There’s no question that most adults, no matter how strong or athletic they are, are intimidated by handstands.
I brought in handstands into my small group training sessions, - not going to lie we were average to terrible but we have carried on doing them and the improvements have been outstanding - I’ve even added doing 5 or so after each workout once I’m warm - Now read on! Do handstands often, and you’ll notice you feel stronger and more confident in no time. I promise.
Just because you didn’t take gymnastics as a kid and are scared to death of falling on your head when attempting them doesn’t mean you should avoid handstands forever.
Not only are handstands fun (I mean, really, what’s more fun than being upside down and feeling like a kid again? they’re actually really, really good for you.
THEY MAKE YOUR UPPER BODY SUPER STRONG
In order to stay in a handstand for any amount of time, you need to be able to actually hold yourself upside down—meaning you’ll be bearing your full weight on your hands for an extended period of time. And yes, it can be pretty tiring, but they’re worth it: handstands strengthen pretty much every muscle in your arms, shoulders, and upper body, making them one of the most beneficial upper body exercises you can do.
THEY BUILD CORE STRENGTH
Forget crunches—do handstands instead to build up your core strength.
Because they require you to stabilize your muscles to keep from falling over, handstands not only work your abs, they also strengthen your hip flexors, hamstrings, inner thigh muscles, and spinal muscles to create a balanced, super-strong core.
THEY INCREASE OVERALL BALANCE
If you’ve ever tried to do a freestanding handstand, you know that in order to stay upright for more than a half a second, you need to be able to control your muscles and make constant adjustments in order to maintain your balance.
THEY HELP WITH BONE HEALTH, CIRCULATION AND BREATHING
When you’re upside down in a handstand, your normal blood flow inverts, increasing circulation to your upper body while relieving pressure on your feet and legs.
They also benefit your spine, increase bone health in your wrists, arms and shoulders, and stretch your diaphragm, your main breathing muscle, which in turn increases blood flow to your lungs
THEY CAN BOOST YOUR MOOD AND REGULATE YOUR METABOLISM
Being upside down not only makes you stronger, it can actually boost your mood, since the extra blood flow to your brain can energize and calm you when you’re feeling down or stressed out.
Handstands can even reduce production of the stress hormone, cortisol, helping to relieve minor depression and anxiety. Plus, since handstands stimulate the thyroid and pituitary glands, (I didn’t know this so thanks Belinda you were right ) they can actually help regulate your metobolic rate—meaning daily handstand practice could help you maintain (or reach) a healthy weight.
TAKE ON THE HANDSTAND CHALLENGE: YOU IN!?
Ready to rock some handstands? Take on this handstand challenge over the next few weeks - and let’s get ready to bring them back next round!!
- Every morning (or at least 5 days a week), do three handstands against a wall for as long as you can.
- Rest 10-20 seconds in between sets, and focus on form the entire time. Try to aim for a total of at least 90 seconds.
- If your arms start shaking, don’t worry—that’s a good sign you’re building up your strength!