- The technique for a perfect handstand
- Handstand progressions for beginners
- On the floor or parallettes?
- Tips and tricks
- Handstand exercises for beginners
- Handstand Workout program
I think we all have tried to hold a handstand at least once in our lives. We probably failed the first time trying. The handstand, a move where you hold yourself in an upsidedown position, is an intermediate skill in Calishtenics, gymnastics, and yoga. An exercise, you can learn relatively quickly. There are countless different approaches. This post will teach you this upsidedown position the way I learned it in a couple of weeks. Everything you will learn can be done at home as long as you have a strong wall. In the end, I will give you some more tips and tricks so you can learn the handstand too!
Before we do anything and jump straight into a handstand, we need to warm our bodies up first. It prevents injuries and is overall more comfortable before you start training. When handstanding, it is necessary to warm up your wrists and shoulder. These are the main-used muscles when you are performing this move. Take 5-10 minutes to warm up your wrist and loosen up your shoulders. Let your blood flow, and then start with your handstand training.
The technique for a perfect handstand
The handstand is an intermediate full-body move where your shoulders and wrists are the main engaged muscles. The technique is vital with the handstand. The cleaner your form, the easier the handstand will be. Therefore, pay close attention to your technique and improve your weaknesses. I will discuss a few key points to which are crucial when handstanding.
- Hand position, Your hands should be straight at shoulder-width apart of each other. Spread your fingers apart, it makes balancing easier.
- Legs straight, Your legs need to be completely straight. Avoid doing the well-known banana handstand. This is not healthy for your back, and besides, it is much harder to balance. So try to keep your legs straight and point your toes to the sky.
- Your head, when handstanding, you should look to the ground in between your two hands. This way, you can concentrate the best on balancing with your hands. Most people will find this most comfortable position.
- Engage your abs and glutes. When handstanding, holding the line straight is key when handstanding. Focus on the engagement of your abs and glutes. It makes it easier to maintain your body in a straight line.
The kick-up is a critical part of the handstand. If you enter the handstand too fast, you may lose your balance and fall forward. Kicking up too slow will probably end up in you falling back on your feet. There are a few ways to enter this move. You can press to handstand, this is more of an advanced technique. Beginners will likely kick themselves up into a handstand. You can do this by putting your hands on the ground in front of you and kick yourself up with one leg (personal preference).
After you kicked yourself up into a handstand, your goal is to hold the position for as long as possible. Use your hands to balance yourself. To maintain balance, you use your fingers and hand palms just like you use your toes and heels when standing. You notice your weight is shifting forward, start applying pressure with your fingers. Push your fingers in the ground. When falling backward, start pushing your palms down to the floor to maintain your balance. Keep doing this during the hold to sustain the hold for as long as possible.
Handstand progressions for beginners
The wall handstand (Face forward and backward)
Before you try any free-standing-handstand attempts and failing multiple times, I suggest you first start practicing with the use of a wall. This way, you can develop the needed muscles for this move and get to know the movement without falling too many times. There are two ways how you can enter a wall-handstand. The first way is to start with your back facing the wall. Put your hands on the ground and simply climb with your feet on the wall until you are in a handstand position.
The second method can also be done with the help of a spotter.
Have the wall face in front of you. As I described in a previous section, kick yourself up against the wall in a handstand position. When using this way of entering a wall handstand, you cannot fall painful on the ground. You only will bump slowly against the wall, or you will fall back on your feet again.
Slowly move further from the wall!
Keep practicing handstands against the wall. You can experiment with balancing and increasing your hold time. After some time, you will notice your handstand will slightly getting stronger, plus your technique gets better. You can now start to move a little bit further from the wall. Keep practicing and improving till eventually, you can do a handstand without the help of a wall. This way is one of the many ways to learn how to do a handstand. It is the way I learned it at home.
On the floor or parallettes?
