Handstand Exercises

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While they are challenging, you don't have to be a trained gymnast to do handstand exercises. In fact, handstand exercises are one of the most effective ways to build upper-body strength using only the weight of your body. If the thought of supporting your entire body on your hands seems daunting, don't worry. Through a progression of handstand exercises for beginners to advanced, you'll be on your way to a sturdy and powerful upper body.

Handstand Hold

The handstand hold is a basic handstand exercise. This is a great beginner exercise that will help you improve your strength for more difficult exercises. If you are unable to do a freestanding handstand, get in handstand position by kicking your feet up onto a wall. Walk your hands as close to the wall as possible without losing your balance. Position your body so that your legs and hips are fully extended. Get your hands in a comfortable position, then lock your elbows and shoulders. Hold this position as long as you can before your muscles begin to fatigue. Repeat the handstand two more times, each time holding for a longer period. Gradually increase your hold time until your can maintain the handstand position for two to three minutes.

Wall Walk

This exercise will help improve your strength while also improving your coordination. The wall walk is a good substitute for an actual handstand walk and will help prepare you for more advanced handstand exercises. Get into handstand position, freestanding or against the wall, then transfer your weight to your right arm and lift your left hand to touch your left shoulder. Place your left hand back on the floor then repeat transfer your weight to your left arm and touch your right shoulder with your right hand. Alternate back and forth, moving at a steady pace, until you've completed 10 to 30 touches per arm.

One-arm Handstand

The one-arm handstand challenges not only your strength but also your balance. Do not attempt this exercise until you can safely perform the handstand hold. Assume the handstand position of your choice then transfer your weight onto your right arm and lift your left hand. Maintain this position five to 10 seconds. Repeat the exercise with your left arm, holding the position for the same amount of time you held it with your right arm. Each time you do the one-arm handstand, try to hold it longer than the previous time.

Handstand Pushup

The handstand pushup is a very challenging exercise that works your shoulders, triceps, upper chest and back. To prevent smashing your face off the floor, you should work your way up to this exercise and ensure you have the strength to safely complete it. Decline pushups are a good preparatory exercise. To perform a handstand pushup, get close to a wall and kick your feet upward so that you're doing a wall handstand. From here, stabilize your core and back so that your body forms a straight line. Slowly bend your arms to lower your head to the floor then press yourself back up to the starting position.