The Best Handstand Routine For Beginners

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A lot of people want to know how to do a handstand and the steps it takes to master it, because, let’s be honest, everybody wants to be able to stand on their hands, right? This is a great skill to learn for several reasons. Not only because it’s a fun practice, but also because it has boundless progressions and variations. The most important of all is the satisfaction of mastering something that you beforehand thought was impossible.

Just as it may take a baby up to 12 months of daily practice and conditioning to eventually be able to walk on their own, it can also take this amount of time to be able to build enough strength and bodily awareness to perform a handstand. Are you committed to investing that kind of time? I can assure you that it will be one of the most satisfying journeys you’ll ever experience.

In the process of your handstand journey, you will notice that the skills you develop will be transferable to your other training, gearing you to be a better overall athlete and improving your pursuit towards a better body. 

Handstand Warm Up

Before you begin any type of training, I highly recommend that you warm up your body to prepare for the training ahead. This will gradually increase your body temperature and heart rate to increase blood circulation which will prime your muscles. Here is a follow-along routine that you can practice before you start handstand drills.

Handstand For Beginners

Start your handstand training with a simple wall-assisted handstand. This may appear to be like an elementary conditioning exercise but bear in mind that a baby has to crawl before he or she can stand. Let’s commence the training with the chest-to-wall handstand.

Chest To Wall Handstand

This is a great exercise to get you comfortable with being upside down. This will build strength in your shoulders and develop handstand alignment, which is all about getting the wrists, arms, shoulders, torso, hips, and legs stacked in the same vertical line. 

  1. Begin in a push up position with your hands shoulder-width apart and your feet against the wall. 
  2. Walk your hands and feet back into a handstand until your body is diagonal to the wall, which is approximately around 45 degrees. The goal is aligning your body to be completely vertical, but for now, walk back to a position where you feel comfortable. 
  3. Once in a comfortable position, keep your head in between your arms, grip the ground with your fingertips, lock the elbows out and focus your eyes on a spot in between your hands. Squeeze your glutes, quads, and core. Also, don’t forget to breathe!
  4. Your goal is to be able to hold a wall-assisted handstand for one minute. Bring your hands closer to the wall after every set. 
  5. Perform this between 10-20 seconds hold for 8 sets, with 90-120 seconds rest in between sets.

Hollow Body Hold

To develop a straight handstand, we want our spine (notably the lower back) to be as flat as possible. The hollow body hold will help us to achieve this as it puts the hips in a posterior pelvic tilt, which makes the lower back vertebrae stacked on top of each other. If not, you will have a banana back handstand, a bad habit to break out of – I am certainly guilty of this!

  1. Lie on your back with your arms extended overhead and your legs straight with your feet together. 
  2. Lift your feet 4 inches and close the gap in your lower back by engaging your core, glutes, and tucking your tailbone under. Notice how your hips tilt back. Squeeze your abs and glutes to lock this position. This will create an optimal straight body.
  3. Hold this position for 10-30 seconds for 5 sets, with 90-120 seconds rest in between sets.

Back To Wall Handstand 

This drill will build-up to the strength, endurance, and strength to be able to jump into a handstand. I have previously covered how to kick up into a handstand and dismount from it in this handstand tutorial. If you find this difficult just stick with it, keep kicking up until you finally get it!

  1.  Begin in a push up position with your hands shoulder-width apart, and your head facing the wall. Your hands are about a foot’s distance away from the wall. 
  2. Tuck your non-dominant leg towards your chest to create a runners-up position. Keep your arms locked out and lean your shoulders forward so that it is in line with your fingertips.
  3. Kick up into a handstand by pushing off with your bent knee until you eventually find the right amount of power to get fully inverted. 
  4. Press fingers hard into the ground, tuck your ears in between your shoulders, and contract your core, glutes, quads, and calves.
  5. Your goal is to be able to hold this for one minute.
  6. Perform this between 10-20 seconds hold for 8 sets, with 90-120 seconds rest in between sets.

Pike Push Ups

The pike push up is a direct shoulder exercise that is essential for building the base for your freestanding handstand. It will develop your shoulder strength and improve core stability which is crucial for the handstand. 

  1. Begin in a push up position with your hands shoulder-width apart. Walk your feet forward towards your hands into a pike position. Press into your tiptoes to push your hips towards the ceiling.
  2. Inhale as you lower down by bending the elbows and bringing your nose as close to the ground as possible. Keep your core tight and your elbows tucked in towards your torso. 
  3. Exhale as you push through your palms to drive back to the starting position. 
  4. Repeat this between 6-12 reps for 4 sets.

If you have tight hamstrings, a modification for this is to bend your knees slightly. To progress, you can place your feet on an elevated surface to do elevated pike push ups.

Handstand Workout

To sum up what we have covered, here’s an example workout plan that you can follow. Feel free to make changes to the exercises to accommodate gain in strength and create a new stimulus to your training. 

The Takeaway

To unlock the handstand hold, you will need to condition your shoulder and core muscles to be able to build up the strength and endurance to accommodate you being inverted. Just like how the baby has to learn how to crawl first in order to walk, you will have to learn how to support your body upside down before you can balance on your hands.

Practice these four handstand drills for at least 15 minutes, 4 times a week to build towards far more efficient use of the wall in your handstand training. You got this, keep on practicing and it will eventually pay off. Visualize how amazing it will make you feel once you can do it anywhere, anytime. This feeling should keep you pushing through!

If you want help progressing with the handstand from this point onwards, and want a step-by-step guide on how to handstand and develop your physical strength faster, check out our online 1-to-1 calisthenics coaching.


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