There are two different ways to perform a handstand. You can use a flat surface to handstand on, or you choose to use a pair of calisthenics parallettes instead. Which of the two is easier? Well, there is no answer to that question. It is all personal preference. Personally, I prefer handstanding on the floor rather than on P-bars. But I know a lot of people who like P-bars more. The only difference between these two is that on parallettes, you apply less pressure on the wrists. People with poor wrist mobility may find this more comfortable. But in the end, it is all personal preference.
Tips and tricks
- Learn how to fall. Before you try attempting any free-standing-handstands. I suggest you learn how to fall. Try to fall to the side instead of falling right on your back. If you are noticing, you about to break your balance. Rotate your body to the right or left side. This way, you can land on your feet rather than breaking your back.
- Grip strength, the handstand is all about balance. To balance yourself, you use your hand’s palms and fingers. Strengthening your grip with grip exercises like the palm extensions can make balancing a lot easier. Improve your handstand-time by throwing in a couple of these exercises in your routine every now and then.
- Shoulder and wrist mobility, the straighter your handstand, the easier it is. Improving shoulder and wrist mobility will make your form much straighter. Therefore, working on the shoulder, as well as wrist mobility, can make it a lot easier to hold. I suggest you work on mobility about three times per week.
- Frequency, working on your handstand is not very intensive. It means you can do it frequently. I even think you can practice it every day if you really commit to it. But 3-4 times per week is also good. Work on it for about 20-30 minutes, and the handstand will come in no time.
Handstand exercises for beginners
Like I just said, you should work on your handstand for around 20-30 minutes. In this time frame, you should work on crucial points like increasing your hold time and improving your technique. You can develop better technique by attempting next to a mirror or by using your phone’s camera. The next couple of exercises can help you improve these few points and eventually lead you to the free-standing-handstand.
Handstand wall walks
This first exercise is great for beginners to improve their technique, and it is great for getting comfortable in the handstand position. You first put your hands on the ground in front of you. Next, you start climbing with your feet against the wall until you are in a handstand position. If you do this correctly your body will be in a completely straight line. Hold this position for a couple of seconds and start climbing down. Repeat this exercise a couple of times. After some time, you will notice you are getting more comfortable with this upside-down position.
Wall handstand attempts
The next exercise is great for increasing your hold time and experimenting with your balance. You simply kick yourself up into a wall handstand and try to hold it for as long as possible. As it gets easier just move a little bit further from the wall. This will challenge your body to balance more and more. Eventually, you will be able to hold the free-standing handstand and use the wall for safety so you will not fall forward.
Probably the best wrist strengthening exercise for the handstand. The palm extensions are great for improving the grip strength your fingers need when balancing. In this exercise, you lean with your hands against a wall and simply push your palms away from the wall. You can make this exercise harder by making the lean bigger.
The last is the best exercise and maybe the most logical. Just attempt, attempt, and attempt. The more you try, the better. However, when you do not know how to break your fall yet to practice on a soft surface, You do not want to hurt yourself. Just keep performing attempts, and eventually, you will achieve the handstand.
Handstand Workout program
The people who are interested in an easier approach when learning the handstand can choose to buy a workout program. There are courses specifically on learning how to do this exercise. In my opinion, you do not need it, but for some people, it can be helpful. However, if you are interested. I suggest you buy the course from The School of Calisthenics. They made a workout program specifically for learning the handstand.
In this blog post, we have covered the basics when learning the free-standing-handstand. We have talked about how important the technique is when performing this skill. For the correct form, you need to:
- hands straight and shoulder-width apart
- glutes and abs engaged
- Legs straight(no banana form)
- You should look between your hands for optimal focus.
To achieve this skill, you first need to master the wall handstand. Once you master that, you slowly move further from the wall until you can perform a free-standing-handstand.
When handstanding, you can choose to perform it on the floor or parallettes. There is no answer to what is easier. It is a personal preference. The only thing is that a handstand on parallettes will apply less pressure on the wrists. It may be more comfortable for beginners.
Some tips that will help you achieve this move faster:
- Learn how to fall
- Improving your grip strength in your fingers will help to balance when handstanding.
- Focus on shoulder and wrist mobility.
- Try to work on your handstand at least three times a week.