Tag Archives | Handstand Position

How To Do a Handstand and Stay Up

Most of us dreaded gym class in school. One of the hardest tasks was learning how to do a handstand and stay up. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be on the US Olympic Gymnastics team to perform a steady handstand. It takes patience, practice and good technique.

This video shows getting up into a handstand from a yoga perspective. I’d approach it differently but there are some good tips here.

 

 

How to do the One Hand Handstand by Professor Orlick
ow to do the One Hand Handstand on Amazon

If you have never attempted a handstand before, have a friend hold your legs as you kick up into a handstand. You can also practice against a wall. Whichever route you choose, make sure to follow the same guidelines below on how to do a handstand and stay up:

  • Place your hands on the floor in front of you. Make sure they are about shoulder width apart. If you get too wide, you will fall and not have a good balance.
  • Another tip is to spread your fingers out to make a wider base. It is essential that you lock your elbows once you begin the handstand. This is crucial for a good platform.
  • Begin by placing your hands on the floor in front of you with your elbows locked.
  • Place your dominant leg forward and kick up into a handstand with your weaker leg.

You may need to practice doing a few kicks to get the right balance. If you are worried about falling over, try to use a softer surface to practice your handstand on. Grass is good to start. Once you are able to get yourself up into a vertical position, look at your hands to keep yourself balanced. Avoid moving your head around and keep your legs locked together. It is a good practice to point your toes to the sky. This helps your balance and presents a nicer image. Allowing your legs to dangle over your head is not a good technique because it could throw you off balance and it doesn’t look good. Use your palms for balance. If you start to fall forward, push with your fingers. If you find yourself falling backwards, push on your palm heels for balance. Staying up in the correct shape requires a lot of strength, which can be achieved through practice.

Finally, watch the video and take notes on things that you should not do if you want to stay up when doing a handstand. Like most things, it will take time and practice to know how to do a handstand and stay up.

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Handstand Clap Pushup

The handstand clap pushup is an amazing skill. In this post you’ll learn about and see a couple different ways to do it.

Although it’s called a “pushup” the truth is the easiest way to do it is to not really do a pushup. By generating a jumping action from the feet you can launch yourself into the air, clap, and then land back in the handstand.

Here is a good example of that. There is only a slight bend in the arms before launching and when landing.

Ultimate Guide to Handstand Pushups
Ultimate Guide to Handstand Pushups on Amazon

Contrast that to this one. Here the jump is generated fully from the legs, but it is not caught in a handstand position or even close to it. The guy ends up in basically the bottom of the handstand pushup and must press back up.

Now here is where it truly becomes handstand pushup with claps and not just a jumping handstand with a clap. Not only does he not use the legs at all but he manages several reps in a row.

These strict handstand clap pushups are tough to do. Even the earlier version are going to be outside the realm of what most people can manage.

To work up to this skill I would recommend:

1) Learn how to hold a stable handstand.
2) Build handstand pushup strength.
3) Learn how to jump with your hands (if you’re going for that version).
4) Build a lot more handstand pushup strength (for the strict version).

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Handstand Shrugs

Handstand shrugs are a seldom used exercise yet they can be quite important.

How to do the One Hand Handstand by Professor Orlick
ow to do the One Hand Handstand on Amazon

Ask any professional hand balancer, or just watch them at work, and you’ll see how much their shoulders are shrugged up towards their ears. (Here is an example of Cai Yong.) This is necessary to get the locked out position that makes balancing much better.

But this isn’t necessary to do just a regular handstand. Handstands can be done even with the shoulders packed in, but this is not optimal.

Handstand Shrugs

Shrugged vs. Not Shrugged

Kick up into a handstand against the wall. Keep your arms locked at the elbows the entire time. Just using the muscles of your shoulder girdle and traps, shrug up, trying to make yourself taller. Stretch as far as you can go. Then lower using the same muscles and repeat.

The most important thing is that this exercise can help build the shoulder flexibility you need to get into the best handstand position possible.

Handstand shrugs are also a great way to build up to handstand pushups as I cover in my book.

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Hand on Hand Handstand

Mark apparently got this move from me (and I got it from Professor Orlick in the Hand Balancing Mastery Course), but the way in which he does it was new to me.

Once you get into a handstand move your hands in closer to a touching position, and then from there you move them even closer so a hand is on top of the other hand.

This in many ways mimics a one hand handstand as you’re lessening your base of support. A great lead-up stunt.

The difference is I had always kicked up into position with the hands closer or on top of each other, rather than moving them in. I have to say I like this one a bit more after having just played around with it, although both ways are valid.

Good Luck and Good Hand Balancing,
Logan Christopher

The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing
The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing on Amazon
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Kicking Up into a Handstand Problems

“Okay, so I have been trying for about 3 weeks to learn how to do a handstand. I often psych myself out and end up stopping. And then when I [sometimes] go to kick up, one leg will stay down then when I go to pull it up it bends and I loose my balance. Any help?”
Shelby

“As I go into a handstand I get one of my legs right up but cant seem to bring the other leg up far enough and then drop back down any advice???”
Ami

Its sounds like there are some troubles kicking-up into the handstand position. The first thing I’d say to do is to get out of the open and go to a wall.

