As children, almost every one of us will have attempted to do a handstand at some point in our lives. It was just one of those activities that, aside from the aspiring gymnasts among us, seemed to serve no real purpose but was a challenge that we had to attempt for the bragging rights all the same.
However, as adults, it is also likely an activity most will have long since left in the past and dismissed as nothing more than a bit of childhood fun. What if I were to tell you that a handstand was not just a waste of time and could, in fact, benefit both your training and everyday life though?
Well, that is actually the case as, while a handstand itself may not have any purposes, the action and position used to do it can be very beneficial. Unfortunately, with many of these benefits not being common knowledge, even those who could once do a handstand will now likely have forgotten how.
Luckily, no matter what point you are starting from, it is a skill you can easily master with a little help and dedication. So, for anyone who wants to find out more about the benefits and make the most of them, join me, as I walk you through your complete guide on how to learn a handstand in 30 days.
Why You Should Learn To Handstand
As we touched on above, there are a number of reasons why you should learn to handstand. While some of the benefits of a handstand may be obvious, others will pay dividends in ways you likely would not have thought of.
Among the most obvious benefits are greater physical strength, especially in your upper body, and improved balance. There are then other similar physical benefits on offer as well, such as better reflexes, and even a reduced likelihood of you injuring yourself in the event that you fall.
However, some of the less obvious benefits come from the fact that when you hang upside down, a rush of blood rich in oxygen will flow to your brain. While at first this can cause issues like headaches and disorientation, once you have adjusted to it you will begin to feel that your brain is more alive.
As the brain is the largest consumer of oxygen in the human body, greater blood flow means more oxygen will reach it, which will lead to better brain function. Additionally, improved blood flow to the head will stimulate the hair follicles, making them stronger and even helping to fight baldness.
Method 1- The Wall Method
The wall method is the oldest, most common method to learn how to do a handstand. While there are two slightly different variations of the wall method, both are pretty much what they sound like, using a wall to help either elevate or stabilise you as you learn the basics of performing handstands.
The first way to utilise this method will see you begin by getting on your hands and knees in front of a wall, while facing away from it. Make sure your hips are over your knees, your toes are flexed and providing support on the floor, and the soles of your feet are pressed firmly into the wall as well.
Be sure your hands are directly beneath your shoulders and firmly grip the ground with outstretched fingers. Rotate your shoulders outwards to engage both them and your lats, while also tensing your hips and core. Carefully drive your hips into the air and slowly start to walk your feet up the wall.
As you walk up the wall, begin to walk your hands in towards the wall as well, trying to get your arms and legs in sync, so you move in a smooth, flowing motion. Keep going till your legs are straight, your hands are directly underneath your shoulders, and your entire body is perfectly in line and vertical.
If done right, your hips, shoulders, wrists, and hands will all be completely straight and your whole body extended. Your chin should also be tucked into your chest throughout the entire exercise. If any of these areas are not in line, this is the first thing you need to work on before moving on.
Once your alignment is perfect, push your hands into the ground, as if you were trying to press through it, and let your shoulder blades lift to create a stable upper body position. You are aiming to reach a point where your ears are roughly in line with your upper arms.
You now want to extend your legs as much as you can and squeeze them together by engaging your glutes and quads. Make sure to also keep your core engaged, with your ribs down and your pelvis slightly tucked, as this will provide maximum stability and balance.
While ensuring you keep everything stable and aligned, maintain a strong core and tension through your body, then hold the handstand position for the desired length of time. When you are done, slowly walk your hands forward and your feet down the wall to return back to the starting position.
That is the end of the first version of the wall handstand. You should try to hold the position for at least 10 seconds each time. The other option for a wall handstand will begin with the same starting position, but this time you will be facing the wall, with your hands right in front of it.
Engage all of the same muscles as before, only instead of walking your feet up the wall, you will now drive your legs up quickly, rotating you until your heels hit the wall. When they are in contact, you will then follow the same steps as before, to make sure your entire body is straight and extended.
This second option will allow you to use the wall for stability, making it ideal for anyone who still needs to work on their balance or core strength. In both instances, you ideally want to complete multiple repetitions of the position in each session.
Method 2- Take An Online Course
In contrast to the classic wall method of learning a handstand, the much more modern approach is to turn to help from the internet (just like you are doing now). While many people will be able to get by using written guides or video tutorials, others will be looking for something a little more personal.
This is where online handstand courses come in. These programs aren’t free like the traditional ways to learn how to do a handstand are, but they will give you access to professional coaches who will put all of their experience to good use in order to help you achieve your goal.
Benefits Of Taking An Online Handstand Course
For starters, online handstand courses are a particularly good option for beginners. This is because they can be done in stages and customised to the individual, while also providing a range of options to help you overcome different weaknesses and imbalances.
There will even be instructions given on how to bail out in the event that you feel an attempt is failing, to help you avoid injury. You combine all of these factors and online handstand courses are an ideal way to take you from your first attempt, all the way through to handstand perfection.
