SLIPS Series: What Are Inversions In CrossFit?

Inversions, part of the CrossFit SLIPS, are a tough one. Inversions are essentially going upside down: handstands, handstand holds and handstand push-ups are all great workouts for shoulder stability, working on your balance and strengthening your core too.


CrossFit.com programming has been introducing SLIPS or Scales, L-sits, Inversion, Planks and Stretching into the WODs. Learn more about what does SLIPS mean in CrossFit here.

Aa part of a series of blogs from AMRAP ANTICS, we are diving deeper into SLIPS, how to perform each of the 5 movements and why you should ALWAYS use SLIPS in your workout regime.


In this blog, we look at the third part of SLIPS, Inversions.


What are Inversions in CrossFit?


The inversions or the handstand is one of the main exercises that scares a lot of athletes in the gym. The handstand or any inversion is an incredibly demanding exercise. Utilising the stability in the shoulders and core also to hold a handstand against a wall or freestanding too.



Variations of inversions can include a freestanding handstand, handstand against a wall, handstand/pike against a box (with legs horizontal), pike or holding a plate or other wieght above your head with strait arms.


All variations of inversions require core balance and shoulder stability so for inversions its useful to work up to each.


How to do a handstand in CrossFit


To do a handstand for CrossFit Workouts, follow these steps:


A. Place hands about shoulder width apart on the ground in front of you in a pike position.


B. Straighten out your arms, lock your elbows at sides, with your shoulders open and spread your fingers out across the floor. Your palms should be facing backwards and try to avoid turning your hands out.


C. Rock forward whilst engaging your core to put all of your weight onto your hands.


D. Find your balance and extend your legs vertically.


Aim to accumulate a total of 30 seconds of a handstand hold per set, resting 10 to 20 seconds each time you drop. As you build strength, increase time to 45 seconds, and then 1 minute or more.


We know that this is an advanced exercise so we have included how to perform a handstand hold against a wall too.


How to perform a handstand hold against a wall


The handstand hold against the wall is almost exactly the same set up and execution to the handstand hold above with the main difference being you have the stability of balancing yourself against the wall.


Check out this very informative video:

A. Place hands about shoulder width apart on the ground in front of you in a pike position. Place your hands about 6-8 inches away from the wall in front of you.


B. Straighten out your arms, lock your elbows at sides, with your shoulders open and spread your fingers out across the floor. Your palms should be facing backwards and try to avoid turning your hands out.


C. Rock forward whilst engaging your core to put all of your weight onto your hands and kick your legs back up to the wall whilst keeping your torso and legs inline


D. Find your balance and keep your legs and torso extended vertically and hold.


Again, aim to accumulate a total of 30 seconds of a handstand hold per set, resting 10 to 20 seconds each time you drop. As you build strength, increase time to 45 seconds, and then 1 minute or more.



What are the benefits of Inversions in CrossFit?

With inversions, the main mucles worked are your shoulders. The stability in your shoulders can improve your strength. Your ability to hold weights above your head is imperitive for movements such as the push press, thruster, jerk and any overhead holds such as the overhead squat.


These are some of the most common exercises in CrossFit and as such inversions are a really beneficial movement. Not only that but inversions are becoming an increasingly popular part of the CrossFit Open and CrossFit workouts worldwide. Warming up with SLIPS including inversions is a great way to practice your overhead stability as well as spending time upside down.


As well as shoulder strength and stability, inversions also are really beneficial to the core and overall body balance. The ability to keep your torso and legs straight whilst inverted requires a lot of core strength and balance so as you work your inversions your core will get stronger.


The upsides of strengthening your core go beyond sculpting abs: From keeping you upright, stabilizing your spine and pelvis, transferring strength to your limbs, and protecting you from potential injury, a strong core has some serious benefits.


What are the variations of Inversions in CrossFit?


As outlined above the freestanding handstand hold is a difficult movement to perform so luckily with inversions there are a load of variations that athletes from all levels can perform.


Handstand Hold Against a Wall - As outlined above, you can perform a handstand hold against a wall to help improve your inversion strength.


Wall Walk - A wall walk is where you get into a press up position with your feet touching a wall behind you and you walk your legs up whilst simultaneously walking your hands towards the wall behind you, all the while keeping your legs and torso completely straight, walking backwards all the way until your nose is about 6 inches away from the wall and you are vertical. Then walk back to the press up position.


Box Pike - With your feet resting on a box behind you walk your hands back until your arms and torso are vertical and your legs horizontal, creating a right angle with your torso and legs.


Floor Pike - In a press up position walk your legs closer to your hands whilst keeping your arms and torso in line, bending at the hip to creat a right angle.


Overhead Plate Hold - Use a plate and hold the plate above your head with straight arms vertical above you. Keeping your core activated and your arms straight up.



inversion Workouts in Crossfit


Handstand holds are one of the most popular inversion workouts. A common workout is to hold for 15 seconds with 45 seconds rest for a number of round (we like 10!). This type of workout can be replicated for all inversion holds such as the box pike, the pike or even the overhead plate hold too.


Let us know how you get on with your inversions in the comments section below.


To learn more about what SLIPS means in CrossFit and how to perform SLIPS visit our series here.