Handstand Equipment belongs in the toolset of Calisthenics Home Equipment for those with lofty goals in mind. The handstand is one of those staple exercises for the more advanced practitioner, although beginners are also soon made their acquaintance with the handstand. To ease this process but also just to make the exercise itself more comfortable, you can make use of various Handstand Equipment implements. If you want to master the art of inverted Calisthenics and allow your body to focus on perfect form while doing handstands, then Handstand Equipment becomes a must-have. We’ll go over various tools and wearables, some optional but very nice and others nearly mandatory to get the best out of your handstands.
Why use Handstand Equipment?
In inverted Calisthenics but also other fitness arts like acrobatics, the handstand is the go-to “base form” from which you do either exercises or feats of strength and agility. These go beyond simply placing your hands flat on the floor and throwing your legs up in the air. To include movement and static holds other than standing pencil-straight, requires a large amount of coordination between all the muscles in your body. Handstand Equipment can help you here in various ways;
- They stabilize your muscles and joints to prevent injury.
- They give you a solid platform that won’t shift and is comfortable to work on.
- They alleviate the strain on your wrists, so you can focus on perfect form and execution.
These three combined make it almost unthinkable to try and practice any meaningful handstand exercise without having the proper Handstand Equipment. Handstands are very injury prone, especially to wrists and elbows. Giving you a solid platform and adding measures to prevent injury should be enough of an incentive to at least investigate what Handstand Equipment is available and what it can do for you.
With the right Handstand Equipment, you’ll also be struggling less to attain perfect form. This is essential, again for injury prevention. Form is always the most important aspect of an exercise and especially with doing handstands, having that extra leg-up with the right Handstand Equipment is the right path to take.
Where Can You Find Handstand Equipment?
As with many things Calisthenics, sourcing high-quality but affordable Handstand Equipment can be challenging. Brick and mortar fitness stores carry little in the way of high-end, specialized Handstand Equipment. If they do, it is limited and often overpriced. We prefer shopping with the actual manufacturer of this equipment whenever possible, so we get the best deal and the highest quality possible. Since we know which manufacturers deliver quality goods, we can be assured that we get a durable product for the right price.
That’s easy for us to say, but what if you have no clue who these manufacturers are or how to get in touch with them? For that, you have us as well. We’ll share the best brands for Handstand Equipment and where to find them.
Best Program to Master the Handstand
Do you know what an Adze is? It’s a tool for hollowing out wooden bowls, it’s very handy. The point we’re trying to make here is that you can have the best Handstand Equipment in the world, but if you don’t know how to use it then what good is it to you? Most likely, you’ll be interested in using your tools in a learning trajectory. For that there are many Calisthenics Programs which also feature inverted exercise.
The best program to master the handstand is, in our opinion at least, the Movement Trybe App from Sondre Berg. The Movement Trybe takes the absolute beginner through their baby steps until you can do inverted exercise. From there it will only add on to your routine until you’re just as nimble and strong as Sondre Berg himself.
The Best 11 Handstand Equipment
These are our top 10+1 recommendations for Handstand Equipment. You may not need all of it and some of it can be exchanged for other options on this same list. We’ll go over these possible Handstand Equipment sets in our conclusions at the end.
#1 Handstand Parallettes
Parrallettes are used for a variety of Calisthenics exercises, including doing handstands. Handstand Parallettes though are few in number and most we would not deem suited for doing inverted exercises. You need a stable, wide platform to perform your handstands on. The absolute best pair of Parallettes on the market for this are the Gornation Premium Parallettes PRO. These feature a wide base with a low center of gravity. Gornation makes use of high-quality materials and has a maximum weight capacity of 350kg (770lbs).
There is no physical toppling of the Gornation Premium Parallettes PRO unless you lift them off the floor and put them on their sides. As far as Parallettes go, these are the best addition to your Handstand Equipment. We have an in-depth Gornation Premium Parallettes Review as well which discusses all the ins and outs you need to know about.
#2 Handstand Blocks
Handstand Blocks are small blocks ergonomically designed as hand palm rests. You place your hands on the blocks and your fingers almost naturally wrap around them. This gives you a bit of a rise off the floor and alleviates a bit of stress from your wrists. They can also increase your range of motion and of course act as a buffer between your skin and the surface of the floor. The best handstand blocks are the Kensui ASCENT wedges. These feature a finger strap through which you place your hand. The blocks will then naturally rest inside your hand palms.