Online handstand courses will also help you to discover different handstand exercises and learn how to incorporate handstands into your regular workouts. This will not only make developing the strength to do them easier, but they will also be more fun and useful as well.
Finally, you will be given a clear breakdown on all of the do’s, don’ts, and most important details of handstands. This will minimise the risk of you ever injuring yourself or doing something that could impede your progress, be that in terms of handstands or your other workouts.
Our #1 Choice: Reps Hand Balancing Course
The best online handstand course in our opinion is the Reps Hand Balancing Course. Produced by the Register Of Exercise Professionals (REPS), it is easily one of the most respected courses in the world. Even if you are a complete beginner, it will have everything you need to turn you into a pro.
If your goal is to perform a perfect handstand as quickly as possible, there simply isn’t a more trustworthy or qualified place to seek assistance from than right here. While it is a little more expensive than some other similar courses, it is still affordable and more than worth the price.
Runner Up Choice: The Movement Athlete Hand Balancing Course
The Movement Athlete is an extremely successful calisthenics program that helps users all over the planet learn to gain better control of their own body. This makes it a perfect option for those seeking to learn how to do a handstand, as this is one of the oldest calisthenic poses.
The only reason it sits behind the REPS course is that, as part of a larger course that covers your entire body, it isn’t quite as dedicated or specific. This means those who need extra assistance may struggle a little more with this one.
Method 3- Handstand Progression Exercises
The final method for learning how to do a handstand is with progression exercises. What this means is to perform a number of different exercises that strengthen the muscles and joints required to do a handstand, so that it is easier to achieve when you put them all together.
It is important to remember though that, when taking this approach, it is vital that you warm up each of the individual areas you will be training first. This will maximise the flexibility in the joints and muscles, optimising your performance, while also limiting the risk of injury you face.
Wrist exercises may be the most vital of all when preparing to do a handstand, as they are going to be required to support the entire weight of your body during the hold. The trick with wrist exercises is that you need to move and strengthen them in as many different ways as feels comfortable.
Forward and Back Wrist Stretch
Sit or stand and hold one of your arms out in front of you at full extension, parallel with the floor. Take the other hand and use it to pull back the fingers of the hand on the extended arm, bending the wrist back towards you as far as is safely possible and hold the position for a set length of time.
Now, place the free hand on the back of the extended hand and push it down, this time flexing the wrist forwards as far as possible and, again, hold it for a sufficient length of time. Perform as many reps of these two movements as possible, but make sure to do the same number of each.
When you have finished, switch hands and do the same again on the other hand.
Backhand Palm Stretch
Get on your hands and knees and put your hands on the floor so that they are directly beneath your shoulders. Now, slowly and carefully rotate both hands 180 degrees, until your fingers are pointing at your body.
Now, very carefully begin to put weight down on your hands, stretching the front of your wrists and stopping when you feel the pressure is starting to get too much. Hold the position for as long as is required and then ease back out slowly. Repeat as many times as is necessary.
Lifted Palms Wrist Stretch
Again, get on the floor on your hands and knees, with your hands directly beneath your shoulders, and lean a decent amount of your body weight down on your hands. Now, keeping everything else still, push down with your fingers and raise the heels of your hands as high as you can get them.
Try and get your palms as close to vertical as you can and hold in this position for as long as is comfortable, then slowly lower yourself back down. Repeat as many times as is required.
You want to make sure you include progression exercises in your training. These will mimic different parts of the whole movement so, rather than strengthening the muscles, will instead help to give you better control over them and enable you to complete a handstand easily and correctly.
Quadruped rocking requires you to get down on your hands and knees, a position which is known as the “quadruped”, hence the name. From here, you will simply rock forwards and backwards on your hands, going as far as you can in each direction to maximise mobility in the joints and muscles.
To perform hollow body, begin by laying down on the ground facing upwards. Try to imagine pushing your lower back down into the ground and use this to help you engage your midsection in a way similar to how you would if you were coughing deeply.
Now bring your knees to your chest and grip your shins just below the knees, pulling your quads into you. Start to gently rock your body back and forth, going from your shoulders to your tailbone, in a way that resembles a rocking chair. Be sure to keep your head and feet off the ground at all times.
A crow pose begins in the same way as quadruped rocking. However, this time you will bring your hands closer together and towards your abdomen, while your legs will be wider apart, so that your knees are on the outside of your arms.
You will now rock forward in the same manner as before, only this time putting a little more weight on the hands and a little less weight on the feet than before. Go slowly at first and gradually raise the speed as you progress. When you are confident enough, try rising up on your toes as well.
A wall walk will see you start by getting in a push up position with your feet pressed firmly up against the base of a wall. If you haven’t already, push up so that your arms are fully extended and make sure that you have a solid base on the ground with your hands.
Now, with one foot at a time, slowly begin to walk your feet up the wall. You may need to move your hands towards you a bit as you go but try to keep them as close to their starting position as possible. You want to keep going until you reach roughly a 45 degree angle with your still totally straight body.
