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Improving My Freestanding Handstands

Jeremy Frias

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While thinking up my new training routine, I decided I would first warm up and do dynamic stretches, follow that with handstand work, then strength work and finally static stretching. The problem is, I'm not sure what I should do as "handstand work".

I can hold a freestanding handstand for about 5 seconds max, and they are fairly inconsistent, although I have seen some improvements through trial and error. I know I'm going to put wall handstands in there (I can hold those for 30 seconds pretty consistently), and I might even try straddle presses against the wall, although I've yet to actually try those.

So my question is, would doing some freestanding handstands, given their inconsistency, help me at all, or should I just stick exclusively to the wall for now? Would both stomach to the wall and back to the wall be useful to me? And how much time per day should I hold these wall handstands for?

Thank you in advance!

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Richard Duelley

Whenever anyone asks for handstand drills I always pull out this video from Ido Portal.


I highly recommend the drills Ido performs in the first 35 seconds of the video; they have helped me tremendously (and continue to help me develop my handstands). They are called ‘swing ups’ and there are three variations shown. They are, by order of appearance in the video, the tuck up, straddle up and pike up. I personally do 3 sets of 6 for each variation daily (at least I strive for daily practice :mrgreen:). You should strive for a 5-10 second hold each rep and lower down as slowly and with as much control as you can. The tuck up is now my favorite, most consistent, most stable, most used and best looking way that I have to get up into a solid handstand.

There are many wall drills that you can do. Try doing 30 seconds of stomach to wall and then immediately do 30 seconds of back towards the wall, try putting your hands as close to the wall as possible for each one. If you cannot get 30 solid seconds (I use a digital timer that beeps) of each back to back give yourself 30 seconds or more of rest in between (just remember to push yourself for maximum benefits). :wink: Here is a thread I started over on Idos forum about my handbalancing practice. http://forum.idoportal.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=22

I would recommend practicing your basic handstand kick up until you notice a distinct drop in your quality. This is a good indicator on your fatigue level and the state of your CNS. Remember that you cant improve unless you practice and put in more time on your hands, but you must practice correctly. Practice doesn’t make perfect, only perfect practice gives you the opportunity to be great. The tuck ups mentioned above are a great way to structure your practice and get that additional time on your hands. If you find yourself burdened by the monotony of the basic handstand break up your sessions with headstands (with various leg positions if you want to), elbow lever work, or even airbaby work!

If you have any questions feel free to ask away.

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I saw that video yesterday, it's absolutely amazing how much control he has over his handstands (his one handers are more stable than my two handers). :shock:

I'll definitely do the 30 second (or more) wall handstands on each side, and I'll give those jump presses a try, although I probably won't be able to hold the handstand at the top for too long.

Thanks a lot for you're suggestions, now I have a much better idea of what my handstand work will look like. So far it will probably be something like this:

-Regular kick up to handstands for a set amount of time.

-Tuck/straddle/straight leg jump presses (not too sure that I'm ready for those but I will give them a shot).

-Wall handstands on each side for about 30 seconds or until form deteriorates.

I still have to figure out times for the kick ups and press ups depending on my endurance level, but I'll have to experiment with that first.

Again, thank you so much, you were a big help! (I'll also take a look at your thread once I have a little more time). :D

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