Maybe you want to be able to do a handstand because you know that inversions boost your energy and relieve stress or maybe you want to rediscover your playful inner child. Whatever your reason for wanting to get your handstand down, it’s never too late to start practicing and the benefits are endless. As long as you don’t have any injuries or suffer from vertigo, practicing for a handstand is a great way to strengthen your upper body and improve your balance.
Before jumping right into the inversion, there are a few moves you should do to help you prepare. Core strength, proper pelvis alignment and shoulder flexibility and strength are all necessary for a successful handstand. Go slowly and work your way up to each move if you’ve never done a handstand before.
1. L Sit– A strong core is vital to nailing a handstand. Sit on the ground with your legs out in front of you, feet flexed. Place your hands on the ground by your hips with your fingers facing forward. Drop your head and scoop your abs as you round your back, filling out the space in between your shoulder blades. Press your hands into the ground to lift your hips up and back as much as you can. Your abs are pulling your legs into your hips so your heels will slide towards you on the ground. Practice lifting each leg slightly off the ground for a few seconds at a time until you are strong enough to lift both simultaneously.
2. Hamstring Stretch– Tight hamstrings affect your pelvis and lower back which must be in alignment to do a proper handstand. Kneel on the ground and extend one leg in front of you with your foot flexed and heel on the ground. Place your fingertips or hands on the floor on either side of your front leg. Keep your hips square as you lengthen your spine over your extended leg. Hold for a few breaths and then drop your head to your shin for another few breaths. From this position, transfer your weight to your front leg and straighten it as you extend the back leg up to the sky as high as you can for a standing split stretch. Bring your nose to your knee as you continue stretching the front hamstring. You may turn the top leg out and then bring it back to parallel with the hips square. Repeat on the other leg.
3. Single Leg Balance– Practice proper alignment and balance with this move. Start standing with your arms up and one leg back in parallel. Lift the back leg up as you lower your upper body towards the midline of your body. Your goal is to keep your hips square while getting your body into one straight horizontal line from your back heel to the top of your head. Flex your wrists and press your palms forward as if you’re pushing on the ground for a handstand. Try to hold this balance for a few seconds before returning to the start position with control. Repeat on the other side.
4. Wall Prep– This will help strengthen your arms and shoulders while learning to align your hips properly. Start in a tabletop position with your feet flexed against the base of a wall. Transfer your weight back like you’re doing a half downward dog. Walk your legs up the wall to hip height. Slowly straighten your legs away from the wall, putting more weight into your hands. Try your best to feel where your hips and spine are in space. Your goal is to get them stacked as upright as possible with most of your weight in your hands and fingertips. Pull your ribs in, square the hips using the wall and press your hands down into the ground with your fingers spread wide.
These 4 moves will help you build the strength and flexibility to do a handstand. Are you ready to look at the world from a whole new perspective?
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Video: Crystal Chin