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Old 01-04-2006, 03:27 PM   #1
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Hi L&GWL!

I have a few questions that hopefully someone here can answer. I just started learning jujitsu a month ago. I need to be able to do a handstand as part of a forward roll. But I can't seem to summon the strength to use my arms and shoulders to lift my body up. Sensei and others in the class say that I don't need strength, just momentum and technique... but I don't think I can accomplish my goal without more upper body strength.

Questions: How much weight can a women generally lift above her head in the position that I would use to do a handstand? The other women in the dojo can do the handstands, but they all weigh at least 30 lbs. less than me.

Any ideas for exercises to improve my strength?

I've searched online for how to do handstands, but the results only include sites geared towards men who want to do handstand push-ups, seemingly for the purpose of building giant muscles rather than strength.

Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 01-04-2006, 04:30 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TBJ333
Hi L&GWL!

I have a few questions that hopefully someone here can answer. I just started learning jujitsu a month ago. I need to be able to do a handstand as part of a forward roll. But I can't seem to summon the strength to use my arms and shoulders to lift my body up. Sensei and others in the class say that I don't need strength, just momentum and technique... but I don't think I can accomplish my goal without more upper body strength.

Questions: How much weight can a women generally lift above her head in the position that I would use to do a handstand? The other women in the dojo can do the handstands, but they all weigh at least 30 lbs. less than me.

Any ideas for exercises to improve my strength?

I've searched online for how to do handstands, but the results only include sites geared towards men who want to do handstand push-ups, seemingly for the purpose of building giant muscles rather than strength.

Any help would be appreciated.
I think most men that lift could handle ~2/3 bodyweight in an OHP, and a woman should be able to lift about 2/3 of what a man does, so maybe an overhead press with ~1/2 BWT would be a reasonable goal?

For a handstand all you need is supporting strength (and balance, technique and momentum), rather than pressing strength. Can you do a lockout with your bodyweight (~1" Range of motion) in a press? If so you should be strong enough.

I am actually strong enough to do the pressing motion of the handstand pushup, but lack the balance to do a real one. You only need to be strong enough to press your bodyweight from the top of your head rather than doing a full range press.
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Old 01-04-2006, 05:54 PM   #3
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Questions: How much weight can a women generally lift above her head in the position that I would use to do a handstand?
It isn't really a matter of lifting weight above your head, more a matter of supporting weight that is already lifted which is FAR easier than actually lifting the weight.

I'm not familiar with jujitsu type stands but I was a competitive gymnast -and taught preschoolers for a while ...

The easiest way to learn one is to kick into one against a wall with your hands about 4-5" from the wall. Your elbows shouldn't be more than slightly bent so arm/shoulder strength really isn't much of an issue. Once you are "situated" into the stand, try to *gently* push yourself off the wall to get the feeling of compensating when you start to fall. Lean back toward the wall if you feel yourself start to fall out of it. Most people don't kick up into a handstand hard enough to actually center themselves over their hands because of the (natural) fear of falling on their head/back if you over rotate it. Trying it against a wall first gives you a sort of spotter and also forces you to keep your head between your arms - it's almost impossible to do a handstand with your head sticking out.

Like Robert said though, the balance part is much harder than the strength unless you are talking about "pressing" into the handstand from either a headstand or sitting position. If it really is a strength issue, overhead presses would seem to be the way to go, training wise.
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Old 01-05-2006, 03:59 PM   #4
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Thank you both!

I'm not really sure what a lockout is, but I'll try to assess my strength.

Yeah, unlike a regular handstand, I have to do it with a bent elbow. Imagine my right forearm on the ground, parallel to my shoulders, with my upper arm coming up at a 90 degree angle. My left arm starts out bent with the palm to the ground. My main problem is that when I kick up, my right shoulder collapses. I need to keep my head off the ground when I roll, but what's happening now is that the shoulder collapses, and if I do manage to roll over, I roll to the right

Do those details affect the advice?

