Handstand on Rings

The handstand on the ground is fairly tough but easily doable with a little practice. The handstand on rings is much, much tougher.

Here we have Jim Bathurst on the rings working on his handstands.

What makes ring handstands harder to do? You can’t use your wrists at all in order to balance like you can on the floor or parallel bars. Instead all the balance must be done from the shoulders and by bending the arms as you can see Jim do quite a bit.

The truth is ideally you don’t want to bend your arms just like in a normal handstand, but when you’re first starting out it may happen. Try to avoid it though as it can set in bad habits.

The easy way to do a handstand on the rings is to wrap your legs around the straps. This is comparable to doing a handstand against the wall. Of course the freestanding ring handstand and that against the straps is like a freestanding handstand versus one against the wall, just the rings both are a jump in difficulty.

Still if you work on handstands on the rings your balance will grow that much stronger.

Some other lead up stunts to it would include shoulder stands on the rings and many other skills.

To buy gymnastic rings for training go here.

For a great course on strength training on the rings go here.

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Bridge Acrobatics and Tree Climbing

The acrobatics start around the 2:30 mark. They do some bridging acrobatics. This is different from the gymnastic or wrestler bridging exercises, but instead involve some tumbling, hanging, and handstands on a bridge.

This is followed up by some interested tree climbing. Instead of going up the base they start at a branch and move across to another one.

At 5:30 they say they’re starting with some parkour. What it really is is jumping off a tall building into some crash pads. Although this move wouldn’t take much skill I’d still say many people would be afraid of doing it.

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How to do a Handstand for Kids

Every kid loves to kick up some dirt and spring into a handstand. It’s a fun way to release energy and show off a little bit for their friends. It’s important to make sure that when learning how to do a handstand for kids, both the child is comfortable and strong enough for the handstand and the adult is comfortable spotting for the handstand. Be sure that you’ve fully mastered the headstand with the child to ensure that they are properly conditioned in order to learn how to do a handstand without injury. Similarly, it is important to make sure that when teaching how to do a handstand for kids, you ensure the safety of both you and the child.

Beginning the Handstand

To begin instructing how to do a handstand for kids as the spotter, get down on one knee just off to the side of the child, near the head. Have the child get down on their hands and knees with their wrists beneath the shoulders, knees below hips. Sometimes it is useful to place a sticker, or a toy between their hands. This keeps their focus down onto the floor where it is needed in order to safely perform the handstand. Before the child begins, as the spotter, place your hand on/under their shoulder. There is a real possibility that the child’s elbows will buckle and they could fall onto their head. Having your hand in this position can help add support and prevent head and neck trauma in the event of a fall.

Going into the Handstand

Similar to the headstand, in order to go into the handstand, the child should bring one knee in towards their chest while extending the other. As the spotter, place your hand under the extended leg to assist. The child should then push off using the bent leg, lifting the extended leg, and bringing up the bent leg to meet it. If the child has trouble pulling their legs straight up and together, just work on the push off and bringing the legs together without worrying about getting the legs straight up. When you’re both comfortable, you can try for the fully extended handstand. Be sure to always provide proper support while the child is learning now to do the handstand.  Again, it is always important to ensure the safety of both you and the child.

Posture during the full Handstand

Once you and the child are comfortable and they have lifted into a fully extended handstand, you can focus on the proper posture while holding the handstand. Be sure that both you and the child have your tummies tucked into your backbone. As the spotter, slide your hands up the length of the child as you straighten your knees to standing. Focus your support on their waist. At this point, you can add an element of fitness to the pose. The ‘straddle’ and the ‘pike’ are two fitness positions you can add on once the handstand has been mastered.

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How to do a Headstand for Beginners

A headstand is an intense display of upper body strength. To attempt it without proper preparation could lead to severe personal injury or permanent damage to your body. It is also probably not best for you to jump into something like the headstand without having any idea of what you’re doing. It’s important to build on your core and shoulder strength before attempting to learn how to do a headstand for beginners. This is one of the more enjoyable and extreme gymnastics moves to master, and it’s best to have someone with you to spot you when you’re first learning on the process of a beginner’s headstand. People commonly feel refreshed and revitalized after being in an inverted position such as the headstand.

