How to Handstand For Beginners (Step-By-Step)

“How do I do a handstand?”

“What tips do you have for the handstand?”

People always ask about this.

To that I say…

Voila! Follow this daily handstand training program for beginners!

And like magic, you’re inverted.

Of course it’s never that easy, is it? 😉

The handstand isn’t some easy trick you can learn overnight. It’s a difficult skill that takes consistent effort to achieve results. It’s gonna take some hard-work on your end…

Derek Sivers once said:

“If [more] information was the answer, then we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs.”

We often forget the actual application of the information. Doing the work.

So the most important thing to remember is this: you have to practice it often. A handstand is a skill that takes time to develop. It’s an ongoing process.

This daily handstand training program for beginners is a structured towards achieving your free-standing, straight-line handstand as quick as possible.

The practice focuses on a few key points:

  • Improving flexibility and mobility in the wrists and shoulders
  • Building core strength (and training your hollow body shape for the handstand)
  • Developing balance for an upside-down world

Each step in this post is discussed in detail. It’s the ultimate handstand practice for beginners! It will help you dramatically increase your results.

You wont need anything other than a wall to follow along.

Btw – if you wanna learn more about handstands and really step up your practice, signup for our free handstand training series, Handstand 101.

Alright, let’s have a look at what we are covering here today:

Glossary

Preface: Why Learn How To Handstand?
Wrist Warmup & Mobility
Shoulder Warmup & Mobility
Inversion Drills
Core Strengthening For Inversions
Cooling Down Your Shoulders After Practice

Preface: Why Learn How To Handstand?

Sure, it looks cool. But what are the other benefits?

First, you’re working on core stability in a challenging way. This will help activate your local stabilization muscles – the deep muscles with attachments to the spine.

Do you like having a healthy spine?

Good!

Because a solid handstand training will condition the body to be stronger and more mobile.

Not only do you strengthen important muscles in your body. But handstand are one of the only exercises that strengthen the shoulders in an open shoulder position.

If you have poor shoulder flexion, you might struggle to open your shoulders at first. With time, it will improve (along with your posture).

There’s a great lesson on this in our free training, Handstand 101 if you are interested.

Ultimately, handstands are a great way to train your shoulders in their full range of motion. This is great news for strengthening the stabilization muscles around the shoulder joint.

You also get to train your proprioceptive system. The feedback from such an unstable environment challenges your brain to react; conducting micro-adjustments in the muscles. This is how you develop the body awareness to balance in the handstand!

Don’t forget the impact it can have on other areas of your life.

Charles Duhigg calls these “keystone habits” in his book, The Power of Habit:

“When people start habitually exercising, even as infrequently as once a week, they start changing other, unrelated patters in their lives, often unknowingly. Typically, people who exercise start eating better and becoming more productive at work. They smoke less and show more patience with colleagues and family. They use their credit cards less frequently and say they feel less stressed. It’s not completely clear why. But for many people exercise is a keystone habit that triggers widespread change. “Exercise spills over,” said James Prochaska, a University of Rhode Island researcher. ‘There’s something about it that makes good habits easier.'” (p.109).

Charles Duhigg – The Power of Habit

How to Handstand For Beginners: Wrist Warm-Up & Mobility

Truth is that the wrists aren’t exactly designed to hold your bodyweight.

We are a species that does that from our feet.

For this reason, it’s especially important to warm up the wrists before you practice. I also recommend using any of these exercises in-between sets with your inversion drills.

Wrist Stretches For The Handstand – No. 1:

yoga handstand training program for beginners wrist warmup 1
  • Start on your hands and knees
  • Press the ground away from you, protracting the scapula
  • Slightly tuck in the tailbone
  • Contract your abs towards your spine
  • Move forwards into your full ROM (hold it here briefly – ie 2 seconds)
  • Move backwards, bringing your butt towards your heals
  • Keep moving back and forth, making this a dynamic stretch
  • Do at least 10 reps of these before moving on to the next exercise

Wrist Stretches For The Handstand – No. 2:

Yoga Handstand Training Program For Beginners - Wrist Warmup 2
  • Same set up as the last exercise, but turn your hands around so your fingers are towards your knees
  • Slowly sink your butt towards your heals
  • “Peel” the heals of the hands off the ground as you sink back
  • Return forward to the starting position
  • Repeat this at least 10x before moving on

Wrist Stretches For The Handstand – No. 3:

Yoga Handstand Training Program For Beginners - Wrist Warmup 3
  • Sit back on your heals (or do this from table top position)
  • Place the backs of your hands on the ground, fingers pointing behind you
  • Slowly sink back and briefly hold (2 seconds)
  • Return to start
  • Repeat this motion for at least 10 repetitions

Wrist Stretches For The Handstand – No. 4:

Yoga Handstand Training Program For Beginners - Wrist Warmup 4.5
  • Make a fist with your right hand
  • Press your pointer finger and thumb between the point where your wrist bones meet the hand, applying some moderate pressure
  • Roll your wrists in circles
  • Repeat this for at least 10 reps / side

Wrist Stretches For The Handstand – No. 5:

  • Make a fist with your right hand
  • Wrap your left hand over your fist
  • Press your right arm straight out (keeping the fist)
  • Pull back slightly with your left arm
  • Hold for at least 10 seconds
  • Repeat on the other side

How to Handstand For Beginners: Shoulder Warm Up & Mobility

Let’s look at some warmup exercises for your shoulders. These will also help to open up your ROM in your shoulders.

