Doing a handstand requires you to have a mastery of strength, technique, and balance. Whether you’re a cheerleader, a gymnast, or a yogi, learning to do a handstand can help you get centered, learn balancing techniques, and move on toward more advanced skills, such as the front walkover or the front handspring. Once you’ve learned how to do a handstand, however, you will want to know how to be able to hold it for a long period of time without falling over. To do this, you’ll need to build your upper body strength, grip the ground, and kick all the way up before you begin.
Maintaining Proper Form
Get into your handstand using the proper technique. The first thing to do if you want to be able to hold your handstand is to use proper technique when you get into the handstand position. If you don’t start off with a strong foundation, it will be difficult to hold your handstand for very long. Here’s what you’ll have to do:
Stand up straight with your arms up over your head, as if they are glued to your ears.
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
Step forward with your dominant leg. Think of this as being halfway in the lunge position.
Tip your body forward while keeping your back straight. Your non-dominant leg should go up first.
Plant your hands down on the ground, shoulder width apart.
Lift your non-dominant leg all the way up to meet your dominant leg.
Straighten your legs and keep your back and body straight.
Make sure to kick all the way up. One way to hold your handstand longer is to make sure that you kick all the way up with your non-dominant foot when you begin the handstand. Most people think that they’re kicking up all the way when they go into the handstand, when in fact, they’re only going up about 80-85% percent of the way. This is because they get scared that they’re going to fall forward. However, if you aim to kick all the way up so that your body is straight, or even so that your feet are kicked up over your body a bit, it’ll be much easier to stay straight or to adjust your body a bit than if you did not kick up enough.
Have someone film you doing a handstand or just watch you do it to tell you if you’re really kicking up as much as you can.
You can also practice doing a handstand about a foot in front of a wall, so that the worst thing that will happen if you kick up too much is that you touch the wall with the tips of your feet. This will also give you a better sense of how far up you can really kick.
Press your fingers into the ground to maintain a strong grip on the ground. You may think that all of the power lies in your wrists, when in fact, what’s most important is that you press into your palms and the pads of your fingers to gain your strength, almost as if you’re pushing the floor away while gripping it at the same time.
If you put all the pressure in your wrists, then you’re likely to injure yourself while also making it much more difficult for yourself to stay balanced. If you put too much pressure in your wrists, then you will lose your balance and fall back on your feet.
Shift your weight on your fingers and hands to stay balanced. The trick to holding a handstand isn’t staying perfectly still once you get your body up there, but in knowing how to use your body to adjust in small ways to keep your balance. One way you can hold your handstand is to counteract the way your body is moving with your hands. If your legs are falling forward, over your head, then you can press into your fingertips a bit more to help move your body back to center. If you feel yourself falling down to the standing position, then you can press a bit more into the bottom of your palms to adjust your body to be straight again.
You can also even walk on your hands slightly to counteract the direction your body is falling. If your legs are falling over your head, you can walk your hands forward slightly; if your body is falling backward, then you can move your hands back down a bit.
If you feel your body listing to the side, move your hands over to that side. Use your hands to balance the direction of your body, and you’ll be able to hold the handstand for longer.
Avoid arching your back. Another thing you want to avoid is arching your back. Not only can this cause injury, but it can lead you to fall forward, because arching your back will make your legs move over your head. Instead, focus on keeping the part of your body from your shoulders to your waist straight. You may not think you’re arching your back when you really are, so you can ask a friend or a spotter to check for you.
Keep your toes pointed. Keeping your toes pointed will keep your body balanced and will keep your feet fully in line with your back and body. If your feet are flexed, it’ll be harder to control them, and they’ll be more likely to fall over your head a bit. Instead, focus on keeping nice, pointed toes from the moment you get up into the handstand until the second you come down.
Squeeze your butt. Another thing you can do to hold your handstand is to squeeze the muscles in your butt, so that your butt is flexed while you do the handstand. This will keep your strength centered and will make it easier for you to maintain control over your handstand. You can practice doing this when you’re standing up, first, to get the hang of it before you go into a full-on handstand.
If you’ve forgotten to squeeze your butt, you can do it once you’re in your handstand and feel yourself losing balance.
Squeeze your legs together. Another thing you can do to hold your handstand is to make sure to squeeze your legs together. Ideally, there should be no or very little space between your legs, and they should be parallel to each other. Keeping your legs together can keep you from letting one leg fall over or fall down, leading you to lose your balance.
However, you can also keep your balance by putting your legs into the splits — but that should be purposeful.
Remember to breathe. A lot of people freeze up when they go into the handstand position, because they get nervous or want to hold their concentration. When this happens, many people forget to breathe and just let out all of their oxygen. Well, if you don’t do this, you won’t stay up there for long, and you’ll be making it much more likely for yourself to get dizzy. Make sure to take nice deep breaths, in and out, using your diaphragm, and focusing on breathing just as much as as you focus on keeping your body straight.
