5 Tips to Improve Your Handstands

I’ve gotten a lot of questions about handstand tips, so here are 5 tips to get you started!

 

1. Get the necessary range of motion

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Hollow back handstands at Dorothea Dix Park in Raleigh, NC

If you can’t get your arms over your head without your ribs sticking out, you need to work on your shoulder flexibility before being able to perform a handstand with proper form. Start focusing on stretching your shoulders (typically latissimus dorsi aka lats).

Hamstring flexibility can also affect your ability to kick up to handstand, so if you’re having difficulty kicking up with proper form, that may be something to address.

All these are addressed in my Handstand Prep Program

 

2. Work on body awareness

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Working on trying to get that handstand line

Become familiar with the proper handstand position.  You want your joints to be stacked in a line.  So your ankles should be on top of your knees, which should be on top of your hips, rib cage, shoulders, and elbows, which should all be stacked on your hands.  You want to lock out your shoulders by pushing into the ground vs. using muscles for stability.  You want to use your joints for stability so you don’t have to work as hard to maintain balance.

Finding body awareness is worked on in the Handstand Prep, Strength, and Balance Programs, but is more focused on in the Strength and Balance Programs!

 

3. Engage your core & squeeze your butt

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Really squeeze!

Squeeze your abs and your butt to maintain your line.  It’s easier to balance a stick vs. a piece of cooked spaghetti right?

 

4. Use your fingers

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Picture from when I just started to train handstands again, where I’m not using my fingers, pushing through my shoulders, or engaging my core
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More recent picture after training handstands consistently, where I am using my fingers, pushing through my shoulders, and engaging my core

 

 

You use your toes for balance so why wouldn’t you use your fingers?  Think about gripping the ground with your fingers.  If your fingers and hands are laying completely flat you’re not using them enough!

 

5. Be patient & consistent in your practice

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With consistent practice, you’ll improve your handstand game and gain confidence to balance on different surfaces and at different heights!

It takes time to learn correct body position and build strength and endurance.  If you’re not practicing, how do you expect to improve? I saw a marked improvement when I began hand balancing 20-30 min per day.  But again, work up to practicing consistently by gradually increasing time and intensity.  This will help prevent wrist injuries.  And as always, make sure you warm up your wrists and shoulders before hand(standing)!

 

Bonus: Learn How to Fall

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Learning how to fall properly will give you confidence to kick up to handstand without fear of which way you will fall.  It’s learning to roll, pirouette, or front walkover out if you fall over too far or to roll instead of putting your hand out.  There are so many different ways to react to an error.  Be comfortable with making errors because you know how to deal with them!

 

For more tips and more detailed progressions I have developed a series of three handstand programs.  The Handstand Prep Program (the first program in the series) works on gaining the range of motion and tolerance for bearing weight through the arms.  The Handstand Strength Program (the second program in the series) works on building strength at the wall for a wall handstand and works on getting comfortable with your handstand line at the wall.  The Handstand Balance Program (the third program in the series) works on moving away from the wall to get your free standing handstand.

 

Good luck! And as always, let me know if you have any questions, comments, or collaboration ideas!  If you’re interested in seeing more of my hand balancing practice, check out my Instagram, @paradigmofperfection!

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Remember: this post is for informational purposes only and may not be the best fit for you and your personal situation. It shall not be construed as medical advice. The information and education provided here is not intended or implied to supplement or replace professional medical treatment, advice, and/or diagnosis. Always check with your own physician or medical professional before trying or implementing any information read here. 

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