How to: do a Handstand

Change your “I Can’t” to “I Can” and “I Did”.

Everyone has a goal that seems too far to reach. Some common goals people have are building up endurance, doing a handstand, and doing a pull up. We’ve already given some tips on how to do a proper pull up, read more here. All of these goals are attainable and our trainers are here to help you get there. Keep reading for tips and techniques that will allow you to build up your core and wrist strength to do a handstand. Follow along the video below and you’ll see your handstand improve in no time!

Warm Up

Hollow Hold

Come to lying on your back. Bring an awareness to your belly, drawing your naval into the spin. Exhale and extend your legs out hovering just above the mat. (If you need to, you can have you knees bent). Tuck your chin in towards the chest and lift your shoulders up away from the floor. Extend your arms passed your hips reaching as much forward as you can. Hold for up to 10 breaths. Keeping your upper body in the same position, now bring one leg into table top and reach both arms over head. Hold for up to 10 breaths and switch legs. Finally, when you are ready, extend both arms over head and reach in opposing directions. Hold for up to 10 breaths. Repeat 3-5 rounds.

Shoulder Mobility

Sit or Stand, whatever is most comfortable. Take your strap, towel, or scarf end to end. With straight arms, start to move arms back behind ears as you drop shoulders down away from your ears. Press back into the position where you start to feel a stretch through your chest. Go back and forth, moving with the flow of your natural breath. You will want to be able to hold your arms straight up next to your ears to have a successful handstand at the wall. Depending on the students mobility, you will want to spend 2-4 minutes stretching the arms. 

Wrist Warm Up

From your hands and knees, turn your hands around, fingers facing your legs. Press your hips back toward your heels as you press the heels of your hands down towards the mat. Press back and forth 5-8 times. Clasp your hands together and make circle rotations, 5-8 circles in each direction. From your knees, perform finger tip pushups, as many as you can. This helps to strengthen the palms and wrists, creating a strong base for your handstand. 

Side Plank

From a plank position perform a pushup (more advanced students may want to have elbows facing straight back to engage the triceps). Roll to one side into a side plank. Roll back to center and perform the second pushup. Alternate rolling back and forth from side to side. Work up to 10 side planks each way and 20 pushups. 

Crow Pose

Crow pose helps use learn how to engage our core and makes our spines strong for our handstand at the wall. From a deep squat, bring your hands to the floor with your arms bent. Bring your knees to the backs of your arms, up close towards your arm pits. Coming onto your tip toes, start to shift you weight forward into your hands (this will also help students become more comfortable with putting all of their weight into their hands). Once you are able to balance pull your heels into towards your buns to engage the legs and stabilize the pose. Work up to holding for 1 minute.  

Handstand Practice

L Stand

Come to a seated position at the wall with your legs extended. Use your hands at the side of the hips to mark your distance away from the way - this is where you will want to place your hands. Turn around, leaving your hands in that same position. Bring one foot up the wall at hip height, followed by the second foot. Both feet hip height and hip distance. Bend and straighten your legs, switching your gaze from looking back at the wall to looking forward between the hands. Do 5-8 rounds. When you feel confident in holding your arms straight, extend one leg up into a handstand position and hold for 5-8 breaths. Repeat for the other side. 

Reverse Facing Handstand

Come to a seated position at the wall with your legs extended. Use your hands at the side of the hips to mark your distance away from the way—this is where you will want to place your hands. Turn around, leaving your hands in that same position. Bring feet up the wall and start to walk back towards the wall bringing your belly, chest, and thighs to touch the wall. Shift your gaze back to the wall, letting your head hang. Work up to a 1 minute hold. 

Split Kicks

Place your hands one foot away from the wall. First using your strong leg or the leg that feels most comfortable, kick up to the wall keeping one leg bent and the other straight. Tap the wall gently. Perform two kicks on the right, two on the left, switching back and forth. Work up to 20 kicks total. 

Wall Handstand

Place your hands one foot away from the wall. Using the same format as in the split kicks, use your confident leg to kick up to the wall. Extend both legs up the wall, pressing just at the heel. Work up to a 1 minute hold.

Try doing all these exercises, stretches, and warm ups a few times a week and you’ll see your handstand transform. Once you become an expert at wall handstands you’ll be able to do a handstand without a wall behind you. Until then, make sure to have a wall behind you for safety.

Still struggling with some stretches or exercises, we offer private and small group training as well as multiple yoga classes per week.

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