Handstands are some of the most unique body weight exercises in the world.
I was just talking with a co-worker the other day who just discovered handstands and we both came to the conclusion that there is nothing else like it.
Like a lot of folks, I first compared the handstand to pressing a weight overhead. While the two moves look similar, the results of one from the other are almost night and day.
For example, my shoulders have always been my weak link. They have always been the most likely to become injured, stiff or weak. What’s more they never were able to really fill out and develop. I have loads of photos where I’m standing with a broad chest, some tone in the mid section, and nicely sculpted arms. But my shoulders were always flat, almost as if I never worked them.
Once I got into handstands that changed very quickly. My shoulders are finally catching up to the rest of my body. Plus I have yet to feel any sort of discomfort in them at all.
Like all calisthenics, handstands are also really impressive to witness. No one looks twice at someone lifting a barbell over their head unless there is a crap ton of weight on it. However spring down into a hand stand and start doing reps and people forget what they were talking about as they watch with awe.
Handstands are also great for walking or crawling work and this places a tremendous amount of emphasis on the core, chest and upper back. They really are one of the best do-it-all exercises.
The key to getting the most out of this move is to learn how to progress it.
The best way to jump into it is to get your push up down. They are practically the same move just a little bit of a different flavor.
Once you have that down you can start placing your feet onto the wall about 1 foot from the floor. This will be a great way to learn how to place force from your hands down into your feet.
Be sure to not sag your back and you may want to keep your hips slightly elevated to take pressure off your lumbar area.
From there you simply work on how far up the wall your feet go while walking your hands closer to the floor board. It’s much more comfortable on the wrists if you keep your arms “soft” and not locked out. It’s not the easiest thing to do and it takes tremendous strength and coordination.
Once your hands are about 1-2 feet from the wall you can work on doing a few reps. Keep in mind you probably won’t get all the way down towards the ground. You may actually only get down about 2-3 inches. It might not seem like much but believe me, it’s plenty. from there you simply work on increasing your range of motion.
A word of caution
Standing upside-down against a wall is no place to feel like your arms are going to give out. So always be sure to walk yourself down with a few reps left in the tank.
Practice this about 2-3 times a week and you’ll be amazed at how strong and impressive your upper body can become!