The Dreaded Handspring

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The Dreaded Handspring

It was about six months after I started Pole Dancing that I had my first encounter with the handspring and my initial thought (rather boldly) was… EASY! It’s just a handstand using the pole… I was wrong though, very very wrong and this was the beginning of my two years of handspring hell!

I started with the basics of putting my hands in the correct position and kicking up into it which seemed to work fine up to a point, but then my entire body would tense up like a wooden plank and I would try to hold it about 12 inches away from where I should hold it. I wasn’t too concerned by it though as I thought it will come as other moves had with perseverance over a number of weeks.

So For The Next Month I Trained My Handspring…

Over and over again and occasionally I would get higher but the majority of the time it would still stay around 12 inches from the pole! This continued for the next year (!!!) and I admit I turned my attention to other moves (that I found easier).

I watched others start Beginners Pole Dancing and progress up the levels and master the handspring with ease and grace. What was it that they could do that I couldn’t?! I started to ask people who had been poling for a similar time frame as myself, and found that I was not alone in my “12 month plus handspring club”. There was Jo*, who super flexible as she was, could almost do the splits whilst trying the handspring as her second leg would not want to go with her first, and then there was Jane* who finally, after a lot of perseverance mastered it from a tuck. From these discussions though I also realised that even if you could master the handspring you needed to continue with it otherwise you would then lose it as poor Jane* discovered.

It Felt Good That I Wasn’t Alone

Not mastering a move straight away can make you feel isolated and inferior to others and at one point I almost gave up. I backed off from Pole for a couple of months as the handspring haunted me…I felt that I wasn’t at the same level as the other girls in my class and didn’t want to go any more.

Then a new lease of life embraced me and I made it my New Years resolution to not let the handspring defeat me. This was my year and I was going to technically look at everything I was doing and why it wasn’t working!

Video after video of tutorials I watched on the internet – looking at technique and arm position, then I filmed myself, I took extra classes, took advice from three different instructors and I finally figured out key things that I thought were preventing me from mastering the handspring:-

  • Pushing off with the wrong foot and therefore not getting the force to push my body up
  • My bottom hand wasn’t straight enough
  • And my top hand not rigid enough!

So this was it. I put every last bit of energy into my left foot to push off from, I made sure my bottom arm was straight and my top arm strong and rigid and up I went. At first it wasn’t graceful and it did not look elegant but IT WAS UP!!! It was one of the proudest days of my life; I could’ve cried; my instructor could’ve cried; because there it was after two long tiresome (almost giving up Pole) years it was up and straight and held!!

So My Advice To Any Of You Struggling To Get A Move:

Don’t ever give up, you can do it, you just have to keep at it, figure out why you aren’t getting it and carry on. I think handspring has taught me that I can do any move if I put my mind to it.

So now my next move from the handspring is twisted grip handspring…..and here we go again!

*Real names not used

Category: Tips

About Sian Speed

Hi, I'm Sian and have been poling for 3 years.  I initially started as I was having a tough time and wanted to forget my worries with a new exciting hobby so decided to give pole a try!  I was instantly addicted, the instructors were lovely and very friendly and soon I had made friends with everyone in my class.

I work full time as well as doing a part time degree and so I fit pole in around my busy schedule.  I have competed in 3 competitions, 2 being National and I'm determined to train and compete once more next year before I turn 30!! I can't see me ever stopping Pole Dancing because its such good fitness and I LOVE it!!!

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6 Comments to “The Dreaded Handspring”

  1. Nusa says:

    can u plz put pics (steps) while describing the right technique . Im struggling from handspring. can’t even pull my self up

  2. yolan moison says:

    this story about struggling with handspring could have been my own. i struggled with same handspring for three years and now i am doing the same struggle for twisted grip.
    i also do remember i could really cry the day i finally got it.the wole world i wanted to shoew me and my handspring!i do remember the same isolated feeling the feeling you are not in same level….almost giving up…..concentrating on all the other moves i did great.
    your stor is so how i feel and felt during these three years of handspring struggle,
    thank u for telling and sharing

  3. Kim says:

    Ha, it is nice know other people struggle with this one too! Someday it will be mine…

  4. joy says:

    Just started working on my hand spring. This article gave me so much inspiration. Love the tips. Good to know that its not as easy as it looks.

  5. Debbie says:

    This story is my own I am still trying to do this move.
    I am in the verge if never trying it again it must be nearly 2 years
    And still no luck. New people have come and gone and can do the
    Move and make it look easy. I am frustrated beyond words.
    If you have any suggestions I am open to all. I have watched everything I can and am starting to think it will never happen.

    • Holly Munson says:

      Hi Debbie,

      This is by far one of the moves that took me the longest to get. I tried and failed for years to get this! I ended up trying to much that I kicked the pole – lots of bleeding and a lost nail, ouch! After that I decided (probably for the best) to give it a break. I stopped for about another year or so and one day tried again. I think I must have been stronger both physically and mentally and really believed I could do it… and up I went! It took a while after that until I felt I could get up there every time but it was a start.

      If you need to, give it a break. A mental block can be just as unhelpful to the move. When you give it a go make sure you turn your hips to face the ceiling and that you look to the ceiling as well. Just focus on getting a little closer to the move every time. Practicing coming out of an Ayesha also helped me,

      Good luck 🙂

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