Preparing to Enter the Headstand

  • While facing a sturdy wall, lower yourself onto your elbows and knees.
  • Keep your hands together in front of your head and place the center of the top portion of your head down onto the mat.
  • Make sure that you never put the back portion of the top of your head down on the mat.
  • If you can’t go exact center, further to the front is acceptable.
  • Keep your elbows fairly close together by lining them up under your shoulders. Keep your breathing controlled and steady.
  • Now, straighten your legs by lifting your knees and buttocks and bringing your heels off of the ground. Rock back and forth on your toes a bit to get loosened up.

Entering and Exiting the Headstand Pose

The last step to learning how to do a headstand for beginners is to actually do the headstand.

  • Start walking your feet, on their tiptoes, closer and closer to your head.
  • Once it feels right, lift one of your legs up to the wall.
  • Let your other leg follow the first one up; this is a great time for your spotter to step in and help you straightened up.
  • While you’re in this pose, take some deep cleansing breaths. If you feel comfortable, close your eyes and count to five.
  • Don’t stay in an inverted pose like this for too long at a time.
  • Make sure that you do this slowly and in a controlled way.

Part of learning how to do a headstand for beginners is to learn how to make every movement involved steady and controlled. It keeps you from injury as well and helps strengthen your body against its own natural resistance.


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Parallettes Two

My friends at GMB have just released their newest training program.

This covers more advanced training and skills using the parallettes.

I know many of you have experienced their great videos before…

And if you haven’t what are you waiting for?

Even if you don’t have parallettes (which are easy to build) this training can be done without them with some modifications.

I haven’t seen the whole program yet, but judging from their past record alone it’s going to be good.

Check out the full details here.

Parallettes 2

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Handstand Jumping

When it comes to jumping on your hands there are a number of different ways you can do it. Here you’ll see one form done in quite a skillful manner.

This is Max Shank, an all around athletic guy with lots of kettlebell and handstand skills, plus much more.

This style of handstand jumping is not the normal, nor easiest way to do it. As you can see the legs stay in pretty much the same place but the arms are bent, as in a partial handstand pushup, and used to propel the jump. This style takes a lot more strength to do. This dynamic exercise will also be a great shoulder and arm exercise.

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One Arm Handstand Twisting

This great question came in from Dan regarding twisting out of position in the one arm handstand. As this is something I myself have experienced I figured its a common problem among one hand handstand training.

Thank you for the handstand program that you sent to me recently. I was hoping you might be able to give me a little more information about the one handed handstand. I am able to hold myself up using one hand and one finger but once a take the hand away my body begins to twists. Do you have any suggestions on how to stop this twisting? I have been working on it for a while now and the twisting does not seem to dissipate. I know that all of the instructions provided say to turn the hand you are standing on to a 45 degree angle but the twisting seems to get worse when I do this. Any info you can pass along would be appreciated.

Jim Bathurst of Beast Skills has been training the one hand handstand a lot lately, and going through much the same things. I’ve taken some small snippets from recent articles that focus specifically on the turning out of position in the one hand handstand.

I was told that the balance should still be more focused on front and back. Do not twist or move sideways too much, as that’s for the more advanced handbalancers. I have always twisted slightly as I shifted over to my supporting hand. I also twist out of my one arm handstand often, so perhaps this is to blame?


While some can hold this arched one arm handstand…many more people will have problems and twist out of the one arm handstand (myself included). Not to mention that aesthetically speaking, it’s not as pleasant as a straighter body position.


This deficiency in shoulder mobility was a main cause of why I twisted out of my one arm handstands all the time. Getting yourself into a straight line is much more efficient in the one armer, and you don’t have to fight yourself.


When shifting onto the supporting arm, notice that I focus on dropping the outside leg. There is no counter-shift back to the left (which twists the body).

