Hi, I hope you are okay!
We are going to see the three main aspects that make up the movement as well as how to reinforce them within a progression which should make it possible to obtain a rather correct Handstand from not much.
We will see the best ways to get in and out of position, different errors à to avoid, hand positions, whether on the ground or on bars, as well as when et how much you should work on movement. Finally, we will discuss the additional progressions where we can go.
I don't consider this the ultimate tutorial; nor do I pretend to take myself for a master of Handstand. There are plenty of acrobats and gymnasts who have much better Handstand than mine. It's quite normal, since I don't do gym or circus, I do street workout.
Handstand = Strength and Balance
The Handstand is mainly made up of three elements, and the first two you will need to focus on are strength and balance. It's going to take minimal force if you want to hold it upside down on your hands; also a good dose of balance if you want to be able to stand without any help.
Moreover, having a lot of strength or a lot of balance on the front will compensate for a lack in the other element. The third dimension of the Handstand is alignment.
We will note two general types of Handstand: the Banana handstand, with the back bent and the Right handstand where the body will be straight.
The banana is the slightly easier version to obtain and surely the first one you will get.
So, like me at the time, you might say to yourself that the straight Handstand is useless if not to look nicer and settle for the banana version. If your sporting goals go a little further than just holding on to your hands in front of the homies, sooner or later, like me; you'll want to learn how to hold a Handstand as straight as possible, and for that matter the sooner the better. A Banana Handstand requires more strength; there will be fatigue for the shoulders and can be potentially dangerous for the lower back.
During a straight handstand, you will have to contract the whole body. This version is safer and based on balance; which makes it less tiring and will allow it to be held longer. A Straight Handstand will teach you the correct body position that you will need to have in many other Street Workout movements; such as during a back lift or a plank. While learning movement, even if it is not the first priority at first; it's better if you know right away, consciously, how to keep your body straight, especially when you're going to work against a wall.
No worries, I will remind you during the progressions that we will see immediately. But just before, I still have to talk a little bit about warming up because the Handstand will put a strain on the body, the shoulders, and especially the wrists.
I recommend regularly warming up the wrists and shoulders. And personally, I always do it before every workout. If you work the Handstand quickly, quickly warm up your wrists or whatever needs to be warmed up; but don't hurt yourself to do two more Handstands, it's not worth it.
So, at the very beginning, it will take a minimum of strength to be able to work seriously on the first main position. Handstand against a wall is great for getting stronger and getting used to being upside down.
Exercises for strength and balance
For example, you can do series of Pike Push Up as well as hold the position, and you can gradually elevate your feet to increase the difficulty.
Another good exercise that I did a lot in my beginnings is the FrogStand which will require strength and a little balance. Keep your knees tight against your arms at the start to make the exercise easier.
So there, hold 20 to 30 seconds in a row, that's a good starting point.
Then, to go further in strength and balance. You can perform the Crowstand where you will put your knees higher and you will keep your arms straight. But be careful, it's already more advanced and it pulls well on the wrists. Once the foundations are laid, we will now move towards the wall to be able to hold your first moments.
Positioning of the hands on the ground
The first particularity to study here and for the rest is the positioning of your hands. It may vary for everyone, but in general, you'll want them shoulder-width apart or a little wider. Then, do not tighten your must, but on the contrary spread it, enough to increase your stability. And lastly, I recommend folding your fingers before starting. So not at the end, but rather at the middle phalanx. Once in balance, you will constantly alternate between pushing on your fingers and releasing the pressure in order to stay in position.
So placing your hands like that from the start will help a lot as you progress.
Jump with your back to the wall to familiarize yourself with the Handstand
Second particularity, this time with the wall. You will need to jump to get into position. In general, you'll want to dress like you're going to sprint; except when you are going to throw your back leg up in the air and hard enough to land against the wall.
Be careful to leave enough space between your hands and the wall at the beginning; as well as to measure your jump well so as to fall directly on the feet.
The Handstand back to the wall
Once you hold it upside down, you will immediately want to work in the best position possible. You can look a little over the point between your hands or straight behind. You then want to squeeze your feet, then butt and abs as much as you can to keep your body straight and avoid arching your lower back. Also, be sure to push your shoulders down all the way, as if you were trying to get them as close to your ears as possible.
