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The KEY to unlocking your handstand hold is here!
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So you want to learn to do a handstand?
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After seeing too many awful tutorials online misleading millions of people with incorrect knowledge, we decided to do something about it…
We created the ONLY online courses that take you, step-by-step, through learning how to do a handstand (with proper results!)
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Remember when you were a kid and you and your friends would cartwheel around and kick up onto your hands?
You could do it then, so surely you can do it now, right?
If you’ve tried, you’ve probably realised that this is not the case!
Handstands are technically very difficult. People are often surprised at how tough it really is to learn to do them.
Most people think that balancing is the hard part but actually, if you build the other foundational pieces first, like strength, flexibility and alignment, then holding it comes easier than you might think!
There is so much misinformation online that people end up trying to learn handstands NOT in the best way. This leads to little to no progress with people getting frustrated and giving up.
If your expectation is that you’ll master this move in 30 days, you’ll need to adjust your mindset or suffer disappointment!
It takes hard graft AND correct knowledge to actually make progress.
This is where we come in. We offer step by step courses that include our proven process for teaching handstands (that actually works!)
It is not a question of just kicking up over and over again and then one day the magic happens and you’re able to hold it!
You need the following to be able to learn how to hold efficiently.
People always want to go straight to the balance part because what people SEE as ‘doing a handstand’ is ‘balancing on your hands’. So, if they can’t ‘do it’, they THINK it’s because they can’t ‘balance on their hands’, hence why that’s what they want to work on. However…
Balance is just one of multiple factors that make up ‘doing a handstand’.
If you have good strength, flexibility and alignment, then learning the hold is easy and comes down to the following…
We see this question a lot and we also see lots of other people (including coaches) recommending useless drills that they don’t understand and/or never did themselves.
They tell you, ‘Practice makes perfect!’
However, practice doesn’t even make you good if you’re practising the wrong thing.
What you really need to progress is…
(Not random useless drills to do over and over again!)
There’s ABSOLUTELY an optimal way to train that will save you years of frustration and effort.
And if you don’t train this way then in a year’s time, you’re going to be looking at all the people who did train this way and wondering why they are so far ahead of you.
This is why we created the ‘7 Pillars’, written below to help you understand the best order to train this skill.
Specific Strength is important to work on first because it’s essential for safety, achieving perfect alignment and endurance. But just going to the gym is not going to cut it. Being great at squats might mean you’re ‘strong’ but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re strong for handstands. That’s why you need to train strength that’s specifically relevant to holding yourself upside down.
Many coaches and courses teaching handstands will START with you doing handstands. Now, even though this ‘SEEMS’ like a good place to start, it’s actually NOT the best way to start teaching someone how to do this move. Far better to focus on building the relevant strength BEFORE going upside down, so you don’t risk collapsing on your face and/or getting pain from asking your body to do too much, too soon.
We always use the saying ‘Don’t run a marathon before you can jog a mile!’
SO many people start their journey by just ‘trying to handstand’. Now, this isn’t NECESSARILY bad but it won’t really get you much closer to your goal (and you can end up further away if you injure yourself!).
You need to build a strong foundation in order to learn effectively!
Flexibility is essential for achieving perfect alignment and it’s the one thing that most people lack.
One of the biggest limitations for those that want to get a solid, straight line is their inability to ‘open their shoulders’ enough. This is normally due to a lack of flexibility and/or strength in the shoulders.
It’s important to work on this as soon as you can, to avoid stunting your progress and having to go back and work on it later.
Even though stretching and strengthening your shoulders might ‘SEEM’ to be less useful than trying to kick up and hold again and again, actually, spending time improving your shoulder flexibility and strength is likely to be far more beneficial to achieving your goal.
Alignment is the foundation that the rest of your technique is built upon. With excellent alignment, your handstand is easier to balance and takes less energy so you can hold it for longer.
This doesn’t mean you should NEVER practise holding before having good alignment but having good alignment will make a HUGE impact on you balancing.
In our experience…
If someone focuses on balance BEFORE they have a straight line, then yes, they are likely to be able to ‘stay in a handstand’ sooner than someone who focuses on their alignment BEFORE balance. And if ‘staying in a handstand’ is the height of their handstand dreams, then maybe that’s the way they should go…
If you dream of having a clean, beautiful, controlled handstand and/or doing more advanced skills, then focusing on balance BEFORE alignment is NOT the way to go and here’s why.
If you learn to hold before having good alignment, you are more likely to be in the classic ‘banana handstand’ shape AND more likely to be ‘balancing with your body’ (maintaining your balance by moving parts of your body).
Both of these seriously hinder learning more advanced skills.
Someone who took the time to get excellent alignment early on (who ‘SEEMED’ to be further behind because it took them longer to ‘stay in a handstand’) has now learned to balance CORRECTLY and is progressing to more advanced skills in an efficient and effective way without having to waste time going back to fix parts of their technique.
We see a lot of people talking about having ‘THE FEAR’.
Fear is there for a very useful reason…. to help us survive.
When we were living in caves, having a fear of a bear being outside your cave and eating you when you left your cave, reminded you to check for a bear before leaving your cave and therefore kept you alive.
However, if you have a strong fear of falling or hurting yourself doing handstands, this can severely stunt your progress.
We also hear a lot of people saying ‘I just can’t get off the wall!’
