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Value in stupid human tricks

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A blog post from Coach Adam

If I asked everyone who was reading this to raise their hand if they can handstand walk, I’m confident the percentage would be very low.  If I asked you add your hand to the group if you want to be able to handstand walk, I’m sure the percentage of raised hands would increase, but there are a lot of people, probably a majority of readers, who couldn’t care less about being able to walk on their hands. Lastly, if I asked you to raise your hands if you want shoulders that are strong and injury resistant, I expect almost all the remaining hands would shoot up.  And that is why we handstand walk.

Handstand walking is a cool party trick and a great gymnastics test for CrossFit athletes who compete at high levels, but there is a deeper reason that we train and practice variations of that skill across our gyms for all our members.  We are training strength, balance, stability and coordination all at the same time. A wall walk on its own is hard enough. We have to have the upper body strength to press ourselves up the wall and then into an engaged lockout of our arms and shoulders.  Our core muscles, not just the good-looking abs, must all be engaged to hold us in a straight line at the top without sagging against the wall. And this is just our entry to handstand walking.

As we add more dynamic elements, like inverted shoulder taps or walking on our hands around a box with our feet on top, we train the hands, arms and shoulders to transfer weight from one to the other, to safely load and unload our bodyweight, and importantly, to control our own body in space.  And this is is why everyone practices these skills. Maybe you’re the Mom or Dad who needs to be able to catch your child as they’re falling, or perhaps you’re worried that if you fall you won’t be able to catch yourself. Building those strong muscles, ligaments and tendons that work through and protect our shoulder are vital to protecting us when those unforeseen events happen in life.  There’s an old quote from Mark Rippetoe that “strong people are harder to kill”. I believe there’s truth to that. And maybe you’ll never walk on your hands, but all these drills we’re performing upside down may just help keep you safe and healthy for the rest of your life.


Coach Adam