This weeks #TrainingTips post is all about handstands.
I love handstands and all things related to being able to control and manipulate your body in weird and challenging ways, I’m a big kid really. And most of us have a little more time to master some of these different exercises, so why not make a handstand your next goal to achieve.
Over my years I’ve become more and more aware of how we lose the ability to move and move well as we get older. Now I know a handstand may be a more extreme type of movement, however, the older we get we lose that freedom and playful movement we found so easy as kids. It’s not that we have truly lost it, it’s just restricted by stiff, poor moving bodies and the mentality that we can’t or shouldn’t be doing things like that.
Well I say sod that, let’s move and be as playful and free flowing as we can till then invertible happens.
In all my years of coaching I’ve never come across someone that can’t progress in a handstand variation in some way. If it’s something you would like to do it just takes time, practice and concurring a little fear.
Let’s start by getting you on the road to being able to do a handstand.
To be able to do a successful handstand, sometimes it’s best to walk before you run. So starting off by being able to do a headstand is the perfect start to learning how to be upside-down.
Find an open space where you won’t hit anything. If the ground is hard use a pillow or something soft just to cushion your head. Start by making a triangle with your head being the top point and your hands being the bottom points. This gives you a nice big base of support and will make balance easier. Slowly but surely walk your feet up until you feel the weight shift from your head, hands and feet to majoritively your head and hands. Next try to remove one foot at a time keeping the knees tucked in.
Well done, you’ve got a headstand! When you become more comfortable with this pose, you can start to steadily straighten those legs. Balance becomes harder as you do this so toppling over is more likely, but don’t worry. Just tuck into a ball and roly-poly out, best practice that too if it’s been a while. Or if toppling over is seriously something you wish to avoid, use a wall for support.
Other variations of the headstand are swapping your hands for your forearms as shown above.
Once you’ve got this nailed you’ll be now thinking about coming into the full handstand. Relative upper-body strength and control starts to play apart here, but don’t let that put you off. I always suggest 2 options here: first use the wall as a safety blanket so you can kick up to it. Or secondly using some nice open space, start by kicking up gently so that both feet come off the floor, land, stand up and repeat. Each time trying to get more airtime.
If you go for the first option, progress to the second when you feel ready. Once you get here it’s just practice, practice, practice I’m afraid. Don’t get too hung up on keeping still to start with, you’ll find it a lot easier to move about at first. As you’re control gets better you will find you can control your direction if moving and also become stationary.
From there you can start to play with slower controlled entry into the handstand, single hand the world is your oyster.
But besides handstands looking absolutely awesome, do they actually have any benefits for me?
Well as it so happens yes they do, handstands boast the following benefits:
- Increasing upper-body strength
- Increase core control and strength
- Increase bone density and health
- Can have positive effects on your circulation and breathing
- Can boost your mood
Well there you have it, handstands 101.
Have a great weekend guys and make sure at some point you’re upside-down.
Stay strong and live, love and laugh!