April 12, 2023

How Often Should You Practice The Handstand?

The EFD System

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that if you want to get better at anything you need to practice. In Highway to Handstand Online, one of the key features is to commit to practicing every day for five minutes. It’s called the EFD System which stands for practice Every F*cking Day :) If you think about it for a moment focusing on this kind of practice makes perfect sense. Nobody got good at anything by flaky unorganised practice two or three times a week. A person who can hold a solid handstand, a person who is clearly proficient practiced a lot. They practiced every day.

The Habit of Practice

A commitment to The EFD System (before even one handstand is done) is essential because it locks in the practice as a habit. A habit is a behaviour that's been repeated so many times it becomes automatic. The EFD System seeks to make handstand practice automatic so your day feels a little weird and unusual like there is something missing when you don’t practice.

Setting up a new habit can be tricky though. Many good people have tried and failed to set up various types of good habits. eg. I’ll try and meditate more, I’m going to eat more healthily, I’ll spend less time on the phone, etc. Easier said than done. It can be even more difficult to break bad habits, just ask any smoker or person who drinks too much alcohol.

What You Can Do

Setting up a new habit needs to have structure to it to give it the best chance of success. It’s not enough just to state “I'm going to use my phone less tomorrow”, or “I’m going to start my five minutes of handstand practice”. We all have such busy lives and any number of things can pop up to derail our good intentions for improvement and change. James Clear in his awesome book Atomic Habits outlines some advice on how to set up a new habit.

  1. Implementation Intention - This is a statement you come up with before you start that clearly defines what you will practice, when you will practice and where. For example. I will practice the handstand for five minutes before I start my workout at the gym. The when is before the workout, the where is at the gym. A time and location are clearly locked in place. Research has proven this to be a very effective technique.
  2. Habit stacking - This refers to slotting in your new habit into the flow of what you already do. If you don’t need to totally rearrange your day to get your new habit going you are WAY more likely to succeed. This was actually used in the example above. Somebody who is already going to the gym can slot in the five minutes of practice before the workout. A new habit stacked with another habit already established makes it WAY more likely to happen.
  3. Make It Easy - Initially, EFD is set up as just five minutes of practice a day. Another important feature of establishing a new habit as outlined in Atomic Habits is MAKE IT VERY EASY to do. Start small with just a five-minute commitment. (In the roughly 16 hours of awake time per day there are 192 slots of five minutes available. If you can’t find one five minute block to practice in a day you are probably lacking the required drive to become a handstand person)

Momentum

It’s in the early stages of setting up a habit that you need to remain very focused and committed. Once the habit is established, once you get going with the new behaviour it’s easier to keep it going. You will start to feel the benefits of the EFD system. You will feel the momentum building and you will quickly move from just five minutes of practice a day (the bare minimum) to ten, twenty, thirty minutes. I spent one hour today on my handstand. They’re fun, you can do them all day :)

In the video above you can see two things very clearly. The power of the EFD System and the perfect habit stack.

This Highway to Handstand student set up her habit of practice (EFD) around walking her dog. Each time she walks her dog, this is the when (the dog gets walked every day) she practices the handstand in the park, this is the where. You can see how regular practice pays off. She’s not there yet but it’s coming. She’s killing it :)

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