How to do a handstand is something I get asked quite a bit!
I didn’t grow up in gymnastics or do them as a kid. So probably like you I had an athletic background but
doing handstands were completely new for me.
I got exposed to them when I started doing crossfit and would see things like handstand push ups, handstand walks, etc.
As a personal trainer/coach I knew the importance of progressions and mastering the basics first.
In this blog I will cover:
- 2 simple drills to help you do handstands
- Exercises that will help you strengthen your shoulders
- Why mobility & training your core is really important
Want to fast track your handstand progress? Check out my gymnastics training program.
How To Do Handstand
Depending on where you are at with your handstand journey (beginner, intermediate or advanced) will dictate what drills you should be doing.
I encourage you to check out this video and watch these 2 simple drills:
- Nose to wall + kick off
- Lateral kick up + freestand
After watching this video and these drills are too advanced. Continue reading, I’ll have some more drills that will help you build the foundation.
The two handstand drills in the video require a good bit of strength, balance and stability.
If those drills felt too advanced in the next section I’ll back things up and start you from scratch.
I’ll be discussing the importance of building a proper foundation first.
Let’s get into it.
The Requirements To Do Handstand
Mobility For Handstands
To get into a proper “stacked” position you want to have good t spine mobility.
See how my arm in the image below is out in front when demonstrating a z press?
That is not stacked.
You want to have your arm behind your ear and “stacked” with your spine.
Check out the video below to see what I’m talking about.
I show you these different pressing angles to show you the importance of mobility when it comes to handstands.
If you are training in a bad position you are just making it harder on yourself.
Think of it like this…
…your feet are directly below your hips right?
If you can get your shoulders and wrist to be directly over your hips it will be like standing on your hands.
THEN it becomes more of a stability challenge rather than fighting against your body.
So focus on improving your mobility!
Here are my top 5 t spine mobility stretches to add to your routine (and will expedite your handstand).
Core Strength For Handstands
In all of my gymnastics programs we place a huge emphasis on core strength.
Take note that we haven’t even talked about shoulders or drills yet…
…build the foundation first.
- Core strength (body position)
- Then we can talk about drills (the part everyone wants to jump to)
I talked about how mobility is priority number one right?
…think about this. If you don’t have the mobility in your shoulders your body has to compensate somewhere.
Often times it comes from your lower back.
We don’t want that. It’s why we teach the “nose to wall” handstand first:
We teach this drill first because we want to maintain the glorious “hollow body” position.
It doesn’t matter if your nose gets all the way to the wall or you are only a quarter of the way to the wall.
Focus on “tucking” and rolling your pelvis to get into a strong neutral spine position.
In this blog I’ll do my best to lay out the foundation to being able to do a handstand but the information I’m sharing is just a piece of the puzzle.
The fastest way is to get plugged into a solid program (there are several of out there) and one that you enjoy doing!
Would love to help you in that capacity if that is something you want to do.
Handstand Drills | Master The Kick Up
We went over the fundaments first.
- Having adequate mobility in your t spine
- Having good body awareness in your core
Now let’s get into the fun stuff!
In order to get into a handstand you have to be comfortable kicking up right?
So let’s start there.
I have three different drills that will get you comfortable kicking up to a handstand.
Quick side note:
I have been writing workouts and building programs for a long time now.
And I was attaching those links to the text I was reminded that’s how I use to deliver my workouts to clients.
I would give them a login to the website, the user would login to see a document with their workout and attached was a link to the video.
That was great at the time. But it lead to a lot of frustration to athletes going back and forth especially when there were a lot of drills and
exercises they weren’t familiar with.
Fast forward to now and check this out:
Now we plug in the workouts to our fitness app and the video is on screen playing along with a timer.
If there is something you can’t do or you are ready for the next level simply click “easier or harder”.
Took me a decade.
But now that’s how we deliver workouts and our athletes love it!!
How To Handstand | Master Positions
Once you have gotten comfortable kicking up we want to begin to build your strength and muscular endurance upside down.
We follow this same protocol for our athletes who are wanting to:
If you want to want to master the handstand walk or handstand push up be sure to check out those blogs as well.
For the handstand, the handstand walk, the handstand push up…
…it starts with breaking things down.
I’ll encourage you to work on different drills and begin to accumulate time under tension with them.
Something along the lines of:
- 30 seconds of work
- 30 seconds of rest
- 40 seconds of work
- 40 seconds of rest
- 30 seconds of work
- 20 seconds of rest
- 40 seconds of work
- 20 seconds of rest
You get the idea.
We are increasing the time but also decreasing the rest time.
In the blog we talked about the proper foundation needed to learn how to do a handstand.
- mobility (t spine mobility)
- core strength (mastering the hollow body position)
- handstand kick up drills
Gave you an opportunity to check out our gymnastics program that teaches you step by step how to master the handstand.
Also I gave you an inside look of the exact approach we would take to progress your handstand journey.
Frequently Asked Questions
I don't even know where to start. How can I start doing handstands?
Break things down. The first thing you need to get comfortable doing is kicking up. Master handstand kick up drill version 1 and then reference the blog and then #2 and number 3.
How long will it take for me to get a handstand?
Depends on where you are at in your journey. But I will say this...the more focused you get the faster you are going to see results. That's why we have created our skill courses. We give you the tools to work on the skill you want to improve just 20 minutes a day. Consistency is key.
Do I need to be strong to do a handstand?
Yes. Strength is relative though. You want to have strength in your shoulders, core, and forearms to help you stabilize. Focus on isometric holds first and building your muscular endurance with exercises like nose to wall holds, nose to wall shoulder shrugs and nose to wall + kick off.
Any other questions leave them in the comments below and I'm happy to help you out!
Keep training hard 🤙🏻