Handstands are the ultimate calisthenic feat. They require insane, head-to-toe strength and balance to lift your body and keep it that way. The latter part challenges more people as they wonder how to hold a handstand longer.
Whether it’s hampering your chances to be on a gymnastic team or cheer squad, we’ll discuss major techniques and precautions that may allow a seamless progression. Mastering handstands will enable you to do walkovers and handsprings, thus rounding off your floor skills.
How to hold a handstand for a long time? Learn to balance your body weight on your wrists and shoulders. Proper stacking, weight shifting, and prior training help out. Start with a wall or spotter friend, and progress steadily!
How long can most people balance a handstand?
Before delving into the ways of extending your handstands' duration, we must define the average. You may be setting an unrealistic target. After all, how long is too long?
If beginners can balance for 5-10 seconds, it’s a marvelous achievement. Aspiring acrobats and gymnasts target to hold a handstand for a minute or longer. Then, they ramp up the difficulty by incorporating walks, pirouettes, push-ups, and single-arm stunts. Fitness WODs also throw in different activities in your upside-down world. Nicolas Montes de Oca owns two unrivaled Guinness World Record titles. He performed single-arm handstands for 71.82 seconds on a stable platform and 25.78 seconds over a rotating one.
Why can’t I hold a handstand for a long time?
Mostly, the trouble lies in what you’re doing as opposed to what you’re not! Therefore, singling out mistakes can already put you to the average duration. It may come from one or many of these motor perspectives: balance, strength, flexibility, proprioception, body awareness, and muscle memory.
Look for a proper form instead of trying to hold your handstand longer by any means. An incorrect form leads to short and crooked stands, not to mention injuries! Skilled practitioners rely on adaptable and reactive controls, freeing their center of mass from the center of pressure. According to the study in Science of Gymnastic Journals (2013), an inverted position disrupts these points. While maintaining a handstand, your wrists and shoulders give a day off to ankles and hips, respectively. Three possible reasons for failure were readily spotted.
1. Visual Control in a Handstand Position
Initially, your head shouldn't be fixed on any extreme forward or backward bending angle. Try to look between your hands. It'll create a stable base, letting you maximize the handstand.
2. Mobility of Shoulder Blades
It's natural but wrong to dig in your scapula and neck. Your shoulders should be elevated and open, like hanging off the pull-up bar. Rotator cuffs can act as an elevator besides a stabilizer.
3. Core and Lower-body Activation
Lastly, you might be avoiding sufficient core and leg activation during freestanding handstands. That promotes an arched back and a banana shape. Engage your core and butts from kick-up to the bail.
Tips for finding your balance on a handstand
1. Test the Mobility
- Thoracic Spine: Get into the seated forward bend position with knees, toes, and forearms touching the ground. Slowly place each hand on the lower back while opening the chest until your spine feels a side bend and the collarbone is at a 45-degree angle to the floor.
- Scapula and Lats: Lie on your back with your legs flat and arms overhead. Secondly, flex your hips to a 90-degree angle while keeping your upper arms in line with your ears. In both cases, you should be looking toward the ceiling. The shortened ROM indicates stiffness in scapular motion.
2. Maintain the Vertical
3. Shift the Weight
4. Regulate the Breathing
5. Stabilize the Legs
Exercises to improve your handstand balancing time
1. Wrist Exercises
- Wrist Stretches: Fully extend one arm in front of you. Pull back its digits with your free hand, bending the wrist toward you. Do a push at the back of the same hand for forward flexion. Harvard Medical School recommends both extensor and flexor stretches for pain-free hands.
- Palm Lifts: Get on the floor on your hands and knees like a crawling baby. The point is to raise your palms, leaning a decent amount of body weight onto the fingers. Try to hold this position and do repetitions for as long as comfortable.
2. Arm Exercises
- The Plank: It's the starting position for push-ups where your back and legs are still and straight. Getting started is the easy part. Holding for a few seconds tells more about your arms. Do multiple reps or transition planks into push-ups.
- Shoulder Press: Take free weights (a single barbell or dumbbell in each hand). Drive the resistance up from your collarbone to overhead, arms fully extended. Benefits include strength and size of shoulder muscles, triceps, and traps.
3. Core Exercises
- Hollow Hold: The beginner-friendly isometric movement fires up your core and spinal muscles. Lie on your back with your arms overhead. Slowly tighten your abdomen and lift your legs and arms. The lumbar region should remain the only contact point, looking like a boat.
- Bicycle Crunch: One of the best exercises for abs and obliques, this maneuver is a must-do. Again, lie on the floor but slip your hands under the head this time. Bicycle while twisting the torso. Alternate knees between straightening and bringing up to armpits.
4. Progression Exercises
- Wall Handstand: You'll do the complete handstand but on a wall support. Leave a foot space when kicking up. As soon as the heels start swaying toward the wall, use weight-shifting techniques to push them back into proper alignment gently.
- Wall Walk: Do a vertical caterpillar on the wall. You'll be starting into a push-up position with your feet locked at the base of the wall. Take steps up above the wall and move your hands accordingly. Do a reverse walk after completely straightening and holding your legs for 10 seconds.
Risks of Doing Handstands
1. Blisters and Bruises
2. Muscle Soreness
3. Joint Problems
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
How long does the average person hold a handstand?
The average person practicing a handstand should be able to hold it for 5-10 seconds without a wall. The exact duration boils down to your technique and strength. If you fail to hold your handstand longer, it’s better to revisit the progression instead of going upside-down multiple times.
Is holding a handstand for 5 seconds good?
A freestanding handstand for five seconds is a good start. Do three reps of 5-10 seconds. Once that becomes too easy, target to hold a handstand for a minute or two. See your strength and awareness skyrocket!
Falling into the love of a handstand has no end! So, it’s wise to polish your technique, acquire balance and strength, and excel at turning your training upside-down! Repeated falls and uncontrolled sways can be nerve-racking. We’ve all been there! So, how to hold a handstand longer? Align your body into the symphony. Multiple strength and balance exercises will help you do so by isolating the core, wrists, arms, and legs.
Do you perform handstands? What’s the personal best? If you’re going to answer over a minute in the comment section, just write: I am fun at parties!
- Mexican man breaks two records with impressive handstand skills // guinnessworldrecords: bit.ly/3Y3z2Kq
- Bidirectional causal control in the dynamics of handstand balance // nature: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-79730-z
- Balancing in handstand on the floor // researchgate: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/286310059
- Roles of deltoid and rotator cuff muscles in shoulder elevation // ncbi: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11415669/
- Case Report // NCBI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9086612/
- Your lungs and exercise // NCBI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4818249/#:
- Influence of Strength Abilities on Quality of the Handstand // ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/322682396
- Meta-Analysis // ScienceDirect: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2093791114000043
- Exercises for pain free hands // harvard: https://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/exercises-for-pain-free-hands
- The effects of a calisthenics training intervention on posture, strength and body composition // ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/317321468
- Benefits of the overhead press // HealthLine: https://www.healthline.com/health/overhead-press-muscles#benefits
- Effect of 12 Weeks Core Training on Core Muscle Performance in Rhythmic Gymnastics // NCBI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8615256/
- American Council on Exercise (ACE)-sponsored Study Reveals Best and Worst Abdominal Exercises // acefitness: https://www.acefitness.org/about-ace/press-room/press-releases/246
- The Epidemiological Profile of Calisthenics Athletes // GermanJournalSportsMedicine: https://bit.ly/3Dqrx6Q
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)