Handstands are the ultimate gymnastics skill – they are the only skill that is performed in every single event in gymnastics. There are important elements in the handstand such as form, duration of hold and the angle of your handstand. In this article, we are going to give you 4 tips to help you hold your handstand longer.
Tip 1: Make Sure You Find Vertical
Once you kick your legs up into the handstand, you want to make sure you find vertical. Get into a straight body handstand position – this means that your shoulders are over your wrists, your hips are over your shoulders and your legs and feet are squeezed tightly (and pointed) straight above your hips.
Tip 2: Use Your Fingertips to Maintain Your Balance
Gripping your fingertips into the ground helps to maintain your balance. When you have a good foundation, the handstand is easier to hold. Spread your fingers and dig into the surface you’re completing your handstand on. The Save Game drill (watch at 6:19) helps you maintain your handstand even when you feel like you are falling forwards or backwards by helping you adjust your shoulder angle.
Tip 3: Squeeze Your Core and Bottom
Your core is one of the most important muscle groups to help you have a good handstand. Your core muscles help you hold a straight body handstand position. There are so many exercises you can do to improve your core strength, including the following:
- plank holds (watch between 1:53-2:11)
- push-ups (watch between 3:27-3:35)
- pull-ups (watch between 1:29-1:42)
- open shoulder plank holds (watch between 3:13-4:07)
- open shoulder push-up walks (watch between 1:10)
- open shoulder push-up hops (watch from 49 seconds to 1:27)
- plank holds on a ball (watch between 5:29-6:04), etc – the list can go on and on!
Tip 4: Push Up Through Your Shoulders
Pushing through your shoulders, towards the ceiling is also important to help you improve your handstand hold. Here are some drills that help you strengthen the muscles to do this:
- Spiderman Handstands – Watch from 52 seconds to 1:11. In this drill you will stand near a wall that has nothing (no furniture or other objects) near you that you can hit. You can also do this with a wedge placed against the wall, or with a handstand homework mat. Stand with your back to the wall. Put your hands on the ground and one of your feet on the wall. Walk your feet up the wall and move your hands closer to the wall until your belly is flat against the wall. Hold for a couple seconds and then crawl back down the wall and back to your feet.
- Spiderman Shoulder Taps – Do spiderman against the wall trying to get as close to the wall as you can with a tight body position. Once you get close to the wall try to lift one hand up and tap your shoulder. Repeat with the other hand. Then come down from the handstand. Repeat 4x. If this is too hard, don’t attempt. Just hold the spiderman each time for 8 secs (beg) or 10 secs (int)
- The Save Game – This drill takes awhile to get, so don’t get frustrated! Kick up to handstand and when you feel yourself falling either forwards or backwards try to save at least once. If you can save more times keep going! Practice this for 3 minutes.