Handstands bring a wealth of aesthetic value. Hoping up on your hands, balanced and composed, is an impressive feat. However, it’s more than a cool party trick. The health and wellness perks of this glorified pose are often downplayed. So, we’ll discuss science-based handstand benefits. You’ll also know exhaustive prep and progression tips by the end of the article.
Sneak Peek: Research shows four types of must-do exercises – viz., endurance (aerobic), strength, balance, and flexibility. Don’t conjure up a drawn-out gym routine because upside-down training checks each box within minutes!
What are handstands good for? Major handstand benefits include a permanent boost in your upper-body strength and mind-body coordination. The key to avoiding injuries is gradual progression and sufficient prior training.
10 Wonderful Benefits of Handstands
There are many handstand benefits for your physical and mental well-being, whether you kick up against a wall or manage to do freestanding ones. In addition to the no-equipment nature, handstands are time-efficient and adjustable for all skill levels. Integral to gymnastics and yoga asanas – the pinnacle calisthenics movement deserves a spot on your fitness bucket list.
1. Upper-body Strength
People often associate push-ups and planks with upper-body workouts. You feel the burn, but not to the extent handstands put you through. Your entire body weight rests upon your shoulders, arms, and wrists. The upper back and chest also open up. That is the challenge! It's a proven hypothesis that the strength of upper-body muscle groups is a limiting factor for balancing a difficult static position where the handstand belongs. As you get closer to ace it, you’ll develop unparalleled strength and stability.
You must know handstand practitioners excel at brawn as well as balance. The center of gravity naturally exists about an inch below the belly button. As soon as you flip into the inversion, it changes its position further down the body, making balance difficult. Now, your wrists and shoulders are equivalent to ankles and hips. In order to maintain the posture, you have to make small and continuous weight adjustments. Thus, you'll see your power and balance skyrocket at the journey's end.
3. Body Awareness
Are handstands good for you? After all, nobody walks on hands, so what's the hype? Doing so polishes your motor skills, spatial awareness, and proprioception, which ultimately helps with everyday tasks and sports performance. It also opens doors to more advanced, gravity-defying acrobatic skills. Practicing handstands create full-body tension. It moves you in a harmonious and coordinative manner. Researchers have developed a special sensing board to master body awareness and balance during handstands.
4. Stress Relief
With time, you’ll transform from a confused beginner to a calm yogi. The mental health benefits of handstands can outweigh the physical ones. You'll feel calmer and happier. It's because standing upside-down promotes blood flow to the brain. Meditative exercises are already known to spike blood flow to the frontal lobe, combating stress and depression. Observing from another dimension, the reduced level of stress hormones (cortisol) also helps with the antidepressant and mood-elevating effects of the exercise.
5. Core Conditioning
Do handstands build muscles? First of all, the strength of muscle fibers boils down to the produced force, not showcased size. If you’re seeking a functional move, handstands are unbeatable. Harvard Health recommends ‘bracing’ for core conditioning, which means tightening abdominal muscles as if preparing to take a punch. That’s what you do with planks, crunches, and handstands. In fact, what muscles do handstands work? Besides the upper body, you’re working up your abs, obliques, glutes, and psoas muscles as well.
From wrists to hips to ankles, hyper flexibility is one of the critical factors determining the quality of your handstand holds. Improvements in flexibility can reduce explosive strength requirements by freeing up gymnasts to assume mechanically advantageous body posture and alignment. They also increase your range of motion. The lack of elasticity stiffens muscles, exposing them to a greater risk of injuries. Doing proper handstands is a surefire and fun recipe for maintaining flexible muscles in the long term.
7. Blood Circulation
Staying inverted promotes cerebral blood flow. It doesn't only stimulate brain functions; the circulation of important gasses and nutrients performs efficiently throughout the body. It gives resilience against diseases. Inversion therapy revs up your heart rate and dials down blood pressure. Cardiovascular handstand benefits aren’t stellar, especially when put against running or cycling, but should be researched more extensively. The American Council on Exercise estimates a one-hour gymnastic sesh to burn 288 calories for a 155 lb person.
