Strength & Endurance Workout A
Handstands require plenty of shoulder strength and endurance. Especially for scapular control and maintaining shoulder elevation for longer periods of time.
As we start practicing the handstand, these strength and endurance workouts will complement them. Allowing you to more effortlessly hold this position.
Get ready, because these workouts will challenge you! They are designed to condition your body for a strong handstand practice.
As always, we’ll start with a warm-up before diving into the core workout.
- General Warm-Up | 1 Set
- Wrist Warm-Up | 1 Set
- Downward Dog Sequence | 1 Set
- Scapular Sequence | 1 Set
Handstand Wall Drills:
- Arch to Pike | 3 sets
- Face to Wall Shoulder Shrugs | 2 sets
- Face to Wall Shoulder Shrugs – Tuck Position | 2 sets
- Back To Wall Handstand – 1 Leg Bent / 1 Straight | 2 sets
- Face to Wall Handstand Hold | 2 sets
- Face to Wall Tuck to Straight | 3 sets
- Face to Wall Handstand Sequence 2 | 3 sets
- Wall Walks from Long Hollow | 3 sets
- Elbow Plank Lift Offs | 2 sets
- Hollow Rocks + Hollow Hold | 2 sets
- L-Sit Chair Sequence | 3 sets
- Pike Compression Sequence | 2 sets
- Recovery Sequence | 1 set
1. GENERAL WARM-UP
1 Set | Full Sequence
This is a general full body warm-up. We’ll use this before all of our workouts in the program. These warm-ups are important for prepping the body for your handstand practice. Make sure you do them!
For the first few weeks, follow along with the video. As you become familiar with the warm-up, you can just do it on your own. And modify / add / remove any movements that suite your body.
2. WRIST WARM-UP
1 Set | Full Sequence
Before putting weight on your wrists it is IMPORTANT that you warm them up. Use this warm-up before doing any handstand work.
3. DOWNWARD DOG SEQUENCE
1 Set | Full Sequence
This is a nice spinal movement sequence. It will also help you to open your shoulders and improve scapular mobility.
4. SCAPULAR SEQUENCE
1 Set | Full Sequence
Understanding scapular control is an important aspect of handstands. This sequence will warm up your shoulders while helping you learn scapular control.
Handstand Wall Drills
1. ARCH TO PIKE
3 Sets | 5 Reps + 5 Sec
Arch to Pike is a great mobility and strength drill that moves you dynamically through two handstand positions. From Pike, your shoulders will be completely open. You will then close the shoulders and move to a 90-degree angle in your Arch position.
Start out roughly your legs distance from the wall. Walk your feet up the wall and set up in a Pike position. Walk your feet up the wall as you close your shoulders, bringing your hips down as you arch your back. Push into the ground and open the shoulders as you walk your feet back down into a Pike position. Alternate between these positions for reps, holding the Arch position on your last one.
2. FACE TO WALL SHOULDER SHRUGS
2 Sets | 20 Reps
These are an essential conditioning drill for the handstand. Face to Wall Shoulder Shrugs will improve your scapula elevation and strengthen your shoulders.
Start by walking your feet up a wall so your stomach is towards it. Quads and glutes are engaged, pressing your legs and feet together. Tuck your pelvis and find a hollow body position. While keeping your arms straight, depress and then elevate your scapula back to starting position (like you’re shrugging). That’s one rep.
3. FACE TO WALL SHOULDER SHRUGS – TUCK POSITION
2 Sets | 20 Reps
Similar to the last exercise, however it becomes more challenging as we perform the drill in a tuck position.
Keeping the shoulders open will be harder in this position. First start by walking up the wall, with your hands a foot or so from it. Engage your core, squeeze your glutes and press your feet together. Slide your feet down the wall as you tuck the knees in. Hips will be over shoulders. Elevate and depress the scapula (like shoulder shrugging). Perform reps of this.
4. BACK TO WALL HANDSTAND – 1 LEG SUPPORT
2 Sets | 30 Sec / Side
This is a great drill to work on your alignment. Having a bent leg on the wall will allow you to maintain your balance and hold the position for longer.
Start by placing your hands 1 to 2 feet from the wall. With your arms straight, kick yourself up to a handstand position with one leg bent and its foot placed on the wall. Your other leg will be straight, aligned with your hips shoulders and wrists. Elevate your shoulders and tuck the pelvis. Hold for duration, switching to the other leg and repeating on that side.
5. FACE TO WALL HANDSTAND HOLD
2 Sets | 30 – 60 Sec
Face to Wall Handstands will help you maintain proper alignment for longer periods of time.
Walk or cartwheel your feet up a wall. Walk your hands as close to the wall as you feel comfortable with. Keeping in mind, the closer you can get to the wall, the better your shape will be. Press into the ground, elevate the scapula, tuck your pelvis, and squeeze your glutes and legs together. Feet are also squeezed together with the toes pointed and touching the wall for balance. You can also press your chin into the wall. Keep your thighs and hips off of the wall. Hold it here.
