Intermediate Handstands

Get more comfortable on your hands!

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Course Overview

We're gonna go ahead and start with the obvious: handstands are cool. But how many of us actually have a focussed handstand practice with structured exercises that target building strength and balance throughout the body, along with body awareness and mobility in your wrists, shoulders and hips?

Although good upper body strength is important, learning proper technique is key. And consistent practice is essential, but it won't do much without a good game plan.

If you can easily kick up into a handstand against the wall and want to learn how to find your balance without support, and most importantly, how to safely fall out of your handstands... these videos are for you. Our goal isn't to "learn how to do handstand in 30 days", but simply equipping you with the necessary tools to get you stronger and more comfortable on your hands, so you can enjoy exploring one of the most rewarding physical skills we know... and progress with us as you get better!

So here's our curated collection of what we think are some of the most important exercises and tips you need for a successful handstand. This has been put together by Anel van der Walt, based on her 20 years of experience as a gymnast and a coach, and her understanding of the body as a biokineticist.

There are 8 videos in total:

1. Warm-up: a sequence of skill-specific exercises and stretches to warm up the body for the work ahead.

2. Conditioning: these are targeted drills or exercises that will train the strength needed to hold a straight handstand for longer.

We've decided on 6 different skills, which focus on different parts and variations of a handstand. This is pretty different from just jumping into a handstand and trying to hold it for as long as possible. By approaching your handstand training in such a streamlined, specific and targeted approach, you will get a lot more out of your training. Each skill will have 2 or 3 drills, which is a breakdown of a skill to make it easier for you to learn the skill.

3. Skill #1: Tick Tock Handstand

4. Skill #2: Falling out of your handstand

5. Skill #3: Counterbalance Handstands

6. Skill #4: Free-standing handstand

7. Skill #5: Press to handstand

8: Skill #6: Walking handstand

Learning handstands online has its challenges, and here are our tips for you to get the MOST out of it:

- Take breaks as often as you need to, and don't feel rushed to hold your handstand for 30 seconds or more at a time.

- With the skills, pause frequently, TRY often.

- Listen to your body. When your wrists need a break, move on to the conditioning. You can work on 2 skills + conditioning in one session, or 3 or 4 skills per session, depending on your wrist and shoulder strength.

- Alignment and positioning is key. Listen in detail to the alignment tips. Take time to check your alignment - film yourself, or if you have a mirror, use it.

- Set time aside to watch and practice just as you would for an in-person class.

- Set yourself up for success by preparing your space, mind, and body for optimal effort.

- The handstand is a skill, so you'll benefit from frequent practice, even if you can't do long sessions each time.

- PLAY. Whilst serious practice is important, playful exploration within and around the skills you've just practiced is key to mastering those skills.

What are the requirements?

  • Students must be comfortable with kicking up into a handstand against a wall.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Find your balance in a handstand without support, and safely fall out of freestanding handstands.

What is the target audience?

  • Students who can easily kick up into a handstand against the wall and want to learn how to find their balance without support.

About the Author

The Pole Project is one of South Africa's largest and most successful pole dance studios. Based in Cape Town, we teach group and private lessons in pole fitness, pole dance and stretch classes. The idea was born from a desire to teach the passion and spirit of pole dancing as an exciting way to explore the art of the dance, and as a form of exercise to improve fitness, tone, strength and endurance.

Founded by Kathy Lee in 2014, the vision for the studio was to create not only an "aerial arts playground" but also a space for empowerment. The Pole Project tribe has grown into a collective of strong, fierce and dynamic instructors, consisting of some of the top pole athletes in the country.

Because The Pole Project believes in a holistic approach to training, classes offered include pole fitness, power (strength conditioning), flexibility, exotic pole, pole flow and yoga classes.

In addition, Kathy is the brains behind The Pole Factor, a celebrated annual pole dance competition in Cape Town; as well as A Feast of Flight, an annual pole and aerial dance theatre extravaganza and the first of its kind in the country.

Course Curriculum

Start Here

  • Introduction

Warm Up

  • Warm up - part 1
  • Warm up - Part 2


  • Log Rolls
  • Rock and roll / Candlestick into stand
  • Shoulder taps (in handstand)
  • Spider push-ups
  • push-up combo
  • Wall-dog shrugs
  • wall-dog lean
  • gymnastics burpee
  • jackknife combo
  • pike legs

Skill #1: Tick Tock Handstand

  • Drill #1: bunny jump into straddle
  • Drill #2: tick tock with height
  • skill time!

Skill #2: Falling out of a handstand

  • Drill #1: handstand walk-up into fall
  • Drill #2: cartwheel entry into fall
  • Skill time!

Skill #3: counterbalance handstands

  • drill #1: handstand positions (with support)
  • drill #2: walldog balance
  • Skill time!

Skill #4: freestanding handstand

  • drill #1: handstand kick-up
  • Drill #2: handstand balance
  • skill time! plus bonus tip

Skill #5: press to handstand

  • drill #1: inchworm
  • drill #2: baboon rock
  • skill time!

Skill #6: walking handstand

  • drill #1: handstand rocks
  • drill #2: handstand shoulder taps
  • skill time!


  • Thank you


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