One arm handstand Building Blocks

One Arm Handstands seem so simple when looking at that.

You have a body.
You have an arm.
And somehow it just stands there in peace and perfect balance.

For anybody who has ever tried a handstand it is very clear that unfortunately the one arm handstands are anything but that simple. Mastering the OAHS usually takes multiple years and due to a lack of knowledge and resources on the internet lots of sweat and tears are usually shed due to misinformation and poor technical choices. 

Starting at the bottom

When looking at an OAHS from the button the first important part to look at is the hand, your connection to the floor. If you can, spread your hand wide. Imagine you are a table with only 1 leg. If that leg is a toothpick your table will be rather unstable. If that leg is a tree your table will stand for ages. Most important about the hand is the connection with the floor. Don’t balance on something soft or slippery. No matter what kind of impulse you give with the hand you want the energy to transfer into the floor with the smallest amount of delay possible.

What makes you visibly shake

Moving up we get to your elbow. Lock it and keep it locked. Go on youtube and watch me hand balance live. You will see every time that I bend my elbow my entire body shakes. When your weight travels towards the back of the hand your elbow bends automatically to catch the balance. This costs a lot of energy and can even leave you injured. Focus on keeping the weight in front and the elbow locked at all times.

The power house of the handstand

Your shoulder. The shoulder really is where everything happens. Elevate it! Push out tall! Even taller than on 2 hands. This is not just for stability but also health. Your shoulder is supposed to not just support but also  balance and maneuver your entire bodyweight. Treat it with respect and make this job as easy for your shoulder as possible.
Additionally connect the side of your face with the supporting shoulder and keep it connected at all times. This is a good indication that your OAHS is well aligned!

The opposite shoulder, the free one, is tricky as well. It needs to basically do nothing and that is so very hard. You have to leave it down towards the floor. Keep your free scapula elevated and gently bring the shoulder in front towards your chin. If your free shoulder comes up and away form the floor your lat engages and your hips get pulled back to parallel. This is one of the main reasons why most people fail when simply attempting one arm handstands instead of training for them!

Line it up

When doing a one arm handstand we need to bring the weight out towards the side. To do so we shift our gaze and shoulder slightly but we also need to side bend. Now this side bend is difficult. Possibly one of the hardest parts of the OAHS. On a good note. This side bend is a bit like riding a bike: Once you have figured it out it is usually there to stay!

This side bend needs to be isolated in between your last rib and hip bones. You can only properly isolate that area if your supporting shoulder is elevated high and resists. Make sure you do not rotate your hips during this isolation. Imagine you are in a toaster. Do not burn your feet!

Don't forget about the rest

Your legs are just as important as anything else in your OAHS. They need to be engaged and they need to be working actively. When I first started hand balancing more seriously my legs were the most sore at night. Do not let them hang down and do not let them disconnect from your body!

At first this might seem like a lot but with consistent training and precise focus everything but your scapula elevation will go into complete auto pilot. At that point you can bring your entire focus towards your supporting shoulder and you will develop a completely different understanding and feeling for one arm handstands. 

The road is long but trust me, the feeling of standing on 1 hand with ease is magical and worth the years of suffering.

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