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Special Report

The Ten
Big Mistakes
People Make
When Learning
The Handstand
What everyone needs to know before starting hand balancing

By Logan Christopher

The exercises and advice contained within this book may be too strenuous
or dangerous for some people, and the reader should consult with a
physician before engaging in them.
The author and publisher of this book are not responsible in any manner
whatsoever for any injury, which may occur through the use or misuse of the
information presented here.

Copyright 2011 Logan Christopher and Legendary Strength

All rights reserved. No part of this report may be reproduced or transmitted in any
form, by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording,
faxing, emailing, posting online, or by any information storage retrieval system,
without written permission from the authors.

Handstand Mistake #1:

Starting with the handstand is like trying to deadlift 500 lbs. your first time out. Its
just not going to happen. What you have to do is build up to it using moves like the
frogstand, headstand and other valuable lead-up stunts.
These moves will teach you how to use your body efficiently and effectively so
that you can replicate the position and abilities in the handstand itself when you
come to it.
If you start with the handstand your first time out, because of the difficulty, you are
bound to not do it correctly. If you keep practicing you will set yourself in bad
habits that take months to break and will further stall your progress down the line.
Not to mention that you will be frustrated trying to find the balance in a
handstand. Much easier to work on the simpler moves first and build up to the

Handstand Mistake # 2:
A common question that anyone starting in hand balancing asks is what kind of
handstand should I try to do? By this they are referring to the position of the back
during the hand balance. Because what you do with your back has the biggest
impact in the look of your handstand. There are two types that are common today,
the natural arch in the back and a straight bodied handstand.
First a little bit of history so that you can understand why there is a rift between the
two. Back in the early years of the 20th century, and before that as well, the
common position in which to hold a handstand was with a natural curve and the
head facing toward the ground. Even in gymnastics of the past this was the
common style.
The straight style of handstand that is so prevalent today did exist, but this was a
more advanced move to learn later on. It was favored by some especially for handto-hand balancing.
At some point, I believe in the 70s, gymnasts started to move exclusively toward
to this straight style. In fact these days they specifically train this position to the
exclusion of the other. Why did this happen? To the Olympic Judge this style is
more pleasing to the eye being in a single straight line. Because of the rigidity it
will also allow more difficult tricks to be performed on the various apparatus as
well as tumbling on the floor.
Does that mean the old style of the arched back should be forgotten? Not at all. It
is still valid today as it was a century ago. If you were to ask someone who had
never done a handstand before to jump into one, this would be the position they
would go after.
In fact, Bob Jones recommends that you use all of your back bend when learning
because it is easier to do so. This isnt to say the rest of the balance can be sloppy,
in fact he is a stickler for perfection, only that arch in the back is up to the
individual doing the handstand.
If you have ever watched a contortionist they can arch their back to the point
where they can hold a handstand and bring their feet down to their chin. Some can
even sit on the back of their own head! Now that is some arch.

What makes it easier? For one you have a lower center of gravity. Also you are
able to use more of your musculature to hold the position.
Some people complain of pain or aches in their low back when they use arch. To
combat this you can do a number of things. You want to make sure that you remain
tight while you are arching. If you relax while arched, gravity can pull your legs
further than they normally go causing some strain. If you keep tight then your feet
and legs will not pull on your back excessively.
Another thing is to just work up to however much hand balancing you are doing.
Overtime you back will become use to the volume of work.
Start with the easier method and later when you have become proficient in it then
you can and should work on being able to manipulate your legs, spine, body, and
head while in a hand balance and still remain up there.
A straight position require great shoulder flexibility and a finer sense of balance
especially if the head is brought down between the arms. A move to be mastered
some time after you are competent at the normal arched handstand.
In the end it is up to you which style you prefer to go after and use most of the
time. Unless you are a competing gymnast I would start of with the natural curved
style. But how much you arch is entirely up to you. Of course you should perfect
all styles in the end.
And whatever handstand positions you choose, all of the fundamentals still apply.

Handstand Mistake #3:

Its called hand balancing for a reason. Because you must maintain your balance
from your hands as much as possible. That is why the handstand is so hard. You
have a tiny base of support when compared to your feet, plus you are upside down
with the majority of your mass (i.e. your legs) way up in the air.
It takes lots of practice to learn how to balance. Thats what makes the frogstand
such a great move. With a low base of support you can learn this skill in a much
easier manner. But what you gain from it is invaluable in doing handstands.
The truth is you can use a shoulder weave, bend in the elbows, or dip the head to
help you keep balanced when you fall outside the range of what your hands and
wrists can do, but you must not rely on these. In fact, you should avoid using them
in the beginning just to make sure you dont.