Read more here.

It seems to be believed that attaining a perfectly straight handstand goes a long way towards preventing this twisting. Of course, you must be able to maintain the optimal shoulder position. But back in the day many hand balancers did achieve the one arm handstand with a curved handstand too, so it is possible.

I highly suggest you read Jim’s articles for more details. Most people rush to attain a one arm handstand, and even more than balance, this skill will build your patience.

To stop twisting you must not do anything that makes your body need to twist out of the position. This is more easily said then done, but with training taking it real slow you can feel the difference.

Need more on this amazing move? Then check out How to do the One Hand Handstand.

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How to Do a Handstand Pushup

We’ve all seen them. They looked real cool and impressive. Here are some ideas on how to do a handstand pushup.

The first thing to do is to warm up your shoulder muscles. You can do this by simply shrugging your shoulders several times. Continue by making your arms into wings and flapping them up and down. A final exercise is to swing your arms in a circular motion around the shoulder socket. These will get your shoulders in the correct condition. Once you are warmed up, you are ready to begin the handstand pushups.

Beginners who want to know how to do a handstand pushup should use a wall or spotter for support. Start by placing your hands about a foot from the wall. While locking your arms, kick your feet up and over until you are touching the wall. Once you are in the vertical position, slowly lower your body down to the floor. It is a good idea to put a towel or pillow under your head to avoid injury or banging your head on the floor.  Lower your body to the floor as far as you can go. Make sure you do this slowly. A fast movement will not train your muscles properly. Do as many reps as you can. If you kick out of a handstand after each repetition, you will help train your muscles to prepare for the weight load when you do your handstand pushups.

If you have done a handstand pushup before, you can try a more challenging approach by getting into a headstand position and raising your legs up to your elbows.  From here, you can lift your legs vertically to form the handstand shape.  Another good strategy is to simply walk over onto your hands while your arms are fully extended above your shoulders. You just lean forward and walk your legs up to the upright position. From there, you can press down and up. If you’re looking for a real challenge, try doing a handstand pushup with your legs at a 90 degree angle. Be careful not to put too much stress on the shoulders. They are easily torn.

Once you know how to do a handstand pushup, you will be hooked.

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Clothing Related Acrobatics

This video features Damien Walters and Tim Shieff in what I’ve termed as clothing related acrobatics.

The name of it is ‘One Leg at a Time’, which is going off the saying “I put my pants on one leg at a time,” which implies I’m a normal human being just like you. Of course these guys are anything but normal, and how they put their pants on, as well as other clothes, and taking them off in this video, is far beyond the ability of most people.

There’s lots of amazing acrobatics and other stuff, like undressing while hanging on a bar. Tons of cool partner tumbling drills too.

Then there is some goofing off with water balloons followed by some very inventive escalator tricks. I want to try that first one, hanging on it from the outside.

Here’s the previous episode with Damien Walters and Tim Shieff.

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Handstand Workout

The handstand workout that you do will completely depend on your skill level and what you’re looking to accomplish.

One that I did in the past was a circuit with seven exercises.

1 – Wall handstand
2 – Hamstring flexibility
3 – Frogstand to Headstand
4 – Straddle Lift
5 – Shoulder Flexibility
6 – Abdominal Compression
7 – Elbow Flexibility

Each exercise was done for about 30 seconds then you move onto the next one. This is a great beginner workout for handstands and also include flexibility work that is so important for all hand balancing.

Here is another example from a woman who does handstand professionally.

This handstand workout includes:

1 – Straddle Presses
2 – Pike Presses
3 – Shoulder Weave towards Planche
4 – Handstand Shoulder Taps
5 – Straddle Presses with less range of motion
6 – Aerial

It was just one set of each exercise until fatigued here.

As mentioned what you’re working on and do in your workout will completely depend on your skill level and what you’re training for. Be sure to look around the website for more information that will give you plenty of handstand workout ideas.

For many more ideas on handstand workouts and exercises I recommend you pick up Handbalancing Made Easy.

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