Besides being an awesome party trick that wows friends and colleagues and the perfect pose to make all your scenic holiday shots that much cooler, there are also physical benefits to being able to do a handstand as well. Handstands are a great way to challenge and improve body proprioception - the sense of self-movement and body position. It’s also a great way to get really strong shoulders! If you’ve tried to get into a handstand yourself, you’ll know that they’re not easy. We’ve asked Body Movement coaches (and handstand experts) from Mushin Movement to run us through how to confidently and safely master the art of Handstands!
Overcome your fears
Humans weren’t made to walk on their hands, and naturally, when you’re trying to do something that humans weren't made to do, it can be pretty terrifying. The fear of falling down or injuring yourself in practicing handstands is a normal fear to have. Don’t beat yourself up for having these fears, but don’t let these fears stop you from mastering your handstand! The issue with these fears come with not being able to progress beyond doing your handstands against the wall where you feel most secure and safe. If you don't get over this fear, you'll never be able to get yourself off the wall to do a handstand without any support!
In order to get over your fears and progress towards a freestanding handstand, you need to find a safe environment to learn proper progressions. This doesn't mean doing an unsupported handstand in the middle of a room tomorrow. You need to practice exercises that can help condition your body and build the strength and confidence to handle the physical and mental demands of hand balancing.
If there’s something to constantly emphasize on in warming up for practicing handstands, it’s the proper conditioning and preparation of the wrists. People often underestimate how crucial the wrists are in handstands because they take on a lot of the weight in the pose. That being said, it requires a lot of time for them to be properly conditioned and strengthened. Getting the wrists strong and flexible enough by performing certain wrist mobility exercises and stretches can help to mitigate any injuries in your journey to mastering the handstand.
Building strength in the right muscles
Put it into perspective by comparing doing a handstand to standing on legs. The same way that having stronger legs would allow you to walk and move better standing on them, a stronger and more mobile upper body would make hand balancing a lot easier too. This means that in progressing towards doing a handstand, you’ll need to strengthen the key muscles involved in the pose; the hands, arms, and shoulders.
Some exercises that you can do to target strengthening the muscles predominantly used in handstands include:
• Various types of vertical pushing movements
Progressively, safely and confidently practice
Just like in the acquisition of many other skills in life, everyone starts and progresses towards mastering a handstand at different levels and speeds. Throw your ego aside and keep an open mind when you practice - remember that it’s not a competition and that it helps to respect your body by refraining from overtraining. Gradually developing the technique, balance and strength can be picked up by performing the right progression exercises, so it helps to work with a coach to guide you through fun, progressively challenging exercises to lead you to do a freestanding handstand on your own.
Hand balancing isn’t something that you can pick up overnight. Working towards being able to do a handstand requires a lot of patience, dedication and hard work but if it means impressing people in every single party you’re at, or getting more breathtaking shots of you doing handstands in front of picturesque travel landscapes, we can guarantee you that it’s totally worth it!
Improve your strength and flexibility with Core Collective's variety of group fitness classes, including Mushin Movement's Hand Balancing classes which will have you flipping upside-down with confidence!
Mushin Movement is also hosting a handstand course to teach you everything you need to know about how to do Handstands, from progressive exercises, the theory behind handstand alignment and joint conditioning practices. Read more about this course or book your spot here!