The wall is a great friend when you want to learn handstands. Learn how to use it well and you will be rewarded with balance. Use it badly and you might never get away from it.
In the first part we looked at what 3 things you need to balance. In the second part you learned how to get started and how you can overcome your fear of being upside down. In this part you will learn some drills you can do at the wall that will help you to understand how to balance.
Look at this video if you want to see the drills in motion and hear me talk about them.
- Chest to Wall
This is a great way to build strength, endurance and capacity in your handstand. Stand close to the wall, although what the name suggests we are not touching with the chest against the wall. Rather try to pull your chest away from the wall. The name is just a way of describing the direction of your body towards the wall whereas the opposite would be back to wall. The majority of your wall practice should be done is this way (although there are exceptions) because it’s generally easier to transfer it to the sensation of freestanding. With your back against the wall it’s simply to easy to just lean into the wall (this can of course happen also with Chest to wall) and get no feeling for balance or work on the specific muscles needed.
Here is how you do it
Push tall from your shoulders, lean out so that your hip is aligned with your hands and shoulders. Only your feet is touching the wall very light. You want to feel the weight and balance in your hands so that you get a sensation of standing on your own with the exception that the wall is there to prevent you from falling.
You want to spend a lot of time in this position. At first maybe sets of 15-20 seconds (don’t go to failure here, leave some energy to get down in a safe way). You are now getting the specific strength that you need to hold yourself up. After time a good milestone to make sets of 30 seconds feel like a piece of cake.
Even after you have moved some of your practice to freestanding on the floor this is a great drill to come back to on a regular basis to work on the foundation. Slowly work your way up to 60 seconds and maybe even beyond to increase your endurance which will make sets on the floor feel easy.
2. Heel pull
One of the few drills where we are using the back towards the wall. This is a great way to learn how to use your hands and fingers which will help you to balance and correct for overbalance which is when we are falling over towards the back side. Since we here have the wall on that side of us we simply can’t fall that way and the intention here is to pull yourself away from the wall into a balancing position.
Here is how you do it
Kick up quite close to the wall. Not too close though since you won’t have room for corrections. Too far and it will be a long way to pull out the the drill won’t be as effective. Push tall from your shoulders and lean a bit into the wall still just feet touching. You are now in a position where you have no balance, but since the wall is there you won’t fall. From here you want to squeeze your fingers into the floor to pull yourself out to a balancing position. For this to work you’ll need to be quite tensed in your whole body so that it will move like a unit. Also imagine someone is pulling your feet away from the wall. The first times you try this nothing will probably happen and that’s fine. You will work the right muscles and eventually you will be able to pull off. As you get better, try to hold just for a brief moment before you return to the wall.
Be careful here so that you don’t push too much with the fingers so that you push yourself out of balance. Also try to avoid shooting your chest out, opening up your shoulders too much and making a banana shape to pull out from the wall. Then we are not practicing what we want to practice which is how to use your hands and fingers.
As you do this, try to avoid just humping on and off the wall. Take it slow and controlled. After each rep, reset for a second. Breathe, push tall again (because you probably lost that), focus on what you are gonna do and do it. Work here in sets of maybe 15-20 seconds in the beginning and then work your way up to around 30 with more and more control and time in balance.
3. Scissor shift
Now we are back to chest to wall again, but this time with a little more space in between. What you want to do here is scissoring your legs, tapping the wall and build up more and more time in balance.
Here is how you do it
Push tall from your shoulders, get your hip out and in line with hands and shoulders. Feet are very lightly touching the wall to support you. Feel that you have the weight and balance in your hands. Bring one leg out from the wall and then switch them without loosing balance or falling back into the wall. The first times you can even switch the legs on the wall. Then you can switch them in the air but very quickly. After time you will learn how to slow down the switch which will give you more and more time in balance.
You want to avoid pushing of the wall when you switch. If you do that you are simply hoping to somehow find balance. You want to create balance and find a sensation of floating on and off the wall. Take it slow between your switches, no stress. Reset your mind, push tall, create balance and then float. Don’t let go of the wall if you don’t feel that you have the balance in your hands. Use your fingers to prevent you from falling over.
The wall is a great friend when you want to learn how to balance on your hands.. Learn how to use it well and you will be rewarded with balance. Use it badly and you can might never get away from it. You will spend the first couple of moths here and even though as your balance get better you will move more and more practice to the floor you will find yourself returning to the wall when you want to achieve new, harder tricks.
A handstand using the wall is still a handstand. There is no shame in only being able to stand with the help of the wall. We have all been there. It’s a great and honest tool for you to use when on your way to a freestanding handstand.
I hope you found this helpful. If you know someone that could benefit from reading this be a good friend and send it to that person.
Thank you for reading!