Occasionally I post pictures on Twitter, Facebook, and even this blog of myself doing handstands. There are some friends and followers will consistently “like” those photos and drop comments of excitement and delight. Then there are other friends who will wait until we’re face-to-face and ask, “Why is your profile picture upside down?” Or even more direct—“What’s up with those handstands?”
What’s up with those handstands?
Handstands are the unofficial sign of a CrossFitter. To quote Greg Glassman, the father of CrossFit, “Handstands, hand walking, and pressing to the handstand are critical exercises to developing your athletic potential and essential components to becoming ‘CrossFit.’”
Handstands work your balance, strength, and flexibility, three important elements that are “CrossFit.” They’re something that we can do outside of the gym, on a whim, and without any equipment. In the woods? At a national landmark? In your mother’s backyard—do a handstand; have someone take a picture of it and share it with your friends online for all to see and comment on.
It’s kind of like a gang sign as it shows your affiliation to a very specific group of people. If you search on Google, bing, or Flickr for “CrossFit handstand,” the SERP will turn up a number of photos of people inside a gym and at the most awesome places around the world. These are CrossFitters in their natural habitats, doing their thing.
Why do I handstand?
Because I can (sort of, I still have to kick up and lean against something). And because I associate myself as a CrossFitter.
To date, I have captured five handstands on digital film to commemorate specific moments in time:
- Against the safety rail at Wallace Falls outside of Gold Bar, Washington; April 2010 (not the most photogenic handstand).
- Against the race car at the 24 Hours of LeMons race at Thunderhill Raceway outside of Willows, California; May 2010.
- The first-ever handstand against a 2011 Mazda2 during the Mazda2 Lifestyle Drive in Montreal, Quebec, Canada; June 2010 (photo above).
- Inside Local’s Gym to celebrate my friend Kevin’s birthday, Lynnwood, Washington; August 2010 (photo below).
- Against the “big books” in the atrium at the enterance to Wordstock Book Festival at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland Oregon; October 2010.
As you can see, I get around. And I plan to keep doing so, one handstand at a time.
Being upside down exposes the athlete to, what is for many, a brand new world. – Greg Glassman