Why Are Handstands So Hard?

December 1, 2022 0 Comments

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In this article I will be answering the question “why are handstands so hard?”. Handstands are a good exercise that form the basis for various calisthenics moves.

Not only are handstands cool and a good display of upper body strength, but there are advanced exercises such as handstand push ups which build shoulder and upper body strength. This exercise is also very good for hypertrophy.

Why Are Handstands So Hard?

The reason why handstands are so hard for many people has to do with a few key factors. Firstly, handstands require good upper body strength to begin with. If your upper body is very weak then it is unlikely you will be able to perform a handstand.

Handstands are an exercise that relies on practice making perfect. Even if you are fairly strong, you may still not be able to do a handstand without any practice of the movement. Therefore, you must practice the movement to get better at it and be able to perform it well.

Good shoulder mobility is needed to be able to do the handstand. If your shoulders and chest are very tight, it is unlikely that you will be able to perform a handstand. You need to have adequate mobility in these areas. 

Finally, core strength is required to be able to balance and stabilise yourself in the handstand position. There are quite a few people who are able to do handstands, but not as many who can stay in the handstand position for a while.

Strong core muscles will certainly help in this regard and just make you feel a lot more stable and secure in the handstand position.

Shoulder Mobility And Upper Body Strength

Good shoulder mobility and upper body strength are both pre-requisites to be able to perform a good handstand. You don’t need to have extreme levels of upper body strength either.

Perhaps more important is the shoulder mobility aspect. This is what prevents lots of people from being able to execute a handstand. There are ways that you can improve shoulder mobility. 

One of the best ways is doing face pulls and shoulder exercises with bands. This will help to keep your shoulders healthy and also make them more mobile.

>> Why Do I Feel Face Pulls In My Traps?

Practice Makes Perfect

As with everything in life, practice makes perfect. Even people who already have a good existing level of strength struggle with the handstand. For some people it takes a long time to learn the movement.

How long will it take you to do a handstand? This is a loaded question and can vary. For the majority of people it will range from one month to one year. It also depends on how heavy you are. The heavier you are the more difficult it will be to do a handstand.

If you are serious about being able to do handstands and then progress to advanced exercises from this position, I would advise you to not give up. Keep practicing and you will get there in the end!

Strong Core

Having a strong core will serve you well for virtually all athletic endeavours. This is true of the handstand as well. What can you do to strengthen your core?

You can do heavy compound exercises such as squats and deadlifts, ab exercises such as ab rollouts and decline sit ups. You could even try to progress on the weighted cable crunch.

If you want more information about how you can build a stronger core, please take some time to read the article that I wrote about it.

>> Read My Article – How To Get A Strong Core

Deficit Handstand Push Ups

Deficit handstand push ups are a very advanced exercise that relies on being in the handstand position. It is an incredibly challenging exercise that will build upper body strength and make your shoulders a lot stronger.

Alphadestiny made a video about this exercise which can be viewed below. I agree with many of the points that he made in the video. The deficit handstand push up is a way of getting more out of less weight. 

You could perform the exercise at the end of your workouts and progress the reps over time. Very few people would need to use serious extra weight on these. But if you want to try them weighted down the line then you can do so by using a weighted vest.

It also makes sense when doing this exercise to rest your legs on a wall. This way there is less stabilisation required and less injury risk. The exercise becomes easier to progress on and to load.

If you are doing handstand push ups in general without supporting your legs on anything, the movement is a lot harder to do. There is a lot more stabilisation involved and a higher risk of injury.

Final Thoughts

Why are handstands so hard? Just to reiterate the key points I have made so far – the primary reason is down to upper body strength and shoulder mobility. This is the reason why many people are unable to do handstands.

You have to practice handstands to nail the proper technique and be able to perform handstands successfully. A strong core is also required to hold the handstand position.

For more advanced trainees, you can incorporate variations of handstand push ups to increase your upper body strength further and provide unique muscle stimulation. 

If you have any questions about handstands please leave them in the comments. As always, stay safe and enjoy your training!

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