The handstand can be a very time consuming skill to achieve.
A question I get fairly often in my workshops is how to program the handstand alongside other physical practices to still be able to make progress.
Now in this case when I say "programming" I'm not necessarily talking about sets and reps, but conceptually where and when to perform the handstands to still make progress while prioritizing other physical arts.
First let's review a couple attributes that are important to understand about handstand training.
-It is precise skill work
-Though stress is placed on the wrists and shoulders, the goal is to make the skill less physically draining by using the appropriate technique
-Consistent practice is required to learn how to adjust for differences within the body
-When learning to build proper movement patterns, fatigue is not your friend unless you are specifically working endurance
-Understand your place in the progressions, but do not be afraid to add some time to play as well
As a beginner learning handstands, it is best to practice as often as possible while staying as fresh as possible. In addition, it's best to keep efforts sub-maximal, both for safety and to encourage better movement habits.
If you are curious about progressions, or priorities for different level practitioners I have them outlined in my EBOOK.
Now let's go over some of the options on how to make progress in handstand training when it is not the priority of your physical practice.
1. GREASING THE GROOVE
This is a concept made popular by Pavel Tsatouline, the basic idea is to do sub-maximal sets throughout the day to get more numbers in and build up to a higher workload.
This can be a very powerful concept and can allow more time to "play" with the skill, but also has a couple downsides.
Though the handstand is skill work it is also very much dependent on other attributes like mobility and body awareness.
With the GTG method, it is basically assumed that all the sets are performed with no warm-up. While performing the skill cold is a good indicator of confidence level, it can compromise the quality of the skill itself.
I use a very specific warm-up to help develop body position, physical acclimation, proper activation, and awareness(check out my VIMEO page for my wrist and shoulder warm-ups). It's not just about warming up but rather priming my mind and body to have a more productive skill session. When I don't warm up my wrists properly for example, I can feel how my balance corrections are considerably slower.
To use another example, many people have a shoulder or wrist mobility deficit which they need to address to improve their handstands. GTG means they will continue to work through their compensations. Since we are what we do often, these are the habits built that later become difficult to correct.
I'm all for the "Greasing the Groove" method to get more numbers in, just be aware of an compensations that arise from performing the skill cold.