Thanks!
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Old 01-05-2006, 05:32 PM   #5
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Thank you both!

I'm not really sure what a lockout is, but I'll try to assess my strength.

Yeah, unlike a regular handstand, I have to do it with a bent elbow. Imagine my right forearm on the ground, parallel to my shoulders, with my upper arm coming up at a 90 degree angle. My left arm starts out bent with the palm to the ground. My main problem is that when I kick up, my right shoulder collapses. I need to keep my head off the ground when I roll, but what's happening now is that the shoulder collapses, and if I do manage to roll over, I roll to the right

Do those details affect the advice?

Thanks!
That sounds like it would be harder. I guess I would try to strengthen my arms and shoulders with presses and keep losing weight.

If you are collapsing it does sound like a strength issue, but i would imagine that your sensei probably knows what he is talking about.
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Old 01-05-2006, 05:34 PM   #6
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With the sort of handstand you are talking about, your not in the actual handstand for very long, jast passing through as your rolling. It sounds more like a coordination problem than strength as such.

I did jiu jitsu for a couple of years (at 250 odd lbs), and I have quite severe coordination difficulties. I got the knack of a forward roll enough to pass grading but not quite as good as other people. I started doing it from kneeling position, and then progressed to standing.

Can your sensei or an experienced person at your dojo give you some on one on tuition? I did find that one day it just all clicked and I could do it! I tmust ahve taken about 3 - 6 months before I could do a standing forward roll with any sort of confidence.

Practice practice practice!
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Old 01-06-2006, 06:09 PM   #7
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OK, I'm far away from 3 months! Maybe I should stop worrying. I can do a roll from standing, I just can't keep my legs up in the air for very long. Maybe I don't need to be so worried about taking a while to get it.

All the other white belts, except for one lady who joined after me, are capable of doing the rolls and falls, after only a class or two of learning them. But everyone in the class is reasonably fit... in your dojo, did everyone else get it right away, or did other people also have problems?
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Old 01-07-2006, 05:49 AM   #8
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Our dojo was quite unique, we had such a tiny group me, my now ex-husband, a guy about 40 and a lady the same age. She struggled with the rolls as well, but the two guys were fine (they were both stick insects and didn't have any rolls of their own to flop over )

My sensei took extra time after class to help me. I got up to orange belt, then I split up with ex and stopped going. I really need to take it up again, coz it's so much fun and gives you so much confidence.

Just relax and concentrate on the things you can do. Rolls were done at the beginning of our class and often I would still be thinking about how rubbish I was at them, whilst trying to do the rest of the class.

Keep us posted on how you get on!!
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Old 01-08-2006, 03:43 AM   #9
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When I did aikido, our sensei started teaching us rolls in steps. When we first started, we sat on the matt and we'd put our arms out in a rounded position and roll from side to side. When we got the legs into it, we'd be on our backs and use our hips to get momentum so we could sit up.

If you have access to a child who is learning to walk, you can see how they move...they don't just sit up, they sorta turn their body so they end up in a sitting position naturally.

I had some crumpling issues as well, but you want to try to keep your body circular. Don't have your arms end in angles; if you round them as you do the roll, it'll be smoother and it won't hurt (as much).

If you have access to a mat, try doing some independent practice or have someone in class help you. The reason why I can roll so well now is because we spent huge portions of class rolling forwards and backwards from sitting and standing positions.
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Old 01-10-2006, 03:54 PM   #10
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Yes, I'm working at home, where I have a mat.

I'm less depressed now... a lady who hadn't been to class for three weeks told me last night that my rolls were improving. Improvement is good. I'll keep working, and hopefully in a few months I'll have more success.
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Old 01-10-2006, 06:01 PM   #11
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Improvement is great!!! I'm really impressed that you are continuing to work at it, I hate being worse than everyone else at something, and in my previous life would often quit stuff rather than working through it, so well done you!
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