These ASCENT wedges retain your range of motion, or slightly increase it by increasing the tilt of your hands in relation to the floor. The result is that your wrists stand at less of an acute angle while doing exercises like Push-Ups and of course, handstands.
#3 Handstand Canes
Handstand canes consist of a base plate with two or more pillars with handstand blocks attached to them. The pillars can be relatively short, or very tall. They allow for spectacular feats of strength, agility and acrobatics and are an oft-seen part of the acrobatics sections of circuses and fanfares. The increased height mainly facilitates a better view from the onlookers as well as increasing the risk posed to the practitioner. Any loss of balance will now also be met with an additional drop. Handstand canes can be mastered by the beginner, but keep in mind that they are much more advanced than, for instance, Parallettes.
#4 Handstand Board
A handstand board is a simple implement consisting of a board with distance markings to help you with your hand placement. The board’s material ensures a perfect combination between a smooth surface but also one with enough friction to keep your hands in place. The WoodPower PowerBoard is the highest quality Handstand Board on the market, made of 100% sustainable European Beech. All the craftsmanship is also performed in Europe, ensuring quality and durability.
A handstand board, despite its simplicity, is a slightly more advanced tool meant for the more advanced handstand practitioner. Most of the work is done by you; the board only provides a stable, flat and non-slip but comfortable surface to place your hands on.
#5 Handstand Mat
Alternatively, to either blocks, stands or boards, a mat provides a softer surface to perform your handstands on. They will also act as a non-slip surface on, for instance, smooth floors. They also act as a safety should a fall happen. Especially in combination with Gymnastic Rings, should you ever lose your grip, having that softer buffer between you and the floor is a welcome safety measure. Handstand mats do not offer the same kind of stable surface as Handstand Parallettes or a board. It mainly functions as a handy, transportable cushion to catch you in a fall.
#6 Gymnastic Rings
The Handstand is a very common exercise performed in the Gymnastic Rings. It is often the base hold and from which various swing or transition exercises to other holds are performed. The Gymnastics Rings are a very versatile training tool, used by many Calisthenics practitioners as a substitute for the Pull-Up Bar, Push-Up Bars and Dip Bars. Anything you can do with those; you can do with the Gymnastic Rings including inverted exercises like handstands. Anything you do on the Gymnastic Rings, however, is harder. The added instability of the ropes means that you must control them as well. We don’t recommend jumping into the ropes straight away if you’re a beginner, but for the seasoned Calisthenics veteran making the transition to the Gymnastic Rings is a good option.
#7 Wrist Wraps
The weakest links in the chain, when doing handstands, are going to be your wrists. These are the most delicate joints in use while doing handstand exercises. At the same time, they are also the focus point of all the weight. Using Wrist Wraps is highly recommended to help prevent injury and straining yourself. This goes even so far that we would recommend against doing any kind of handstands as a beginner without wearing at the least some basic Wrist Wraps that go securely around the wrists. As you progress, it is important that you switch between wearing and not wearing Wrist Wraps. That way, you gradually improve the strength of your wrists. Keeping them locked into position with Wrist Wraps all the time is also not beneficial. As a starter though, you’ll be wearing Wrist Wraps all the time, then less of the time and eventually you may not need them at all.
#8 Arm Sleeves
Right after your wrists, the next weakest links will be your elbow joints. Arm Sleeves can do for your elbows what Wrist Wraps do for your wrists. But Arm Sleeves also compact the muscles in your forearms and upper arms. This keeps those muscles tighter and in better shape to support the weight of a handstand. Wearing Arm Sleeves, especially in the beginning, is our recommendation as well.
#9 Liquid chalk
The last thing you want happen when you’re in a handstand is that your hands slip away. To prevent a slippery situation at the worst of times, you can use Liquid Chalk. With a small dab of chalk your hands will stop sweating and your grip will improve. No matter how strong you are, if you slip you will fall. Liquid Chalk is inexpensive and adds that extra layer of safety and, perhaps more importantly, confidence to perform your exercise well.
Although they have their uses, Calisthenics Gloves are ill-suited for inverted exercise. You need that bare-skin tactile response with the floor, board or Handstand Parallettes.
#10 Handstand book
If you’re interested in going beyond the bare basics and even want to push your handstands beyond Calisthenics; then The Handstand Book: A Complete Guide to Standing on Your Hands by Jack Wiley is a solid read. In his book, Wiley explains both the basics of the handstand as well as training techniques on how to achieve perfect form. From there, you are taught different handstand techniques, potentially even group exercises. His book is the handbook for gymnasts, acrobats and cheerleaders when it comes to handstands.
