How to become a handstand beast, a Gold Medal Bodies tutorial

Here’s a guest post from Ryan Hurst of Gold Medal Bodies on how to learn and train for handstands. I don’t allow many guest posts here. When I do, you know they are top notch.

I’d teach you how to do handstands myself, but I’m not sure if I’m allowed to share my secrets in the ancient art of smashing my face into the ground.

anthony mychal handstand beast gmb

So Ryan will take over from here.

There’s a giant video to accompany this article. I queue the video at specific times to shortcut you to what’s being talked about.

Good luck handstanding.

Hi, I’m Ryan from Gold Medal Bodies

Anthony, being the super cool guy he is, asked me to give you guys a nice starting program for hitting handstands. For those of you who don’t know me, I have a thing for being upside down and helping people get strong with various gymnastic type movements.

Besides the fact that handstands make a great party trick, they’re a great start towards more difficult inverted and hand balancing maneuvers.

So what’s so great about handstands?

Well, when you do them right, handstands strengthen pretty much every muscle you have. Obviously, your shoulders and arms will get much stronger in overhead activities, and you’ll also notice some great improvements in your core strength. The strength and balance you get from doing handstands transfers over to a lot of other physical activities.

And let’s face it, being able to pop into a handstand wherever you are is pretty damn cool.

Now, I know what some of you are probably thinking.  “I can’t do that! I’ll break my head!” Handstands can be intimidating since there is always the possibility of crashing.

But, I promise, if you follow the progressions that I’m sharing with you today, you’ll get there as safely and as quickly as possible. There is no reason why you shouldn’t get the handstand, or even make your current handstand better than it already is.

Here’s a video I’m going to be referencing from here on out:

4 basic steps to handstand mastery

When I teach my clients to do a handstand, I generally take them through the following four stages:

  • Facing the wall
  • Facing away from the wall
  • L-Handstand using a wall
  • Freestanding Handstand work

But before you dive in and start taunting gravity, there are two things that you have to do to get ready for safe and productive handstand work—strengthen your wrists and ingrain the “hollow body” position.

Preparing your wrists

First we’ll start with wrist prep. If your wrists are weak, your handstand will be weak.

This is also one of the most common complaints I receive from people that have tried working on handstands and other handbalancing in the past. They just can’t carry weight properly on their hands.

That’s why we really need to focus on strengthening our wrists using the three variations below. (Below is the original video queued at 1:22, when the exercises start.)

Fingers forward

The first is with our hands flat and fingers facing forward. Make sure to keep your arms straight. Rock forward and bring your shoulders past your fingers and hold for 3 seconds. Relax, then repeat for a total of 5 reps.

Fingers backward

Next we’ll take our fingers backwards and sit back, holding for 3 seconds for 5 reps. Don’t let the heels of your hands come up off of the ground.

Palms up, fingers backward

For the final wrist prep, turn your hands over with palms facing up.  Keep your fingers facing your knees and sit back, holding for 3 seconds for a total of 5 reps.  If you have trouble keeping your arms straight, move your hands closer to your knees.

Mastering the hollow body

You MUST master the hollow body position if you want a solid handstand.

We’re working on a gymnastic-style handstand with a straight body (it’s a much better technique if you’re doing this for training), and that requires a tight core to keep your upper and lower halves working together when inverted.

The most important point for the hollow body position is keeping your lower back flat on the floor the whole time.

DO NOT progress to the next level in the hold until you can successfully hold it for at least one minute with your lower back fully down on the floor. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you’ve gotten all the juice out of the preceding steps.

Here’s the Hollow Body progressions:

  •  Legs bent
  •  Legs straight
  •  Legs straight and extended
  •  Arms extended

This hollow body position is pretty close to how you want to hold your body in the handstand, so having the strength to maintain this position on the floor can make or break your overall progress. (Below is the original video queued at 2:42.)

Be sure to continue working the hollow body until you’re extremely comfortable with it.

Wall work for handstands

We’ll begin our handstand work with our body facing against the wall. Most people start out facing away, but I’ve found that my students can apply the hollow body position better if they face the wall at first. (Below is the original video queued at 4:20.)

Handstand facing the wall

  • Climb the wall – With your hands shoulder width apart, slowly walk your feet up the wall and walk your hands close to the wall.
  • Hold the Hollow Body Handstand (tight body) – With toes against the wall, focus on holding the hollow body position.
  • Exit the handstand by walking your feet down. Use a mat or pillow in case you crash, etc.

