THE HANDSTAND STRENGTH WORK...

Great if you want a good handstand, but also great if you simply want to build your shoulders and arms using your only your bodyweight (and a wall!).

BACK TO PROGRAMME HOME

HOW TO PRACTICE YOUR HANDSTAND STRENGTH:

**SAFETY FIRST! — please don’t hurt yourself, it’s counterproductive. Make sure you have a spotter at all times when you are learning these moves, and only take these on at your own risk.

Here's how it's done. All the progressions are the same as in The Little Handstand Progression Ladder...

START WITH LEGS AT 90

PLACE FEET ON WALL — hands down first, then feet on the wall.

WALK TORSO VERTICAL – Or as close as you can get to it. Always with slow purposeful moves -- nothing qucik and desperate!

LOCK ARMS – We need to be completely straight with biceps spun forward — the upper arm must be externally rotated.

PUSH FLOOR AWAY — I’m not sure the floor will actually move, but the thought of pushing it away — actively — at all times, is what we need.

ELEVATE YOUR SHOULDERS — In a handstand, they should be as close to the ears as possible.

LENGTHEN YOUR SPINE — Strive to stay tall through your upper back.

WORK YOUR CHEST TOWARDS THE WALL — Viewed side on, and we want to see a straight line from the arms right through to the hips.

STAY AND HOLD — Once you’ve got a good position, stay and hold, focus on one or two main cues and build up your strength patiently.

OPTION: BEND KNEES — On this first move, if your hamstrings are too tight, you might need to bend your knees in order to get a vertical torso. That’s fine. Just make sure you resolve to work on your flexibility as well!!

THEN WORK THROUGH THE WALL HANDSTAND PROGRESSIONS

When you’re used to holding the inverted position, you take all the same technique cues and work your way through the following progressions. Make sure you’ve got a spotter when you’re working into unfamiliar territory!

START DIAGONAL — quite far from the wall.

EDGE CLOSER — For more strength challenge and a more challenging position.

AND CLOSER — Don’t rush, but every time you get totally comfortable with a position, take another step in.

EVENTUALLY HANDS ALMOST TOUCHIG THE WALL — and you’ll have a proper wall handstand.

THEN ‘HEAD IN’ STYLE — Rather than looking at the floor, tuck your chin into your chest and look at the wall, or even better, your feet. This takes some serious getting used to, but I like it because it will help you to learn to ‘Dish’ during your handstand.

THEN MOSTLY ONE-ARM — Once you’re very proficient at the wall handstand versions, it’s time to start working towards one-arm wall handstands!

EXIT STRATEGY — first make sure you are very confident cartwheeling out of the Handstand (or have a spotter). Make sure there are no burning candles or crazy knife games nearby.

LEAN ONE WAY — Edge your feet across one side, take most of the weight in one arm.

DOUBLE-DOWN ON THE PUSH — All the same cues apply, but the force is much greater, so focus BIG TIME on pushing the floor away, externally rotating the upper arm, elevating the shoulder, staying tall and not falling on your arse.

THEN GO FINGERTIPS ONLY — The next level is simply a case of proving you’ve shifted appropriately, by flexing the ‘spare’ elbow, lifting the palm — leaving only the fingertips down of the ‘spare hand’. It starts to look pretty impressive by this point.

THEN, GO SINGLE-ARM — finally — (obviously there’s more, but for now…finally) — you relive the spare hand of it's assisting duties, taking it straight out to the side. Push through the floor even harder in your working arm, keep your hand active for balance and hold your long body position with ‘Dish’ drawn in.

WHICH PROGRESSION?

You'll already have your desired length of hold decided from when you set up your month, so simply match it up to the progression that you can just about do (perfectly), for that time period. Unless of course, you think you might fall over and land on your head. then you'll have to work for longer on an easier progression -- that's perfectly acceptable with these.

HOW YOU PEOPLE (COULD) MESS IT UP...

UN-PREPPED BODIES — You need both strength and flexible (in the shoulder) in order to handstand and do these drills well. If you can’t get a good position, you must stay with the earlier, easier progressions until your body is better prepared for the harder stuff.

TOO MUCH SHOULDER ROM — More common in the fairer, more flexible sex. Some people avoid the ‘strength zone’ by bringing their shoulders too close to their feet, rather than stacked over the hands, they are further in towards the wall. Here you negate the strength gains and simply rest on your joints. We don’t want that; you won’t build the strength and it won’t translate to handstand mastery down the line!

SHOULDERS AHEAD OF HANDS — which we never want. If your shoulders are ahead of your hands (further from the wall than your hands), it will put waaay more pressure on your wrists than you need, and your handstand will never look right.

FLEXED ELBOWS — Which can be caused by lack of strength or by tightness. Identify, and fix please. Keep practicing on the easy progressions at first.

HEAD FORWARDS TOO MUCH — You can move your head to look at the floor, but only a little. We need to keep the neck relatively straight, otherwise its impossible to hold good posture.

ARCHED SPINE — if you can’t get your shoulders flexed enough (overhead), or you don’t have the strength, you are going to have to arch your spine. We don’t want that. If that’s you, you’ll have to stick to the easier progressions for now and work on strength and flexibility before you go further.

GREED — As always, too much, too soon = dodgy mechanics. Training in poor positions and elevated injury risk.

NO EXIT STRATEGY — if you hurt yourself falling out of a handstand, don’t blame me! Always have an exit strategy or a spotter. If you’re not sure how you will get out, you can’t concentrate on the mechanics properly.

WICKED CUES!

PUSH THE FLOOR AWAY — simple but important! Always feel like you are trying to push the floor away actively.

EXTERNALLY ROTATE — don’t let those elbows turn in.

REACH YOUR FEET UP — the higher your feet, the straighter your body will be.

LONG BODY — feel long through the torso and you’ll get better positions.

DISH — The cue to remind you to posteriorly tilt your pelvis.

ACTIVE HANDS — so you don’t forget to balance!

WHY DO IT TO YOURSELF?!

YOU'LL MASTER THE LITTLE HANDSTAND PROGRESSION LADDER -- and who wouldn't want that?

FUN — this is a fun drill of course. Lots of people want to master the handstand — but to do it, you’ve got to be in decent knick. That’s why I like it…another thing to keep you motivated.

SHOULDER AND ARM STRENGTH — They’ll get stronger and they’ll look better!

YOU WON’T WANT TO BE TOO HEAVY — or it will be really hard. The more drills that reward you for staying lean, the better in my opinion!

ALTERNATIVES...

If you can't include this in your programme, extra work -- or focus at least -- on one of these two would be ideal:

--> TUCK PLANCHE

--> BENT-ARM HANDSTAND

  • THIS MONTH'S STUFF

    >> CONSTANT-TENSION SKATER SQUAT << — L-SIT HOLDS  — TUCK PLANCHE — HANDSTAND STRENGTH — HOLLOW — CONSTANT TENSION SKATER — CHIN UP

  • LINKS

    PROGRAMME HOMEPAGE — THIS MONTH HOME — HELP — NEXT EXERCISE — ALL ARTICLES — BLOG

  • GET PREMIUM

    ACCOUNTABILTIY, JOIN THE COMMUNITY, GET COACHING, EXTRA ACCESS

COPYRIGHT -- MORE-ATHLETIC LTD -- 2018 -- WHATEVER

MORE-ATHLETIC BODY

--> TRAIN WITH US.

--> GET BETTER RESULTS.