#10+1 Handbalancing set
Our extra recommendation is to get a Handstand set that contains all the necessary, recommended Handstand Equipment needed for safe exercise. After weighing all the best options on the market and what both a beginner and an advanced practitioner might need (but keeping things within a tight budget), we come to the Gornation Handbalancing Equipment Set. This set contains all the Handstand Equipment you really need to start and, for most, all the tools you’ll ever need. The set consists of the excellent Gornation Premium Parallettes PRO, the best-in-class compression Arm Sleeves, light-weight Wrist Wraps and Calisthenics Tape which acts the same way as Liquid Chalk.
Gornation’s high quality products here are offered combined at a reduced rate. Best yet, you can apply our Gornation Discount Code for an additional 10% off. Use the code CWW10 at checkout.
Conclusions About Handstand Equipment and Possible Handstand Sets
The best Handstand Equipment assists you in attaining and maintaining perfect form. Form is paramount in all Calisthenics exercise but becomes of even greater importance when doing handstands. You’re using the weakest joints in your body bar your knuckles, to support your weight; your wrists. Handstands can be performed safely and can offer you a great exercise opportunity. Handstands are also awesome to look at.
To get to this perfect form, the right Handstand Equipment is very important. Handstand Equipment can alleviate some of the strain on your wrists, improve inverted posture, provide a solid platform and help prevent injury. You don’t need all the Handstand Equipment on our list, as some are mutually exclusive. You can’t use Handstand Parallettes in conjunction with Handstand Blocks at the same time, so it makes no sense to acquire both.
A Handstand Equipment set consists of 2 basic parts; a platform being one and joint protection being the other. Either go with Handstand Parallettes, blocks, board or Gymnastic Rings. For protection we recommend at the very least getting quality Wrist Wraps. We’d also highly recommend using Arm Sleeves to aid in keeping your muscles compact during their most trying times.
In our minds, using Parallettes for Handstands just makes the most sense. You can use a stronger hammer grip during your exercise instead of having to bend your wrists 90 degrees. This is the safest and most comfortable way of doing handstands, for the same reason your Parallettes or Push-Up Bars make doing Push-Ups safer and more enjoyable.
The Gornation Handbalancing Set is the best set we could find for all the Handstand Equipment you need in this ideal bundle. It already comes as a discounted set containing high-quality Parallettes, Arms Sleeves, Wrist Wraps and Calisthenics Tape. You can make this set cheaper still by applying the discount code CWW10 at checkout.
Frequently Asked Questions About Handstand Equipment
A couple of frequently asked questions regarding handstands and Handstand Equipment.
The basic Handstand Equipment we recommend learning the handstand is a set of low and wide Parallette Bars and Wrist Wraps to prevent injury. We also highly recommend wearing compression Arm Sleeves.
Using any slight elevation which pitches your wrists at a less acute angle than simply placing your hands on the floor is better than nothing at all. Using your bare hands on the floor turns your wrists at a 90-degree angle, maximizing strain. Blocks, and better yet, Parallettes, can reduce this angle and significantly lessens joint strain.
Handstands by themselves focus on building core strength and do not focus much on any one muscle. The base exercise is a testament to the balance and strength you have achieved, while finetuning core muscles in your abdomen, shoulders, thighs and glutes. Derivative exercises with the handstand as a base, like handstand Push-Ups, do give great muscle building results.
Handstands require, besides excellent balance, a fair amount of strength to execute properly. Not only do you need arm strength enough to lift yourself, the rest of the body also needs to be kept tense and tight to stay balanced and upright. Most strain is focused onto the wrists, elbows and shoulders. Your core and abdomen will also be activated throughout the exercise.
Jari Dohmen has a B.A. in physiotherapy and has been involved with Calisthenics since 2013. Around the time Calisthenics began to proliferate in the Netherlands, he was already keenly interested in both the physiotherapeutic and general lifestyle benefits Calisthenics possesses. Jari started Calisthenics Worldwide (CWW) in 2016, after numerous internet searches for Calisthenics topics that sparked his interest yielded barely any information. Today, CWW is one of the largest and most widely recognized Calisthenics blogs in the world. Become part of the Calisthenics community by commenting on this article.