If you are having trouble getting into the handstand holding it, you probably need to work on strengthening your shoulders. So rather than trying to hold the handstand, work on walking up and down the wall for 3 reps for 4 sets.

Once you can comfortably get into the handstand while facing the wall, hold for 5 to 10 seconds x 6 sets. Give yourself a good rest between sets. Once that becomes easy, add 5 seconds to each set for all of the 6 sets.

We are working up to being able to hold 1 set for 60 seconds per set. Once you can perform that, it’s time to move on to the next level.

Handstand facing away from the wall

Facing outward is great because you can start working on popping up into the handstand.

Work on locking out your arms and jumping slowly up in the handstand. Try not to smack your back, butt, or feet against the wall.

Here is the progression:

  1. Jump to handstand
  2. Hollow body with heels on wall
  3. Look down slightly
  4. Slowly exit the handstand.

Once you can hold the hollow body handstand with feet against the wall for up to a minute, it’s time to start pulling your feet away from the wall.

The L-Stand

The L-stand is awesome for gaining a lot of strength in your handstand and working on your form.

This is surprisingly difficult and is why I usually have my clients work on this along with the wall handstand facing out, and even when they get really good at that.

There are two key points for the L-stand:

  1. Focus on getting a 90 degree angle
  2. Push down and don’t let your shoulders collapse

You can work this the same way as your other progressions. 5 to 10 seconds x 6 sets and adding 5 seconds per set as you can. Work up to holding this for 1 minute per set.

The freestanding handstand

You have FINALLY arrived!

After hard work on each of the prior levels you are good and ready for the freestanding handstand.

The freestanding handstand can be a bit difficult psychologically because there is no longer a wall to help catch you!  But don’t let that stop you. Focus on what you’ve learned so far and kick on up there. However, if things do go bad, remember that you can simply roll or turn out of it.

The sets and reps are the same as our other progressions. Start off with 5 to 10 seconds for 6 sets. You want to hold a solid free standing handstand for up to a minute.

Some points to remember:

  • Start with hands on floor
  • Tuck up with control
  •  Push away from the ground
  •  Hold with a hollow body position
  •  Exit the handstand – Turn out or roll if you have to bail

Most of all, have fun with it. Handstands are difficult for may people, but if you remember to make it fun, you’re going to keep practicing, and that’s key.

Advanced handbalancing for badasses

Once you’ve got your basic handstand nailed, you can step up for more interesting variations and advanced hand balancing moves.

Here are some advanced versions to work on once you get the freestanding handstand:

  • Press handstand
  • Lower to double arm lever
  • Bent arm tuck to press hand

Alright, now get on it!

Don’t let any of this intimidate you, these progressions have worked for everyone I’ve trained and I’ve seen so many crazy grins from people that never thought they could get it.

Give it a shot and let us know (or leave a comment below) if you have any questions!


Ryan Hurst Gold Medal Bodies HandstandRyan Hurst, GMB Program Director – Ryan has a passion for movement, playing with his kids and being outdoors. That’s why you’re more likely to find him running, lifting, jumping, balancing, and climbing than anywhere online. Visit his home:

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Natalie April 17, 2012, 9:12 am

    Awesome. Thank you for the great vid. Always wanted to learn this. Saw a girl in the gym who looked a touch … “incompetent” with the lifts …. but she did awesome handstands
    I never got into gymnastics as I am “lengthy”, most gymnasts seem to be 5 foot or under, but I really fancy doing the handstands and any good tricks 🙂

    • Anthony April 19, 2012, 12:51 pm

      Well, I’m 6’3″. You can get into it, no doubt!

    • Ryan Hurst April 24, 2012, 5:23 am

      I’m not especially tall at 5’10” but I know what you mean. However, handstands are great at any height. 😉

  • Danavir April 17, 2012, 3:43 pm

    Awesome post!

    I make people follow a similar progression but I never heard of the hollow body. Pretty sweet!

    Good stuff haha

    • Anthony April 19, 2012, 12:52 pm

      Ryan is the man with a plan.

    • Ryan Hurst April 24, 2012, 5:24 am

      Glad you liked it. Add in the hollow body progression when you are teaching and it will really shore up some trouble areas in the handstand.

    • Joseph Ben-Aderet December 22, 2012, 1:00 am

      it basically just means having a rounded back so slightly dished but not quite a fulldish

  • Rory O'Keeffe April 18, 2012, 2:25 pm

    Great stuff. Really enjoying these posts on achieving superhuman skills!

    By the way, on that testimonial for AGTCKP you wanted – any guidelines on length or anything else? Also, I only got through the first two phases before breaking my ankle so do you still want me to write one up? Apologies for taking so long to get back to you on this by the way, work has finally eased a bit so I have some time to think.

    • Anthony April 19, 2012, 12:56 pm

      Rory, you can write your initial feelings about the comprehensiveness of the program. That would be cool. You can mention your ankle. Be honest, that’s all I ask.

      • Rory O'Keeffe April 23, 2012, 1:58 pm

        Sent it to you on Saturday from this email address. Hope it fits the bill!

  • Alex April 20, 2012, 5:43 am

    This is great article.But this is progression for a handstand. Could you post a whole gymnast’s program?

    • Ryan Hurst April 24, 2012, 5:29 am

      Glad you liked the article. A whole gymnast’s program? I trained in gymnastics for many years but now a days I just use gymnastic type movements for training. If you’d like a full on gymnast’s program I suggest checking out a local gymnastic center since they’d have all the apparatus that you’d need as well.

  • alby April 23, 2012, 8:33 pm

    This was a dope article! I have to step my handstand game up… Thanks for the post Ryan and thanks anthony, found it through reddit, and now i’m hooked on the site.

  • Simone May 1, 2012, 5:16 pm

    Ryan, I sent you a message on Twitter but I am not sure if that is the right place so I post here too.
    First of all I love the tutorial! I was looking for something that has exercises leading up to a handstand and I finally found one. Thanks a lot!!!
    I was wondering if that hollow body exercise would help me with cartwheels too. Or maybe you have other suggestions?
    I think part of my problem is that I know I am not strong enough yet and therefore I am afraid of being “upside down”. So I really would like to prepare with exercises like the hollow body before I hurt myself.
    Thanks again!

    • Andy May 3, 2012, 10:31 pm

      Hey Simone, I’m not sure if Ryan got back to you, but you can always contact us through our site at

      Regarding cartwheels, you don’t need to be able to support your weight on your hands really. You just transition over them, if that makes sense. One thing that might help a great deal is to focus on pushing off with your front leg harder to create momentum. Since you’ll be moving faster, you’ll spend even less time on your hands.

      And yes, mastering the HB position will help with just about anything.

    • Ryan Hurst May 17, 2012, 12:15 am


      Glad you enjoyed this article.
      Andy gave you some great advice on cartwheels. And like he said, in the beginning it’s not so much of a hand balance compared to being able to transition your body over your hands. While not a tutorial, here’s an article on one of our GMB guys working up to being able to perform a cartwheel. Some of his transitions should help a bit.

      And feel free to contact us over at anytime.


  • Ryan Hurst May 17, 2012, 12:17 am

    Alby, glad you liked this. I hope it helps out with your handstand work.


  • Jenna June 8, 2012, 8:35 pm

    Thank you so much for the progression. Wondering if you have a chart/guideline for those of us going from zero to handstand. Something like a C25K chart, where there is a weekly progression or goal would be greatly appreciated.

    • Andy June 9, 2012, 2:56 am

      Jenna, I have no idea what c25k is, but we do have a full program you can download at

      • Jenna June 11, 2012, 1:11 pm

        Thanks! c25k (Couch to 5K programs). Something that gradually gets you there over a 10-12 week progression.
        Always, Jenna

        • Andy June 11, 2012, 6:46 pm

          Ah, I’ve heard of that! Thanks, Jenna.

  • Chu July 26, 2012, 1:14 am

    I am stepping or leaping up into my hand stand. I am trying to straddle up into my handstand. Any tips or progression or what muscles need to contract
    Thanks. And thanks for the tip above

    • Anthony July 27, 2012, 12:39 pm

      You should “coast” into your handstand nice and smoothly.

  • Louise October 19, 2012, 4:38 pm

    Hey there! I am trying to teach myself a pressed handstand (so far against a wall) and I am stuck at a point where I now can do the controlled lift but only if I can rest the back of my head slightly on the wall – I can’t seem to get forward quite enough without that pressure otherwise…(though I can lift fine in a headstand)! Any pointers? (Also, any vids on handstand push ups and freestanding one-handed handstands would be great!). Thanks a million!

    • Anthony October 27, 2012, 2:24 am

      Hopefully by approving this, the GMB crew will come to the rescue.

