By Nune Arevshatyan, Program Coach, XFIT Media City
In this article, I would like to speak about handstands and how you can progress them.
The benefits of gymnastics
• Improves flexibility, helps develop a greater range of motion and gives greater control of the movement
• Assists in developing of many of the 10 commoners of fitness: accuracy, balance, coordination, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, power, speed, strength, and stamina
• Lowers risk of disease
• Strengthens your bones
• Improves self-image
• Meets physical exercise needs
• Develops discipline
What does the perfect handstand look like?
The handstand position is hollow in the ribcage with the rounded upper back. The arms are extended overhead, always maintaining contact with the ears. The head is neutral, only the eyes spot the ground; don’t stick the head out, but pick one spot on the ground and keep the eyes focused there. The fingers are spread wide to give a solid base, and should be used to make small balance adjustments. The belly button is pulled into the spine with an active core. The hips are open, sitting directly on the top of the shoulders. The butt and quads are squeezed tight, keep the toes pointed and together to maintain balance.
Conventional handstand progression
A handstand hold should be done on the wall to accumulate time in the position. Keep the back on the wall until you can hold 1 minute at a time, then turn and face your stomach on the wall. Once you can do this for 1 min intervals, work up to 1 min free-standing. To scale the handstand hold, place feet on a block, creating a 90 degree angle with the hips (like in pike position). Hold this position, keeping the arms pressed firmly into the ears, maintaining the rounded upper back.
The key to efficient handstand walking is the ability to transfer weight from side-to-side in the handstand position. The longer the body weight can be supported on each side while maintaining a solid, stable handstand position, the easier handstand walking will be.
Here are some recommended conditioning exercises to help you with your handstands: