Can’t Get It Up? Here’s Some Handstand Tips To Help Build Your Confidence


Standing At Attention

I recently posted the following on our Alpha Posse forums in response to a question about handstands.

We thought you might find it useful, so here you go:

So I do have a question about handstands — I can easily do a freestanding handstand, but I can’t usually hold it more than about 2 seconds.  Occasionally up to 6 seconds, but not reliably.

It seems like there ought to be some way that I can use my hands or arms to adjust my balance and stay up, but I can’t figure out how.  So, how do you learn to hold for 20+ seconds?

Is it balance or strength or something else…?


The answer to your question is yes.


Does that help?  Just kidding.

Balance will always come into play.  However, positioning determines just how much “balancing” we’ll have to do.

I’d like for you to go back to the wall and focus on really pushing away from the floor with your arms.  This will help to open up the range of motion in your shoulders and get your body better over your hands.

Also, feel free to look slightly down at the ground.  This will help with balance.  Just don’t over do it.

Be sure to use your fingers and heel of hand to grip the floor and keep you from falling over. Which relates to the next point, and this is hard to explain.

There is a certain point where it comes down to believing that you won’t fall and using your hands to keep you up there no matter what. It is easy to let your yourself come down.  But you must fight with everything you have to keep yourself up there.  When you do, you’ll learn a little bit more about what your body is doing and what it takes to stay up there.


This is Easy to Say, Yet Very Hard to Do.


If you have someone that can stand there by you and keep your legs from starting to come down that will help in the beginning.  However, don’t let them touch you unless your legs start to come down.  And even then, they should only do as little as possible.

When I re-learned handstands, I didn’t have anyone to help me.  Hell, I still don’t have anyone to help me with new tricks.

However, when it all comes down to it, you just have to keep doing it over and over and over and over.  Repetition is key.  As long as those reps are done with good form.

It is amazing how many people try something a couple of times and tell me they can’t get it and I just want to shake them and say, “You haven’t done it enough times! Do it until you can get it!”.

But I’m a nice guy, so I don’t shake people.

There is a “zero point” where your body is properly aligned over your hands and it feels like you could hold the handstand forever.   When you find that once by utilizing the hands, shoulders, hollow body, and legs, things lock into place.


YOU CAN DO THIS.  Just get up there and hold it!!



Need Handstand Help?

If you really want to make progress with your hand balancing skills, be sure to grab our Ultimate Guide to Learning Handstands. It’s got over 20 minutes of video instruction, plus a complete PDF training program you can download right away. It’s also 100% gratis.

Just click below.

Ryan Hurst

GMB Program Director - Ryan has a passion for movement, playing with his kids and being outdoors. That's why you're more likely to find him running, lifting, jumping, balancing, and climbing than anywhere online.

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Can't Get It Up? Here's Some Handstand Tips To Help Build Your Confidence by
  • Johnny

    Thank you for the help! Working on it!

    • Ryan Hurst

      Great Johnny!

  • Patrick

    When I was in a gym class in Boston, the lady teacher taught us to NEVER START or PERFORM
    wall handstands..

    She said it’s MUCH harder to ‘unlearn’ it than
    to start with other exercises that eventually
    build up to an air handstand without ever needing
    a wall.

    And in my case she was right.. in 3 lessons
    I was able to hold the air handstand for 1 second
    where before I was at home trying it against a
    wall and could barely do that.

    • Ryan Hurst

      Great! There are different ways to accomplish things. However, I’ve found that going back to the basics in order to shore up problems is the best way when I can’t work with someone in person. Doing a crappy freestanding handstand over and over doesn’t mean it’s going to get better. But figuring out where you’re having problems by using a remedial movement is a good way to do check when practicing by yourself.

  • Bennett

    I’ve been working on Phase 1 of Floor 1 (and already excited for Floor 2: Electric Boogaloo), and I’ve found the wall handstands to be remarkably helpful. Being able to do a handstand for 30-60 seconds, even with that wall-spot, has given me a lot more confidence in my upper-body strength, and I’ve been trying to wean myself off the contact bit by bit. I think that some of my difficulty in the past with handstands was knowing that my foundation was weak–and consequently, I kept thinking “fall”, which is exactly what happened. It’s a lot easier to get over “wall” than “fall”. Same reason we put training wheels on a bike, I guess–not just the balance help, but also to habituate kids to what it feels like to successfully ride that bike.

    • Ryan Hurst

      That’s such an important point Bennett. The psyche plays a big part of our practice and those training wheels sure do help.

      Reminds me of a previous article that I wrote.

      • Bennett

        Haha! Yeah, I read that one when it came out (and was pretty relieved/enthused) to hear about that carryover effect. Maybe that bike-riding metaphor was still in the back of my head when I read this one!

        I hope you stay active on blogging these insights; they’re quite helpful.

  • Molly Ellrodt

    I can kick up into a handstand but cant hold it at all!!! Why???

    • rchurst

      Molly, whether or not you’re talking about a free standing HS or one against the wall, it all comes down to form and control. Are your arms locked out? Do you have the hollow body? Are you squeezing your legs together? Are you kicking up with control? Go back and look at these and I’ll bet you’ll find it.

  • 51 and trying

    Hey there, thanks for the tips, I am 51 and just learning how to do handstands. I can do them against the wall, but I have trouble get up at the wall without pressing my head against it….Once there, it is pretty cool, and I can hold it for quite a while. Any suggestions on breaking this head bracing? thank you

    • RyanHurst

      Sure. I suggest working from a straddle stand. With your hands flat on the ground and arms locked out, work on jumping your butt up into the air. In the beginning you might not be able to get your butt up very high. Just keep working on it and it will help to strengthen your arms and core to help get you up there without having to go from your head.

  • Hannah

    Hey, I’m not very stong in my arms, I think that it would help if I were stronger? If so do you have anything to get my strength up?

    • RyanHurst

      Working through our handstand guide will get you plenty strong to be able to perform the full handstand.

  • Santiago Sanchez

    I can hold a handstand again the wall for 60 seconds but when i do it freestanding my arms always bend and i have to push myself back up how do i stop that

    • Andy Fossett

      You need to practice locking out your arms. Probably backing off on the difficulty level will help. I suggest joining our free HS course to find what part of your foundation isn’t letting you perform this correctly.

  • David Junasson

    I have been able to do the kickup…even some push up handstand. But i still can not do the freestanding. Everytime I try I always fall hard on my back. Would you please help ?