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A Step-by-Step Guide to Doing Your First Handstand

A Step-by-Step Guide to Doing Your First Handstand

Set aside a few minutes of your day while traveling to practice and follow this guide to achieve an Instagram-worthy handstand. 


Instagram is full of photos of travelers doing handstands all over the world.

It's for good reason.

People like to show themselves doing something that not everyone can do.

Handstands require strength and stability and are a great way to show off your level of fitness.

Most people are scared away from handstands before they learn that they are not as hard as they look.

You just need to train frequently to make it happen.

Traveling is the perfect opportunity to do this because you can practice your handstand almost anywhere.

Set aside a few minutes of every day to practice and follow this guide to achieve a beautiful, Instagram-worthy handstand.

Step #1: Building the Foundation

The foundation to doing a handstand requires that you improve your strength and stability enough that you will be able to support your own weight while you are upside down.

Before attempting a handstand, you should be comfortable doing push-ups and holding a plank. You should also have a good amount of shoulder mobility - meaning you can reach both hands over your head with full extension and no pain. If you're not quite there yet, downward dog and chaturanga push-ups will help get you there. Pike push-ups are also a great way to build shoulder strength that will help you stabilize your body in the handstand position.

The other component to building your handstand foundation is getting over your fear of handstands or of falling over. Many handstand beginners struggle with this fear - in some cases even more than they do with technique, strength or balance.

There's no reason for fear to hold you back. By gradually introducing yourself to the handstand and getting comfortable with being upside down through the below progression, you'll find yourself on a fast track to doing a freestanding handstand in no time. 

Step #2: The Wall Handstand

The quickest way to get yourself into a handstand is to jump right in.

As long as you feel you have the strength and balance to do it, the wall handstand is the best place to start. There are two ways to approach the wall handstand and we're going to cover both.

The wall walk looks tough but is actually a great way to get comfortable being upside down and in a handstand. 

Practice the wall walk often. Once your comfortable with it, it's time to start kicking up to a handstand against the wall. This is where the fear of falling over becomes an issue. Push yourself past this fear. Learn how to bail out of a failed wall handstand by doing it a few times. Once you're past this initial sticking point, you're in the clear. 

Helpful Tip

As you get better at doing your wall handstands, try taking one foot at a time off the wall to get a feel for balancing yourself without the wall. Brace your core, keep your feet together and breathe. Practice often.

Step #3: Freestanding Handstand

Once you can do a handstand against a wall, it's time to work towards mastering the freestanding handstand.

You've completed the hard part, now it's just a matter of bringing it all together. Grab some space, kick into your handstand with your dominant leg and get comfortable bailing by splitting your legs and bringing your dominant leg back down to the ground first. The best way to learn exactly how much force to exert when kicking into your handstand is to do it often. Initially, you'll find yourself kicking too much or too little. Find the right amount that works for you and remember these tips:

  • Focus your eyes on the floor below you
  • Spread your fingers wide
  • Hips should be aligned over your shoulders
  • Keep your arms full extended
  • Practice everyday

Bottom Line

Handstands are not as difficult as they look and can be achieved relatively quickly with consistent practice. Follow the steps in this guide and you will be doing handstands in no time.

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