If you breathe purposefully, you’ll feel in control of your body, and you’ll feel like holding a handstand is much more manageable. In yoga, for example, purposeful breathing is the key to any pose, especially the handstand.
Keep your arms locked by your ears. You should check to make sure that your arms are locked by your ears. If they’re too far apart, not parallel, or even too far above or below your ears, then it’ll be hard to hold your handstand for very long. The next time you do a handstand, check to make sure that your hands have the proper form. This can help you maintain your handstand for longer.
Keep your shoulders over your hands. Another thing you should do if you want to hold your handstand is to make sure that you’ve kept your shoulders over your hands. Having your shoulders over your hands can help you maintain your balance, and ensure that your body is pretty much in a straight line, from your arms all the way down to your legs. Most people tend to place their hands a little bit above their shoulders when they do a handstand, so you should be vigilant about keeping them in line.
Do a split to stay balanced. Some people don’t like to keep their legs together and instead prefer to put their legs in the split position in order to maintain their balance. If you have one leg over your head and one leg behind it, it can be easier for you to shift your balance by moving one leg slightly down or the other leg slightly up to keep your body even. Sometimes holding a handstand with both feet together can be a bit of a challenge because both of your legs feel “stuck” together, and they tend to fall or stay up as a unit, which can make it harder to control your balance.
Improving Your Strength and Balance
Practice doing your handstand against a wall. Another thing you can do to practice holding your handstand is to do it against a wall. Leave about half a foot to a foot of space between you and the wall, and kick fully up into your handstand, so that you know you have some support if you fall over. If your legs fall forward too much and touch the wall, just gently push them away from it again.
This can help you gain confidence in holding your handstand and can show you that nothing bad will happen if you fall out of it.
Practicing against a wall can also be more efficient because you don’t have to start from scratch every time you fall over; if your feet touch the wall, you can just lightly kick them back up over your head instead of falling down.
Practice basic skills on a balance beam. If you’re a gymnast, then you should already be familiar with the balance beam. You don’t have to practice a handstand on the balance beam to improve your balance. In fact, just walking on the balance beam, standing on one leg at a time, pivoting, or even doing a cartwheel on it, or a round-off off of it, can get you more in touch with your balance, and can help you see how to move your body to stabilize your position.
Just spending an hour a week on a balance beam can really work wonders on your balance, whether you’re a gymnast or not. If you’re not a gymnast, then you can practice balancing on a narrow surface, such as a concrete bench, as long as you have enough room to move safely.
Build up your arm strength. You may have a hard time holding a handstand simply because you lack arm strength. Your biceps, triceps, and forearms are crucial for holding up your body weight and helping you maintain a strong handstand. If you want to build up your arm strength, you can try a number of exercises in order to make them strong. Here are a few exercises you can try: Holding a handstand against a wall for 10 seconds, for 5 repetitions at a time.
Holding a handstand against a wall and doing shoulder touches. Hold your handstand, and then lift up one arm quickly and touch the shoulder on the same side of your body with it. Then, repeat this with your other hand. Do this about 10 times on each side for 2 repetitions.
The plank position. The plank position is a yoga pose and is the starting position for the push-up. Get on the ground and push up through your palms, so that your back and legs remain straight, and hold the position for at least 10 seconds. Repeat this 3 times or transition into doing 2 sets of 5 push-ups.
Build up your core strength. Your core, or your abs, is essential to holding a handstand, as well as maintaining any balancing pose. If you want to be able to hold a handstand, you can work on strengthening your core so you have a more solid foundation to work with. You can work on doing a daily arm and core workout to get stronger for your handstands. Here are some exercises you can try to build up your core:
The basic sit-up. Simply lie on your back, raise your knees, cross your arms over your chest, and reach up toward your knees, and then back down to your back. Do 2 sets of 20.
The banana. For this exercise, you can lie on your back, lifting your hands up over your head and raising them a few inches off the ground while doing the same with your feet, until your body is in a “banana” shape. Hold this position for 10 seconds and repeat this exercise once.
The bicycle. Get on the floor with your hands behind your head and neck, and “cycle” your legs up in the air. Raise your elbow to the opposite knee as it moves toward your head, and repeat with the other elbow. Do the bicycle for 30 seconds at a time.
When rolling out of the handstand do it on a soft surface because it probably hurt the first couple of times.
Try to get someone to be your “wall” and then once you feel like you can hold it, make them let go.
Consider that you’re using an “invisible wall”. Place your hands a few inches away from this wall, aim not to touch it and when you reach the handstand position, and think that you’re touching the wall, as a way to give you better balance. This will help you to visualize doing the handstand carefully.
This takes a lot of practice to be able to do a good handstand and if you don’t get it its OK. Some people can’t hold a handstand.
When rolling out be careful of neck and back.
When doing handstands have a boundary around to protect you and other people.
Make sure there is space around you so you and other people won’t get hit. If they get hit, they can hurt very badly.
If its starts to hurt stop rolling out.
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