So you guys know I love to handstand. It’s something I’ve been doing for the better part of the last 5 years, today i’ll go through some in-depth tips on how to master it using these 4 bullet-points as a base. Throughout the post I will address various exercises that can help each step of the way. Happy reading!
1. Let’s start from the floor, with the hands and fingers. The hands are what connects you to the floor and it’s your only point of contact to the earth. Hence this is a very important step to master. No, most people will place their hands on the floor and kick up without thinking twice about how. So there are three main aspects you have to consider before jumping into the handstand, 1) How far apart should my hands be? 2) How spread are my fingers? and 3) Are my fingers pressed towards the floor or is there some room under the palm and the ground? Before jumping up, make sure you’ve asked yourself these questions.
When you enter the handstand, make sure your hands are shoulder-width apart, your fingers are grasping the floor and you have a slight space between the middle of the palm and fingers towards the ground. Naturally your arms should be straight at all times with the elbows completely locked out, no bending.
2. Moving on to the shoulders and chest. It’s in this crucial step that a lot of people first go wrong. The shoulders need to remain open to stay in balance. Now what does that mean? It means you 1) scoop the shoulder-blades forward, 2) open the pit of your arms towards your chest and 3) push up to the top of your shoulder joint. This will feel weird at first and like you’re actually loosing balance because of it. However, you’re not. Standing for long periods of time you need this position to let the blood flow and remain stable.
Exercise Tip: To increase the R.O.M of your chest and shoulders, perform stretches at least 10 minutes per workout session to loosen up and increase that range. Preferably lay on the ground with your arms in front of you on a elevated surface pushing your chest down to pressure that tight area. Hold for about 1 minute x3 times.
3. The pelvis and “Vacuum”. A common misconception is that your core should be either too tight or too lose, it’s supposed to be neither. Actually you can see that I’m not in perfect position in this photo above. Why? Because my pelvis isn’t completely tilted forward (called Poster Pelvic Tilt or PPT for short), hence my spine is not straight and I loose some ability to suck the stomach in and create the vacuum in the belly that creates a solid mass to make me stand straight. To get into the perform form, perform the following; 1) Tilt your pelvis forward (not tucking under), 2) Crush your abs against the wall that is your spine to create a pressure and 3) breathe slowly all the way from your belly.
Exercise Tip: To practice this position, perform the hollow body hold on the ground. Lay on your back, stretch your feet out away from your and extend the arms over your head and pull the opposite way. From here, lift the legs and chest up, only leaning on your lower back on the floor. This is the “hollow position” that you want to replicate into the handstand. Hold for about 20-30s x3, try to breathe normally.
4. The swinging legs. The final part of the handstand is the legs and feet. Which most people tend to get really wrong, by leaning the legs forward, arching the lower back or too back making it impossible to stand upright, which one is you doing? To get this correct, you want to point or flex the toes and reach towards the ceiling, or the sky if you’re outside. The tension in the feet and legs will create a solidity spanning from the tip of your toes, throughout your body and all the way down to your finger tips. Which will create balance.
Exercise Tip: Perform hanging leg raises strictly. Hang from a bar, point your legs and toes and pull slowly up towards the bar and create the tension in your legs and core needed to pull up. Make use of the back also, but arms should be straight. Pull up about 10 times x3.
The perfect handstand…. Is tough to hold, and not many actually have perfect holds at all times. But aiming to hold it as good as possible will definetly make you get close. This takes time though. I have been standing on my hands for at least 5 years and still dont have a perfect hold, however i’m enjoying the journey. I hope you do as well!
Best of Luck!