    I've been back and forth between the blue and red for about two years now. I'm ready to move on, I'll tell you what!

  • Marcos Torres says:

    A minute worth of handstand holds is hardcore i starting do HSPU last week and being upside down for extended is something to contend with…good job knocking out the fear

  • Funke says:

    Way to go Mel! Iv been an avid stalker of your blog! It makes me laugh while teaching me a lot of things. I still cant do a handstand and I did not finish the WOD today..I started crying midway and crumbled to the floor in tears when my time ran out! Reading your blog today speaks to me of not giving up and pushing through! Thanks Mel

  • jessica says:

    We have HELL(en) on Friday and I have been anxious all week. Way to go on red band and handstands!! Start working your kip and you'll get an unassisted pull up in no time! I started with a goal of 1 last year (while on the blue band) and once I got 1, it only took me a short time to string together 5 and so on… So go after it girl!! I love your blog and how you share both the good and the bad that go with training and cf. You're real and strong… a killer combo 🙂

  • Amy says:

    AWESOME! I *just* started trying to kick up into a handstand the other day (with my coach's help, natch). I too had never done stuff like that as a kid. It feels so awkward!

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Marcos –> Congrats to YOU on handstand pushups. They're SO hard.

    Funke –> Sorry to hear you had a crying WOD. If you've been reading here for a while, you know I have those sometimes, too. I saw a CrossFit tshirt once that said, "You can cry, just don't be a baby." To that I say, AMEN. Good luck on your next WOD!

    Jessica –> Goo luck on HELL(en) tomorrow! The upside? It's only three rounds! 🙂

    Amy –> I spent a few months trying to kick up, basically putting my hands on the floor and shooting my feet toward the wall. I considered it a success when my feet at least touched the wall… the one day: POOF! I did it. Have fun with practicing!

  • Melissa says:

    Congrats on your badass handstand hold! I was nervous kicking up into them at first too but now when I do it, I feel so powerful… even if I can only hold it for a little while. 🙂 I need to start practicing again!

  • jessica says:

    The downside—>HELL(en) was just that and she chewed me up and spit me out! It was supposed to be a PR competition and I was 2:30 SLOWER than the last time! UGH! Doing everything I (thought) I am supposed to do (eating paleo, sleeping, getting my wod's in) and still…. a major fail today. It's crazy how it all gets in your head! Oh well… there's always next time I guess!

  • thegetinshapegirl says:

    I'm going to do a month of crossfit at some point in either june or july and im so excited for handstands. doing a handstand AWAY from a wall is my goal of 2011.

  • Melanie says:

    Oooh checking in for the first time in a while and this post especially rocked my socks because I just did my first handstands since I was a kid at CrossFit on Friday (!!!) after my first Fran (!!!)… I couldn't believe how scared I was to kick up into the handstand at first but then it was like old times and I even managed to hold several seconds off the wall! Still unable to take off a hand to chest though for the walking progression and found it a bit tough on the wrists but I will get there!! Haven't done Helen yet but I did my Fran subbing with 20# dbs and the blue band to start – did it in 9:09 and then I tried the red band after for fun to find I can actually do it! The green one was a joke still and my knees to elbows and double-unders are totally embarrassing but I am so so so so loving my CrossFit experience since the beginning of March.