I’ve been putting a lot of time into my Hand Balancing practice lately and just can’t say enough about how much it contributes to a bodyweight workout routine. Our Advanced Frog Stand tutorial that we posted a year ago this week turned out to be one of more popular videos, exceeding 30,000 views. So, we thought we’d celebrate its one-year anniversary with a re-post. This is also a great way for you to start getting ready for our upcoming full-length Hand Balancing DVD, set for release next month!
The Advanced Frog Stand is a great static exercise, made even more effective when you add in dynamic movements like the Frog Stand with Hip Extension. In this frog stand variation, we are seriously challenging the stability of the shoulder girdle and shoulder joint, as well as the muscles, ligaments and tendons of the wrists and elbows.
The Beauty of Hand Balancing
Hand balancing has been used for centuries in many different disciplines, from circus performers and strongmen to gymnasts, and even more recently in urban disciplines like breakdancing and Parkour. Seeing someone have absolute control of their body while balancing on two (or even one ) hands is impressive to say the least. Hand balancing looks cool, but it goes way beyond being a “party trick.” The benefits from this style of training cannot be touched by traditional weight training.
The Vertical and Horizontal Push Patterns
In the GBT system, we have four major upper body patterns – Vertical Push (such as handstand push ups), Vertical Pull (such as pull ups/chin ups), Horizontal Push (including push up variations) and Horizontal Pulls (such as rowing movements). There are corresponding static holds that go with each pattern. So, for example, we practice handstand work for the Vertical Push, and practice planche variations for the Horizontal Push.
Utility of Practicing Frog Stand VariationsThe Frog Stand exercises are perfect for training these patterns. The planche – that killer move which seems to defy gravity – requires an incredible amount of front-loaded shoulder stability. The shoulders must travel far in front of the wrists as you increase the lever by straightening the legs behind you. This is where the Frog Stand comes into play. In the Advanced Frog variation, the elbows are straight and the shoulders are in front of the wrist line, helping to condition the rotator cuff and anterior delts to support the load of the body. When you add in the hip extension position, the torso is more upright with the head down, which is closer to a handstand. This trains the range of motion that is right between the planche and the handstand positions. So the carry over is productive to both vertical and horizontal pushing patterns.
Adding in leg movements like the hip extension seriously challenges your balance and trunk control. From here you can practice all types of hand balance variations. Just be sure to take your time with each progression. Remember, each workout is a practice and the only way to improve in a skill like hand balancing is to dedicate specific time to it. Good luck!
For some additional great frog exercise variations, check out my other related articles:
Static and Traveling and Frog Combination. (video below:)
Static Frog with Back Extension(video below:)