Tips for Handstand Walks

For the first time, the Open brings us handstand walks — for many of us, the bane of our existence. The scaled version is bear crawls, which you should probably opt for if the alternative is spending a few minutes flipping upside-down and subsequently falling on your face. If, however, you can kind of, sort of, at least a little bit, on a good day, when the stars align, do handstand walks, then let’s talk about how to manage them during 18.4 specifically.

One thing to keep in mind before we move on: if you even get to the handstand walks — a serious accomplishment in and of itself — intuition tells us you’re probably already pretty darn good at them. But! You will be incredibly fatigued, your body will feel like jelly and movement standards could cause you no-reps. So, let’s discuss.

The Movement Standards

Trust us: you will have no energy (or time) to spare, so don’t spend any of it getting no-repped. Per CrossFit’s movement standards:

  • The length you walk should be divided into segments of five feet each, for 25 feet total in one direction, and then you walk back.
  • You must start your handstand walk with your feet behind the line.
  • When you kick up onto your hands, your hands (including fingers) must also be behind the line.
  • Whenever you fall down out of your handstand walk, you must go back and start from the last line you crossed.

Now, let’s get to the technique.

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Important Tips to Remember

Handstand walking is largely about two things: balance and control. Here’s what you should keep in mind, considering you’re doing this after a ton of heavy deadlifts and handstand push-ups.

  • The position for a handstand walk is the same as the position for a handstand — straight!
  • Look down, not ahead of you. This keeps your neck (and thus your back) in a comfortable position.
  • Let your heels drift slightly in front of you. This will help propel you forward.
  • Keep your feet together.
  • Your core and glutes should always remain engaged. Otherwise, you won’t be able to hold your body upright, and you’ll flop down.
  • Remember: you don’t need to be able to walk 25 feet non-stop. You need to walk five. If that’s all you can manage at one time, go for it!

While your body is undoubtedly going to be tired, bear in mind the handstand walks might be a good time to compose yourself in between deadlifts. In fact, after doing 18.4, TWL athlete Mitch Sinnamon said that the walks were almost a break from the deadlifts. Remember to stay calm, keep breathing and focus on holding your position.

Gear you might need: we highly recommend wrist wraps for 18.4. Considering the amount of time you’re spending upside down, the extra support and compression will really come in handy. Grab a pair now by shopping with TWL — we have express and international shipping.

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