How To Do A Handstand

Not everyone knows how to do a handstand, and because of that, those people are missing out on a simple but very effective fitness exercise.

Most people have that fear of going upside or worry that they'll fall on their head and cause serious injury. This is nothing to worry about. When you follow these tips, you will overcome that fear and be kicking up into a handstand in no time.

The Starting Position

Find a flat wall with open space in front of it, either in your home or outside next to a building, wherever.

Get into a sprinter's mark (the position before he starts the sprint), facing the wall. Place your hands about one hand-length away from the wall, arms are straight. Have one foot forward and one straight back.

The knee of the leg that is forward should be close to your chest (you are bent over with hands touching the ground after all), but the foot should be about a foot-length or less in front of the foot that is in the back.

The Kick-Off

From the start position, you are going to swing the back leg up towards the wall and then push off the ground with the front foot, in that order.

Before you start, exhale all your breathe and tighten your abdominal. This will help support your body and keep it straight when you do the swing. Otherwise, your body will feel too heavy and you won't make it.

When you are kicking up into the handstand, make sure to lock out your arms the whole time. If this is your first time doing this, you will probably not be used to the sudden shift in weight onto your shoulders and the natural tendency is to bend your elbows and collapse. Resist the temptation. Don't worry about not knowing how to do a handstand as you will quickly learn.

However, it may be the case that you are not strong enough yet to hold yourself in a handstand, even with the wall as support. Don't fret. I myself was like this at first. I remember my first time, I kicked over, but then my arms quickly started to give into the weight of my body, as I wasn't strong enough to hold it and I just toppled over to the side with some control.

I didn't give up, though. I kept trying several times a day until I got the feeling on how to do a handstand. I admit I had a friend help me at first to help me get used to the feeling.


Get A Friend to help you. Have him stand behind you while you are in the start position. Then, have him grab both your legs, and then gradually push them over towards the wall. This is a great way to get started. Do this a few times to get used to the feeling.

Bend your legs. Instead of having your legs straight when you flip up, bend your legs so the part below the knee is perpendicular with the wall. This will reduce the weight you feel. Make sure you are far enough away from the wall to allow for this extra distance.

Use a pillow. In the beginning, if you're still a bit scared about landing on your head, have a small pillow placed next to wall below you as assurance. I only did this once and felt like it was just in the way.

Doing A Handstand Without Wall Support

Once you've mastered doing handstands, with straight legs and without any other form of assistance, you'll want to try doing a handstand anywhere in the open.

To practice this, still use the wall, but get a bit further away. When you kick up, you'll want to feel for the wall with your feet, but you'll realize it's a bit further away; you have to pass this point where your body is going a bit past the straight-up position. Use this feeling to keep your feet off the wall and standing freely on your own, and if you start to wobble a bit, just land back on the wall and try again.


See my article on handstand pushups for a range of handstand exercises when you're ready to move beyond 'how to do a handstand'.

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