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Bond student brings back the humble handstand for good health

Want to get stronger, more flexible, and have a good time while doing it? Maybe you need to flip your routine upside down – literally.

The humble handstand, traditionally the reserve of acrobats and circus performers, is making an unlikely comeback.

Trainer Derek Scolnick, who recently moved to the Gold Coast from Buffalo, New York to study a Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science at Bond University, has set up his own business teaching people how to properly complete a handstand, alongside body weight and mobility training.

He said there had been a massive demand for handstand training in his home city.

“In Buffalo I got a huge demand for handstands, and I found that a lot of people wanted to learn handstands but didn’t have an effective process to follow, and there’s people out there that do it, but it just wasn’t accessible enough for people.”

While handstands had traditionally been popular with cross-fitters and yoga practitioners, who used the technique within their disciplines, the technique was now moving into the mainstream partly due to the impact of social media, Scolnick said.

“I think Instagram was another reason for people wanting to get into handstands because people see the pictures on Instagram of people doing handstands, especially in the yoga world.”

He said a lot of people chose to learn how to handstand purely as a recreational activity, however there were also numerous health benefits.

“It’s really good for shoulder health. We don’t do a lot of things overhead anymore. But when you do, you’re unprepared for it, because you don’t do it very much.

“The structural integrity that you need to stand upside down, it carries over into a lot of other skills and it makes day to day activities much easier.”

Scolnick said he already felt there was more of a demand for handstand training in the Gold Coast than back in Buffalo.

“I think the weather has a role in how active people are, especially if you go to Burleigh, it’s a more health-conscious area, handstands are normally in the more progressive places.”    

Scolnick is currently putting the finishing touches on a six-week “Handstand Foundations” online course, allowing people to learn to handstand from home. He said people of all ages and fitness levels could learn to handstand.

“Anybody can learn to handstand. People have learnt to handstand in their 60s. It just takes time and the right process. Some people, it takes more time than others, but if you’re dedicated enough, anyone can learn to handstand.”

He had also found a business partner to help him set up movement classes.

“The idea is, we’ll be teaching more obscure types of movement like handstands, locomotion, bodyweight strength and fun partner games. We’d like to create a little community of people challenging themselves to move in a more interesting way.”

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