      • Michaelhorner1995 December 9, 2014, 8:17 am

        For your press to handstand make sure you practice tuck planche. Leaning into a wall means you’re currently lacking the shoulder strength to bring your shoulders far enough over your hands. If you build up to a 30 second tuck planche with straight elbows this should give you the strength you need to be able to press as your shoulders will come further forward in a tuck planche than they will in any form of handstand press. Hope this helps

    • Ryan January 6, 2015, 3:14 am

      Hi Louise.

      There are many ways to train the press to HS. Here’s a video of one way to train it.

  • jahzana October 27, 2012, 11:35 pm

    I still did not get it. It really really hard I can’t do it

    • Anthony October 29, 2012, 2:16 pm

      You don’t learn it overnight. It’s very difficult indeed. Just keep practicing. Practice practice practice!

    • bobby chopp May 27, 2015, 2:48 pm


  • Sule November 21, 2012, 12:44 pm

    Hey, I am doing a teacher training in yoga and handstand is my nightmare.
    This is a great way to progress towards handstand. I am at L handstand now, hopefully it wont take too long to be able to kick on the wall.

    • Anthony November 21, 2012, 3:05 pm

      GMB knows their shit.

  • John December 29, 2012, 7:18 pm

    Thanks for the great tutorial! hollow body is something nobody taught me, so I resulted in having arm strength enough to stand on one hand with wall, and doing perfect handstand pushups with wall while having no core stength so that I can’t do anything without wall. L stand is also another thing I never seen before, so by practicing these two, with the arm strength already built, I hope I’ll be able to do handstand freely pretty soon! Again, Thanks!

    • Anthony December 31, 2012, 3:07 am

      GMB are good people.

  • Bart January 9, 2013, 11:24 pm

    Hey guys,

    I just started doing handstands. I want to increase my core strength.
    So after watching a couple of videos i figured i would be best to start of against a wall.
    When i walked up against the wall i got a LOT of pressure on my head. I looked it up on the internet and the only thing i could find was that i was supposed to keep breathing.. xD. So i got back up against the wall and started taking regular deep breaths but the pressure came again immediately. Can anybody tell me what i am doing wrong and how i can prevent feeling this huge amount of pressure on my head?

    Thanks in advance

    Some stats about me:
    I am also 1.92 m tall and i have a relatively good condition.
    I can do at least 20 neat push ups.

    • Anthony January 12, 2013, 6:52 pm

      Anything wrong? I don’t think. This happens to me anytime I walk up a wall too. So I just kick my feet up. Perhaps GMB can help. I’m unlocking the reply.

    • Andy January 12, 2013, 8:07 pm

      Hey Bart, first of all, the usual cautions/disclaimers apply: I have no idea what medical situation you have, and you should always talk to a doctor if you are worried about something happening in your body.

      Also, if you *ever* feel lightheaded or dizzy while holding a handstand, come down immediately and breathe and relax.

      That said, you’re probably OK. I mean, you probably don’t find yourself upside-down very often, right? It’s bound to be uncomfortable at first.

      So build up gradually. Only stay inverted for a few seconds, then come down. Relax, breathe, and then do it again in a few minutes.

      And yeah, you should always breathe. The only time I would recommend holding your breath is if you happen to be underwater. Holding your breath while upside down is going to increase the your blood pressure, and you don’t want to do that under stress.

      Just relax, get upside down, exhale, come back down.

      You’ll get more comfortable with time and practice. Unfortunately, this has nothing at all to do with strength. You just need to teach your body to deal with the discomfort.

      Chances are, you won’t die from this.

  • mikka January 31, 2013, 12:12 am

    Wow thanks for the vid I enjoy free valuable information, I will see what I can do with this =]

    • Anthony January 31, 2013, 12:53 am

      GMB are good people. 🙂

  • Deej March 16, 2013, 12:27 pm

    Hey I’m going to start this tomorrow! My question is about the wrist strengthening/stretching exercise. Am I supposed to do that before or after the main exercise? I hear that I shouldn’t stretch before a workout because it takes out some of the elasticity and bounce back power of the muscles making the workout less effective. Maybe I’m wrong. Anyway before or after? Thanks!

    • Anthony March 19, 2013, 11:36 am

      You don’t need your wrists for explosive power during handstands. It’s MUCH more important that they’re ready to handle the intense range of motion and positions that handstands will force them into. GMB should respond after I unlock this post, so you’ll get their opinion too.

