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013: Handstands (Part I)

An introduction to handbalancing.

Jeremy Finch
Jeremy Finch
4 min read
013: Handstands (Part I)

Handbalancing is a fun and challenging practice.

Kids naturally hang upside-down. So do our primate relatives 🐵. Is it curiosity? Play? Training for the vestibular system? I'm not sure.

I think we have some natural instinct to go upside-down.

Benefits :

  • Strength: Balance, alignment, and power
  • Portability: Zero equipment needed
  • Always-evolving: Never perfect, or ‘complete’

Episode 1 is the introduction

How to tl;dr:

With only your hands on the ground, balance your center of mass.

"Stack" the shoulders, torso and hips: Align the skeleton, upside-down. Make small balance adjustments through your hands and wrists. Engage the core and breathe.

First, on motivations

What draws you to handstands?

My first inspirations were watching the circus.

☝️ a comic I drew in ~2010

Jack LaLanne was a fitness inspiration.

What draws you to handstands?

There's no right or wrong answer.
It's just good to reflect on the "why".


Right now, you may be thinking:
“No way... I can’t do this.”

My response:

  • People balance on feet for many hours
  • You need far less strength than you think
  • Everyone starts somewhere

Handstands may not be possible for everyone.

Still, you're invited to try.

Consult a doctor before starting any exercise program.


I don't have proper "circus technique" (no one-arm / planche).

Adult learners face unique challenges :

  • More fear of being upside-down
  • You may need to (re)develop strength and range of motion as prerequisites

That said, I've seen tons of adults learn handstands. Wherever you're at, things can be learned.

The plan

First, build up a foundation:

  • The strength to go upside down
  • A healthy range of motion
  • Efficient technique
Triangle with 'strength', 'mobility' and 'technique'

Then we’ll discuss strategy and progressions.

Tying things together with the right mindset and a realistic training plan.

GIF of timelapse handstand

In my experience, people get discouraged when they:‌‌‌‌

  • Train ineffectively‌‌
  • Use dangerous practices‌‌
  • Have unrealistic expectations

The trick to handstands?
Honestly, there is no secret trick ✨  

Prepare the body, study best practices, train consistently, and follow the laws of physics.

Beyond the technical aspects, remember your "why".

Intrinsic motivation will fuel your success, more than specific info or special tips.  

For this series, I plan to share my own experiences, recruit some collaborators, and incorporate real-time feedback. I hope you'll join along for the ride.

Part II (strength) is out now!

017: Handstands (Part II)
Building strength for handstands.

072: Wrists and Hands
Six exercises for your wrists and hands.
039: Pull-ups
Pull-up tips and progressions.
056: Exercise Routine (I)
A video snapshot of my movement diet.
061: Exercise Routine (II)
Some movements I’ve been drawn to.
067: Exercise Routine (III)
A training session (2 min vid).

Season 1MovementInteractive