Handstands are not just great fun, but they are very handy when it comes to strengthening muscles of the upper body, including shoulders and arms, as well as the core. They will also help to improve balance, and if you are a climber, they’re amazing to strengthen the weaker muscles of our shoulder joints!
Ways to Practice
The wall is a great tool to help you to find stability and build up endurance, without worrying about constantly falling over.
- Start on Table Top, feet against the wall. Lift your sitting bones back and up into a Downward Facing Dog shape.
- Walk your feet up the wall, until they are hip height and you are making an upside-down L shape.
- Make sure your hips are aligned above your shoulders. You may have to come down to adjust your distance to the wall in order to achieve this. Otherwise, if you are just a bit too close, you can come on to the tips of your toes.
- Now you can play with lifting one foot up above you whilst keeping the other on the wall. Then swap.
- Start with your hands near the wall in your Down Dog.
- Press your hands firmly down, as you walk your feet closer to them.
- Bend one knee as you extend the other leg.
- Flick the extended leg above you towards the wall to come to a handstand. You might have to try this a few times, as getting the momentum to flick your legs over can take some time to get used to. So don’t despair!
- Extend the other leg and now focus on keeping your body aligned as you move one foot off the wall, keeping the other heel pressing against the wall to support your balance.
- Then start playing around, moving both feet off the wall, with the comforting knowledge that the wall is behind you to catch you if you fall out of balance.
This one is great to help you to build on endurance. But coming out of it is a little tricky, so be mindful!
- Start in Downward Facing Dog shape with your feet against the wall.
- As you walk your feet up the wall, walk your hands closer until you are in a handstand position with your front against the wall.
- Hold for a few breaths, or for as long as you can comfortably hold your shape.
- To come out, you can either walk your hands away from the wall, returning to Down Dog (personally find this one quite hard after holding handstand for a while) …..
- Alternatively, you can “cartwheel” your way out as shown below.
Try with a partner!
If you are not yet entirely confident about trying to balance in the middle of the room, use a friend as your wall. Get them to spot you in the middle of the room and help you balance.
Partner work is also a great way to help you to “see” what’s going on! Sometimes, we think we are doing something when we are actually not. A good partner can help you with reminders of some little adjustments, which can make a whole lot of difference.