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Upside Down Gets Me Feeling Inside Out

Credit: lululemon athletica

Credit: lululemon athletica

Remember how I had to work a bit to conquer my fear of heights by climbing the rope at the Fit Pit? But that once I did, it was awesome—empowering and so motivational? Well, I have a new “rope” to climb and her name is the unmodified handstand push-up.

Okay, the “push-up” part I’m not even quite ready for. (One thing at a time, people…) But the “handstand” part is definitely something I’m working on. And something that I’m fairly fearful of. It may seem silly, but for me, kicking my feet up and over my head and then placing them up and onto a wall feels like my fear of heights turned upside down. It’s like I’m up high and upside down—and it freaks me the heck out. The gym has really high ceilings (hence the rope climbing), which only heightens my irrational feeling of being too high for my own good.

Last year, for the Throwdown, we had to do some handstand push-ups in one of the workouts. For that, I didn’t even try to flip up and onto the wall; I simply walked my feet up the wall to an angle that didn’t freak me out and modified the move so that I was facing the wall (kind of like a downward dog with your feet on the wall). But this year? Well, it’s something I’d like to do. It’s a fear I’d like to conquer.

Fears have a way of eating at you. They hold you back. They make you think you can’t or shouldn’t do something. But the fact is, once you face them—whether it’s all at once or in itty bitty steps—they seem to disappear. Now, even though I still get a bit shaky at the top of the rope, I love doing it because I can. AND DID. And this handstand push-up thing? Well, it’s time for me to face that fear, too.

So a few times a week after the workout of the day, Ryan and I are taking a few minutes to practice kicking up and getting more comfortable in a handstand position. (For the record, he doesn’t have my weird fear thing—just wants to build up strength for it and is awesomely supportive.) Once I’m able to kick up and hold it on my own for a bit, I’ll start working on adding that push-up for the full deal.

You guys know that you’ll be the first to know when I do my first handstand push-up, but tell me: anything you’re afraid of at the gym? What steps can you take to overcome it? We can do it! —Jenn

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  1. Erin says:

    Oh dear, I have an irrational fear of handstands, as well! I escaped it for my first month of CrossFit, but they’ve programmed it in so much that I couldn’t evade forever… my coach was soooo perplexed about why I couldn’t do it. Pssh, like the first time I try to throw my head at the ground I’m gonna be like, “oh yea, this feels natural!” Still, it’s something I am working on… along with my irrational fear of box jumps. I CANNOT get my feet to leave the ground at the same time.

  2. martha says:

    box jumps, hate them! they freak me out, i can do them, but there is still hesitation and the first few are step ups on the shortest step, lol. what is the big deal really? so when it came time to try handstands, no way, still haven’t but have been visualizing myself attempting and taking baby steps, and just putting my feet on the wall like downward dog, like you said and going from there. IT WILL HAPPEN!

  3. Lynne says:

    Box jumps are my biggest fear, followed by climbing the rope (fear of heights and not enough upper body strength yet). I used to do handstands when I was a kid, but haven’t done them in years and years. Started cross fit a little over a month ago, and can do assisted handstands (feel against the wall, facing the wall) but have not been able to master getting up on my own yet. after falling on my head during one attempt…I’m a bit leery. But I’ll keep trying. I’m determined.

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