How to do the One Hand Handstand by Professor Orlick
ow to do the One Hand Handstand on Amazon

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The freestanding handstand is too difficult to jump right into. You should practice several easier skills before going at it. Check out the Secrets of the Handstand Quick Start DVD.

If you can kick up against the wall without problems all you have to do is recreate it out in the open. Fine tune your kick-up so that you kick hard enough to get both legs up but not so hard that you go over.

And it you want more you can check out this recent video on kicking up into a handstand against the wall

And this one on kicking up into a handstand out in the open

Good Luck and Good Hand Balancing,
Logan Christopher

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Sig Klein on Handstand Presses

Klein trained in a very precise, scientific fashion. He reminded Jim of an Old World

Of all his exercises, Klein’s Handstand press-ups were the most remarkable. Jim had never seen anything like it.

Klein performed the exercise on an old piano bench. He began placing his hands in the center of the bench. From there, he leaned forward and effortlessly kicked up into a free-standing, unsupported handstand. Klein had begun his career as a hand-balancer and stage performer, and he had no difficulty in maintaining the handstand position for as long as he wanted.

Once in the handstand position, Klein bent his arms and slowly lowered his body until his upper chest touched the edge of the piano bench. He then reversed the movement slowly and effortlessly, pushed himself back to the handstand position. He performed 15 reps with ease.

“What’s your best in that?” asked Jack.

Klein wiped the sweat from his forehead.

“Nineteen,” he replied.

“That’s a lot of press-ups!”

“I believe it’s more than anyone else has ever done in that style. I’ve often wondered how many reps Maxick or some other old timers could perform.”

“You’re awfully good at them, Sig.”

“Thanks, Jack. It’s like anything else – it’s just a matter of practice. Press-ups are one of my favorite exercises, an I include them in almost all of my workouts. They’re one of the very best for pressing power.”

Tumbling Illustrated
Tumbling Illustrated on Amazon

—–

This is an excerpt from Brooks Kubik’s new book Legacy of Iron, which I just finished this morning. If you want to learn how many of the old-timers trained this book is for you. While most of it is concerned with weightlifting and competitions surrounding the York Barbell Club, you get a mix of all the various means of physical culture.

Back in that day hand balancing went right along with lifting iron. Even Bob Jones makes an appearance earlier in the book as one of the contest’s judges along with a few other famous hand balancers.

If you want to read more go check out the new book, Legacy of Iron at www.BrooksKubik.com and prepare to get transported back in time.

Good Luck and Good Hand Balancing,
Logan Christopher

P.S. Just a few issues left of December’s Acrobat Accelerator where I cover free-standing handstand pushups in depth. If you want one you have to order before the new year comes in. Get it along with one of several other hand balancing courses.

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Walking on Your Hands

Here’s a good question from Tony.

“Dear Logan Christopher, I am a 44 year old male that just decided to do handstands since it was a great workout. I can do a handstand and pushups against the wall. I just read your 10 handstand tips and will work on these great ideas. My problem is when I try to walk on my hands my legs tend to fall toward the “wall direction” when I try to stand without the wall. I feel that it is fear of falling flat on my back. Sometimes my hand strides are a little too big as I am trying to go too fast and then my legs fall toward “the wall direction.” I can hold a handstand probably at least 30 sec. I am usually sustaining myself up after doing 13-15 handstand pushups through a short ROM. I initially thought it was my ab/core strength and I just started with Eddie Baran’s gymnastic abs dvd which is fun and challenging. I am improving but got a little concerned when you said that walking is easier than standing. Your hints have clued me into improving my body awareness with standing and increase my length of time. Any other ideas?”

I should have clarified the position on standing vs. walking. For most people the walking is going to be much easier. This is because you can shift your weight around and take a step with your hands toward any direction you are falling.

If you take the time to learn how to stand still, and remain in a good handstand position than you are much better off than someone who can merely walk on his hands.

When you are walking on your hands the legs tend to ‘fall forward’ in overbalancing. This is a good thing because that’s the forward momentum you want to walk with.

Ultimate Guide to Handstand Pushups
Ultimate Guide to Handstand Pushups on Amazon

The key is to maintain control. You don’t want to be overbalancing so much that your hands can’t keep up or that you just fall out of the handstand.

To work on the control even more so, you should practice different size steps as Prof. Orlick teaches in Walking and Jumping on Your Hands. Go for small steps. Next try to clear a yard with each step.

You can also vary the speed with which you walk. Even try running on your hands!

But first and most important is to learn to stand on your hands. So that you can maintain a good handstand and not just stay on your hands by catching yourself from falling.

