Tuck Balance - How to Get Started?
What is a Tuck Balance?
The tuck balance, in reference to Animal Flow is a hand balance, with the legs levitating upwards in the air. It is unique, as flowists can get try a tuck balance while still maintaining the fluidity of the flow.
Tuck Balance has significance to its name. From the lines to aesthetics, this position has both form and function.
How is it Different to a Handstand?
Arm balancing, hand balancing, inversions, handstands - are several names for balancing on your hands. Not all handstands are tuck balances.
In Animal Flow, there is a focus on a very specific type of hand balance called Tuck Balance.
As the name suggests, it is a bent leg position where the knees are pulling towards the chest, whereas a handstand - the legs are fully extended with toes pointing directly towards the sky.
Is this Posture Difficult?
Balancing on your hands is certainly not a daily common movement, practiced by just about anyone. It takes a certain level of conditioning and practice in the body and mind. There are variables like muscle mass and strength, gender and mindset.
The first step is to understand the way the human anatomy is structured. This will bring about further understanding in getting into the perfect balance.
Does it Vary From Person to Person?
When we notice our feet, they are unique in their structure, sturdy and vigorous enough to walk and run on them for a long stretch, however the feet can deal with changing surfaces. The length of the forefoot gives the added leverage necessary to keep one from falling on the face if the centre of gravity were forward.
Our heels are of advantage; they keep one from falling behind during sudden shifts.
Do our hands take all the weight?
Our hands have the ability to produce and pass on large amounts of strength, but at the same time have incredible dexterity to perform fine motor movements like playing instruments or texting at the fastest speeds. But balancing is as tricky then it may seem.
There are anatomical differences between the hands and feet. The palm, is the main stabilizing structure, and the heel helps with balance adjustments. However, the palm does not have the same advantage of the heel.
There is a phenomenal difference between relying on the bony structure of the feet to keep one upright with ease, than the hands trying to keep the entire body balanced.
As we walk about the day, we are mostly unaware of the 3 systems within our body that contribute collectively to balance. They refer to the Ocular, Vestibular & Proprioceptive system.
How does the body adapt to tuck balances?
These systems have spent most of their life working in an upright vertical orientation.
They are adapted to sensing, navigating in a world where the head is above the feet.
When we disorient from the system, by turning the entire body upside down, the entire human system must recalibrate and adapt in an entirely different way.
Fortunately, our body can phenomenally adapt, so give yourself time and learn strategic techniques to get the tuck balance right.
What are the benefits of Tuck Balance?
Increased upper body strength: Builds strength for forearm, biceps, shoulders, wrists. It is one of the most beneficial exercises for upper body.
Builds core strength: Actively engages the core and abdominal muscles
Improves palm grip: Increases friction between the palms and floor, improves grip.
Better patience and persistence: The perfect long lasting balance requires days and hours of consistent practice. This thereby improves one patience.
Helps in Blood purification: The reverse posture enables the blood to flow throughout.
Relaxes the nervous system: This posture can relax the nervous system, increase concentration and focus.
Boosts confidence: Can definitely boost mood and confidence. One would secrete happy hormones such as serotonin and dopamine, which brings them to a peaceful state.
Better Nutrient absorption: However, tuck balances are effective in dealing with abdominal issues even before they arise. These specific hand balances increase blood flow to areas which are subjected to pressure and gravity.
The key to a good digestive system is a good blood flow. This also includes benefits of efficient cleansing of body cells from toxins.
What strategies can I incorporate?
- Conditioning Basics: Learn conditioning such as kicking oneself up against the wall, try to find the perfect balance point. A series of proper progressions will definitely do the trick.
- Consistency & effort: It’s not as easy as it looks, but it can get easier by practice. It is a true skill, an art. It has to grow into one’s muscle memory. It’s not an overnight phenomenon. The more you practice, the more likely you can ease into this balance.
- Steer clear from a mental block: Fear can paralyze the mind from attempting what the body can do. We all have hesitations and pre conceived notions. It’s important to recognize this. A fair amount is healthy, but if we are aware and conscious, we can most likely begin to shun away from fear and kickstart the journey to a successful tuck balance.
What is the checklist - essential pointers?
- Eyes to gaze on thumbs and fingers - spot focusing can prevent losing balance.
- Shifting shoulders forward - Shoulders to lean forward to support the forearm and wrist
- Engage core - Draw the ribs in, engage the core muscles, contributes to the stacked position.
- Hips to be in aligned with shoulders - The wrists to the hips, should be aligned.
- Hug legs together - Get in a tuck, to get in shape.
- Feet to be pointed - Emphasize on technique, don’t miss out.
To conclude, a Tuck Balance is a multi-faceted movement in Animal flow with a range of benefits. Drills and progressions can be the preparation to acing the balance. With consistency and time, one can master the art.
Want to know more about Animal Flow and our community Animal Flow in Sydney? Click here learn more and check out our upcoming workshops