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How to do a Straight Handstand

I get questions all the time about how to do a straight style of handstand. The simple answer is to keep the body straight while in a handstand. But how do you actually do this?

Here’s the main points.

Straight HandstandYou have to maintain what’s known in gymnastics as the hollow position. That is contracting your abs and tilting the pelvis upwards. I’ve heard it described before as trying to bring your tailbone to your belly button. This eliminates the curve that your lower back naturally wants to do in the handstand.

In addition to this, think of hollowing out the chest. You can think of bringing the clavicle down to the solar plexus. By doing all this you’ll have a rigid torso that should maintain straightness in a handstand.

You can get a feel for the position by lying on the ground and finding this position. Of course it’s a different monster when you actually try it in the handstand. But now at least you know what you want to go for.

In addition, your body tends to follow the head. If you curl it back to look at your hands, your spine is likely to follow resulting in a curved handstand. To combat this you want to keep your head straight. That is your ears in line with your arms. But so that you can still see you hands, even while your head is neutral, look up with your eyes. Still it’ll take more experience to balance with your head in a neutral position.

The straight handstand requires excellent shoulder flexibility. Far more than a curved handstand. If this is limiting you, work on your shoulder flexibility with bridging and other exercises.

In order to really learn the position you want to spend lots of time in it. And to make it easy, as always, we turn to the wall. Watch this video, a short clip from the Hand Balancing Mastery Course.

But you don’t want to kick-up against the wall, because you want to face the other way. There are two ways to get up into the handstand against the wall while facing it. That is by doing a cartwheel into position or walking your feet up the wall.

Now that you are up against the wall, the key points are to touch only your nose and your toes to the wall. You should strive to reach your armpits toward the wall. Open up with your shoulders.

Your hands should be only a couple inches at most from the wall. If you have them out further you can get away with not really maintaining a straight handstand. If its difficult in the beginning that’s fine. Just work towards getting closer and closer. And then hold for time.

When you want to work toward balancing in the handstand start from the wall position. Bring your toes off just a little bit and strive to balance while maintaining a straight position. This is the way to master a straight handstand.

I agree with Bob Jones in The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing where he states you should work on the handstand first using back bend before moving onto this more difficult variety. Of course, you can learn the straight handstand first if you want to.

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