    • Andy June 17, 2013, 8:43 pm

      Definitely do the stretches before practicing handstands. As Anthony said, you’re not doing explosive movements, so that’s not an issue.

  • Santiago Sanchez April 14, 2013, 1:52 am

    I have trouble because once i start slowly walking my way up the wall facing it the blood rushes to my head real quick and i cant stand it and have to stop am i doing something wrong or is there something i can do to get accustomed to it

    • Anthony April 15, 2013, 1:44 pm

      This is common. It won’t happen if you don’t walk up the wall though. If you kick your feet up you should be good.

  • vik April 25, 2013, 2:20 pm

    I have been doing handstands for about a month.I checked my blood pressure and its 82 -150 is something wrong.I don’t feel any kind of tiredness or dizziness while i practice.

    • Anthony April 26, 2013, 1:08 pm

      No, handstands shouldn’t increase blood pressure unless you take the measurement immediately after doing them.

  • vik April 27, 2013, 1:51 pm

    Does handstands require certain shoulder flexibility.I cant get my hands past ears and i think this is the reason why i cant hold handstand with stability.How can i improve shoulder flexibility?

    • Anthony April 27, 2013, 2:27 pm

      More so thoracic spine mobility than shoulder mobility (one in the same, essentially though). You probably need a dose of thoracic extensions and training that UPWARDLY rotates the scapula. Get into a deep squat position and then do front plate raises overhead with a 2.5 pound plate (or milk jug). And then keep practicing handstands. Get against a wall and push the mobility issue. GMB should respond too.

    • Andy June 17, 2013, 8:47 pm

      Here’s one of the many shoulder mobility tutorials we have available on our site:

      Try this one out and see how it feels. Improving your shoulder and thoracic mobility will take time and consistent effort, but you can definitely improve them over time to get your handstand.

  • Victoria June 2, 2013, 6:05 pm

    Thanks so much for this awesome video! I’ve been looking for ways to properly and safely add handstands to my yoga practice. This has been super helpful. 😀 Looking forward to mastering it!

    • Anthony June 5, 2013, 1:46 am

      GMB is awesome for sure.

  • Erin H. June 13, 2013, 9:09 pm

    Great article but hard to follow without visuals. Any place to go look up the visuals on each of these steps?

    • Anthony June 14, 2013, 12:27 pm

      It’s not like there is a 11 minute video in the post or anything.

      • Andy June 17, 2013, 8:43 pm


  • melodie June 21, 2013, 4:21 am

    I’ve been working on this for a while. It’s semi solid.

    My issue right now is that it feels like my legs are too long to push up into handstand 🙁

    • Anthony June 21, 2013, 11:38 pm

      I’m 6’4″. Your legs aren’t too long 😉

  • Hugo September 22, 2013, 12:47 am

    Great tutorial. I just have one quick question, in regards to a handstand press, the shoulder action is a external rotation or internal?

    Thank you in advance.

    • Anthony September 23, 2013, 5:34 pm

      Letting this through. GMB should be here to answer this.

    • Ryan Hurst September 24, 2013, 12:46 pm

      External rotation pressing into the handstand then neutral (elbows facing towards each other) in the final handstand position.

  • Abby September 26, 2013, 9:53 pm

    Hey I need to learn how to keep a handstand for a really long time

    • Anthony September 26, 2013, 11:27 pm

      I hope you have about a year in your back pocket ready to spare before you need to showcase this feat.

      • Ryan Hurst September 27, 2013, 10:45 pm

        Word to that Anthony. Even practicing the handstand directly with a coach it’s still going to take a bit of time and diligent practice to hit the “really long time” mark.

  • Vanessa October 2, 2013, 9:20 pm

    Great article guys, I absolutely loved it! I’m doing crossfit and I’ve mastered all the steps and I’m ready to try the free standing handstand. I just have one question/concern. When I’m kicking off into it and half way up I feel like it’s failing how exactly do I turn or roll into it? I know you mentioned it in the article and there’s a brief visual in the video as to how to do it but I was wondering if you could give me a more detailed description? Not saying that I feel like I’m destined to fail or anything but I would like to get that fail safe down before I attempt :). Thanks.

    • Anthony October 2, 2013, 11:04 pm

      If I were you, I’d learn the basic forward roll and also some kind of cartwheel. Then using either from the handstand position becomes easier. I won’t lie though: you might mess up and fall sometimes. That’s just the nature of learning.

