Most people struggle with handstands, but often it is just because they don't know how to get out of them properly. In this article I walk you through 3 handstand dismounts and how to use them safely.
Why You Need To Learn To Dismount
It goes without saying that you don’t want to injure yourself, right?
So it Is important that you learn how to get out of the handstand safely, or you run the risk of injuring yourself.
The handstand is a very complex movement – it is a complete inversion – and thus takes more than a bit of strength or relatively good balance to master.
In fact, you will struggle to even DO a handstand if you don’t know how to get out of it. There is some weird thing that happens that scrables your motor control and almost prevents you from doing it.
You don’t want to land hard on your back or even worse your head, and if you can’t handstand, these two things are both likely.
This is why I always teach people to handstand by teaching them how to get out of a handstand safely.
This is a bit counterintuitive, I know.
The Three Ways Of Getting Out Of A Handstand
The three ways of getting out of a handstand – we will call them dismounts to make it simple – are based on the three differnet directions you can come out.
1 – Step Down
2 – Turn & Plant
3 – Roll Out
Each of these dismounts are used in a different situation, it isn’t always in your control so you must learn to do all of them properly.
When you are first developing your handstand you will find you have very little control over the direction you are leaning.
If you lean forwards, you need to do a roll out. If you are leaning either side, you turn and plant. If you are falling back the way you came, you step down.
Dismount 1 - Step Down
The step down is the most obvious and basic handstand dismount. You have probably done many step downs in your previous attempts at the handstand.
This doesn’t take a lot of explaining so I am just going to get it out of the way:
You come back down the way you came.
Split your legs at the top of the handstand and bring them down one at a time.
That’s it, nice and simple.
Now let’s get into the more interesting ones…
Dismount 2 - Turn & Plant
The Turn & Plant is the dismount you use if you are leaning to one side.
This is the second most natural way to dismount and you will find you do it a lot particularly when you are walking on your hands.
As you lean to one side, begin to separate your legs.
Pivot slightly and bring your outside leg towards the floor.
Lift your opposite hand and you will come down nice and easy
The important thing is to Keep Your Arm Straight.
If your arm bends with your entire body above it, what do you think will happen?
Your foot will come right down next to your hand and plant solid onto the ground, to take the weight off your hand.
This is very similar to a cartwheel, you are just starting half way through.
In fact, another great way to learn this dismount is to do slow cartwheels, with a quarter turn to finish facing back the way you came.
The last dismount is the most important for handstand development.
Dismount 3 - Roll Out
The roll out is exactly what it sounds like, you roll forwards out of the handstand and onto the floor.
The reason it is so important to learn this dismount is because it breaks the barrier that most people have when learning to handstand – falling over on your back.
To do a roll out, imagine you are leaning too far forward in your handstand.
When you start leaning over, you know you are going to fall forwards.
Bend your arms to bring your body towards the ground, and tuck your head into your chin so you land softly on your shoulders.
Gravity will do the rest, just tuck a little as you fall so you roll out nice and easily without smashing your feet into the ground.
This dismount is essentially a super high forward roll. I have a full article on learning this dismount to break your mental barrier to handstands which you can check out here.
Learn To Dismount – Delay The Dismount
So once you have learned to do these 3 dismounts, the next step is to delay the dismount as long as possible and STAY IN THE HANDSTAND!
It isn’t as easy as that, but it is a great place to start when you are learning.
If you approach a handstand with these 3 tools, you will be able to ‘fall’ in any direction and get down safely. This in turn will build huge confidence in your handstand ability and enable you to develop your handstand rather than learning it!