8. Lymphatic Drainage
Blood doesn’t monopolize the complex network of your veins and vessels, a watery fluid called lymph also traverses back and forth. It returns excess fluid to the bloodstream. Immunity, digestion, and waste disposal are among the main tasks of the lymphatic system. Inversions benefit four systems: cardiovascular, lymphatic, nervous, and endocrine. The endocrine system is made up of glands that create and release hormones. These chemicals dictate all bodily functions, from growth and metabolism to emotions and sex life.
9. Bone Health
The study examining the relationship between exercise, osteoporosis, and bone geometry found that gymnastic, jumping, and sprinting athletes had a higher bone mineral content than non-athletes. Can you guess any reason? Well, mentioned disciplines (and handstands, likewise) are weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises. They build bone density, retaining and regaining bone health. If you've had a skeletal fracture or disorder, consult a physical therapist since certain poses may not be safe for you.
10. Anti Aging
The scientific community agrees upon handstand benefits. However, there was no follow-up study to prove long-term miraculous effects until a Chinese man, 66, turned up. He had been flipping on his head for 40 years. His cerebral vessels and spinal discs were healthy, with youthful skin and a sharp mind, approving that handstands delay signs of aging. If you can crack the technique and progress to a stable stance on your hands, you’ll reap infinite benefits all your life without grinding through weights and machines for hours on end.
3 Possible Side-effects and Risks of Handstands
1. Injury Risks
2. Neck Pain
3. Vision Loss
How to do handstands?
Step 1: Kick-up
Step 2: Hold
Step 3: Fall
Precaution and Progression
Benefits of handstands for children
How to learn Handstand in 21 days
The “Handstand Challenge" program will help you overcome the fear of being upside down and teach you how to balance on your hands without support in no time. The course is made up of 21 daily training sessions. Each session can be completed in 15 minutes, though for the best results we highly recommend setting aside 40 minutes each day. If you follow closely and train daily, you should see results in just THREE WEEKS. Of course, if outstanding factors prevent you from training every day, you can always take a break and come back.
The program is beginner-friendly with community and coach support and guidance along your journey. No specialized equipment needed. All you need is a stable wall, a yoga mat or a thick towel as an alternative, and a resistance band.
- Virtual coaching to guide your results
- Fitness evaluation throughout the program
- 21 training sessions supported by over 100 exercise videos
- Weekly checklist to track progress
- Winner's Certificate upon completion
- Community for inspiration and support
- Single payment, lifetime access
- 30 day guarantee
Is it good to do handstands every day?
Handstand is one of the few total-body exercises you can do daily. Balancing on hands is a trick like juggling. The more you do, the sooner you perfect it! However, there is a strength factor involved. And your muscles would fatigue after some time, leading to overuse and other injuries. Therefore, customize reps and intervals according to your fitness level. It may go from three times a week to the same or more in a day.
Are handstands good for your brain?
Handstands replenish blood flow to the brain and reduce stress hormones. It equips you to fight depression and feel happier, calmer, and fuller. Moreover, your mind-body coordination gets up a notch.
How long is it OK to do a handstand?
As long as you can, no pun intended! Your shoulders and arms would tell you when to stop. Generally, a 10-20 second hold is good for beginners, whereas over a minute-long stay in the air is remarkable for each rep.
Do handstands make you stronger?
Sure! Handstands are pretty tough for your shoulders, arms, and chest. After all, they're taking the stabilization responsibility from a much stronger lower body. Your core and glutes are also engaged throughout the movement. The tension has to be maintained from wrists to ankles to align properly.
Practicing handstands feel like a cheat day from an intensive gym regime. However, handstand benefits rival all brands of strength training in a short time. The clock ticking slower is another thing! You will benefit your physical strength, mental clarity, balancing skills, and overall body functions – and have a blast doing it! Have you done handstands? What’s your personal best hold? Write in the comments below!
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More than 25 years ago Oleksiy started his sports career. He major in gymnastics which is
definitely not an easy sport to go in for!
To become an athletic champion (in Ukraine, for instance, we mean here the title of
"Master of Sports") in gymnastics, one needs to spend at least 10 years and start
training no later than being six years old. As for Oleksiy, he has fulfilled all the criteria.
During this period of time, definitely not short, he managed to become:
● Master of Sports, Champion of the State and International Tournaments;
● Member of the national team of Ukraine, having a perfect opportunity to train the best team ever!
● Part of Cirque Du Soleil team (as an artist)