Balancing for Beginners: Tips to Improve Your Handstand
No matter your fitness level, the ability to carry out a handstand is an incredible achievement. After all, it is a bodyweight exercise that uses your hands as your feet. Remember also that carrying and balancing yourself upside down brings an incredible thrill!
But more than a measure of physical strength, handstands test your mental and emotional strength. It can be intimidating and uncomfortable, but it brings out the playful and courageous inner child in all of us. From assisted handstands to freestanding executions, handstands can boost your strength, focus, and confidence—one step after another.
Tips on performing a proper handstand
Beginners and pros alike can benefit from learning (or re-learning!) the fundamentals of a solid handstand. Here are helpful tips on improving your handstand and finding balance.
Warm up your shoulders and wrists. These parts are used to holding your entire body weight, so it’s best to prepare your shoulders and wrists—and prevent injuries!—by doing warmups. For a start, perform wrist and shoulder exercises to help mobilize and strengthen said areas as well as reduce tightness. Some exercises you can do are various palm stretches and arm circles, but check with your trainer to see what’s best for you.
Build a strong base with your hands. Make sure you distribute the weight to the correct pressure points of your hands: the tips of your fingers, the knuckles at the base of your fingers and the heels of your palms. Planting your hands on the floor this way will help create a powerful base and improve your handstand.
Practise alignment through hollow body exercises and body line drills. Perfecting your form will greatly improve your handstand. Hollow body exercises will build your core strength, which is very necessary for that straight body line. A strong core will fix banana or curved handstands. Add body line drills to get yourself in good shape!
Warm up with a wall walk. Get into the inverted position by practicing handstands against a wall first—an exercise called wall walk. Wall walks will introduce your body to holding itself upside down, feel out the weight and settle in. Alternatively, you can get support from a handstand partner!
Lock and engage your muscles where necessary. A handstand engages your entire body from fingers to toes—so work all those muscle groups! Some excellent tips on improving your handstand are squeezing your glutes and thighs, engaging your core and pointing your toes. This will help stabilize and lengthen your body while in a handstand position.
Reach through the ground. Once you’re on your hands, keep your arms close to your ears and push away from the floor. This will elongate your body and keep that solid line, thus improving your handstand. It also prevents you from collapsing into your shoulders!
Finally, embrace progress. Remember that your body isn’t used to carrying its weight on its hands, so manage your expectations. You want to take your time with a handstand—build the correct foundation and form first and then find your balance.
Some people can carry out a solid handstand in a matter of weeks. Others take months or years to hold it perfectly. Each body is different, and it would only frustrate you if you compare your handstand to others. Focus on your own progress instead of pressure or perfection!
Perfect your handstand with help from a pro.
Ensure proper form and prevent injuries by having a yoga instructor check and correct your handstand.
Our ultra-fun handstands workshop is perfect for handstand beginners and covers all the fundamental strengthening exercises, warm-ups and poses mentioned in this blog!
You’ll be guided by a well experienced instructor, Yoga House’s very own Kelsi Gardiner, and will work through all the necessary progressions with a partner. The goal is to build a foundation so you can safely practise handstands on your own.
The workshop will be held on October 12, 2019 at Yoga House in The Greens—save your spot here!