How To Do a Handstand Step-by-Step

Perfecting a handstand is a good first step towards learning other tumbling moves.

Perfecting a handstand is a good first step towards learning other tumbling moves.

A handstand is basically standing on your hands the way you would on your feet. Mastering a handstand is a strengthening exercise for your shoulders, arms, abdominal and gluteal muscles. If you are studying gymnastics, perfecting a handstand can lead you to other moves, such as handwalking and front walk-overs.

Find a flat space in front of a wall, where you would be able to lean your heels against the wall in a handstand.

Stand upright about four or five inches from and facing the wall, arms extended overhead.

Extend your dominant foot -- the same as the hand with which you write -- in front of you so that your leg is straight and your toes are pointed at the floor. The tips of your toes should touch the floor.

Push your body forward and place both hands down on the floor in front of you, shoulder-width apart and between six and 12 inches from the wall.

Spread your fingers out slightly as you place them on the floor to help you balance.

Pull your legs up above your body, holding them together, as you place your hands on the floor.

Tighten your stomach and back so that you don't arch your back or bend at the hips. Keep your toes pointed and legs straight. In the beginning, lean your heels against the wall to help you get the feel of the proper position.

Look at your hands while you get into position. You can also look behind you but don't look up or pull your chin toward your chest, as this can cause you to lose your balance.

Hold your handstand against the wall a little longer each time you practice until you can hold your position in front of the wall without touching it. Alternatively, practice your handstands without the wall once you feel comfortable; but have a padded mat behind and in front of you in case you fall.

Tip

  • Remember to tuck and roll should you find yourself falling over toward your back.
 

About the Author

Michelle Hogan is a writer and the author of 13 books including the 2005 bestselling memoir, "Without a Net: Middle Class and Homeless (With Kids) in America." Hogan studied English at American University and has been writing professionally since 1998. Her work has appeared in "The New York Times," "Redbook," "Family Circle" and many other publications.

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