Handstand Shapes

Throughout this summer, handstand shaping has been a regular part of our workouts. Handstands are a gymnastics essential and are not a skill to master once then move on. I strongly recommend making handstand shaping and drills a regular part of your training. If not maintained properly, a growing gymnast’s handstand will begin to deteriorate in form, leaving her with an overall sloppy presentation and weak stabilization muscles.

The first step to maintaining a handstand shape it to be sure a gymnast can hold the proper shape right side up. This is a nice little drill I like to do and posted a while ago. The foam is usually perfect because it’s almost exactly shoulder width apart for most kids.

After that, you can start adding changing the angle of the handstand until it’s fully inverted. This is a GREAT DRILL.

I like this drill because it is almost impossible to arch. This half handstand position is much easier for a developing gymnasts to maintain as the stress on her hands is less. I take advantage of that and use that time upside down to help the gymnast understand the concept of open shoulders and a hollow back. A lot of gymnasts will try to duck their chins and close their shoulders in this drill at first. (Pic credit: Gymnast Crossing)

This is a great video on body shaping that Justin Laury put together. Most of it is great for handstand work including but not limited to shoulder engagement – rounded back, etc. It’s worth finding ways to build these into your workouts – and as you can see the equipment he uses is so varied you can really do these drills anywhere.

If you’re looking for even more advanced drills if say your optionals are getting bored with the same old handstand drills these are some good ways of keeping things fun and making sure they maintain body tension.

Happy Handstanding!

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