Make sure you do not go too high just yet, as you risk flipping over onto your back. As soon as you have hit the required height, walk back down the wall at the same, slow, controlled pace that you went up. If you moved your hands on the way up, you will need to move them back out now as well.
The next step begins at the top of a wall walk. Rather than stopping at 45 degrees, keep going until you are just a few steps short of being vertical. Now, slowly try to take one leg off the wall and hold it suspended for a period of time, then place it back on the wall and do the same with the other.
When you’re comfortable with taking one leg off of the wall, try switching them mid lift, so that one lifts off of the wall while the other moves back to the wall at the same time, so they cross at roughly the halfway point. Once you are comfortable with this, the next step is to try a complete handstand.
How To Bail
The final progression exercise you need to learn is how to bail if something goes wrong. To do this, you first need to perform a wall handstand (the type where you begin facing away from the wall). One you are set, move all of your weight onto one arm, allowing the other one to move freely.
Push the leg on the side of your body that still has a hand planted on the ground into the wall and lean the other leg forward. Gravity should help you to fully rotate, allowing you to lower your feet back to the floor safely. It is, however, imperative, that you keep your chin tucked while doing this.
Finally, after your wrists, your core does the most work in a handstand, as it is literally at the center of the movement and responsible for your balance. Making sure you have a strong core will not only make performing a handstand easier, but it will also make it much less likely that an attempt will fail.
Tiptoe Walk With Core Lift
A tiptoe walk with core lift is an easy looking yet difficult exercise. To start, stand on your tiptoes and raise both arms up directly over your head. Now, proceed to walk forwards on your tiptoes, making sure that with each step you keep your leg straight and raise it so that it is parallel with the floor.
This can also be done with a weight held over your head to make it even more difficult and effective.
To perform mat walks, bend forward and put your hands on the floor while keeping your feet on the ground. You can either bend your knees so that your torso is parallel with the ground or keep them straight, so your body forms a v shape at your waist, whichever you prefer.
Now simply move your arms and legs to walk forward on all fours like a dog or cat. Ideally you will have a set amount of distance to cover, but you can also choose to move each limb a set number of times instead if you prefer.
Crow Wrist Taps
Begin by getting in position for the crow pose that we looked at in the progression exercises. This time, however, move your knees further back until the part of your body from your knees to your shoulders is in a straight line and at a 45 degree angle.
Now, tense your core and begin to slowly push your fingers into the floor and raise the heels of your hands in the air. Proceed to go up and down on your fingers, tapping the heels of your hands on the floor each time while keeping tension in your core till you have hit the target number of reps.
Headstand Pike Work
Get on your hands and knees, face a wall, and put your forehead on the floor. Your hands should be flat on the floor, and your arms by your sides with a 90 degree bend in your elbows. Use your legs to drive you up like we saw in the 2nd type of wall headstand but keep your head on the floor this time.
With your back flat on the wall, keep your torso vertical and slowly lower your legs, not bending at the knees, till they are completely parallel with the floor. Engage your core and glutes and use them to pull your heels back up to the wall, still with unbent knees, and do as many reps as is needed.
Hollow Hold To Boat Pose
Start by laying on your back and get in position for the hollow body exercise from the progression exercises section above but stay still, rather than rocking. Now, release your knees and extend both your legs and upper body, stretching your arms out over your head.
You should end up in a position resembling a v, where your legs, torso, and arms are all fully extended. Proceed to return to the hollow hold and continue going between the two poses in a fluid motion until you hit either the desired number of reps or working time.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)
Before we conclude our guide on how to learn a handstand in 30 days, I want to answer some of the most frequently asked questions people have about handstands. This should ensure everyone has all of the information they need to perform a picture perfect handstand themselves.
How Long Does It Take You To Learn To Handstand?
If you follow proper guidance, most people will be able to perform a basic handstand in as little as 1 to 3 months. However, for some people, it can take even longer, with some reporting that it took as long as 2 years before they had completely mastered the perfect handstand.
That said, the more time you spend practicing, the closer you follow the instructions, the more determined you are, and the better shape you start off in, the quicker you are likely to be able to go from beginner to expert.
Can Everyone Learn To Do A Handstand?
Handstands are an activity that are all about mechanics, balance, and physical strength. While some people will find performing a handstand easier than others, there is no reason that anybody, of any size, can’t do a handstand if they are committed enough.
How Many Days Should I Train Handstand Techniques?
Ideally, you want to be practicing handstands 2 to 4 times per week for at least 15 minutes per session. This should allow your central nervous system to acquire the skill efficiently and your body the time to gain the strength and muscle memory required to execute it properly.
A handstand is a basic activity that is often overlooked, but one that can actually offer a host of different benefits. From improving your physical strength and balance to boosting brain function and preventing hair loss, there are plenty of reasons to carry on doing handstands into your adult life.
By this point, you should now have all the tools and information you need to go out and start making the most of those benefits in your own life, no matter how you choose to go about it. That means the only question left is what are you waiting for?