How to hold your handstand

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I'm a lover of calisthenics. As much of a fan as I am of picking up the weights, I also love to use my own body to work out. Push ups, pulls ups, planks, and handstands are my go-tos after running or mixed in with circuit training. I've been paying special attention to trying to hold my handstands longer. Handstands increase shoulder, core, and arm strength, decompress the spine, increases circulation,  boosts your mood, and strengthen your bones!  

If you're just starting out with handstands, I recommend reading this article for some really great tips to get you started! This is another really great article, complete with several videos showing different techniques. If you're already able to hold the handstand against the wall, but are having trouble holding it or kicking into position, read this article. I especially LOVE the part about dropping your shoulders. When I teach class at Hilliard Studio Method, I, and all the rest of the instructors, probably say "drop your shoulder away from your ears", or "shoulders down and back" a million times. It's funny how I didn't think to use that in a handstand, but once I relaxed my shoulders down my back it made an incredible difference in how I was able to balance in my handstand. I'm getting better at kicking up into a handstand, but usually for a few minutes I kick up against the wall and practice balancing and feeling the weight in my hands and my core pulling tight. I play with tapping one foot and then the other and then I try to hold the handstand for as long as I can.

 

Strengthening your upper body and your core is a great way to feel stronger when taking on handstands. I would recommend doing planks (here's another article on ways to increase hand strength to help pushups while you're doing planks), adding "up-downs" into your plank routine (From high plank, separate your feet a few inches, keep spine neutral. Keeping your hips from rocking side to side, come down to your elbow on the right, down on the left, then press up to your hand on the right, up on the left. Repeat.), and push-ups (From plank position, bring inner thighs and ankles together, even if you're on your knees, and if you're on your knees, make sure you don't cross your ankles. Walk your hands wider than your shoulders, angle fingertips slightly in, and bend 90 degrees at your elbows, bringing chest in line, or slightly lower than your elbow. Make sure that your gaze is slightly forward to avoid hanging your head)

 

So there you go! Those are some of the things I do to help me in my practice! I hope it's helpful for you, too!

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