Once you've got a pretty solid stance, I recommend working out until you've held it for a good minute in a row.
You can also increase the difficulty by bringing your hands closer and closer to the wall. Once you have your back against the wall, we will now turn the other way. And for that you can climb up the wall with your feet again. The closer you get, the more complicated it will be not to fall.
We will also see how you can fall right after. This exercise will promote a more upright position of your body and will therefore help a lot in learning the right handstand.
Get off the wall
Again, 60 seconds in a row should be enough. Now is the time to start peeling off the wall. So get back to the wall, and this time you can just keep one foot against it.
Then two ways to proceed:
- The first is to push off the wall with your foot before the hands take over to maintain balance.
- The second is to already lean as little as possible with your foot and use only your hands to take off. For this, you're going to want to push hard on your fingers which will gently pull you back and away from the wall. It's when you're at this stage that I think you should also start seriously working in parallel without the wall.
Fear of falling
When you start doing Handstands without a wall; it is important to eliminate any fear you may have, especially in terms of falls.
That's why you first have to learn to fall without hurting yourself. So there are three main ways out of a Handstand. I'll quickly skip over the first two because neither I nor most people seem to be using it. But I'm still going to mention them because that's still an option.
If you do it on fairly soft ground, you can tuck your head in and roll on your back and not on your neck. Or you can decide to bridge from your Handstand. But hey, there you go, I can well imagine that it's not necessarily to your taste. The output that I recommend, on the other hand; it is also simply to rotate the body to one side before landing on the feet. Experiment a bit to see which side you prefer.
Now that you know how to fall, we can start to learn the Handstand.
Now let's see how to jump into position.
Jumping in Handstand
I advise to always start with your hands on the ground, as we have seen before; rather than projecting from standing. But it's up to your preference.
A major step is going to be learning to jump just enough. And for that, there is no real secret.
You're going to have to try again and again until it becomes integrated into your body and your brain. But gradually jumping harder and harder can be a good way to better find your point of balance.
As a general rule, I recommend looking a little over the hands rather than trying to tuck your head in, which will complicate the balance, in my opinion.
So you're going to have to jump a lot, but you also want to jump well if you want to be successful.
And here's a little list of common mistakes you want to avoid.
Mistakes to avoid
- First of all, you have to start with the shoulders above the hands and not behind them, so that they are already close to their final position.
- You will also be directing the movement with your hips, not your feet. The hips should be above the shoulders before your feet and ideally it should stay there.
- Speaking of the feet, you should try not to tighten them particularly, or at least not too early. Usually, you will almost prefer to wait until the leg you are jumping with is in position and in balance before bringing the second back.
- Finally, lastly, you want to keep your hips parallel to your hands for as long as possible and twist only when you fall. So not before, except possibly to learn how to fall.
Now, let's see how to hold onto a Handstand!
Hold well in Handstand
My best advice is really to train it over and over again every day, if you can.
Because it really is by dint of repetitions that you will have it and improve it at the beginning of the progression, when you're looking to hold out longer against the wall. I advise you to add several sets of these exercises during training. I also advise you to do max attempts quite often, for example once every morning and every evening against a wall in your bedroom, try to hold out as long as possible.
When you're trying to pull yourself off the wall and stand on your own, you should still work it every day if you can but as part of your workouts, I'd rather incorporate it as a set amount of time. For example, you block 20 minutes at the beginning of your workouts during which you practice jumping and holding a Handstand. It doesn't mean 20 minutes non stop to jump.
To hope to hold out, you must be fresh. So if you miss 3, 4, 5 times in a row, rest a little while, just to be ready to start afresh afterwards.
Likewise, you should combine work with a wall in addition to without. For example, you could do 10 minutes of each, history to garner enough attempts to jump, but also time spent upside down.
We've seen how to fall, but don't forget that it's a last resort! As long as you're up there, you'll have to fight to stay there!
And here are some techniques to make it happen:
First of all, avoid stepping on your hands so as not to fall; unless you seek to train it as such; it's a bad habit that won't help much in holding a handstand.
Otherwise, when you are going to fall forward, ie on your back. The best prevention method available to you is to push hard on your fingers, as we have seen. You can also go to Low Back Handstand, but here it is much more advanced.
In order not to land on your feet in your starting position, the best thing to do is already learn not to push too hard on your fingers and to release the pressure at the right time.
