I get it. Handstands are hard, handstand progress is slow and on top of that handstands can be scary. From time to time you simply think that you deserve a little moment of easy success. A moment of no fear and just getting up feeling the handstand. Training with the back to the wall might feel like a great idea for all of that but I promise you that if you read below you will see that it is unfortunately nothing but fake progress. Even worse. Training with the back to the wall will make your handstands worse than they were before.
Here is why you really should not train with your back towards the wall. Especially as a beginner!
It is impossible to hit a straight line. In a handstand your head is pulled back slightly so you can see your hands. In order to reach the wall with your feet you have to arch your back if not training chest to wall. To do that you have to close your shoulders. Immediately you are practicing exactly what we are trying to get rid off. Your scapula is closed, your back is arched and we are back to the nightmarish banana handstand we all fear. Instead, turn around. Place your hands as close to the wall as possible. Only have your feet lean against the wall and push them towards the ceiling. Your form and line will improve instantly.
You practice jumping over not into the handstand. If you jump up into the handstand back to the wall you have to reach the wall with your feet. By the time you’ve reached the wall with your feet you have moved past the actual handstand position. Fast forward 2 weeks, you feel confident, try it without the wall and wonder why you always fall over. Instead, get comfortable close to the wall with slide aways and L Handstand leg isolations. Stick to the prep drills a bit longer to improve body awareness, strength and feeling for balance and I promise you will get less frustrated without the wall later.
You will never stop being scared. I understand doing a handstand without the wall for the first time seems scary. The only problem is: if you never fall you will never understand that falling really isn’t that bad and you will never get over that fear. Learn how to do a front roll, learn to do a cartwheel, get your mattress off the bed and simply fall out of your handstand a couple times. You will see quickly that it really isn’t that bad at all!
You will never learn when to bail. Are you training close to the wall with your back towards the wall so you can push back as soon as you fall over? This might be good conditioning as you spend more time on your hands but it also really only is that. I am 100% convinced that your foot reaches towards the wall long before you actually have to. Like this you won’t understand how and until when you can push in case you’re falling out. Especially when learning to balance it is essential to fight for every handstand no matter what!
Do not ever train handstands with your back to the wall. It will ruin your progress.
Turn it around!
Build specific muscles, coordination and body awareness.