Why Should You Learn The Handstand

Learning the handstand offers a range of benefits, including increased upper body and core strength, improved balance and body control, enhanced posture and flexibility, boosted confidence. The handstand hits many different muscles in the upper body including the shoulders, triceps, chest, and back.

To learn how to handstand follow these progressions and in no time you will unlock the handstand hold and get closer to achieving your fitness and calisthenics goals.

Handstand Progression Prerequisites

While not mandatory we recommend first building your fitness level to be able to perform the following exercises before attempting these handstand progressions. They will make learning the handstand much easier and reduce your risk of injury.

  • 10 Full Push Ups
  • 45 Seconds Plank
  • 30 Second straight arm dip hold

You can find all these exercises in our beginner calisthenics training guides.

Level 1: Pike Push ups

Pike push ups are a much harder variation of the pushup that places significantly more strain on the muscles in your shoulder. These will build up your shoulder strength to hold yourself up during the handstand. To perform a pike push up place your hands shoulder-width apart in front of you and lean forward with your butt in the air. Looking forward lower yourself by doing a push up remembering to keep your elbows inward. Your chin will touch the ground and from there push yourself back up to the starting position.

Typical Routine: 3 sets of 10 repetitions

Level 2: Wall Walks

The next step to learning the handstand is the chest to wall handstand walk. Facing away from the wall place your hands on the ground and feet on the wall. Slowly walk yourself up the wall as high as you can go without falling forward. Once you’ve reached the highest point you can hold this position and slowly walk back down. Repeat this until you get used to being upside down and can bring your hands close to the wall.

Level 3: Wall Assisted Handstand Hold

Using the motion we taught you on level 2, hold the highest point of the handstand for aslong as you can. This will train your shoulder stability and endurance. Aim to get parallel to the wall.

Level 4: Wall Kick Offs

Next start kicking your feet one at a time off the wall. As you get more comfortable use momentum to slightly bring your other foot off the wall. Aim to maintain 1-2 seconds without either foot touching the wall. If you are scared of falling forward place a crash mat or some type pf padding in front of you.

Level 5: The Handstand Kick Up

Once you are comfortable with the upright position of the handstand next is the freestanding kick up. We recommend having friend spot you during this handstand progression. Place your hands just past should width apart on the floor in front of you with your fingers pointed slightly out. Kick your legs forward above your head while keeping your arms locked. Have your spotter catch your knees and hold you in the handstand position. You may feel like you are straight but the spotter will be able to move your torso and legs until you become perfectly perpendicular to the ground. Keep practicing the kick up until your spotter does not need to adjust your position. Once you can kick up into the handstand position aim to hold it for as long as you can.

Level 6: The Static Handstand Hold

Many people get stuck right before this step and walk their hands around to try and find balance. Instead, grip your fingertips into the ground to act as a lever to help you create a sense of balance. Focus on locking your arms out and adjusting by changing which part of your hand is supporting the most weight. If you are experiencing wrist pain during the static handstand consider using parallel bars or parallettes.

If you want to strengthen your upper body and build the strength required to do handstand pushups one day check out some of these push up variations.