If you follow me on social media, you know that I love handstands! It isn’t just because they are fun and cool looking; they require a great deal of concentration and upper body and core strength. Plus, you are never done as there is always something new to try. Many people have asked for tips to improve their handstands, so I wanted to share some of my favorite drills!
Handstand Drill #1:
Standing Holds to Engage Muscles & Practice Alignment
- Stand with your feet together
- Squeeze your thighs (pretend you are holding a piece of paper between your legs)
- Find a neutral pelvis & engage your glutes
- Tuck the lower ribs down & in
- Lift your arms overhead, reach the palms towards the ceiling
- Squeeze your arms to your ears
- Gaze between your thumbs
- With your whole body aligned and engaged, hold this position for one minute (remember to breathe!)
- Take a little break and then repeat again for another minute
You will hold this same position (upside down) in your handstand. This drill is a great way to feel how engaged your entire body needs to be to hold a handstand.
Handstand Drill #2:
Wall Walks to Build Upper Body + Core Strength
- Start in a plank position with the bottoms of your feet pressed into the wall
- Keep your shoulders and core engaged
- Walk your hands towards the wall as you walk your feet up the wall
- Keep walking until you can reach your nose to the wall
- Come into alignment (drill #1) & hold for 10 seconds
- Begin to walk your hands forward & your feet down
- Return to a plank position and hold for 10 seconds
- Repeat the drill as many times as you can without sacrificing alignment
Practice quality rather than quantity. If you feel your body getting fatigued, take a break and then try it again. Take your time and try not to rush.
Handstand Drill #3:
Foot Taps to Work on Freestanding Handstand
- Start in Downward Facing Dog
- Walk your feet towards your hands as you shift your shoulders over your wrists
- Keep pressing the ground away to keep shoulders activated
- Lift one leg as high as you can
- Use your other leg to hop off of – be sure not to jump
- As you hop, tap your bottom foot up to the top
- Return bottom foot back to the ground
- Repeat as many times as you want, trying to increase the amount of taps per hop
As you work on tapping the feet together, keep the shoulders over the wrists and try to get your hips above your shoulders. This drill will help you get use to being upside down without the use of the wall.
How to Fall Out of a Handstand Safely
Fear of falling can prevent people from ever trying, but if you know how to fall safely, you can let that fear go. Make sure you are practicing in an area where you have plenty of space and you won’t hit anything. If you feel your legs going over your head, try to turn your hand and body so your legs come down to the side with control.
Keep Self-Talk Positive & Have Fun!
The most important tip… don’t be too hard on yourself! Handstands are not easy and do not happen over night. If you feel yourself getting frustrated or begin to talk to yourself negatively, walk away from it for a bit. Do something to release those emotions and give it a try later when you have a more positive mindset.
Another reason I love handstands is because they tell me so much about myself and my life at that moment. On days I am feeling exhausted, crabby or my mind is running 1,000 miles a minute, I can’t hold a handstand for more than a second or two. When I am happy, focused and in-tune with myself, I feel like I could hang out upside down forever. Your approach to the practice is key!