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If you've been playing around with how to do Headstands and Forearm Stands, Handstands are another fun inversion to try. Coolness aside, a proper handstand is a symphony of strength, balance, coordination and proprioception -- which means it improves one's awareness of one's own body. That's a big deal: Training the body to become better aware of where it's located in space comes with a whole range of benefits. All of those superhuman balance benefits are great, but handstands are also a kick-ass strength training exercise. Greatist expert and celebrity trainer Jonathan Angelilli feels that yoga's a great way to build the right foundation. Remember to keep the eyes focused between the hands, try keeping the index fingers parallel, and, perhaps most importantly, don't forget to breathe calmly and deeply. The beginner-friendly cat pose is a great way to relieve tension in the spine, shoulders and neck, and to boost circulation in the upper body. However, they are far from easy and many of us can’t even hold one against a wall let alone hold a freestanding one for a second. No matter your level, there is a handstand variation right for you that can help you work toward that freestanding handstand and give you a great upper body and core workout. Check out our How to do a Handstand Progression (and our How to do a One-Handed Handstand Progression) to help you achieve that handstand or at least get in some great upper body and core work! If you’ve never attempted a handstand before and you sit at a desk job all day, you will want to start with a variation of the Downward Dog. This Downward Dog variation will improve your upper body mobility to help you remain injury free as you work toward harder handstand variations.
To do the Downward Dog Handstand Variation, start on your hands and knees with your hands a little bit out in front of you. As you drive your butt up, press your chest back and create a nice straight line from the heels of your palms up your spine to your tailbone. Also, make sure you don’t walk your hands back toward your feet to get your back flatter. To progress the handstand from this Downward Dog Variation, place your feet up on a box or bench. This Box Handstand Variation will still work on your mobility while making the upper body and core work harder to stabilize. As you press your butt up toward the ceiling, create a nice straight line with your arms and spine. Once you start to feel comfortable with these modified holds off of the wall, you are ready to begin walking up the wall. With the wall holds, also start focusing on really feeling and gripping the ground with your hands. Also, make sure that you engage your abs and glutes to protect your low back as you walk up the wall further. The higher up you walk your feet and the closer to the wall you get with your hands, the harder the handstand hold will be.
With this Advanced Handstand Wall Hold, make sure you are not letting your low back arch or your legs rest against the wall. Once you can hold with your body completely parallel to the wall, you will want to try to lift one foot at a time from the wall to force your core to work harder to stabilize. Then you will want to move on from the static holds to Handstand Hip Touches and Wall Walking.
Handstand Hip Touches are a great way to help you develop core stability and strength for freestanding handstands. Then with your body in a nice straight line all the wall from your hands to your heels, slowly lift one hand up off the ground to touch your hip. If you feel your hips really wiggling from side to side, you may need to widen your feet more or regress the movement.
To do Lateral Wall Walks, set up in a handstand against the wall with your hands no more than a foot from the wall. To do In-And-Out Wall Walks, you are going to start either off the wall or on the wall in a handstand right against the wall. You will basically be moving from a plank position against the wall from your hands to a completely upright handstand against the wall. Especially as you near the bottom of the wall, you will want to let your hips sag, but you must fight to maintain a nice straight line with your body from your head to your heels.
As you become comfortable with the wall walks, you will want to start working on holds with little wall assistance. If you only ever do handstand holds walking up the wall, you will get very strong and very good at handstand holds against the wall. But if you want to be able to do a freestanding handstand, at some point, you need to start leaving behind the safety of the wall. The best way to start doing this is by flipping up to the wall the other way (your back will be to the wall instead of your chest when you hold the handstand).
To do the Wall Assisted Handstand Hold, stand facing the wall and place your hands on the ground no more than a foot from the wall. Then kick your feet up toward the wall, pressing up into a handstand with your heels against the wall. From this hold against the wall, you can progress the movement by lifting one foot off the wall.

