How to Go From a Handstand to a Shoulder Sit

The flyer must be able to do a handstand independently.

The flyer must be able to do a handstand independently.

Going from a handstand to a shoulder sit is a popular and interesting way to load into the shoulder sit in cheerleading. Although it is an inversion skill, it begins at ground level and transitions into a non-inverted stunt position, which makes it legal at United States All Star Federation level two and above. At level two, the flyer must be inverted while in contact with the floor and cannot perform an inversion above the floor, for example, at prep level.

Begin the stunt by arranging the bases, back spot and flyer in position. The back spot should stand straight, facing the front, with the bases on either side, slightly behind, facing in. The flyer should stand a few feet behind the back spot, also facing forward. All cheerleaders should stand with their feet slightly apart and the arms by their sides.

Initiate the load by having the flyer kick into a handstand with her hands just behind the back spot’s feet. It is important that the flyer be far enough back to execute a handstand without kicking "over" the handstand position. The flyer should pass through a strong, controlled handstand position to brace her legs against the back spot’s back.

Situate and lift the flyer onto the back spot’s shoulders by having the bases help the flyer place her legs over the back spot’s shoulders. The back spot should wrap her arms around the flyer’s shins to brace the load. The flyer should bend at the knees to help hold herself onto the back spot’s shoulders. The bases should then lift the flyer into the shoulder sit by bracing her waist and shoulders.

Finish the stunt by having the flyer sit up tight on the back spot’s shoulders with her legs bent and tucked behind the back spot’s back. The back spot can either continue to reach her arms around the flyers legs to hold the front of her shins or bring her hands to her hips.

Items you will need

  • Safety mats


  • To perform this stunt, the flyer must be able to hold and balance her weight in a handstand independently.
  • The back spot should not be too tall for the flyer's legs to comfortably rest over her shoulders in the handstand position.


  • Only stunt in the presence of a certified, insured coach.
  • Always use safety mats when stunting.

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About the Author

An American writer living in the United Kingdom, Christy Mitchinson began writing professionally in 2000, during her career in laboratory science, pathology and research. She has authored training materials, standard operating procedures and patient/clinician information leaflets. Mitchinson is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English literature and creative writing with The Open University.

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