      • Vanessa October 2, 2013, 11:16 pm

        Okay thanks! I’ve pretty much had the cartwheel and forward roll down packed from elementary school haha so I think I have those down packed :). Not afraid of falling, just wanted to know how to not hurt myself in the process 🙂 Thanks again and keep the amazing articles coming!

        • Ryan Hurst October 3, 2013, 9:19 am

          Yep, I’d work on the forward roll and cartwheel just like Anthony mentioned. BTW, here another tutorial I did on how to bail out safely. Cheers.

        • Anthony October 4, 2013, 2:36 pm


  • Laurens October 3, 2013, 5:14 pm

    Hi, great blog!

    I have a question about the hollow body position.

    It’s difficult for me to keep my lower back on the ground as I stretch out. My strength doesn’t seem to be the problem, as I can perform push-ups, pull-ups, and practically any type of sit-up,including jack-knives, with ease.

    Is it still a problem then? If so, what can I do to remedy it?

    • Anthony October 4, 2013, 2:42 pm

      Letting this go through, Ryan or Andy should be here shortly.

    • Andy October 4, 2013, 3:39 pm

      The short story is that this hold requires a different type and application of strength. If you can’t extend the legs, practice doing the hold with them bent. I’m willing to bet that, over time, you can gradually begin extending your legs without lifting your back.

      But you’re probably a bit weak in the particular muscles you need to stabilize the core in this way.

      Either that, or you have some kind of exotic spinal deformity.

      • Laurens October 4, 2013, 4:46 pm

        Thanks Andy, I’ll practice it with my legs bent first then. I can do that without lifting my back.

        Lets just assume it’s the former cause, not the latter.

  • danimal November 7, 2013, 5:36 pm

    one of the best things i’ve seen in a while…can’t believe it’s free

    • Anthony November 12, 2013, 2:20 am

      YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT. (And then you should thank GMB.)

  • Areen November 10, 2013, 8:27 pm

    Hey guys! This looks like an amazing plan!! I can’t do a handstand whatsoever or even something like a cartwheel for that matter but I’ve ALWAYS wanted to learn. I’m gonna give this plan a go and let you know how it works out! 😀

    • Anthony November 12, 2013, 2:26 am

      Yes. GMB is good.

  • Dahianna November 18, 2013, 4:28 pm

    This is great. I’ve been doing CrossFit for 6 months and cant do handstands. I just about gave up….except now i have hope because i can actually do wall climbs and hold the handstand that way for a little while!!! I’m going to pass this on to my coach so he can help me progress! Thanks so much!!

    • Anthony November 19, 2013, 12:18 am

      If you want to learn handstands, stop doing HS push-ups, IMO. At least for now. You have to get specific to your end and really be conscious about not using the wall. You prolly will at first, but you should have a targeted end not to use it. HSPU will just reinforce those bad habits of kicking up, at least at the beginning.

    • Ryan Hurst November 19, 2013, 2:32 am

      Yep, HSPUs are a different kind of monkey. If you want better handstands you’ve got to focus on the handstand. 😉

      Dahianna, keep us posted on your progress.


  • Jennifer November 20, 2013, 5:32 am

    I have strong shoulders and core, so that isn’t the issue…I find balance difficult as my legs always fall over my head.

    • Anthony November 21, 2013, 4:59 pm

      That’s primarily wrist. Strong shoulders are nada in the handstand, really. And strong “core” doesn’t mean much. It’s all about BALANCE, not so much strength. It’s really learning how to move back and forth on the wrists with your weight and what that does up the chain.

  • ken December 14, 2013, 12:15 am

    please please please! i broke my wrist a couple years back treated with a surgical pin installed on the scaphoid. I can only do push-ups on fists with tolerable pain any more and have lost loads of strength on the entire right wrist/arm/shoulder.
    I want to get back to handstand trainging; any great ideas besides push-up stands since i cannot put my palms flat on the floor for handstands let alone push-ups? thank you.

    • Anthony December 17, 2013, 1:40 am

      This is a toughie. GMB should be around to chime in. Use parallelettes (spelling?).

    • Andy December 17, 2013, 1:51 am

      The only sensible and responsible answer is the one you’ll like least:

      Continue working with your healthcare provider to fully rehab your wrists.

