How to Approach Handstands When You’re Still Kinda Scared of Them

Photo: Cameron Spencer (Getty)

When we launched the handstand challenge last week, I confessed that I’m not really comfortable with being upside down—but I hoped to change that. Yesterday I did a handstand against a wall for the first time, and felt strong and stable. I’ll let you in on a few secrets.

First, I followed the advice of commenter tallnproud and began watching this series of videos on learning to do a handstand. In the very first video, we learn a few things about kicking up to a wall handstand:

  • Bend over and place your hands on the ground before starting to kick up. Don’t try to make it one smooth motion.
  • Point your hands forward (toward the wall).
  • Make sure your elbows are pointing away from the wall, which means your “elbow pits” are facing the wall.
  • Lock out your elbows, or if your joints hyperextend, just try to make your arms as straight as possible. And keep them locked out—if your elbows start to bend, you’re toast.

As luck would have it, one day I stopped in to CrossFit class and the skill of the day was handstand push-ups. That meant I had a suitable wall, a wide open space, and a coach who would stop me if I were about to do something stupid. And, friends, that was all it took. I remembered the points above, planted my hands, and—I did a wall handstand. Several, in fact. And then I took the first baby steps toward kipping (cheater) handstand push-ups, which is a whole adventure in itself.

Photo: Beth Skwarecki

If you’re still working on getting upside down, this video from the series mentioned above is a good way to start. It includes a bunch of movements meant to warm up your wrists and shoulders, and ends with practicing how to bail out of a failed handstand. Basically, it’s the same motions as a cartwheel, so you just need to get comfortable doing ugly-looking cartwheels at odd angles. Then this video, with many different ways to approach the handstand, is where the magic happens.


So, tell us how the challenge is going—have you managed to get your feet off the ground yet? What stage of the process are you working on?

from Lifehacker