1. Have you installed the new JSF Mobile app? Check out all the details here.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. One account & one avatar for all of JSF. Unified login and profile. Forum alerts on the main site, and more. Check out the details here: Forum & main site unified account feature is live!
    Dismiss Notice

Handstand Guide

Discussion in 'General Health/Fitness & Injuries' started by chicanerous, May 27, 2004.

  1. chicanerous

    chicanerous Elite Member
    Lifetime Platinum Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2004
    Messages:
    16,364
    Likes Received:
    25
    Handstand Guide

    Foot Placement:

    To start, place your feet about shoulder width apart, then take a short step forward (your back foot's toes and front foot's heel should be no more than six inches apart). Pivot your back foot out 30-90 degrees. You should end up in a comfortable stance similar to either of the attached pictures. (The majority of people lead with their right foot, as shown in the first picture.)

    Inverting:

    Next, transfer all your weight to your forward foot and lean over to place both your hands on the ground in front of you - a little wider than shoulder width apart. Once again, you should feel comfortable with the distance between your hands and the distance in front of your body; generally, I place my hands about 3-3.5 feet in front of me.

    As soon as you've placed your hands, throw your back foot upward with moderate force and push off with your front foot, aiming to extend your torso and bring your legs together over your head. The throw with your back foot should originate with the heel of that foot, but as soon as you push off with your front foot, both legs should begin to straighten out and come together.

    This should easily send your body over your head. The key is to do this with enough force to elevate yourself, but not enough force to send your legs flying over your head and body.

    As you do this, you should immediately straighten your legs and start to tighten your midsection. You don't want to go into the handstand arching or with floppy legs.

    Holding:

    The key is to get your body as vertical as possible - you'll want to lock your elbows and knees as well as turn under your hips, and slightly flex your torso. Do not think of these things individually, do what comes naturally but keep in mind that these are your goals. (Technically your shoulders are open and body is hollow.)

    As you bring your legs together, point your toes. You should end up with your feet lightly touched together, and toes pointed upward.

    Focus your eyes in the area between your hands, immediately forward of the tips of your fingers. (Ideally, you'll want to then move your head in - tuck it to your chest or close to it.)

    Pointed Toes and Hollow Feeling:

    To get a feel for pointed toes: sit in a chair with your feet together on the ground and lift your legs horizontal. Now lightly lock your knees and lightly press your feet together, while pushing your toes forward by extending from your ankles.

    To get a feel for turned under hips, practice the hollow position: "In a hollow a gymnasts hips are turned under, legs are tight chest rounded inward. Lie on your back on the floor with your arms by your ears. Lift your legs slightly off the ground. Lift your head slightly off the floor. Your lower back should maintain contact with the floor."

    Tips:

    Like all gymnastic moves, don't concentrate too hard on the steps. Don't let yourself completely work on impulse though, instead set up your stance, give a quick reminder in the form of a simple command of what you are correcting or often "forget" to do, and visualize what you are about to do, then just do it. Don't try to correct more than one thing at a time.

    A simple command or short phrase may be something like "kick!" or "point!" or "up!" or "flex!" or "stretch!" or "don't kick so hard."

    The best way to practice handstands is to do them a lot! Kicking up against a wall can help give you a feel for being upside down but should not be used for practicing a handstand.

    If you start to fall in either direction, push with either the tips of your fingers or the heels of your palms and focus on straightening your body.

    Your strength and ability to hold a handstand will increase as you keep practicing them. After a while, try assisted handstand push-ups: kick up against a wall (it is OK to use a wall in this case, as opposed to practicing handstands) with your finger-tips as close as you can get to the wall, still focusing on keeping correct handstand form. Lightly rest your heels against the wall. Now lower your body between your hands, flaring your elbows out in the same plane as your body. Then draw your elbows back in, pressing yourself back up. The farther you lower yourself, the harder it will be to push back up. (Your eventual goal should be to do a full freestanding handstand push-ups.)

    Progression:

    After you can do a handstand, you can build strength and balance by trying one-hand handstands (at first hold onto a sturdy object with your free hand), straddled handstands, assisted and freestanding handstand push-ups, handstand pylometric push-ups (bouncing an inch or so off your hands), or even the various from-handstand freezes (such as a hollowback or invert hollow).

    Other things you can try is backward rolls into a handstand, front limbers, back limber into a handstand, and handstand presses (going from a push-up position into a handstand without kicking off.)
     

    Attached Files:

    #1 chicanerous, May 27, 2004
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2005
  2. chicanerous

    chicanerous Elite Member
    Lifetime Platinum Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2004
    Messages:
    16,364
    Likes Received:
    25
    A handstand on top of some mountain in New Zealand last July during a lunch break on a heliskiing trip: (Not a very straight handstand -- I know -- and my head isn't tucked; snowboard boots are also pretty heavy.)
     

    Attached Files:

    • 4B.jpg
      4B.jpg
      File size:
      25.7 KB
      Views:
      6,440
    #2 chicanerous, May 27, 2004
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2013
  3. Lurifax

    Lurifax Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Messages:
    160
    Likes Received:
    0
    Nice;)..
    I think I'm going to add Handstand and maybe handstand puchups to my challange:) There cool ;)
     
  4. daveo

    daveo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2004
    Messages:
    649
    Likes Received:
    0
    I might just have a new hobby...

    I saw a guy in the gym doing hand/head stands and thought it was rather impressive. I went home and fell on my neck a few times :(

    I'll get it sooner or later now!
     
  5. daveo

    daveo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2004
    Messages:
    649
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well, can you guess how I spent part of Memorial Day weekend? ;)

    I'm about 80% there, I think. I can nearly do it. I pulled a tendon or something on my back foot though.

    So the point? For anybody trying this: STRETCH FIRST. Especially your calves and legs. Doing it on grass works pretty well. Carpet is a little too slippery (at least, my carpet is) and having a friend to help is awesome.

    Thanks chicanerous!

    Oh, is it odd that I'm a rightie, but I lead with my left foot? For some reason kicking myself up with my left just works better. Doing it with my right makes me flail like an idiot.

    It's addicting, really. Great shoulder/back workout too!
     
  6. chicanerous

    chicanerous Elite Member
    Lifetime Platinum Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2004
    Messages:
    16,364
    Likes Received:
    25
    Whatever gets you up there. :tu: Keep practicing!

    Don't practice after an ab or back workout, or you may end up bending too easily, which could send you falling over onto your head: ouch.

    As for surfaces, anything your feet won't slide on when you push-off or come back down is good to practice on. Softer surfaces are nice if you fall - grass is excellent.
     
    #6 chicanerous, Jun 1, 2004
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2004

Share This Page