Walking on your hands is one of the coolest and weirdest things…
The more I watch the video, the creepier it gets.
Am I right?
I use handstand walks in my training all the time. In fact, as of recent I like incorporating walking handstands into my workouts more than handstand push-ups.
- 8 kettlebell goblet squats
- 6 kettlebell snatches per arm
- 40 handstand walks
- repeat 3 times
Handstand walks are something I take for granted.
I have been able to do handstands since I was a a toddler and today it grants me the ability to add handstands, handstand walks and handstand pushups into my training anytime I am in a lull or want to mix it up.
On days I don’t feel like pressing heavy, I simply add in handstand walks. My go-to number at the moment is 40 steps (shown in video above).
I have been able to do this for as long as I can remember and while I am unsure exactly when it happened, I do know how it happened (I was a very good gymnastics student; I always followed the rules and paid attention #firstchild #straightlaced).
How did I learn it?
I obtained the skill of the perfect freestanding handstand, (as so required by my gymnastic coach), through several drills and lots of practice.
And, in case you didn’t know, I am so passionate the handstand skill I even wrote a step by step tutorial on how to do the perfect freestanding handstand so you can learn it too!
Before you learn about and begin to practice the variations/drills for the handstand walks, please read my 10 simple steps to master the freestanding handstand article.
The three best handstand drills to train handstand walks:
1. Belly-to-wall shoulder taps
- Kick into a belly to wall handstand.
- Squeeze legs together.
- Beginners: try it with feet together first.
- Advanced: try the taps with your feet apart.
- How many? Do 10-20 taps; make sure your wrists are not feeling pain.
- Learn to shift your weight into one arm.
- Feel how the core must engage and must when weight is on opposite arm.
- Practice holding feet together and creating a strong “trunk.”
- Learn the feeling of lifting the arm away from the ground. It can be scary at first.
- Feel how much harder it is with your feet apart (aka you are not locked in as one unit).
Expert tip(s): practice basic handstand hold from this article before you try the lift off.
In this drill you do not have to reach all the way up to your shoulder when you first begin. Start by simply lifting one inch off of the ground.
2. Freestanding shoulder taps
- Kick up to a normal handstand and pick something in between your hands to spot with your eyes.
- Get a groove going. As soon as you lift the right arm off the ground you should be thinking about the left arm
- It is okay to move with this, the goal is to keep your feet over your head despite moving around, like handstand walks.
- Try and squeeze feet together as tight as possible. It doesn’t always happen but try.
- Be prepared to kick down; don’t wait until you want to fall over. Come down sooner than later.
- Get used to lifting hand off of the ground without a wall behind you.
- Practice balancing in one place
- This is actually more difficult than walking in my opinion. But, nailing this drill will make handstand walks a breeze.
- To practice spotting in-between your hands to find balance.
- To focus more on balance than traveling.
Expert Tip: people worry to much about actually traveling in the beginning. I argue it is more important to have the strength per arm in one place first. It is also crucial to be in control enough when in one single spot to then make deliberate movements.
Then once you master this drill and it is time to travel, momentum will keep you moving forward; your strength and control will keep you still and sturdy.
3. Handstand hops
- Circle your arms in an under-reaching movement out in front of you.
- As soon as your hands hover over the ground kick your bottom leg upward to reach the top leg, then squeeze them together.
- Think “hot potato” and as soon as your fingers touch the ground block through your shoulders. “Blocking” means pushing the floor away from you by elongated your arms, not by bending your elbows.
- Squeeze your ankles together.
- Use your finger tips to balance and stop you from overshooting or over-rotating.
- Develop power and strength in the shoulders.
- Practice control in a forward moving motion.
- Practice balance in a forward moving motion.
- Learn to stop yourself from over-rotating against robust forward movement.
- Feel the travel pattern.
Expert tip: KEEP YOUR ARMS STRAIGHT. Practice the blocking drill position by watching the videos in the “how to do a handstand” article.
This is the only time when you do not want to be packing your shoulders at all.
Do not pack your shoulders.
Keep your arms by your ears and block by reaching upward with your arms, and taking your shoulders to your ears, not by bending your elbows. If you are unsure of what I mean by elongated through your shoulders, watch this video.
I demonstrate at the 56 sec mark in this video with my body position:
Handstand walks are a good way to practice balancing, get upside down and encourage strength in the shoulders.
For me it is a fun thing to add into my training on days I do not want to press heavy.
Walking on my hands takes me back to my gymnastics days and it is a skill I wish to maintain because it’s pretty freaking cool! It’s also very fun and a good go-to party trick 😉
Let me know if you have any questions!