Getting Upside Down Then Right Side Up

The Handstand Hold. Cool human trick or functional exercise that has a plethora of benefits? Trick question, its both! Not to mention it is the start and finish position of Handstand Push ups, but also the foundation to super fun and sexy skills like handstand walking and single arm handstand holds!

Depending on the person, getting upside down can be no big deal, or down right terrifying. No matter, this information will make you stronger while upside down, or get you upside down in no time!

1. Overhead Range of Motion
For starters, we should be able to put our arms over our head without loosing mid line stabilization. Try this, stand up against a wall with your back completely flat on the wall. Raise you arms as far overhead as able without your back coming off the wall at all. If you hands touch the wall, you’re good to go, if not, find a coach to work on some Overhead mobility drills!

2. Overhead Stabilization
Once we have mobilized, then we must stabilize. Before going upside down, ensure that you have stability in the shoulders and mid line by practicing overhead plate holds. Snag a 25-45lb plate and hold it overhead for 1 minute with locked out elbows, strong reach, and neutral spine (mid line stabilization…belly and butt squeeze).

3. Extended Plank Holds (Top Push Up)
Once we have our shoulders mobile and stable, we should really pay a lot of attention to our core and the rest of our body. A handstand hold has more of a global concept, rather than a local, meaning it is a total body focus, rather than just looking at the shoulders or feet. Nothing is better at teaching that concept than the Extended Plank Hold. Hold the top of a push up for 3-4 sets of 45 sec – 1 minute. This will strengthen the core and also increase wrist flexibility and strength.

3. Extended Pike  Holds (Top Pike Push Up)
These have all the same benefits as a Top Push Up Plank Hold, but with the arms completely overhead! Make sure you reach your shoulders to your ears. 3-4 sets of 45 sec – 1 minute holds. To make this even more spicy, put your feet up on a box and walk your hands as close the box as you can while reaching your hips towards the ceiling!

4. Inclined Extended Plank Hold (Top Push Up)
Building from the Top Push Up Plank Hold, here we perform the same movement with our feet on a box and hands on the floor. This will load the shoulders more has more difficulty within the hold. Shoot for 3-4 sets of 45-60 seconds.

5. High Incline Handstand Hold (Facing Wall)
WERE GETTING UPSIDE DOWN! The final progression before kicking up into the Handstand. Start in a top push up position with your feet up against a wall. Reach your feet as high up the wall as you can and hold the inclined position. 3-4 sets of 30-60 seconds.

6. Handstand Hold
Once you have practiced each of the following exercises above, its time to walk up into a handstand hold! Start about 2 steps away from the wall, with hands overhead and belly braced. Take your two steps, place your hands on the floor and without loosing any momentum from your walk up to the wall, go into a handstand. Stay committed here. Once your upside down you keep reaching up with your shoulders, keeping your midline engaged and BREATH!

Below is a simple 5 week progression to become a Handstand Ninja.

Week 1: (2-3x per week)
A. 3 x :30 Bar Hang (keep belly tight and ribcage down)
B. 3 x 1:00 Overhead Plate Hold

Week 2: (2-3x per week)
A. 3 x :45 Overhead Plate Hold
B. 3 x 1:00 Top Push Up Plank Hold

Week 3: (2-3x per week)
A. 3 x :45 Top Push Up Plank Hold
B. 3 x 1:00 Top Pike Push Up Hold (Feet on Box option)

Week 4: (2-3x per week)
A. 3 x :45 Top Pike Push Up (Feet on Box option)
B. 3 x 1:00 Inclined Top Push Up Hold

Week 5: (2-3x per week)
A. 3 x :45 Inclined Top Push Up Hold
B. 3 x 30-45 sec High Incline Handstand Hold

Week 5: (2-3x per week)
A. 3 x :30 High Incline Handstand Hold
B. 3 x Max Handstand Hold

*Everyone is a little different and may need more than 1 week before being able to move on. If you attempt the next progression and you feel you’re not ready, take a step back and shoot for perfection!

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