      It sucks, but training yourself to use a crutch to perform an altered version of a skill is just going to further you from achieving full strength and range of motion. It would be far better to suck it up and start from the bottom, preparing your body to handle this and other skills without risk of injury.

      If you cannot be rehabilitated, then you’ll still need a professional opinion on what alterations would offer the least chance of additional injury in your particular circumstance.

      That’s going to require in-person evaluation and knowledge of your case history.

  • jayla December 17, 2013, 4:48 am

    How.can I convince my mom to let me try out for gymnastics? If I show her what I can do?

    • Anthony December 18, 2013, 2:40 pm

      Parents will NEVER come to terms with it being safe, in my opinion. The only way to make it happen: convince her of your passion. Show her you love it and want to get more involved. Tell her that having people teach you will be the safest (even though she still will know its risky and convince you otherwise…or try to). Show her you understand the risks involved. Show her your smart enough to know what you’re getting into, and tell her what it will mean to you.

  • Rob December 30, 2013, 1:57 pm

    I’m a martial artist by nature, my upper body strength and core is pretty good from a lifetime or martial arts and I started gymnastics, tumbling and trampolining about a year ago and it’s generally going well. However, I have never been able to hold a hand stand despite being able to do about 20-30 hand stand push ups. I’ve never trained on a daily basis but I have given it a good go in the past. I’m 28, thin and athletic.

    I have a really curved spine and wondered if this had anything to do with my troubles? I’m going to follow this workout for a few months and see how it goes however I wondered if there’s any other advice you could offer to someone in my position.

    • Rob December 30, 2013, 1:59 pm

      Oh and I do professional weapon performances, in particularly Nunchaku. So my wrists are pretty strong. I’ve never struggled on something athletic so much, it’s dirving me mad!

      • Anthony January 3, 2014, 3:30 pm


    • Anthony January 3, 2014, 3:29 pm

      My advice: stop doing handstand push-ups because you’re unconsciously “learning” bad form by having some part of the body in contact with the wall.

      If you want to HS, train for the HS. Not the HSPU. You have to LEARN how to balance on your hands.

  • jeke February 8, 2014, 8:00 pm


    Thanks for a great article. I have some problems with the L-stand. I can get into a position but can’t hold hollow body in that position. There’s a little curve in my lower back while doing it. I can hold 60 second full hollow body on the floor so I think the core-strentgh is not the case.

    Any advice..? Thank you.

    • Anthony February 11, 2014, 5:36 pm

      My guess could be something dealing with shoulder mobility. I’ll let GMB reply.

    • Ryan February 13, 2014, 6:53 am

      Yes, it could be lack of range of motion in the shoulders. Really focus on pushing down and away from the floor (scapular elevation). That should help.

  • Hayley February 10, 2014, 1:50 am

    Hi! This tutorial is great! I’m doing handstand February in an attempt to get better at handstands, facing the wall is not a problem and I can hold it for a while but how do you get the momentum to push off from the floor when you’re facing away from the wall? I only seem to be able to do it with help.

    • Anthony February 11, 2014, 6:03 pm

      I’m not sure I understand the question. My answer is simply: kick your legs up. Maybe GMB can make better sense of it, so I’m passing it through.

  • Ryan February 13, 2014, 6:54 am

    Here’s a video that should help you.

  • nabeel February 28, 2014, 7:29 pm

    hey there.great vid.definitely the how often should you practice this? everyday? second day? and how long does it take on average?

    • Anthony March 3, 2014, 7:42 pm

      Everyone progresses at their own rate based upon the QUALITY of practice. HS can be done daily, provided your programming structure is in check. You don’t want to train them when you’re balls fatigued because quality is down, so that’s something to consider if you wanna do them daily. I wouldn’t go on a BB split and “trash” your shoulders and then do HS the next day.

  • crag March 13, 2014, 3:37 am

    I remeber looking up this tutorial when i was working on my handstand!!!! I ve gotten so much better now! When i first started, i lacked the strength, so i literally dropped. 3 monnths later i did wall work, and 2 months after that, i practiced, but with poor technique. I learned that 3 months later and began to practice, and i learned about the core aspect. what worked for me were developing a DRAGON FLAG and HUMAN FLAG. after developing those, my handstand time skyrocketed from 18 to longer than a minute in 2 weeks!!! and the reason i cant hold it that much longer is because my upper body gives out!!

    • Baylee Lundgren April 5, 2014, 9:25 pm

      Oh just shut up. You big complainer!!

  • justin May 20, 2014, 4:44 am

    Awesome Tutorial Ryan!