To do the Wall Assisted to Freestanding Handstand, kick up into the handstand hold against the wall and then slowly lift one foot away.
Once you are able to remove both feet from the wall and balance, you will want to set up further from the wall and try kicking up into a freestanding handstand. Since the wall will still be behind you, if you kick up to far and start to go over, your feet will come to the wall so that you can push off and come back into the handstand. To do the Freestanding Handstand with Wall Safety, set up about a foot from the wall so that it is there if you lose the handstand over, but not close enough that you will kick right back up into it.
With the wall not right behind you, you can really work on controlled kick ups and balancing while still having the safety of the wall behind you.
From this assisted freestanding handstand, the next step is just to practice the fully Freestanding Handstand!
As you play around with the freestanding handstand, you may find you want to test out other handstand variations. To work on the this One-Handed Handstand Variation, you will want to go back to that Wall Assisted Handstand Hold.
There are also only very subtle changes to this basic hold to work toward the one-handed hold. Whereas with the Freestanding Handstand Progression there were a ton of different variations, to work toward the one-handed handstand, there are very little changes you will make to this Wall-Assisted Handstand Hold.
The first thing you will want to begin doing from this hold against the wall with your feet wide is shift your weight slightly from side to side. Once you feel in control of this slight weight shift, try to shift the weight further off one hand and lift your palm. After lifting your palm so that your fingers are supporting your weight, try to lift up onto your fingertips. From your fingertips, begin to lift each finger off the ground until your weight is basically all one one side with only your finger down. As you become more confident in the movement, you will be able to more quickly lift your hand straight off the ground without taking as much time to shift your weight. Subscribe To Our NewsletterSubscribe to our newsletter for free workouts, fitness tips and more! It's also worth mentioning that headstands and handstands become easier when your core is strengthened.
I’m getting to the point where I can hold a solid handstand for a good 8-10 seconds, but I still need to use the wall to assist me in getting up into position.
In saying that, it has been a long time since that happened, maybe my memory of it isn’t that accurate. Still, aside from practicing it frequently on my own, when going to various yoga classes around town I find myself scoping out good locations in the room where I’ll be able to practice if it happens to be included in the class.
In the next video, popular yoga instructor Tara Stiles gives some good pointers on practicing your handstand pose. Additionally, for a more detailed handstand tutorial, check out Yoga Journal’s Challenge Pose: Handstand article.
Not only does it reduce the risk of injury (ankle sprains, for instance, are often linked to poor proprioception in the lower body), but it's even been shown to improve intelligence. Just about every muscle in the body needs to work together to maintain a handstand, but it's especially good for strengthening the core and developing strong, stable shoulders.
In Babenko's opinion, the best exercise for handstand prep is the shoulder press: Add 3 sets of 10 to your workouts until you're pressing at least half of your bodyweight. Follow the training plan below and progress to the next exercise when it becomes relatively easy to hold the pose for a minute or two. Begin with your hands and knees on the floor in a tabletop position, and gently round the spine up as you exhale.
Beginner variations even improve your upper body mobility so that as your strength increases, you can do more and more challenging variations. Being able to grip the ground will become more and more important as you progress to the freestanding handstand. You want to engage your abs and glutes and create a nice straight line with your body from the heels of your palms all the way up to the heels of your feet. They also really help you work on your hand’s connection to the ground and your lat engagement. Slowly keep alternating hip touches until time is up or you’ve completed a set number of repetitions. You want to keep your abs and glutes engaged so that your body doesn’t rotate from side to side much. Make sure your body is in a nice straight line and that your hips aren’t caving toward the wall.
While both the hip touches and the lateral wall walks require upper body and core strength, these wall walks will definitely challenge your upper body strength.
You will then walk your feet down or up the wall moving your hands in and out from the wall. Once you feel in control and balanced, slowly lift the other foot away from the wall until you are holding with no assistance from the wall.
But other than having the safety of the wall, you will be basically working on the freestanding handstand.