You want to try and keep your weight in the middle or even a little forward of your hands and not on your palms. If you are losing your balance, there are two other ways to stay aloft by compensating with force, but again, they are more advanced. Either bend your arms and do a little push-up on your hands to go up, or you keep your arms straight and go up by slowing down the plank descent. But now, as I said, it still gets very hard very quickly.
Two additional tips to help you find and keep your balance:
- First, if you have the luxury of having someone to help you, it can be very effective for him or her to extend their arms to either side of your legs while gently pushing the other side to help you find your point of balance. In fact, it may also help you reduce your fear of falling at the start.
- Otherwise, in 2nd, if you find something about the height of your feet, for example a pull-up bar or a ceiling not very high, you can also use it by pushing against, to find the balance before releasing. pressure.
There you go, with enough practice, I think you should now be able to hold onto your hands. At first, it will probably be banana, as it was for me.
But eventually, as we have seen, it is more interesting to learn to hold a straight handstand and we will now see how to do it better. The secret of an upright handstand is mainly in the fact that you have to contract your whole body.. Apart from that, one of the main reasons that can prevent straight handstands is due to a lack of mobility in the shoulders.
Want to be able to stretch your arms out at your head or even behind, without arching your back at the same time?
You can test this out quite easily against a flat wall by keeping your lower back glued to it and raising your arms as much as possible. When your back comes off in spite of you, it means you have found your limit.
How to improve your mobility?
You can do the downward dog pose, for example against a wall, or on the floor. No need to keep your legs straight, since it is not the hamstrings that you are trying to stretch. On the other hand, of course, never dig your back and gently push yourself outside your comfort zone.
You can also train what is called the position of the hollow-body, which is basically the one you're looking to have in a Handstand, except you're training it on the floor and on its back. Again, you glue your lower back to the floor, contract your abs, buttocks, and legs, and stretch your arms out behind you. You can also do it the other way around, on your hands and feet. Very good exercise in sheathing, but be very careful not to dig your back. Here, and for many other exercises, do not hesitate to film yourself to check your execution.
Each of these static positions can be turned dynamically by flicking your arms backwards. You can do sets of 8 to 10, focusing on contracting your
body; while keeping the lower back rounded.
There are several more important points about the Right Handstand. For example, having straight legs is good, but as you can see, it is not always enough.
You may have noticed it, but to have a straight back, you will also have to tuck your belly voluntarily. More specifically, you will have to contract your transverse abdominis.
Before you practice doing it in Handstand, familiarize yourself already with this exercise on your feet, with your hands, in front and behind. Suck in your belly button as hard as you can while keeping your back straight. You can hold the position as much as possible or do repetitions.
Another type of Handstand that I will quickly review and which will concern you all the more if you do Street Workout, it is the one on Push Up Handles. In my opinion, it is easier to achieve than on the ground thanks to the position of the hands which will allow you to use even more force to counterbalance you backwards, but also forward. To place your hands on the bars, you don't want to break your wrists one way or the other, but rather try to put the bar a little diagonally in your palm, in order to maximize contact with your hand and therefore stability.
Beyond that, the general progression remains the same. If this variation interests you; I advise you to work in parallel with the Handstand on the ground, but without replacing it completely.
To conclude this article, let's take a look at which direction you can go once you have a Handstand that you are satisfied with.
You can first play with the positioning of your hands, such as training balances with wide or tight holds for different sensations.
And you can turn to the outside for more difficulty, but also an easier transition to other movements like planks or semi-planks, for example.
Another interesting challenge is to learn the Handstand on a straight bar! To do this, I prefer to break my wrists a bit. It gives me a better grip to counterbalance myself, which is going to be much more difficult in this position.
At first you can try to do this by jumping, but the best way I have found to keep your balance over time is to build it up more slowly in strength. Which brings us naturally to the rise in strength in Handstand, as well as the Handstand Push Up, which are fairly natural progressions if you want to go further on the side of strength!
On the balance side, you can of course work towards Handstand on one hand! (very big challenge that I am working on myself at the moment)
This is now the end of this article, I invite you to leave me a comment if you liked it! If you have any questions, I will answer them with great pleasure.
You can also watch the video on this subject just here !
Be well, and see you soon!