Shoulder Exercises For The Handstand – No. 1:

Yoga Handstand Training Program For Beginners - Shoulder Pumps
  • Stand straight and engage your core
  • Bring your arms overhead, pointing your fingers towards the sky, palms facing forward
  • Keep your spine aligned, trying not to pronate your head (bringing it forwards)
  • Start “pumping” the shoulders backwards and forwards
  • Do this for at least 30 seconds

Shoulder Exercises For The Handstand – No. 2:

Yoga Handstand Training Program For Beginners - Shoulder Extensions
  • Assume a downward facing dog position
  • Focus on creating a straight line from hands through the spine (bend your knees if you have to)
  • Press through your hands, elevating your scapula (shoulders by the ears)
  • Release, depressing the scapula (shoulders away from ears)
  • Do 2 sets of 10 repetitions, holding on the last repetition in each set for at least 10 seconds

How to Handstand For Beginners: Inversion Drills

Alright, time to get inverted! These are some drills you can use to train your handstand. Afraid of the handstand? Maybe you just flirt with it a little. Do the first exercise and leave it at that. As you feel more comfortable, then you can add in additional drills. Remember to rest the shoulders between sets. Exhausted shoulders can hinder the quality of your practice.

Training The Handstand – Back Towards The Wall:

Yoga Handstand Training Program For Beginners - Wall Kick Up 3
  • Place your palms on the ground roughly a foot or so from the wall
  • Step in with one leg, kick the other leg up to meet the wall
  • Bring the other leg up to the wall to meet it
  • Press the ground away from you (remember the shoulder elevations from downward facing dog)
  • From here, bring one leg off of the wall
  • Try to find a weightlessness in the other leg on the wall
  • Slowly bring the heal off of the wall, trying to find some balance
  • Practice here for awhile without exhausting the shoulders. Remember to take a rest between sets. Choose one of the wrist exercises and perform it between sets

Training The Handstand – Chest Towards The Wall:

Yoga Handstand Training Program For Beginners - Chest To Wall 1
  • Stand facing away from the wall
  • Place your hands on the ground, roughly an arm and a half’s distance from the wall
  • Walk the legs up the wall
  • Raise one foot up towards the ceiling
  • Hold it here, working on extending through the shoulders. Remember to press the ground away from you. You can stay here and work on developing strength. See if you can hold this for at least 20-seconds / set
  • Next step is to work on bringing the other leg off the wall:
Yoga Handstand Training Program For Beginners - Chest To Wall 2
  • Slowly lean backwards, bringing a weightlessness into the foot on the wall
  • See if you can remove your foot from the wall
  • Keep your leg straight! Don’t worry about bringing it up to meet the other one yet
  • Try to find balance. Practice tapping, or bringing your foot off the wall a few times before coming back to the ground

Training The Handstand – Kicking Up:

Yoga Handstand Training Program For Beginners - Kicking Up
  • Place your hands on the mat in front of you
  • Bring one leg in closer towards your body
  • With the back leg straight, kick it up towards the ceiling
  • Keep your jumping leg parallel to the ground (don’t bring it up towards the ceiling)
  • Practice jumping and coming back down
  • The goal is to find that “sticking point” in your hops
  • Perform 3 sets of 5 reps/side

Training The Handstand – Inverted Side-to-Side Hops..:

Yoga Handstand Training Program For Beginners - Hopping Over Mat
  • Place your hands on the ground in front of you
  • Walk your feet over to one side
  • Squat down and hop over to the other side
  • Do this back-and-forth, working on gaining stability and control
  • Perform 3 sets of 5 reps

How to Handstand For Beginners: Core Strength

We’ll keep this short and sweet. No need to complicate things! We’re going to focus on the hollow body positioning. This will really help develop your handstand & build isometric-strength.

Core Exercises For The Handstand – Hollow Body Holds:

  • Lay on your back with your arms either overhead (harder) or down by your sides
  • Lift your arms and legs off of the ground
  • As you lift, contract y0ur abs as hard as you can, pulling them towards your spine
  • Keep your lower back pressing into the ground the whole time
  • Bring your legs as low as possible without breaking the lower back’s contact with the ground.
  • Hold for at least 3 sets / 20 seconds

Core Exercises For The Handstand – High-Plank Variation:

Yoga Handstand Training Program For Beginners - High Plank
  • Assume a plank position, shoulders stacked over hands
  • Press through your hands, protracting your scapula
  • Tuck your tailbone, contract the spine and hollow the body
  • Hold for 1-minute

How to Handstand For Beginners: Shoulder Recovery

Your shoulders will be a little tender by this point. It feels really nice to cool them down with some static stretching. This will also help with the required flexibility in the shoulders for your handstand.

Cool-Down Shoulder Exercises – No. 1:

Yoga Handstand Training Program For Beginners - Shoulder Stretch 1
  • From a seated position, lift your butt and bring it towards your feet
  • Bend your arms, creating a stretch in your deltoids
  • Hold for at least 30-seconds

Cool-Down Shoulder Exercises – No. 2:

Yoga Handstand Training Program For Beginners - Childs Pose
  • Start on your hands and knees, sink back into balasana or child’s pose
  • Lift your elbows off the ground
  • Hold it here for at least 30-seconds
  • You can also use a set of yoga blocks to deepen the stretch:
Yoga Handstand Training Program For Beginners - Childs Pose On Blocks

How to Handstand For Beginners: Wrapping Up

The handstand is largely about practice. You just have to know a few key things and get to work on them.

That’s it. That’s all. Time for you to get inverted!

Still struggling to get to your freestanding handstand?

Check out our flagship handstand training program, Handstand Mastery.

You can also sign up for our free training series, Handstand 101.

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