Despite the recent surge in popularity of bodyweight training, I find a curious lack of one form of training that I was sure would be making a comeback in a big way.
What I am talking about is the lost art of hand-balancing which used to be a big part of the training routines of many of the greatest strength names of the 20th century: Otto Arco, Bert Goodrich, John C. Grimek, Joe Gold (founder of the famous Gold's Gym), Sig Klein, Jack LaLanne, Steve Reeves, Armand Tanny, Ottley Coulter...
The list of strength Hall of Famers who were also hand-balancing experts goes on and on.
The art of hand-balancing, of course, goes back centuries before that. Even a hundred years ago, the famous "Old Time Strongmen" were known for much more than their ability for hefting heavy weights. They were the proverbial "Jacks of all trades," when it came to feats strength and skill.
Sure barbells and dumbbells were a part of their training, but they were also masters of boxing, wrestling, gymnastics, and several other components of old time physical culture.
Many were as adept at performing bodyweight feats as well as they were at lifting any barbell.
They could easily do press-ups, handstand dips, tiger bends, planches, one arm handstands, walking on their hands and other impressive hand balancing feats. Combining hand balancing and other forms of bodyweight training along with correct progressive weight work led to a level of physical development unmatched in today's world, despite modern advancements.
Speaking of "modern," it is truly amazing how such simple and valuable training as the art of hand-balancing, can fall by the wayside as globo gyms and 'strengthening' machines take over the market.
Again, a skill that has taken me a while to accomplish (still a beginner in most aspects) and like in the rings, I am nothing but a beginner. From the simple handstand to the tuck-planche to a handstand push up, the press ups and QDRs, it has been leading me slowly into this vast abyss of strength and body control which has improved my body awareness, overall health, my lifting capabilities and just fun that can be had on any given day at any place at any time!
Learn to move on your hands as they are as important as your legs.
Move today because tomorrow you may not be able to!
p.s. You can watch our resident Handbalancing Coach Dave perform a mean one arm handstand on his canes just below!