Strong and Flexible shoulders are very important in a handstand. If they are closed (really tight) or too far open it may cause you to fall. You want your arms right by your ears and pushing up to the ceiling. The problem is a lot of people don’t have that kind of flexibility yet. What most people don’t realize is after you work on the flexibility in that position, you also have to work on the strength to keep progressing. It’s called flexibility for a reason and that is because it’s the Ability to Flex. Here I’m going to talk to you about a few shoulder openers to get you closer to your handstand.
Putting both hands on a high table (if you are in a gymnastics gym the beam), and put your head between your arms. Make sure your feet are right under your hips and you are trying to make your back as flat as possible. Another stretch which is done on a higher table is done by, putting your elbows on the table and your finger tips facing the ceiling. This is a deeper stretch. Try to hold these stretches for a minimum of 60 seconds. These stretches can also be done on the floor.
One method that works really effectively is foam rolling. The reason why foam rolling works is, because it is Self-Myofascial release (Self release of Fascial adhesions from the muscles). Self-Myofascial release is a type of self-massage. Foam rolling also helps relax muscles and trigger points. Read more about foam rolling in our other articles.
Bridges are very important as well, but if you feel most of the weight in the lower back, then you are defeating the purpose. In that case you would go back to the shoulder stretches listed above. Bridges require a certain amount of shoulder flexible before you can use them to open your shoulders further.
Laying on your stomach keeping your noes to the floor, lift just your arms up as high as possible and as many times as possible. This helps strengthen the muscles to help open the shoulders. Once that gets easy, you can use some weights starting at 1 or 2 Lbs.
Shoulder shrugs are also very helpful, because they teach your how to push your shoulder up to the ceiling. For starters, this should be done in a push up position. You will simply shrug your shoulder up, which your upper back will look like a turtle shell and then shrug them down, trying to pull those shoulder blades together. Make sure you are checking your body position, and trying to keep the arms straight, as well as the abs engaged and tight. If the rest of your body is not in a straight body, then this will cause bad habits to develop in your handstand.
If you have any questions comment below or you can also email us personally. If you would like more info on a specific subject in handstands let us know and your topic may be the next blog.
Written by Brooke Roquebrune