There is more than one way to handstand. In this article I walk you through 6 different handstand variations you can try out Today.
I Did A Handstand, What Next?
Once you've up into position, once you have been through the dismounts and progression exercises to help build that confidence and technique, what next?
You will still be working on your stability, that will take time, but that doesn't stop you from trying out different handstand variations.
How many variations are there?
Actually quite a few.
If you think of all the different positions your legs could be in . . .
But if you can't already do a handstand, I would recommend first checking out the Complete Beginner's Guide To Handstands.
Beginner Handstand Variations
There are the main beginner variations of handstand for you to try.
Each of them have their own challenges and will help develop in different ways, so practice them all, mix it up.
Before you get ahead of yourself, workout which one is the easiest for you, and start doing that more than the others.
At first it is important to get your time up, to get stronger in position and develop a longer hold time.
Practicing the one you find easiest is going to be the fastest way to handstand stability gains at the start.
The first one we are going to try out is a tuck handstand.
Variation 1 - Tuck Handstand
As always there is a progression element called a high bunny hop. Basically you are just hopping up and coming back down again instead of holding.
When you pin it you will know, and to bridge the gap between progression and tuck handstand you open your hips to bring your knees out at 90. This helps position your body properly to hold the handstand position.
The next one is the split handstand.
Variation 2 - Split Handstand
This is similar to a single leg handstand but you are bringing your leading leg further forward past vertical. You want to keep your trailing leg at the same anlge but pointing back the way you came.
I now, I have left the obvious one until last.
Variation 3 - Straddle Handstand
This is like a split but sideways. You have probably seen this variation most, unless you are into yoga.
Get into a handstand as normal, but instead of splitting front to back, you spread your legs out side to side.
Is that it?
No obviously there are other handstand variations – more advanced ones.
Advanced Handstand Variations
I would recommend learning the basic ones above before even thinking about trying the next ones.
These other variations take a lot of strength and control to tackle and are by no means easy.
Variation 4 - Hollow Back
The hollow back handstand is like a handstand but with a slight twist.
The hollow back position is where your spin is flexed back as if you were doing a bridge.
You need strong stable shoulders and a solid back to even attempt this, plus the flexibility.
Start in the handstand position as normal.
Begin extending your shoulders slowly making sure you are stretching high above your hands.
Lean your feet forwards over your head, but lean back with your shoulders alightly to counter balance and create a gentle arch in your body.
As you move your feet further forwards, you counter balance more, and more, until your feet are right our in front of you at 90 degrees.
Your shoulders will be fully extended and your spine flexing so your head is behind your hands.
Let me show you an easy way to feel the position.
Stand with your feet together and stretch your hands high above your head.
Extend your shoulders behind your body, opening your chest.
Then begin to lean back slightly as if you were bending over backwards, but don’t go too far and fall over!
You are essentially doing this movement, but on your hands 😉
Variation 5 - 90 Degree Handstand
The 90 degree handstand is a seriouscore exercise that will do wonders for developing your handstand stability.
This is because it requires you to get into the hollow body position – not to be confused with the hollow back!
The hollow body position is basically a dish shape you make with your body.
To do the 90 degree handstand, start in a handstand and begin flexing at your hips.
You will need to counter balance this by leaning forwards with your shoulders so your head is in front of your hands.
Keeping your toes pointed and legs straight, lever down from the hips to bring your legs horizontal as if doing a negative handstand press.
Make sure you don’t go down all the way, stop when your legs get to 90 degrees, horizontal.
This take a lot of strength in your lower back and core, and when you get good, you could even press back up into a handstand . . . for reps!
Variation 6 - One Arm Handstand
The last variation is the one arm handstand, and I have saved the best until last.
You have probably seen someone do a one arm handstand before so it doesn’t need a lot of explaining.
Taking your whole body onto one arm is not easy and requires a lot of conditioning. Let alone balancing on it!
It is best to start in a straddle handstand to help you distribute your weight easier.
Lean slowly over to one side, first with your legs, maintaining the straddle.
Then as your weight begins to shift, you will be able to move the opposite hand out the other direction slightly.
Once it is out, keep shifting your weight slowly and lifting your hand slightly until you are on your finger tips.
Then go to one finger,
Extend your arm out straight and BOOM One Arm Handstand!
It goes without saying, this is a very technical skill to develop, and it will likely be the last one you train, which is why I put it at the bottom.
Training The Variations
Each of these variations present their own challenges and will help develop your handstand stability in different ways.
Training your stability and coordination is a different process to strength training and takes different people different lengths of time, but it ultimately comes down to doing them all and developing quickly.
If you are trying to develop your handstand you should be doing them regularly, the more you do the better you will get and the faster it will happen.
So Get On Your Hands!