The handstand, or handstand walk, is one of the most impressive gymnastics skills programmed in CrossFit.
However, gymnastics doesn’t come naturally to everyone, unless you have spent much of your youth upside down in a gymnastics class!
So it’s no surprise that many athletes have a hard time adapting to highly skilled movements such as the handstand and handstand walks.
Though this is one of the great things about CrossFit - it’s adaptable and scalable to suit every athlete, whether you are a beginner or a pro.
There are progressions and regressions to almost every movement programmed in CrossFit. The wall walk is arguably the best regression for handstands, and we’re here to "walk" you through it today.
Keep reading to find out how wall walks can help you master your handstands once and for all!
What is a Wall Walk?
The wall walk, or wall climb, as it’s otherwise known, is one of the most commonly used exercises to practice inverted gymnastics.
Essentially, it involves “walking” into a handstand position with the assistance of a wall. However, if incorrectly performed, an athlete can struggle to reap the rewards from practicing this movement.
So, let’s take a look at how to do the wall walk correctly!
How to Do a Wall Walk
Firstly, let’s go over the starting position. To start the wall walk, you must be in a plank position with the soles of your feel up against the wall.
Before you start your ascent, brace your core and visualize pushing away from the floor with your upper body.
Secondly, the ascent. Your feet should be leading the ascent going up the wall, with your hands following suit close behind and mimicking steps on the floor.
It’s key to maintain upper body tension by taking small steps, which also forces you to control the movement as opposed to taking 2 or 3 big steps.
You want to be keeping your core tight throughout the ascent, as lack of tension will result in torso rotation and generally being poorly stabilized.
Although, side-to-side movement is acceptable, just try not to allow it to get too “sloppy”.
These cues make all the difference in the execution, and thus effectiveness, of this movement. It’s essential to not focus too much on rep count, and instead focus more on quality.
Next, after implementing these cues and walking your hands towards the wall, you will find yourself at the top position.
The exact position you would find yourself in would largely depend on how comfortable you are being upside down. So, either stop at a point where it feels enough for you, or you can continue to walk your hands in much closer to the wall.
Many athletes who are used to being upside down would typically find themselves a palm or less away from the wall, but there is no right or wrong here.
So, the closer you are to the wall, the more challenging it is on your balance. However, some people argue that the more vertical you are, the more stacked your whole structure is, which essentially means less work for your muscles to maintain the position.
Though, however far away you choose to be from the wall, it will still have a huge carryover to any handstand movement, from handstand walks to handstand push-ups and any other variation in-between!
Finally, the decent. This should look like a reversed playback of your ascent. Small steps and a tight core are the main cues once again, then you can relax when returned to the starting position.
Wall walks, when done correctly, can be a very effective movement to help overall handstand progression.
Some of the key points to remember when performing the movement:
- Feet lead the ascent
- Small steps
- Keep the core tight
- Don’t rush the movement to gain more reps, quality is more important
- Closer to the wall means more challenging for your balance
- The further away you are from the wall, the more work your upper body has to do
- The descent should look just as controlled and good as the ascent