    I’m at the free standing handstand stage, and have a question.

    How do we do the Luke Skywalker one arm handstand and add the raise the starship from the swamp telekinesis bit?

    I would ask Yoda, but I think he’s in another star system these days?..

  • Ivan July 11, 2014, 6:16 pm

    Hi! I’ve been practicing for a while now including handstand. I can do around 50-60 pushups, and i can tell that my arms are strong enough for handstand. I am unable to stay on my hands longer than 3-4 seconds because i feel huge pressure in my head while im doing it. I literally feel like my eyes are going to pop out and my head is going to explode if i attemp to stay longer than that. And yeah, i always breath normally while im in handstand position. Any advices ? Thanks in advance.

    • Anthony July 14, 2014, 10:47 pm

      I’ve found that walking into a handstand creates this problem for me. If I kick my legs up, it doesn’t happen.

  • Ivan July 12, 2014, 3:54 pm

    I wrote a question 2 days ago, and it got deleted without any answer or anything. Do i need to write it again or? Sorry for typing this but i really need an answer for my question. Thanks in advance.

    • Anthony July 14, 2014, 10:49 pm

      I read every comment and approve them. It takes time.

  • Josh August 5, 2014, 9:58 pm

    Appreciate the effort in making the video. I understand what Natalie is saying about height being an extra difficulty – I’m 6″5 detrained to do it tho – ultimate goal -> one arm handstand baby!

  • hind August 12, 2014, 1:04 pm

    Hello, I’m trying to master the handstand, but I have weight problems, so it makes me lose my balance, do you think it doesn’t matter? my weight? that i’ll be able to do it or not? Thank you.

    • Anthony August 12, 2014, 4:07 pm

      I’ll pass this through to GMB.

    • Andy August 13, 2014, 3:00 am

      Does your weight matter? Yes.

      If you are heavy, your joints are in for a lot more work. You wrists are already at a disadvantage to your ankles in supporting a “normal” weight, but if that’s compounded, you’ll need to pay special attention to warming up the wrists and shoulders.

      That’s not to say you can’t learn a handstand. Plenty of very heavy (both because of fat or because of muscle mass) people can do them, and it should change your balance point significantly.

      So there’s no reason not to practice handstands as long as you prepare your joints to support your weight. But if you feel your weight hinders what you’d like to achieve in terms of using your body, then I’d recommend taking measures to address that as well.

  • Phil March 14, 2015, 1:56 am

    Great style and pace for coaching….fun to watch.
    Can I do this?
    Just turned 55 and have never done a handstand but want to try as I know it is great for fitness and balance. Is it possible? How long should I expect if I follow the drills?
    Thanks and again, great video.

    • Anthony April 25, 2015, 2:14 pm

      I’ll let GMB chime in, but I’d say that you just need to go out there and practice. You can learn it, sure. But I wouldn’t but a time limit on the learning. All you can control is your practice. Let the results come as they do.

    • Ryan April 27, 2015, 1:16 am

      Yes! It is possible to work on this even at 55 years young. We have people in their 60’s that we’ve worked with on handstands. The important thing, and this goes for everyone, is listening to your body and not over doing it.
      I really can’t tell you how long it will take since each person is different. Go slowly through the drills and be sure to spend adequate time on them before moving on to the next level.
      Take your time and enjoy the process.

  • Cindi April 8, 2015, 8:16 am

    Great one

  • Ciel April 22, 2015, 3:14 am

    I’m really interested in learning to do a handstand.
    I’ve mastered the hollow body with little to no problems, but when I try the wall facing handstand, I can’t seem to get close enough to the wall.
    I kick my legs up, but I find myself either afraid or just can’t bring myself to walk my hands up closer the the wall.
    I start as close to the wall as I can, but there’s always too much space to properly hold my position.
    Is there something I can do to help this?

    • Anthony April 25, 2015, 2:43 pm

      I’ll let GMB chime in, they usually reply.

  • Ryan April 27, 2015, 1:20 am

    How is your exit from the wall? A lot of time getting closer to the wall is simply a fear issue. And if you first work on exiting with a cartwheel/turn out it will make it mentally easier to work on this.
    Once you get that, it’s just a matter of walking up and down the wall and building the proper strength. Give it time and don’t rush.
    Also, even if you can’t get your hands as close as you would like, just try to get in as straight of a line as you can and you’ll still be working towards the handstand.