“It looks really cool right?”

Nina believes handstands can improve the quality of your life. Well, if only women would not have this illogical idea of upper body exercises making them look bulky.

“You know the nonsense like don’t do push-ups, they will make you bulky? I still get angry when I hear a trainer telling this to their clients.”

Nina can hold a freestanding handstand for 45 seconds straight, gracefully aligned and perfectly balanced. She’s also able to do a perfect strict muscle up and hold a human flag. She does have a background in rhythmic gymnastics though.

Nina Košnjek is a 22 year old who runs Equilibrium Calisthenics and currently works as a coach at Compact CrossFit in Kuwait.

nina split

Holding a freestanding handstand requires you to be focused and calm, a reason she considers them as a form of meditation.

 “I actually think doing handstands is a must for every woman!”

Whether you’re a wild kid, or a busy mid-age woman or even a golden lady in her fifties, you can train and work up to a wall-supported handstand.

“You need to learn how to enjoy the small daily victories. If the long term goal is all you see, you will eventually feel frustrated.”

Because a handstand won’t happen overnight.

“And let’s make it clear right away, no you will not get big and bulky muscles from doing calisthenics strength training.”

Nina first tried calisthenics when she decided to include a handstand into her rhythmic gymnastics routine. The decision quickly made her realize she first needs to strengthen her upper body.

“I believe it’s a fundamental move in training, because every muscle in your body needs to work – so you can keep the balance.”

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The path to achieving your first handstand is definitely not a straight line. But in Nina’s opinion, it is an all natural de-stress method.

“Because a handstand increases the blood flow to the brain, it also naturally lowers the levels of stress hormones.”

“Handstands will make you feel younger and happier right away.”

All though fluent in rhythmic gymnastics, even Nina had to start somewhere: “At the beginning I was able to do one chin up and zero ring dips.” She needed five months of practice to achieve her first strict muscle up.

handstand-in-the-gym

All calisthenics exercises can be broken down to easier progressions so even beginners can perceive them as attainable. Handstand included.

“With the right approach and systematic training plan you can have it all: a handstand, a pull up, even a muscle up.”

Nina believes every women has the potential to become strong

“I want to be able to move pain free my whole life.”

She instantly refers to Leon Štukelj, Olympic gold gymnast, and the most important figure in Slovenian sporting history, who was still doing l-sits well after his 90th birthday.

lsit

Moving to Kuwait was not easy and waking up surrounded by entirely different culture was hard, but a well worth experience.

 “You miss your old lifestyle, your family and your friends. There were days when it was really hard but you get over it. This’s what life is about, getting out of the comfort zone, taking risks.”

She has a few months left in Kuwait. Afterwards she’s travelling to the States with her long-time boyfriend Tom to expand the knowledge on callisthenics.

I think the best thing you can do for yourself is to invest time and money to gain new knowledge in the area you are interested in. Attend more workshops, hire experienced coaches, read more books and the most important thing – implement this knowledge in your life!”

Nina has an all inclusive guide on how to work up to your first handstand. Get yours below.

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