This is frequently down to them being scared of doing it away from the wall because they don’t want to fall over the top and hurt themselves (among other reasons).
So, even if they do pluck up the courage to try, they don’t put enough power into their kick up, so always end up falling back to their feet.
The best way to deal with your fear of falling is by learning how to turn out.
Turning out correctly enables you to fall out in a controlled, comfortable and safe way, reducing your fear and boosting your confidence. This helps get you off the wall and gives you the freedom to practise kicking to handstand and trying to hold it wherever you like.
So if you want to learn to kick up and hold it then, later on, to progress to more advanced skills such as shapes, transitions, press, etc. then learn to turn out! It’s a major piece of the puzzle and will have a HUGE impact on your training. Once you’re safe and comfortable turning out, the world is your handstand oyster and your progress will skyrocket!
Balance is the ability to hold your handstand. To do this correctly, you use your wrists/hands/fingers rather than your body. With excellent alignment, it’s easier to balance and takes less energy to hold.
If you already have good alignment and you’re strong enough to hold your body shape without parts of your body moving, then working on balance is simple.
You just need to do these three things…
1. Learn how to stop yourself from going over.
2. Learn how to stop yourself from coming back down to your feet.
3. Learn when you are ‘in line’.
There are a lot of sh*t drills out there that don’t help you learn the correct way to balance. Some of them actively hinder you!
A common mistake that we see people do a lot is to kick to the wall (back to wall), take one or both feet off the wall and try to hold. The main problem with this is, that most people adjust their body shape to get off the wall (and get their centre of gravity over their hands).
This is actually teaching your body to do the OPPOSITE of what you want to do in a freestanding handstand.
What you want is to ELIMINATE moving your body (adjusting your shape) in order to hold it. The ‘balancing’ part should only be done using the wrists, hands and fingers.
This is why we think heel and toe pull drills are some of the most unhelpful drills out there. They teach you to hold using your body instead of teaching you to keep your body still and to maintain your balance using your wrists, hands and fingers.
If you’re balancing by constantly moving your body (adjusting your shape) then you reduce your ability to move your body as you choose (e.g. different shapes and transitions). To have the freedom to move as you choose you MUST balance by using your wrists, hands and fingers NOT your body.
If you’re not in control of maintaining your balance, it’s in control of you!
Consistency is the Pillar that lies behind you hitting and holding a solid handstand, EVERY SINGLE TIME. Consistency is not consistently practising, it’s practising Consistency.
We practise Consistency so we can KNOW we’ll succeed at doing a handstand BEFORE we actually go to do it.
If you can’t do one when you want to, what’s the point of all the work you’ve put in?
This is kind of a unique Pillar. It’s the last part of learning to handstand (Specific Strength, Flexibility, Alignment, Balance, Consistency) and the first part of mastering a handstand (Consistency, Endurance, Shape and beyond).
The people who say things like ‘consistency is key’ likely have a lack of understanding that sabotages their success and the success of everyone they advise.
Consistency IS key, ONLY IF it’s the key that actually unlocks the door you want to open. Otherwise, you’re just consistently trying to ram the wrong key into the lock.
Now imagine doing that for years. It sounds absurd, right? Well, we see people doing this every day with handstands.
You don’t need to ‘complete’ Balance before you start Consistency. You can start trying to be consistent earlier but it will be a slower learning process compared to learning to be consistent after having gained some Balance ability.
The more you understand Alignment and Balance, the faster you will learn Consistency.
If you’re alignment and/or balance is bad, then it would be worth training that rather than consistency because it’s almost impossible to consistently do something well that you can only do badly.
Endurance is your ability to maintain your strength over time. This influences how long you can stay upside down.
It’s important to train Endurance because it unlocks the door to many of the advanced skills such as different shapes, transitions between these shapes and one arms.
If your goal is to be able to do a solid straight handstand for 10 seconds every single time, you probably don’t need to train Endurance. However, most of the advanced skills require you to spend a decent amount of time upside down (like going from straight to straddle to tuck then back to straight again OR going from straight to straddle to one arm then lifting the other arm, etc.) so you need endurance for these skills.
If your endurance is bad, your strength will fade quickly and you will soon find yourself without enough strength to hold a good handstand, let alone execute positions that are even more physically demanding on your body.
That being said, you don’t want to focus on training your ‘max time’ before you have good foundations in place. Doing this can easily lead to discomfort or injury because your body might not yet be ready to be put under the strain of doing handstands for such long periods of time.
Pushing your body past what it’s capable of AND doing it with bad technique is a great way to injure yourself. Injury is almost always caused by changing your environment too soon and/or too much (discounting accidents, falls, etc.)
So, pushing your body to increase your ‘max time’ endurance holds before you have good foundational technique OR pushing your body to increase your ‘max time’ too quickly, is going to increase your risk of injury and this could take you drastically away from your goal.
Many people think that the best or only way to train endurance is by doing a handstand (freestanding or against a wall) for as long as you can, over and over again. This does work but there are smarter and better ways to train your endurance.
It’s better to train endurance by taxing your body by changing certain variables such as volume, intensity, duration of execution or rest, etc. WITHOUT compromising technique (to a certain extent).
Shape is all about the basic shapes; straddle, tuck and pike. These are important because they are used for many handstand movements, such as jumping up, the press, some advanced figures and the one arm.
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