The Upside of a Handstand

Five steps to one of the best exercises you probably aren’t doing.

If you’ve ever wondered how people kick into a handstand and make it look easy, it’s all a matter of slow and steady progression. You have to build up your strength gradually — you don’t just kick into a free-standing handstand without learning how to master it against a wall.

I sat on the sidelines well into my 30s before I ever had the guts to try a handstand, but when I finally learned how to do it — I felt like I found my fitness superpower! Here’s a cheat sheet to mastering a handstand so you too will reap the benefits — from increasing your upper body and core strength to improving your balance to even giving your mood a lift. Plus, they’re fun!

Keep in mind: Safety is always first. Don’t move on to the next step until you feel strong enough and have a friend to spot you for an added layer of protection. Check with a doctor before trying handstands if you have high blood pressure, a heart condition, eye problems, any injury or if you are pregnant.

Step 1: Incorporate shoulder push-ups and planks with your feet against the wall into your workout; these will provide the shoulder and core strength necessary to perform a handstand.


Step 2: Wall walk. With your back facing a wall, bend down and put your hands on the floor and start to walk your feet up the wall — only go to a level that feels safe. Practice this to build strength and confidence.


Step 3: Wall walk to a handstand. When Step 2 feels comfortable, try to position yourself in a handstand against the wall. Practice this by walking up and down the wall for an intense core and shoulder workout.


Step 4: Handstand against the wall. Stand 3 feet in front of a wall, with your right leg in front of you, and kick up into a handstand. The wall will stop you, so engage your core, push through your shoulders, tuck your glutes under and spread your fingers wide for optimal balance. Have a friend help guide your feet to the wall so you can experience the true feeling of being in a handstand. Practice this until it feels easy.


Step 5: Handstand. With your right leg forward, practice slowly kicking into a handstand. Stretch through your shoulders, draw your navel to your spine and tuck your glutes and your head under, point your toes and spread your fingers wide for stabilization. Have a friend there to catch your feet to provide a layer of protection until you feel comfortable. Practice and have fun!


Making your body strong with weights is very important, but supporting your own bodyweight in a handstand makes you feel empowered, and this strength is one that comes from the inside out.

Enjoy finding the fitness superhero in you!

Recent Articles

Plank promo image


Love ’em or hate ’em, planks are one of the best moves you can do to strengthen your entire core top to bottom, side to side and around the middle. Here’s the lowdown on doing this move properly in order to forge abs of steel.