Starting at Zero: Trainee Eva
Starting at Zero
This story begins late summer 2010. Eva contacted a acquaintance of her where she trains. The reason was simple; she want’s to learn how to control a handstand. Funny thing is, the acquaintance of hers happened to be a college of mine – and the ball started to roll.
When Eva first met me she didn’t have much experience on hands. From what I can remember she firmly told me that she had tried it a few times at home from before. I was all exited. After all, when do you get the opportunity to learn a person – who is dedicated - handstands from the scratch? So I started planning…
To be honest, the first time Eva tried to be on hands she could barely hold it; in fact she even struggled with the transition. But the one thing that struck me was the dedication, she was fearless when it came to attempt the holds. First session done, Eva had got some guidelines to follow. A few basic rules to ensure the progress on the handstand hold, and to set a way of mind when it came to handstands. The dedication of hers must have been way greater than first anticipated. The steady progress would continue for long time. We trained one to two times a week, supplied with strength training also. I know she did handstand training on her own. And sometimes I had to forbid her training at home so that her muscles could get some rest. Rest from the exhausting world upside down..
I’m going to dedicate a whole section to explain the progress line the first and half month. When we started training together she couldn’t do a proper transition or a handstand hold. So that’s the first thing I asked her to focus on, for two weeks this was the only thing she focused on too. She also, had a tendency to “flip” over into a bridge. So in order to build a stronger hold I had to forbid her doing that. She got rid of the bridge pretty fast, and now I asked her to work on the transitions. They where progressing, there wasn’t doubt about that. And when the “flip over to bridge” technique was no Ionger to be seen thought it would be smart focusing the transition and the hold. At the beginning of the third week her transition and holds were quite good considering her starting point. She had – already – a maximum at five seconds handstand hold. Quite impressive for two weeks training.
Next challenge up was the heights. Adding a new dimension to the transition while her mind got challenged – who would know that a few inches would set mind barriers for the most of us?. I told her to repeat doing handstand holds on the box, and of the box. To her great confusion – not to mention anger haha! – she noticed that calculating the different transitions when she switched was hard. However, it only took one more technique training before this was all to common for her. Progressing fast? yes! The impressive part starts here. At week four she had learned the most basic techniques for strength training, and she began to lift more heavy. Increasing her strength rapidly. Her handstand hold continued to improve, and her general attempts was getting longer and longer even in our technique sessions, you could sum up the progression from the start of the session to the end.
I couldn’t think of one training where I didn’t saw that girl have a progression from start to end. She always came out more experienced than she started. Our technique trainings variate between one hour to three hours(!). At the end of week four, beginning of week five (can’t quite remember) I challenged her; She was getting good at the handstand hold, at floor and on boxes. I asked her if she could try walking on hands. After setting a few guidelines to follow she began her technique training in a whole new world. Adding the walks to her training was a dangerous thing. What it really meant was that she had an excuse for moving her hands when she lost balance, only to try to get it back making the handstand walk a safe harbor when failing the holds. This won’t give the handstand hold any progression. And the hold is the most basic and valuable thing in a handstand. She found this very aggravating; however it only took half a training before she realized the value of it. We continued this on and of box training -and walking of course – and she was getting better each and every time.
Here she is attempting a transition with a ball between her legs. Double Legged
After a hard long lasting handstand training session at the beginning of week six, I challenged her to walk down stairs – It was first a joke – and stunningly she didn’t say no. When I understood that Eva was bold enough to try; I explained her how she could do it. So there we was, on top of a stair at the gym I work. Firmly she transitioned herself up in a handstand hold. I grasped one of her legs, then she started walking… I barely held her balance a few times and she managed to get down seven steps! I’m talking one month and two weeks training – from where she couldn’t get up in a handstand – and now she is able to walk down stairs?!
At the beginning of week seven she was able to complete a step on her own, without me holding her. Every handstand she attempt is twice as long as the best she could do one and a half month ago – when she started. Surprisingly she wasn’t afraid of adding another step at the last training of week seven. I told her that since she can do one step now, she should prepare for two and without hesitating she tried with two steps. This time there were no mind blocks or moments of confusion. The only reason for her not completing two steps that day lays in the muscles and the technique. Despite that she loves to perfect her technique she also hates to fail, just to have it said!
Blurry image off one of Eva’s attempts at walking down stairs
This story ends near Christmas time. There isn’t any huge milestones reached – not that I wouldn’t expect it either. However she continues to progress in all her techniques, she walks longer, her holds are longer and she’s working on harder and more challenging transitions. One thing should be mentioned, an important one indeed, I don’t need to spot, help or even remind her to alternate/variate anymore. She is independent and all I can give her is new tasks to practice on.You will get to see more of Eva, she’s only trough with her beginning. Eva started at Zero and who knows were she ends.
I wish her all the best of luck – as if she really needs luck.