Get more comfortable on your hands!
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.