6. FACE TO WALL TUCK TO STRAIGHT
3 Sets | 5-10 Reps
This drill is going to train two handstand positions and the transitions between them. You will work between a straight line handstand and tuck handstand with the wall to assist you.
Socks might be useful for you to wear throughout this exercise. Start by placing your hands about 2 feet from the wall, and finding your face to wall handstand. With the legs squeezed together, core engaged, pelvis tucked, and shoulders open, slowly bend the knees and lower them into a tuck position. Your hips will move over the shoulders. Try to keep the shoulders open throughout.
7. FACE TO WALL HANDSTAND SEQUENCE 2
3 Sets | Full Sequence
This is a great sequence to strengthen your shoulders and train your upper body and core for inversions.
You will hold 3 positions. Starting out in a face to wall handstand, moving to a long hollow hold with feet on the wall, and finishing on the ground in a long hollow hold.:
- Handstand Hold | 30 Sec
- Long Hollow Hold on Wall | 15 Sec
- Long Hollow Hold on Floor | 15 Sec
Keep your shoulders elevated and open in the positions. Tuck the pelvis, squeeze the legs together, engage the core and legs.
8. WALL WALKS FROM LONG HOLLOW
3 Sets | 3 Reps + 10 Sec
This drill will be more dynamic and further promote strength and mobility in your shoulders. You will be moving between a long hollow hold on the wall and face to wall handstand.
Start out in a long hollow position and put your feet on the wall. Walk your feet up the wall and hands along the ground to a face to wall handstand position. Walk your feet back down the wall and hands forwards to a long hollow wall plank. Repeat for repetitions, holding the last long hollow wall plank.
1. ELBOW PLANK LIFT OFFS
2 Sets | 10 Reps + 10 Sec
This exercise is great for strengthening your core while gaining an understanding of the hollow body position required for handstanding.
Start out laying on your stomach. Clasp your hands in front of you, and bend your knees to around 45 degrees. Tuck your pelvis and press into the ground as you engage your core and lift your hips off the ground. Release and repeat for reps. Holding on the last rep.
2. HOLLOW ROCKS + HOLLOW HOLD
2 Sets | 15 Reps + 10 Sec
Hollow rocks and holds are essential for any handstand training. These are a great way to understand the handstand shape and train your core for it.
Lie flat on your back. Tuck your pelvis and keep your lower back grounded as you lift your legs and shoulders off of the ground. Reach your arms overhead. Point your toes, squeezing the feet together. Rock back and forth with control, holding a hollow body position after your last rep.
3. L-SIT SEQUENCE
2 Sets | Complete Full Sequence
L-sits are a challenging exercise as they require a lot of core strength, but also flexibility. Work your abs while improving your mobility.
This sequence will involve three movement variations. For beginners, instructions will follow.
Start in a seated position with your legs long. Place your hands outside of your hips (you can place them on blocks to make this sequence easier). Contract the abs and hip flexors. Push into the ground, depressing the scapula, and lift your butt off of the ground. Lower back to the ground briefly. Lift again bringing your right foot off of the ground into a half L-sit. Lower back to the ground briefly. Lift again with your left foot raised off the ground. Lower back to the ground briefly. Lift again into a full L-Sit. Lower briefly to the ground. That’s one rep. Perform all repetitions, holding the L-sit on the last one.
Beginner L-Sit Sequence:
Place your hands on blocks beside your hips. Bend your knees, bringing them towards your chest. Push into the ground, depress the scapula, and engage your core. Lifting your butt off of the ground. Slowly lower to the starting position. Perform all reps, and on your final rep, switch to the single-leg lifts.
With your butt elevated, keep one foot touching the ground, and extend the other leg. Switch between legs and perform all reps. On your last rep, hold that leg extended for time. Switch legs and hold that leg for time, completing the full set.
4. PIKE COMPRESSION SEQUENCE
2 Sets | Full Sequence
Pike Compressions are great for training your core and will also benefit you for future press to handstand capabilities.
Start out in a seated position with your legs long. Place your hands ahead of your knees. You may also want to do this with your back against a wall. Then, squeeze your feet together and point the toes. Keep your hands ahead of the knees and lift your legs, pulsing for 20 reps. Hold on the last rep. Finally, move into a boat pose and hold it there. For beginners, you can do all of this with bent legs until you are strong enough to perform the exercises with straight legs.
- Leg Lifts | 20 Reps
- Pike Hold | 10 Sec
- Boat Pose | 10 Sec
1. Recovery Sequence
1 Set | Full Sequence
Don’t forget to cool down those shoulders! Follow this brief cool-down sequence to stretch out the muscles that worked so hard throughout your workout.