Also make sure to really focus on gripping the ground with your hands as your hands are your base and super important in helping you hold a freestanding handstand!

They think this creates a better base of support but it actually makes the movement onto one hand tougher. Slowly shift your weight toward one hand and feel your obliques and lat really engage to stabilize. If you just try to quickly lift, you probably won’t correctly engage and just end up falling. I'm an ACE-Certified Personal Trainer, 500 Hour Registered Yoga Teacher, and group fitness instructor. They'll help you build strength and stability, so you'll be standing on your hands in no time! According to Babenko, these benefits have huge carryover to weightlifting and general physical ability, and perhaps surprisingly, handstands run a very low risk of injury -- so long as you don't fall too hard!
Simple exercises like push-ups, pike push-ups and especially pike ups on a Swiss ball are great supplements, and a would-be handstand practitioner should get plenty of experience with long, steady planks. The best way to advance in handstand prep is to practice every day, if only for five minutes. Practice regularly and the next step will be handstand push-ups -- but we'll leave that to you!
They are a great way to have the balance and safety of the wall while creating more instability and forcing your body to get stronger for the full handstand (they also help with hand walking and the one-arm handstand!). If you are more than a foot from the wall, you probably aren’t yet ready for this variation. Make sure your abs are engaged and that you don’t feel this movement in your low back. If you feel yourself losing balance, you can bring one foot back to the wall to help you stabilize.
If you start to go over, tap your foot on the wall behind you to stabilize and press back into the handstand. Well, at least until I discovered this video of Dylan Werner doing some amazing yoga inversions. A recent German study found that after only two sessions of balance training (which improves the brain's ability to monitor proprioception), the brain started to develop new grey matter, which is linked to improved memory, attention span and learning abilities.
Unlike straightforward strength training, which requires plenty of rest and recovery, working up to a handstand fits more neatly into skill training, and can be practiced more frequently. I expect that it will just happen all of a sudden, the way it was when I first learned to do crow pose. Hold this position for as long as you can, and you'll really feel your core and upper body working hard to keep your body up. I have a long way to go before I’m able to do a quarter of what he does in this video, but first I’ll need to master handstand. The answer varies from person to person, but the best definition might come from Greatist expert and doctor of physical therapy, Eugene Babenko: "The fitter you are, the more you can control your body, and the more prepared you are for the unexpected." Few skills hone these qualities as well as the handstand -- and the fact that it's the world's coolest-looking exercise is a nice bonus, too! When you're ready, start pulling your head away from the wall, balancing in a full Handstand. Start off in a simple plank and walk your feet in towards your hands, leaving a few inches between them. Next, get the shoulder girdle firmly in place by protracting your shoulders, activating all the muscles of the rotator cuff, engaging latissimus dorsi and serratus anterior. Once these muscles are turned on, move your shoulders forward so that the deltoids are at least over the palms but not past the fingertips. ADVERTISEMENT The key to handstand press is to shift the weight of your body forward while maintaining healthy alignment through the shoulders and activating the core muscles. If your shoulders collapse or retract, it's not safe to press up into handstand because the weight of your body will dump down into the joint capsule of the shoulder. You need to actively reach out with your arms the entire time that you are transferring the weight forward. Allow yourself to lift a little off the ground and feel a sense of weightlessness in your legs and feet.
If you can jump up into a handstand, try lowering down from handstand as slowly as possible. Or, if you have the control go as far down as possible, and then instead of just hitting the floor lift back up to simulate the illusive handstand press. I had to forgive myself for all the mistakes and disastrous attempts and just have fun with it. Once I learned how to relax and enjoy the process, the whole energy of the movement just started to flow. But the journey itself is also the goal and you have to enjoy it just as much as getting the result. Robynne Chutkan Please enable Javascript to watch this video SHARE SHARES KEEP READING:   #video #yoga #yoga poses #yoga poses video An email a day to brighten your way Sign up to receive wellness inspiration and news!

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