So You Wanna Do A Handstand?
Besides just being something cool to be able to do, handstands are actually a great skill to learn for core control, balance, and coordination.Whenever I post a photo of me doing a handstand, I often get comments like, "I could never do that!", or, "I'm scared of going upside down!". But some people actually want to know how they could learn to do one, so I thought I'd share how I learned!
When I started doing CrossFit a few years ago, a handstand was one of the things I really wanted to learn to do, so I made it a goal of mine. A few years later, I am now finally at the point where I can hold a handstand for 10-20 seconds and even walk on my hands(although I'm not very good at that yet!).
First, I practiced just kicking up to a wall. I had the upper body strength, so it was more about learning how much force I needed to use get my legs up over my head. I would practice this until I got to the point where I could easily kick up to the wall and hold myself there for 30 seconds. From there, I worked on kicking away from the wall and trying to balance on my hands. I would usually do this only for a few seconds, but I worked on it a few minutes every single day.
I finally got to the point where I could hold myself up for a second or two, and so I just worked at that over and over and over and over. Over time, I eventually learned how to balance myself with my fingers and wrists by "gripping" the ground, and I found that thinking about pushing myself into the ground by activating my lats and shoulders, as well as sqeezing my butt and keeping my core tight really helped also. After practicing almost every single day, a few seconds turned into 5 seconds, and then 10 seconds, and then around 20 seconds, which is the longest I've held.
Now, I definitely have not yet mastered this skill by any means! I still practice for a few minutes every other day or so, and now I'm working on keeping my core tighter and not arching my back as much. There are still days when I go up and just fall right back over! It usually takes me a few tries, but I keep trying until I can get one good hold for about 10-15 seconds. Occasionally, I'll work on my handstand walking, but I'm not as persistent with this as I was with my handstands, so I gotta keep at it more consistently!
So, here's my challenge to YOU! How about setting a goal of being able to do a handstand before the end of the year? Here's how you can start:
*Assuming you have sufficient upper body strength, practice kicking yourself up to a wall a few times every day. Put your hands about a foot away from the wall. You could even start by walking your feet up the wall first to get into position and get used to being upside down.
*Once you can do a wall handstand, hold 10-45 seconds a few times every day. Work on pushing into the ground, keeping your abs tight, and squeezing your legs and glutes as hard as you can. This isn't easy! When you can do 3 sets of 45 seconds, then you can start working on kicking away from the wall, or having someone hold your feet after you kick up.
*If you can do a wall handstand, start working on a freestanding handstand for a few minutes every day. That's all it takes. You may not feel like you're getting any better from day to day, but keep working at it! Let me know how it goes!