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The Fastest Handstand Training Progression Program

July 22, 2017 7 min read

The Fastest Handstand Training Progression Program

Discover how to achieve a picture-perfect gymnastics handstand without wasting time. In this video handstand training program, Australian Ninja Warrior Lachlan Fyfe reveals the most effective five-step progression, anyone can train to handstand like a pro.

Handstands are a fantastic, whole body exercise that are a massive shoulder workout, good for balance and fun to do.

Video Tutorial: Beginner Rings Workout

This video demonstrates the 5 progression steps for a solid handstand.

First Exercise: Hold Good Handstand Form

1 - Hold Good Form

We're working with Mitch today, and he's gonna demonstrate the first step for training handstands. If handstand is new for you, this is the best place to start.

Mitch is just gonna go into a little bit of a handstand, just enough so his shoulders are starting to take his weight. Most important thing is that your arms, they're locked out, they're not bent. We're just trying to get your body used to holding your weight up.

Now, once you can hold this for seconds, you'll feel comfortable and you'll feel ready to move in closer to your wall. So here we're using a pole, you can use a tree, in the gym we use a wall, whatever it is. Step two is getting as close as you can to that object that you're leaning against.

Second Exercise: Handstand With Close Support

Handstand With Close Support

So Mitch is gonna go again. So you can see elbows are still locked out. The most important thing here is that he's engaging his core, his glutes, and opening his shoulders, so open shoulders, engaged core, engaged glutes. Thanks Mitch, come down. So those three things can seem a little bit complicated at first, we've got the core, the glutes and the shoulders.

We're gonna take a second just to explain why those are so important. So you can see here, Mitch's body is completely straight. The shoulders are open, his core's engaged, his glutes are engaged. So when you engage your core and your glutes, what it does is it rolls your hips back like this, which flattens your lower back.

Now, if you don't open your shoulders, engage your core and your glutes, you do a handstand that looks like this. So you can see the difference, that's why we're so strict on form. You need to practice this every time you train handstands. You wanna do at least to seconds for three to five rounds as a warmup, so you're always ingraining good form into your training and you're always practicing this position in the handstand.

Now, once you're comfortable with this, you understand the form, you're gonna go onto the next step, which we call toe touches.

Third Exercise: Toe Touches

3 - Toe Touches

So Mitch is gonna go back against the pole. And just watch, Mitch's toe comes off, and he goes back on. Awesome, so it's very, very subtle, but it's important. So when you get that close up to the wall like this, you could see that Mitch only had to come off the pole that much to be in a handstand.

At this stage, we're not trying to nail a handstand right now, we're just trying to get a feel for it. So you come off your object five to times for a split second, you feel the handstand, claw into the ground and go back on.

In the gym we would say you wanna be able to do five rounds of toe touches, but once you can do your toe touches and have the second hold each time, so you kick off the wall, hold for a second, go back on the wall times in a row, then we encourage the three second holds. So kick off the wall, hold for three seconds, go back on the wall.

The most important thing is that you have to do it times in a row. You can't fall down after five, you have to hit all in a row for three seconds. That's when the motor pattern and the handstand really start to develop, and that's when we know that you've got that good form. So you always got your core, your glutes engaged, and your shoulders open. If you don't practice enough, your form will fall to pieces, and it's just gonna make it harder. So that's how you can reinforce it to yourself in your own training.

The next step after this is to start kicking up into a handstand.

Fourth Exercise: Kick To Support

4 - Kick To Support

So you can use a tree, you can use a pole, you can use a partner to spot you. So Mitch is gonna show you how he kicks up into a handstand. I'm gonna spot him as if I'm a wall. Good.

So that's an example of how you can kick up and spot each other, and help get the person into the position. We're using a tree here, and as you can see, Mitch is facing the opposite way, he's facing away from the tree. So he's got his foot on the tree. The most important part is that he's got his knees pinned together.

You have to squeeze your knees together for this one. His core, his glutes, his shoulders are still great. Still important, always core, glutes, shoulders, but this time as well, pin the knees. Hop down. So that's the fourth technique for learning the handstand. Now, the reason why I like this technique so much is it bridges the gap between just kicking up into a handstand and just training it against the wall.

A long time ago we used to just train handstands against the wall and handstand toe touches, but then we would find we would get our clients to come off the wall and try a handstand, and all their technique would fall apart and they wouldn't be able to hold a handstand. So on a wall, they can hold for a minute, maybe even longer, but off the wall, just completely dependent on the wall.

And so what I found was that when you kick up off the wall, you're kicking up the opposite way. So you need to train holding the opposite way as well. So the technique Mitch has just demonstrated is how we bridge the gap between the two, and once you've practiced both a lot, then you'll find it's a lot easier to kick up with no wall and maintain your form.

So we're gonna go just one more time, and break this technique down. So the first thing that Mitch is gonna do is he's gonna measure the distance from the tree. The distance is from his knee to his foot. For a lot of people, it's about two and a half hand widths. So Mitch is gonna measure this distance out. There it is.

4 - Kick To Support_Tree

So then the first thing he does is he gets his form in alignment. Shoulders, core, glutes and pinning the knees. And now he's gonna do handstand toe touches the opposite way. So as you can see, it's just like the handstand toe touches. Mitch doesn't have to work very hard to come off the wall.

He only has to push about that far and he's in that handstand, and so every time he does these and he comes off and on times, he's reinforcing that motor pattern for the handstand, and it's just practice, practice, practice, getting comfortable with it. From here, we wanna combine what we've learnt, and we wanna start practicing kicking up into a handstand.

Fifth Exercise: Full Handstand

5 - Full Handstand

So for step five, kicking up into a handstand. Just remember, it's not gonna be perfect from the start, so you're gonna make a lot of mistakes, but this is the hardest part for a lot of people, is actually bringing it all together. And the only way is just to remember your technique, make sure your form's good and to keep practicing.

For every times you kick up, you might fall and you might get three good handstands, so just keep practicing , I know it can be frustrating, but keep with it, you're gonna see progress over time. Now, another way to make this step easier is if you've got a friend or a training partner. Get them to spot you, get them to be the wall for you, and catch them, and then once they get into their form, their alignment, then you start to step back.

There, so, that's a good example. The hardest part is finding that perfect point at the very top, but you could see there how Mitch really helped me into that point, and then he could step away and I could hold it. That's another way to help each other with the kick up. So when you are training, how to tie it all in together, you always want to start with your form. So always start just practicing strict handstands up against the pole.

So your warm-up will become step one. So you're holding facing the pole, seconds each time, focusing on your core, focusing on opening your shoulders.

Then the second part of your training will be your handstand toe touches. So against the pole, against the tree, facing towards and facing away. You wanna train both of those for five rounds each. You wanna spend at least minutes on that.

And then, to end your training, spend another to , maybe even minutes if you've got the energy, just practicing handstands. So that's how you tie it all in together for a workout. Drill your form, start to practice your toe touches which also drills your form, and then start practicing kicking up. Make sure you do them in that order, don't skip steps, don't under-evaluate how important practicing your form is, because it's gonna help you when you come to kicking off the ground.

And then the last piece of advice that I could offer is when you start to get frustrated, you start to get mad, just finish your session. Happens to all of us, doesn't matter how long you've been training. Once you start getting frustrated it just gets worse, so just call it, rest up, and then try again in another two days. So thank you for watching our step by step guide to a handstand. If you have any questions make sure you shoot us a message so we can help you out.

For more handstand training advice, see our handstand tutorial for warm-ups, technique, and advanced moves.

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