Are you experiencing back pain during handstand training?
One of the unique and powerful things about a solid handstand training program, is its ability to strengthen your deep local musculature system.
These are the deep muscles responsible for movement in your spine and hip region.
However, it all depends on your practice.
What Is Causing Back Pain During Handstand Training?
If there is a back pain during handstand problem, it may be a number of things.
Your alignment can be causing issues. For example, arching your back and/or practicing with banana back holds your back in extension. Your core is not contracted in this position to support the spine.
It could even be a sign of dysfunction in your Posterior Oblique Subsystem (POS).
The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) notes that,
Dysfunction of any structure in the posterior oblique subsystem can lead to SIJ instability and low-back pain.A Practical Approach to Training the Muscle Synergies (NASM)
Back pain during activity in general is often a sign of POS dysfunction.
Now I’m no expert. But that’s where I would look to address the problem. Strengthening these and all of the deep musculature supporting the spine.
Below are 6 ways to finally get over back pain during handstand training.
1. Consult With A Professional
Top of the list. For good reason!
Your situation and lifestyle is unique. Just because some guy on a blog is talking about targeting your POS doesn’t mean you should blindly tune in and not seek a professional opinion.
Find yourself a good Physiotherapist.
In my experience, GPs tend to be too quick with a prescription pad. Rather than targeting the problem, they offer pain relief in form of a pill.
Sure, the good ones will forward you to a physical rehabilitation specialist. Look in your area for someone who specializes in back pain. Book a consultation. Let them know you are experiencing back pain during handstand, and any other activities that cause you problems.
They will assess your lifestyle patterns and address the key muscles that need to be focused on. They will also give you exercises to strengthen and/or mobilize those areas in particular.
This will definitely be the fastest way to alleviate back pain during handstand.
2. Build A Rock Solid Core
One thing that’s great about handstands, is all of the amazing core compression and strengthening drills you can do.
Your local muscular system are the deep internal muscles with attachments around the spine. These include your POS.
Training the local muscular system requires plenty of stabilization. As well as hip flexion and extension.
There are many ways you can train your core. Arch and hollows might be good, as they will target not only your anterior muscles, but the posterior ones you (likely) need to strengthen as well.
Another great exercise, especially as it allows you to focus more on engaging the core while moving your extremities, is lying tucks.
These are also great for your handstand alignment.
(These are just some of the drills we do for core in Handstand Mastery).
Focus on quality of movement. The goal is to maintain contraction of the core muscles through the whole movements.
3. Build Total Body Strength
The body is meant to push, pull, squat, lunge, and move dynamically.
Building total body strength through resistance training is one of the best ways to “bulletproof” your spine and body as a whole.
I’m NOT talking about isometric isolation. For example, bicep curls won’t do much for back pain during handstand.
Your workouts should involve multi-dimensional, compound movements that challenge large muscle groups.
Pushups, pullups, squats, lunges, and movements involving similar biomechanics are highly recommended. As well as trunk rotation.
To improve back pain during handstand, make sure you are continuing to strengthen your body in your workouts. And that they challenge your body multi-dimensionally.
Need a training plan? Handstand Mastery involves plenty of bodyweight strength training drills to condition your body. And it utilizes Progressive Overload to increase the external stress placed on your body over time (so you continue getting stronger).
4. Improve Mobility
Strength isn’t the only important thing to focus on.
Mobility is underrated for creating a body that moves and feels amazing.
The main areas that you will likely need to improve are hip mobility and spinal mobility.
Hip movements include flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, circumduction, and hip rotation.
All of the anatomical parts of the hips work together to perform these movements. Improving strength and mobility in this area can have a positive effect on your lower back pain.
Let’s start with a nice strength exercise that does wonders for hip mobility. Cossack squats.
With cossack squats, try to go as low as you can while keeping your heel grounded.
You will find this exercises is easier if you hold a weight.
90 90 hip rotations are another great exercise to perform.
Got one more to share with you…
This front split sequence will really open up your hips. Especially with flexion and extension.
4. Improve Your Handstand Alignment
An important consideration regarding back pain during handstand is your alignment.
The POS is responsible for extension in lower back and posterior chain.
If your alignment is off, you may find your spine in extension. Using your POS more than your Anterior Oblique System (which should be contracted and supporting the spine) in handstand.
Often, shoulder flexion will need to be addressed here.
A normal shoulder flexion is 180 degrees. And this is absolutely required for open shoulders in handstands.
Here’s a stretch that can help:
But don’t forget!
Banana back isn’t just about open shoulders…
You need to understand the “hollow body” position. That means tucking the pelvis (posterior tilt), engaging your core and glutes, and squeezing your knees together.
A good way to practice hollow body is with hollow body rocks and holds.
6. Modify Your Handstand Training
Knowing everything we discussed above, you should have an idea of what you need to focus on.
Meeting with a professional will give you more insights and exercises to specifically target the problem.
As well, strengthening and mobilizing the musculature around your his and lower back will do wonders for spine health.
You also know more about what to focus on for handstand alignment. And that a well-rounded handstand training should strengthen and condition your body. NOT aggravate your lower back.
For the time being, perhaps you focus more on core strength. And mobility. There are also plenty of great alignment drills (a couple being featured in this article).
Also pay attention to exactly WHEN your back hurts during handstand. That’s a good sign you should stop putting yourself in that position (for the time being).
There are many ways you can adapt and correct the problem. Do this for a few weeks, and back pain during handstand will be a thing of the past.
Overcoming Back Pain During Handstand Takes Work
Don’t forget that knowing is only half the battle.
Your own research, and information through consultation with a professional, will only tell you WHAT you need to do.
You still need to roll up your sleeves and do the work.
But that’s the beauty in it, isn’t it?
It sure is sweet to taste the fruits of your labour. A handstand mindset is one that knows this and works hard to improve.
Improve Your Handstand Training Now
In closing, I wonder what your handstand training looks like.
Why are you having back pain?
Likely, you need to strengthen your local musculature system. And as I mentioned earlier, a well-rounded handstand training program will do just that.
And if you wanna learn more how to train handstands properly, check out my (100% Free) training series, Handstand 101.
Any questions, just drop them in the comments below.
Good luck and happy handstanding!