Many learn a handstand with the goal of doing a 1 min handstand. I always like arguing that this is a silly goal. Why 1 min? Why not 70sec or 55? The 1 min mark is such an imaginary milestone and once overcome you will soon feel exactly the same way I do about it.
That being said, I really should not be complaining. At circus school one of my biggest goals was to do an uninterrupted handstand on canes for 1h. So believe me when I say: I get it. Setting goals and breaking records is DOPE!|
When it comes to handstand endurance, especially of up to 1 minute there are really only 3 reasons why you are not standing for as long as you would like to:
- Loss of Balance, Fatigue or Focus
Lucky for you I have been dealing with all 3 issues myself a lot. First in my own practice being a professional circus performer and later with countless students. Analyzing, focusing and especially holding on to a precise plan is absolutely necessary when working in eliminating these limiting points.
Let’s say you are falling out of your handstand before your muscles are burning. The problem is that you are struggling with balance and technique. The answer here is rather obvious. You need to get better at handstands, develop more coordination and a better understanding for control. The main problem might be that you are trying to balance your handstand in the middle of the hands. Instead bring your weight towards the front into the fingertips, elevate your scapula and imagine you are leaning against an imaginary wall that is growing vertically from the center of your hands. This might be a bit more exhausting at first but will give you significantly more control in the long run!
Another very common reason why someone can not hold a 1min handstand is because they are getting tired and coming down due to muscle fatigue. A reason for this can of course be that you are simply not strong enough but 1min actually is not that long and if you have worked through regular progressions there can only be 1 reason here: Your alignment is off!
Your shoulders are probably over your fingertips and closed, your back is arching and your hips piked making up for said arch. Look out of the window. Can you see any trees? If not, bear with me and imagine a forest. Most trees are standing tall, straight and proud. You know those trees have probably been there for 100 years and they will stand for at least 100 more. But every now and then there is also a tree that is bent in the shape of a rainbow. Usually when going for a walk you make a big circle around this tree because you don’t want to get smashed.
This rainbow tree is your handstand. You have to push out tall to be efficient.
Technique gains are made significantly faster than strength gains! Focus on form and watch your handstand endurance grow in no time!
Let’s imagine you are good at controlling your handstand and your line is great meaning you are not wasting energy. Your muscles still feel fresh enough and really you did not fall, yet you came out anyways. You are having a mindset problem. Handstand endurances are hard on a mental level. You have to focus on your handstand to keep your form on point, yet at the same time you want to distract yourself so you don’t feel your acing muscles. Here you have to find something that works for you! Put on your favorite song? Bonus points if you can sing along in your head. Play this loud when doing your endurance training and simply try to stay up.
Another technique that works really well to improve your endurance hold is to move away from traditional static endurance training! Instead find a drill that you are good at and double or even triple your usual reps. Do them clean and slow. You will spend time under tension, you will be distracted, you will work on your technique and the pressure that goes through your body will change constantly not fatiguing the same muscles and joints constantly in the same direction.
So yeah, getting to a minute handstand can go pretty quick. Focus on your form over conditioning as technical gains are always made faster than strength gains.
Distract yourself and train your endurance 1-2 times per week at the end of your training before a day off.
Don’t forget to stretch after!