Inversion issue – blood rushing to head (and a hamstring question)

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    I started on the long road towards handstands in January, doing head tripods to get familiar with being upside-down. Doing it 3-4x a week in a month I went from about 10s holds to half a minute. Then by chance after doing it near a mirror I noticed my face was extremely flushed, eyes very red. I thought maybe I’d increased hold time too much, so I reduced both the frequency of training and the time of holds, down to like once a week for 15 seconds.

    At the end of Feb I fell off my bicycle and injured my wrist so for the last month there was no inversion training. Last week I tried a brief tripod again and still with the blood rushing. I’ve also just started doing the forward bend poses from ‘Stretching your boundaries’ and I’ve noticed even in those blood rushes down to my head.

    So predictable questions: Is blood rushing normal for inversion newbs? Something to worry about? Anything I can do about it (besides cancelling inversions)?

    And then while typing this I thought of another (unrelated) question, so rather than start another thread I’ll just tack it on: SYB doesn’t really give any time frames, how often to hold poses, how long to hold them for. I’ve declared war on my hamstring tightness, I feel it’s impeding leg raise and L-sit progress. What is a reasonable timeframe/training schedule to notice results? I must note that I work a deskjob, sitting 8 hours every weekday 🙁

    Al Kavadlo

    Yes, it’s normal for blood to flow to your head when you are upside-down. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but if you find yourself getting dizzy then definitely reduce the length of time you spend upside down. Everyone is different and some people can take a long time to acclimate to inversions.

    As for your hamstrings, be patient with them. The “going to war” mindset will likely do you more harm than good. As for how long to hold your stretches, reread part one, section 5 of SYB. I give some guidelines at the end of that section. For the most part, the longer you can hold your stretches, the more you will increase your flexibility.


    Thanks Al! I’ll check out that section again. I may have overstated my intention with the war phrasing, I’ve realized it’s taken about 6 months to sort out my hips and the pelvic tilt I had so I’d use the same time frame as a rough guide for hamstrings. But the same warring determination my hips faced must be applied 🙂

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