I've finally taken action to start making videos for this site and blog - something I wanted to do from the beginning, but had to practise first. I'm still not great at it, but I'm satisfied with the result.

So as a first presentation attempt, I've made this video about handstand pushups, and what I went through to get to this stage. I've also started a You Tube channel for "my Great New Body", and the link for that is here. Only got two videos up at the moment though, and they're already featured on this blog.

My plan is to do a lot more video-blogging in the future... makes a nice change from just writing. See what you think.
 
If you ever had doubts about the physical capabilities of an old body, watch this video. I stumbled onto this in my search for tips to help me with my handstand-pushup project. This makes me more determined to master it. And there are many more "old-man feats" videos to match this one.
 
Day 2 -
See if it's any easier now.
I didn't bother with the mat, but I still placed the cushion on the floor. Now I expected to be able to get up on the first go. Mistaken. It still took me 4 or 5 goes before I got up to the wall, and the hesitation isn't completely gone. But I have the reference that I've done it, so the fear is not debilitating.

Once I got up, I managed to hold for 30 seconds - I was able to focus on my posture so the weight came over my shoulders and not so much on my wrists and arms. My second attempt I held for 20 seconds. And the third for 20 seconds, but I tried to dip a little, to feel how the strain is on my arms.

I'm a long way off pushups yet, but I can do handstands. Hoorah! When I'm strong enough to actually do pushups, I should also be able to get into position without the run-up... at least that's what I hope to be able to do.

Day 3
Third day at this...
I can get up now fairly easy - it is a combination of enough momentum and the right technique... and putting your hands in the right place - too close to the wall and you bounce off, too far away and you won't reach it (or fall backwards onto it).
I trust my arms to hold me now, so I don't need the cushion. Most of the strain I still feel on my wrists - but it's a good training for them.
I tried widening my arms-width to see if I had more stability, but that was a no no. Maybe later when my arms are even stronger, this could make the dips and pushups easier, but for the moment I need my arms under my shoulders to hold my weight.
I held for 15 seconds each stand (3 stands), and did some very small dips of a couple cm. It's a start.

Day 4
New info... new technique. I still keep forgetting that the internet has info on everything, and then I surprise myself when I suddenly think... "Oh yeah... I can look that up on the internet!!!"

So I looked up "handstand pushup" and found a video that shows another way to get up into the handstand position. Instead of the flipping, as I've been doing... with this technique you stand on all fours with your head away from the wall, then you put your feet against the wall and walk up, moving your hands closer to the wall the higher your feet go. You end up in a handstand with your face "facing" the wall, instead of the back of your head.

This is a much easier technique, and you already get to do a little walking with your arms, so the pushup doesn't seem so impossible.

Day 5
What a difference a day makes... and a good technique. I can get up to a handstand easily now, using the technique above - it doesn't shock the system too much. And having to "walk" yourself closer to the wall helps your confidence while already giving your arms a good workout.

I did this twice with a three minute break inbetween - on the second go I even managed a couple of half-pushups. So I'm almost there. I'd like to be able to do at least 5 full pushups before I consider this project successful. And when I've reached this goal, I'll post a video as proof
 
When I was young - a teenager - I could do one-handed pushups, and pushups on my thumbs. I was a fan of Bruce Lee, but trying to emulate his physical feats ended with these two tricks. I still dream of being athletic enough to copy his back-flips and somersaults, but as the years passed, even normal pushups became a challenge. Up to 4 years ago I was lucky if I could manage 10 before flaking out.

I've made progress over the last 4 weeks, and I'm starting to get the urge to push my body further. Adam from the Shapeshifter program published an article recently on how to learn to do handstand pushups, and this inspired me to try it for myself.

His technique is to gradually increase the angle of the body over a period of time while doing your pushups - until you are standing upright on your hands. But a Shapeshifter client offered another technique: starting with a handstand, and increasing the time you can hold the position, until you're strong enough to actually push up. I don't know why, but this technique appeals to me more, and that's the one I'm going to use.

So, over the next two weeks I've set a goal to do handstands everyday, til I can do pushups. And today (Wed. 28 Dec.)I made a start...

Okay... first, do a handstand! I cleared a spot by an empty wall, laid out my exercise mat before it, and placed a soft cushion on the mat - this was for my head should I collapse and land on it. And then I tried to do the handstand. Just a matter of putting your hands on the ground and flipping your body up so your legs come to rest on the wall, right?

Forget it! I don't have the power to kick myself up from a static position... or I don't have the technique. Couldn't get my legs further than a half meter up from the ground. This is more difficult than I imagined. Okay, then I need a run-up of sorts - some thrust, some propelling motion to get my legs up. So, just like I used to do as a kid, start from a standing position, lunge forward, hands to the ground and HUP!

So, what are you waiting for Mike, go... hup!... move!!!

Strange... I froze. I was scared. I realized that this action has become so alien to my body that I don't trust my arms to hold me any more, or my balance to stay up. I was scared of falling on my head... scared of being upside-down. It was like that feeling you get just before a dive into cold water, or from a height, when you hesitate, not sure if you can or want to do it. It took me a good few minutes before I finally got myself to make a move. And when I did, it was a pitiful attempt. I felt my body clench, and my legs didn't come further than a meter from the ground.

Why am I so scared. I tried again, and again, and again - no better. Come on, this is silly, I told myself. I cleared my head, tried again, and this time I was up. Wow!, surprise, that was easy after all.

I stayed up for 10 seconds. Next attempt, I stayed up for 15 seconds, and the third round, for 20 seconds. Enough for one day.

This is funny and educational at the same time.
Funny, because it's not some complicated gymnatic feat I'm trying to perfect here, just a simple handstand against a wall. Five year-olds can do this; I could do this at 5 years old;  Hell...dogs can do this!
Educational, because it makes you think that maybe our bodies are capable of a lot more than we can imagine, and the only reason we can't do these things is that we've convinced ourselves that we can't... so we don't even try. Simple playful movements we did naturally as children, fall out of our adult repertoire... we don't skip, we don't jump, we don't flip, turn, cartwheel or roll around anymore - some of us run a little. No wonder we feel so old, and so afraid of breaking.

Well, I for one am going to reprogram my body - I'm going to teach it to jump and skip again, and I don't care if people think a 53 year-old should just stick to walking or not. I've just learned to do a handstand again - now I just have to do it more often so it becomes normal again. And if I can do a handstand, I can learn to do handstand-pushups.

And we'll see if that's true over the next two weeks.