If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to do a Handstand properly, this Blog series is the place to be. The Handstand tips and drills in these article will lead you to the strongest Handstand practice you’ve ever had. With that said, let’s get started!
This 4th installment in How To Do A Handstand is all about the hips. So make sure you pay attention here because it’s extremely important!
First of all, your hips are your center of gravity. This means that balance is more easily achieved when they are placed over the pivot point (fulcrum) of your lever. In this case, the fulcrum is your hands, and the lever is your body…Because Science.
All my anatomy nerds out there just spit out their coffee because “hips” is way too broad of a term. I know it is, and the actual center of gravity in the human body is more precisely located at S2. But for the purpose of nailing a Handstand, let’s use “hips” in the general sense.
Also, to understand how balance works in Handstand, it will be helpful to get clear on 2 terms:
Proprioception: The unconscious perception of movement and spatial orientation arising from stimuli within the body itself. Essentially, your ability to understand where your body is in space without being able to see it…hmm…that sounds helpful in learning how to do a handstand. Just sayin’.
Neuroplasticity: The brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. Neuroplasticity allows the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in their environment. New situations? Like being inverted? Ah, it’s all coming together!
Hey Poindexter, this is all great, but just how the f*ck does this help me figure out how to do a Handstand?
Settle down. I’m getting there 🙂
By practicing new movement patterns over and over, you allow your brain/body to gain proprioception in these new positions, and more importantly, to understand the path it takes to get there.
Practice something new until your body begins to recognize it as safe and easy, and abracadabra, Handstand!
Well, maybe not exactly Abracadabra….there might be some repetition involved…
Handstand Exercise 1: Hollow Rocks
The easiest way to explain this drill is to imagine a boat at sea. The boat can shift and move as it slices through the water, but the boat never changes its shape to do so. In this drill, your body is the boat. Your only focus here is to move without changing shape.
I know, it’s a new concept for a lot of people who do Yoga or Crossfit or Dance. These are all movement-based practices and usually involve you changing your shape as you move from one position to another. This drill asks you to change position AND keep shape, so if it feels awkward at first that’s totally normal.
Here’s how you do it:
Come into your Hollow 3 (long Hollow), and begin to rock forward until your heels hit the ground, and then backwards until the backs of your hands touch the ground behind your head. Stay committed to your Hollow by hugging your belly button into your spine and pulling your bottom two ribs in towards each other.
Rock back and forth until you can feel the movement coming from your middle. Keep your trunk tight and focus only on the rocking motion without vending any joint.
See below for details 🙂
Handstand Exercise 2: Chair Pikes
Grab a chair or something of similar height. This is going to be the base for your feet, so make sure it’s solid. Now come into plank pose with your feet elevated on your new surface.
From here, walk your hands backwards until your body makes an upside down letter “L”. Melt your chest between your biceps. This drill is tricky because you’re going to feel like you’re stacked before you actually are, so using a mirror or shooting a video with your phone is going to be super helpful!
Once you get your body inverted, hold for time. Start with a simple set of 3 reps at a 5-count each. Then move up from there. This simple move will teach your brain/body how to do a Handstand in your wrists/shoulders/hips before getting your legs involved. Think of it as laying the foundation of your house first, and putting the roof on last.
You got this.