As instructors in recreational programs, we are constantly looking for new and interesting gymnastics related activities to keep our class program different every week. One of our favorite activities is a Handstand Hike. A Handstand Hike serves a number of purposes and functions in the program in addition to adding general interest and diversity to the standard class fare.
Anytime, Anywhere, Any Gymnast
Handstand Hikes can be done anywhere, anytime and with any level of gymnasts with a coach to spot them. Basically, a handstand Hike is just a walking tour of an area with stops to do handstands on any reasonably stable object that will support a gymnasts weight in a handstand (with a spot, maybe even a heavy spot from their coach). Sometimes the only way to get to the handstand is to press up (with a spot).
Indoors or Out
On a handstand hike, obviously, there are a lot of handstands being done. This is a boost to gymnast’s upper body strength work to concentrate an entire class to handstands. Handstand Hikes can be done either indoors or outdoors, in a gymnasium or just out in the outdoor environment.
Lots of Different Places for Handstands
It is amazing how many objects can become the base for a handstand with a little creative thought along the way. Really each Handstand Hike is unique and different because you encounter new objects to do handstands on whenever you hike in a different direction. Even in the gym you can go in different directions changing the order of the objects on which you do handstands.
Indoor Handstand Ideas
Let’s give you a sample of the objects we used on our last Handstand Hike in the gym:
- Springboard in two directions
- Vault Table
- Pommels on Pommel Horse
- Low Set of Rings
- Edge of Pit
- Edge of Tumble Tramp into Pit
- Top of the Awards Stand
- Chair from the Spectator Area
- Floor Bar
- Low Bar
- Low Beam
- High Beam
- Trash Can (it was covered and brand new)
- Mat in the Pit
Outdoor Handstand Ideas
The opportunities are even more varied when you get out in public. On our last Handstand Hike to a public park we used these objects for handstands:
- Park Bench
- Slide and Slide Ladder
- Jungle Gym
- Picnic Table
- Tree Stump
- Concrete Wall
- Fire Hydrant
Obviously, there will be more and different objects you will find when you actually get going on your Handstand Hike.
For safety, you are going to need to make certain that before you choose any object to do handstands on, that you will be able to safely spot every gymnast on that object.
Have a Happy Handstand Hike.