First of all let’s have a look at how we define the perfect handstand:
- Wrists, shoulders, hips and ankles in the same vertical line
- Hands shoulder width apart
- Elbows locked
- Head looking in between the thumbs
- Pelvis in posterior tilt
- Hips opened
- Knees extended together and quads active
- Toes pointed
After reading this you might think that only a gymnast would be able to achieve this perfect handstand, I’m afraid that you are not completely wrong… but there is hope.
With work we can achieve it and let’s be realistic, a handstand hold for a CrossFit competition doesn’t have to look this perfect as long as you can maintain the position upside down.
Why do we want to achieve the perfect Handstand?
Apart from it being a cool party trick, the main reason is that its the most efficient way to be upside down.
With all the changes we have seen with CrossFit.com programming lately, handstand holds are becoming increasing popular in workouts, such as this workout on the 19/3/19:
3 rounds (9 Min total) for max reps of:
- 1 Minute handstand hold
- 2 Minutes of wall-ball shots
Therefore if you aren’t comfortable upside down, this workout becomes very challenging, very quickly!
Some points are easier to achieve: like having your hands shoulder width apart, elbows locked (when you can’t do it, the most common cause is a lack of shoulder mobility), knees together and quads active, toes pointed with your head looking between the thumbs.
But some other points can be really hard to achieve, some of them are because they require a high level of body awareness. Below are a few tips to help you.
Tips to Improve Your Handstand
A few tips that will help us achieve the perfect handstand, please remember that this is meant to be worked into training session as a technical focus.
Wrists: If you can’t reach a 90 degree position with your palm and forearm then you need to work on the flexibility of your wrists. Improved wrist flexibility can take a while to achieve so you have to be consistent and patient.
Shoulders open/strong: It is not only important the shoulders are flexible we also need to be strong over head. A great way of working this is “Waiters Walk” with a kb overhead can do this easily, your body will understand that the shoulder can go to a vertical position and the muscles will start working to stabilize that position.
Chest open and belly in: Practice this first lying on the floor, hands on the chest right under the pecs, inhale and fill the chest with air trying to maintain that position while you exhale. If you can do this you can forget about the belly because it will go in without having to think about it.
Pelvis in posterior tilt: Often this is a problem of body awareness, practice lying down or on your hands and knees doing the cat and camel positions, this body awareness become very important when upside down.
Those are a few tips that you can use to improve your handstand position, with The Progrm we always dedicate specific time in our training to practice the technique of the movements, because most of us don’t have a gymnastic background and reaching that level of excellence requires practice. Therefore if you want to improve your handstand? Give it 10 min everyday and alternate these exercises.
TJ Garcia, Progrm Coach.
- Handstand: The Progrm