Why should we stand on hands? Why do a handstand? What are the advantages of a handstand? This article mentions only some of them.
Firstly, I must admit that I don’t like articles such as “10 Reasons To Do XY”. I can name many reasons why do a handstand as well as why not. Just like I can name reasons why do a CrossFit or why I stopped doing it. If you want you can always find a reason why something is better or vice versa (you know, give a dog a bad name etc.)
Secondly, it’s not 101 reasons because I wouldn’t read it myself, it’s just a random number.
Thirdly, slogans such as “do a handstand and you’ll have steel shoulders and abs of iron” might improve your SEO and lure a certain kind of people but it’s not my cup of coffee.
Fourthly, handstand is not “the best exercise for XY”. Handstand is… a handstand. Stand on hands. An exercise. A skill. Period.
Fifthly, I don’t force anyone into a handstand, not everyone should do it (but they can), not everyone has to do it, it’s not “functional”, nor is it the best exercise for “core”. It’s pretty much unnatural movement, actually it’s not a movement at all if you’re trying to hold it without moving ☺. So, I’m not forcing anyone…
And now let’s see the reasons for a handstand:
- You’ll have steel shoulders. I know, I know. But it’s true. Each time you practice, your hands support the whole weight of your body. Eventually, when you’re able to carry your weight, you’ll balance that weight. At first, for seconds, then for minutes every day. And then you might even do push-ups in a handstand. Lifting your own weight. I mean, in a real handstand, not leaning against the wall. What does this do to your shoulders? It makes them pretty much stronger and steel-like :).
- Iron abs :o). Well, not completely but everyone who tried to balance for a while and struggled not to fall, will understand.
- Strong and robust wrists. For the same reasons that apply for shoulders, your hands will be much stronger and will hold more. If you lean on them while snowboarding they won’t break. Or when do you fall down, wrists will (hopefully) deal with it.
- You can hear everywhere (in the sporting circles) that it is great to have a free weight not machines. That free weights are important because you have to balance them (besides other pros and cons), there is no strictly given trajectory. Is there anything better as a free weight other than your body? Is there anything better other than to balance your own bodyweight?
- Everyone can learn to do a handstand. If they have hands. Or at least one.
- Handstand can be practiced up to an old age. One of Ido Portal’s and Yuval’s teachers is Claude Victoria and he is 81, I think. And still doing handstands happily. That’s him.
- Handstand is fun. Children try to do a handstand, we can learn a lot from them – how to do a squat, to crawl on the ground, to be “here and now” – why not a handstand?
- Handstand is seriously difficult skill. I have said this many times and will say it again – handstand is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done (and I’ve done a lot). That’s why it lighted up a spark, or better say a proper fire, of curiosity in me. I’m not into doing things just because they’re hard but seriously – if I’m having such a trouble doing this, what would be the result?
- Handstand will improve your coordination in space. Where am I, how I am, why am I, where is my leg… By turning upside down, everything changes. If you start to see what is where and you start to control it (which is not easy at the beginning and I’m still struggling with it from time to time…), it will show itself everywhere. In the way you walk, run, play tennis or golf. Simply put, you’ll have a better coordination. And that comes in handy. A lot.
- In yoga, all upside down positions are important. Very healthy for the body. You turn upside down and suddenly all the bodily fluids are running reversely. Heart has to work differently. Brain receives a lot of blood, creates new bloodstreams and strengthen the existing ones.
- Handstand is a puzzle for your mind. The more difficult for coordination are the moves and skills you learn, the more demanding it is for your body as well as mind. And that’s good. We need brain, nervous system, that is able to control the body in various situations. That is why I do a handstand or other locomotion patterns of crawling – it is a puzzle and solving it develops not only your body but also your mind.
- Handstand exercises the whole body. Whole body. Arms and shoulders have already been mentioned, but abs are stabilized, bottom as well (protecting the lower back), thighs and calves are in tension, toes are stretched.
- Handstand forces you to have opened shoulders. Of course, you can make a “banana handstand” or close your shoulders (like almost every beginner) but it’s not nearly as effective (you need much more muscle activity) and as good looking :o).
- “Hulk mode” won’t help you with a handstand. Getting angry, becoming a green thing that can smash everything around but your IQ dropping by 150 points is not working here. You have to be completely present and totally calm for a handstand. Hulk mode is not working
- Handstand is not for everybody, we don’t need it for our lives or proper function of our bodies, and that is perfectly fine. Let everybody do what they like, we are not brooms and therefore we don’t have a function. Luckily
- Handstand will give you freedom of movement – the ability to freely exchange your arms for your legs and vice versa. How cool is that?
- If you get to the next level – hardly anyone can do a one-arm handstand and it’s a serious prove of not only strength but also skillfulness, coordination and enthusiasm. However be prepared for several hours a day doing just a handstand, month after month (the lucky ones) or year after year (ordinary mortals).
- For a handstand, everything you need is just a floor. That’s it. You don’t have to carry anything with you, you don’t have to go anywhere. Everyone has a floor.
- Handstand can be done everywhere – at home, during vacation you don’t have to pack weights or look for the nearest gym.
- Handstand is a very active position. The whole body is in action and the mind is present. It’s no Nirvana when you just relax and think of nothing. In a handstand, the whole body is working.
- By doing a handstand, I obtained several other skills “for free”. Each “lever” on the floor on elbows is OK, Air Baby on one arm is near. Strong wrists and the ability to generate tension is good and I haven’t exercised that almost at all. Almost… 🙂
- You can’t learn a handstand nor overnight neither over the weekend. And that’s all right.
- Handstand is a test of your character. A few people can keep it long, it is frustrating to fall again and again.
- By constantly pulling yourself up and up and up and straightening yourself (unless you’re doing banana) your back gets incredibly “decompressed”, relaxed, especially if facing the wall you’re leaning to.
- Handstand is a total Zen. Now and here. You can’t think of blondes, or what you’ll have for dinner, because the moment you do – “bam” and you’re on the floor. You have to feel precisely what’s going on, where is it going on and keep this attention for a long, long, long time. And before anyone objects – no, there is nothing wrong about blondes or having a dinner.
- Handstand is a meditation. Keeping your attention on your body, very precisely, and at the same time manipulate with it. Mediation. Totally. At least in the beginning 🙂
- Nice, upright handstand is beautiful. And there is never enough beauty in the world.
Have I forgotten something? Why do you do a handstand?