A "proper" Handstand position

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Tim_Dad

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Nov 3, 2008
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Conflicting viewpoints (from other parents and a variety of coaches) are confusing for some of us non-gym-savvy parents.


Head position:
- head back (looking at hands)?
- head down (looking straight backwards)?
- head forward (chin tucked under)?

Hand position:
- Fingers together, and pointing forward (told this protects the fingers from jams, and pulls during routines that incorporate handstands)
- Fingers flared? (told this provides more of a "base" and is easier to maintain)
- Hands (wrists) skewed ~30 degrees outwards, or placed square to the shoulders (forcing fingers forward). Was told...it doesn't matter.


Lastly, and somewhat general:
Feet/Toes: In what gymnastic element are feet & toes ever NOT together and pointed when not touching the floor or an apparatus? Im thinking the answer is "None", but want to confirm.
 
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JBS

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Good question...there are many variables that would cause most of the techniques that you mentioned to be incorporated. Here is my view:

You should have your shoulders on your ears (fully extended) and you should be able to see the tips of your thumbs (not your fingers) if you look through your eyebrows (head very slightly tilted up). Middle fingers should be pointed straight forward...fingers spread wide. I always teach a basic handstand (on floor) like this....period.

I do allow a slight outward turn for front tumbling and I do require some of my gymnasts to slightly turn there hands in for back tumbling. However, these things have nothing to do with teaching the basic handstand.

Also, the chin can be buried into the chest to keep the handstand from tipping (I call it "locking the shoulders). This is mainly done on bars.

The last question is a good one...I can't think of any. If there are any, someone here will know.
 
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CoachGoofy

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With my beginners, I have them tilt their heads back ever so slightly (or, with some kids, not as slightly...depending on the kid...) at very first so as to prevent thunking on their heads. If they're looking at their hands they're not going to put their head down, and I've found head position easier to correct once their arms are straight--they can only think about one major correction at a time.

The ACTUAL correct position is neutral.

As for hands, I prefer them straight to turned VERY slightly in, with their fingers however theyre comfortable so long as they're FLAT. They're turned out in handstands on beam, and are backwards in reverse grip handstands on bars, but for a basic handstand they're forward to slightly in.

Toes are ALWAYS pointed. THe legs belong together unless you're doing a skill that involves a split or a straddle (walkovers, for example, or many leaps and jumps).
 

JBS

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I guess I should clarify...above is how I teach a handstand to a competitive gymnast.
 
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BlairBob

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The reason for the turn out of the hands in some skills is to get the elbow socket to turn as forward as possible which recruits more muscles to have a stronger support. Not so necessary with kids who have funky elbow syndrome ( natural hyperextension ). Then again, that's not what I want either. This is very important for presses and bars.

The fingers will spread out and grip the floor to allow better balance and minute control in the handstand.

I prefer the neutral position for flipping and twisting and most bar work. However at times, they need to know where the bar is.

I prefer the eyes looking toward hands, head neutral not leaning back for most handspring work. Hand position changes on direction of handspring.
 

gymmomntc2e6

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Not so necessary with kids who have funky elbow syndrome ( natural hyperextension ). Then again, that's not what I want either. This is very important for presses and bars.

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Thank you - FINALLY a name for what my DD has - I just call it EEWWW!!! When she is on bars - OMG - I can hardly look. The first time I noticed it I asked someone what was wrong w/ her elbows.



Sorry to highjack the post momentarily - but - Is this funky elbow syndrome?

I tried to put picture from her gallery but I screwed up and it didn't show up - Sorry. If anyone wants to see funky elbows - it is a photo of her in her Level 3 leotard posing w/ arms outstretched
 
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bogwoppit

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Thank you - FINALLY a name for what my DD has - I just call it EEWWW!!! When she is on bars - OMG - I can hardly look. The first time I noticed it I asked someone what was wrong w/ her elbows.



Sorry to highjack the post momentarily - but - Is this funky elbow syndrome?

I tried to put picture from her gallery but I screwed up and it didn't show up - Sorry. If anyone wants to see funky elbows - it is a photo of her in her Level 3 leotard posing w/ arms outstretched

Oh yes that girl has funky elbow syndrome. Hyperflexibility/hypermobility. Which maybe a nother reason she sufferes from lack of tightness, I imagine she is very flexible and has loose joints. My sister in law is a rheumatologist and she says those things tend to come together.

My oldest has a freaky flexible back and has scoliosis too, all fun eh?

Boy she's cute though!!!:D
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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Head position:
- head back (looking at hands)?
- head down (looking straight backwards)?
- head forward (chin tucked under)?
This part, JBS summed up pretty well, though I'd like to add that the most important part is not so much head position as shoulder position -- which is often affected by head position. The shoulders should be straight and extended, so that the line from the hips through the shoulders to the wrists is completely straight. This can be done with the head neutral, in, or slightly out. I tend to prefer slightly out (ie out enough that you can, looking through the tops of your eyes, see your knuckles but not your fingertips), but honestly I don't think I'll ever complain if a kid would rather do it with the head neutral.

Hand position:
- Fingers together, and pointing forward (told this protects the fingers from jams, and pulls during routines that incorporate handstands)
- Fingers flared? (told this provides more of a "base" and is easier to maintain)
- Hands (wrists) skewed ~30 degrees outwards, or placed square to the shoulders (forcing fingers forward). Was told...it doesn't matter.
Fingers flared.

As for the hand position (turned out, parallel, or turned in), I don't have any strong universal preference on a handstand -- it depends on the context. A press handstand is typically easier (especially for male athletes) with the hands turned out (and this can be anything from a slight turn out to a full turnout with hands pointed completely away from each other). A back extension roll will typically finish with hands turned in. A kick to handstand can really be done however the kid is most comfortable. It's not something I really coach; I let the kids position their hands however they feel most comfortable.

I should note, however, that the same is NOT true of tumbling. On front handsprings, I encourage a turn out, and on backhandsprings and roundoffs I encourage the hands to be turned in.


Lastly, and somewhat general:
Feet/Toes: In what gymnastic element are feet & toes ever NOT together and pointed when not touching the floor or an apparatus? Im thinking the answer is "None", but want to confirm.
Skills where the feet should be flexed: none that I can think of.

Skills where the feet should not be together: TONS! Presses and leaps are the first thing that come to mind, but there are plenty of others. Though perhaps I'm misunderstanding the question?
 
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