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7 tricks to improve your handstand

Are you practicing your handstands a lot, but still struggling to find the balance? Don’t give up! Read this blog instead. Afterwards, you’ll be spending more time upside down for sure!

Maybe you're struggling your way up through a straddle or tuck jump, without finding balance?

Knock it off! There are better ways to find the balance. I’m sharing them in this blog.

** Only try these exercises if your arms are strong enough to stand upside down for a while **

1. Use a wall

First of all: the wall is your friend. A solid friend who is always there for you ;) So whenever you practice handstands, make sure there’s one nearby.

If you’re practicing to balance without a wall, you’re spending a lot of time and energy getting in and out of your handstand. Using a wall is much more efficient.

Also, you can be more precise. While swinging up, you can easily overpower and kick yourself out of balance. With a wall, you can really take your time to find the balance.

2. Pull yourself off the wall with your fingers

Make sure you’re quite close to the wall. If you’re too close, you’ll easily fall to the ground. If you’re too far away, you’ll arch your body too much. Just try out which distance works for you.

Once you’re up against the wall, focus on aligning your body. You want to stack your bones as much as possible and become a ‘plank’. So:

  • Open your shoulders

  • Squeeze your core and bum

  • Press your hands away from the floor

  • Point your toes

Once you’ve stacked your bones, shift almost all your weight towards your hands. Only your feet stay connected to the wall. Now push yourself off the wall, by pressing into your fingers. Avoid doing that with your feet, because then you're most likely to overdo it and lose control.

See if you can find balance.

Face toward the wall

You can do this exercise either with your face towards the wall or the other way around. When you're facing the wall, you're kind of forced to align better. It’s harder to arch your back. There are acrobatic teachers who say you should only practice handstands this way, before you try anything else.

Before you do:

****** Make sure you are able to bail out with a cartwheel *****

It can be scarier to practice handstands facing the wall. Start with quite some distance away. If you’re able to cartwheel out, come closer to the wall.

3. Scissor your legs

Once you're up against the wall, facing it, make sure you’re standing about ‘two hands distance’ away. Place one foot on the wall and one up in the air.

Shift almost all your weight towards your hands. Keep on lengthening your body the whole time. Now try to switch your feet, while staying in the same position.

5. Find balance from a V-shape

Come up to the wall again, facing it. One foot on the wall, one in the air. Make sure you can make a V-shape with your legs.

Once again: shift almost all your weight towards your hands. Only your foot stays connected to the wall. Now push yourself off the wall, by pressing into your fingers. Remember: avoid doing that with your feet, because then you're most likely to overdo it and lose control.

Found the balance in the V-shape? Now try to connect your feet up in the air and find balance.

6. Use your hands to balance, not your body

If you stay in ‘one piece’, meaning with a super tight body, you’ll start to feel you can balance yourself with your hands.

Either by pressing into your fingertips when you’re falling towards your back side. Or with the heels of your hands, if you're falling towards your front side. Try it out! You might automatically feel which part of your hands to use.

So avoid trying to balance by moving your legs or arms. Squeeze those muscles together!

7. Practice reverse presses

Having trouble doing a tuck or straddle jump? Are you trying endlessly, but not getting into that handstand? I have good news for you!

Let it go (for now)! If you keep on trying too long without success, your body will most likely remember what not to do…

Start practicing reverse presses. So swing up to a wall, get into straddle, tuck or pike. Push yourself off the wall using your hands and try to go down to the ground as slowly as possible.

I know: it’s hard! But just keep practicing, and you’ll get stronger in all the right areas!

Also: you’re giving your body the information it needs to be able to jump into a straddle, tuck or pike handstand.

And last but not least: once you’ve mastered balancing with help from a wall, it will be easier to jump into a handstand.

It’s about the journey

Now take a break ;)

And remember it’s about the journey, not the destination! So try to enjoy each step and always remember where you came from.

A lot of these tips come from my AcroYoga handstand master buddies. Thanks for the advice!

Yuri Marmerstein is also a great inspiration. Check out his website if you want to get more into this subject. Also, let me know if you have any extras to add! I still have so much to learn!

Hugs, Marijke

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