Just keep training and you’ll be able to walk, stand, run and hop on your hands without a problem.

Good Luck and Good Hand Balancing,
Logan Christopher

P.S. Click here for more on walking, running and jumping on your hands.

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Acrobatic Conditioning Report is coming…

I’m hard at work finishing up a Special Report I’ll be releasing next week. I was almost done but then your questions from the survey came in and I realized there was a lot more ground to cover.

So if you want your questions answered head on over to the survey.

It’s real short. And I know it asks for two questions but if you only got one that’s good enough.

This report is on what I call Acrobatic Conditioning. Its going to cover ways to train to improve your tumbling skills even if you’ve never worked on them before. How you can get started and where to train.

I’m about to go write more but I just want to take the time to answer at least one question here.

“Which skills should I attempt to learn first? and Should one master the handstand before attempting skills like cartwheel, round-off, and handsprings?”

Hand Balancing and Tumbling skills are related but definitely separate skill groups. You don’t really need to be good in one to do the other. That being said many tumbling moves move through the handstand position.

It can help to work both hand balancing and tumbling at the same time though you certainly don‘t need to be a master the handstand first.

As for which skills to work on that is easy. Start with what you can do and move on from there. If this is just basic rolls than start with that. Any moves where some part of you stays in contact with the ground would be next on the chain like cartwheels, roundoffs, and handsprings.

Of course the aerial moves like flips take a bit more work and are something you have to be careful with. More on that later.

Ultimate Guide to Handstand Pushups
Ultimate Guide to Handstand Pushups on Amazon

But the idea is like with any other training. You work tumbling progressively.

Alright back to the report. Oh, and there’ll be new videos soon too.

Good Luck and Good Tumbling,
Logan Christopher

P.S. Seriously hit up the survey if you haven’t already.

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How to do a Front Walkover

Many gymnastics moves go through the handstand position. And in this post we will discuss how to do a front walkover as shown below. This is a composite picture of Diane Robinson performing the move with ease.

Diane Gymnastic Walkover

These are the instructions that come from Acro-Chat. The correct way to do a two arm walkover. Notice the arms are straight all the way through, the legs are extended and split as much as possible, the back is arched tightly with the head and arms trailing as she stands upright.

I will caution that this move takes a large amount of flexibility in both the back and legs. Though its not dangerous, you may end up falling on your butt if you can’t do it as well as Diane.

You can also perform a back walkover which is done moving backwards. Just follow the pictures from right to left and you’ll get the idea.

These moves are not to be confused with the handspring or back handspring. Though the motion is much the same, except for going off of two legs instead of one, there is another big difference.

Ultimate Guide to Handstand Pushups
Ultimate Guide to Handstand Pushups on Amazon

Your hands will touch the ground before both your feet leave it in a walkover. Handsprings involve leaving the feet to get up in the air before your hands touch down.

While not strictly a hand balance, the walkover and handspring do move through the handstand position. At any rate they are excellent skills that you may want to master.

Good Luck and Good Tumbling,
Logan Christopher

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Handstands, Wrist Strength and Pain

Another question from a reader. And this isn’t the first time I have seen this problem pop up. Read on and find out what to do about it.

hello Logan,

Walking and Jumping On Your HandsWalking and Jumping On Your Hands on Amazon

well i have a question for you,

after a handstand practice i get wrist pain over the back of my wrist and sometimes on the sides the pain shows up while stress the wrist on pushups/ handstand position and sometimes on Ulnar Deviation and Radial Deviation

what can i do about it, maybe there are exercises that can strengthen my wrists and tendon ??

thanks 🙂
haggai D.B.

Let me first start of saying I am not a doctor. That may be obvious but I cannot diagnose what the problem is exactly, especially over the internet.

Hand Balancing takes a large degree of hand, wrist, and finger strength and flexibility. Not everyone has the flexibility to keep their hand back 90 degrees which is necessary to do a handstand.

I should say, not everyone starts of with this flexibility. But it can be gained through persistent effort.

Back in High School I suffered an injury to my right wrist. I would get shocked with pain any time I hit someone with my hands and had to get a special cast device made to help me out. Unfortunately it did affect my playing.

When I first started with handstands about a year after, I could not jump right into a handstand. In fact I still usually don’t. I take the time to stretch my wrists through flexion and extension. This primes them for any handstand work.

Even now my right wrist is less flexible than my right, but it has gotten better by leaps and bounds since then.

If holding a handstand causes to much pain then you will need to start at a manageable level and build from there. Pain is a sign you are pushing past your limits.

Do pushups or the pushup position cause you the same pain?

Wherever you need to start, go from there. It may take time but you will build the strength and flexibility to survive all hand balancing without the slightest discomfort.

Good Luck and Good Hand Balancing,
Logan Christopher

P.S. The results of the survey are still pouring in. If you haven’t taken the time yet to fill it out and get your f.ree report, do so now. I can tell you that the site will be changing for the better and soon because of your response.

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