Handstand Mistake #4:

Walking around on the hands is easier than holding still. Since its easier you
should practice it first, right? WRONG
You must not do this for a couple reasons. In Walking and Jumping on Your
Hands Professor Orlick describes a schoolmate of his that could walk circles
around him literally and figuratively. The thing was, as good as this boy was at
walking on his hands, he couldnt stay still for the life of him.
The reason for this is simple. A body in motion stays balanced easier than
something still. Think about a bike. Staying on it when riding is easy but not when
you are at a dead stop.
When you walk on your hands you are not relying on using your hands for balance
which is the skill you have to learn. Instead you just step towards where your body
is falling.
Dont worry, after you master a stationary handstand you will be very able to walk
around on your hands in every direction then move on to running and jumping but
learn to stand still first!

Handstand Mistake #5:

Simple. If you dont keep your body tight you will not be able to maintain the
balance by pushing to and fro with your hands. The shift in balance will not
transfer from your hands to your feet.
Balancing on your hands is a skill. Actually balancing in any manner is a skill. You
probably cant remember it, but when you were very young it took you lots of
practice to learn to stand on your feet. Even then you would fall down time after
time until you could feel balanced and stand without any trouble.
Take a look at your hand right next to your foot. Your foot is longer but only by a
few inches at most. There is another difference. If you look at your heel while you
are standing you may notice that it is behind your ankle. Even though this makes
up a small portion of the foot it really helps in keeping you upright.
Not having a heel to you hand, meaning part of the hand going past the underside
of your forearm means that pressure, for the most part can only be applied by the
fingers. This is why it is essential that you keep your balance toward the fingers
and not at the base of your palm.
Overbalancing can usually be saved by digging the fingers into the ground.
Underbalancing is saved by letting up on the fingers.
The fingers of your hand however can spread out wide giving you a larger base
than your feet. This is why you will seldom have problems falling to your sides.
Once you move on to the one hand handstand or other advanced moves than you
need to worry about this.
There is another detail worth mentioning. Roughly 70% of your weight is in your
lower body. This means from the hips to the toes.
When you stand on your feet your center of gravity is lower to the ground than
when you are on your hands. In a handstand the majority of your weight is high up
in the air.
The handstand is much harder than standing on your feet because you have a
smaller base of support and your center of gravity is higher.
Add to this fact that you weigh much more and are at least two times as tall as

when you learned to walk with your legs and you can understand just why this can
be difficult to learn.
Here is another point to wrap your mind around.
If you have ever balanced a long straight object on the palm of your hand then you
know that the secret is to pay attention to the very top of the object. This is because
when you notice a movement at the top it can easily be corrected by shifting your
If you watched the bottom of the object where it meets your hand, by the time it
had moved noticeably you would be unable to recover a balanced position because
the top would be way out of line.
Unfortunately, at least when it comes to doing a handstand, your body is not one
solid object. Every single joint you have can move and your spine has nearly
endless deviations. This means that when you are in a handstand if your leg moves
too far one way or another then your center of balance and gravity may move
outside the capabilities of your hands or arms to bring it back into balance.
Your body must be kept as one solid object in order to simulate the one solid
object feel. This is why you need to stay tight with everything flexed and not
relaxed at least in the beginning.
When you can maintain this position you want to keep your attention at the furthest
point from your hands, i.e. your toes. If you keep your body tight then any shift in
your hands to balance will translate straight to your toes. So if you are
overbalancing you apply extra pressure with your hands and this will move your
feet back toward your center of gravity.
If your body was not kept tight then this transfer would not happen. You could
apply all the pressure and your feet could continue toward overbalancing
eventually bringing you to your feet.
By keeping your body tight you will balance much easier.

Handstand Mistake #6:

Everyone wants to do the cool tricks. Presses, the one hand handstand and many
more. And I dont blame you, because this is where it starts to really get fun.
But you need to focus on the basic handstand first and foremost. This is the
foundation for all hand balancing skills. Without a firm foundation you will not be
able to do all the bigger and better tricks.
Better to spend time really mastering this move first before moving up. Can you
hold a handstand for 30 seconds? How about a minute long?
Though the handstand is the basis of all future skills, like stated earlier it can be
difficult so you should primarily work on even easier skills to start with.

Handstand Mistake #7:

Here are five guidelines to follow to keep yourself safe while practicing these
1. Know what you are doing
2. Never push beyond your abilities
3. Practice in a safe, open area
4. Have basic athleticism and movement skills
5. Dont take additional risks
Know what you are doing
Do you know what you are doing? Your potential for harm is much bigger when
you dont. Do you have sufficient knowledge about the move you are trying to do
and your own body to even begin going after it?
I have watched people that try a handstand for the first time ever come down on
their head. Just seeing someone else do something does not constitute the
knowledge of what it will take to perform it. For many people there first time
upside down disorients them in such a way that there body will collapse into a
heap upon the ground. Dont let this be you.
Likewise with a more advanced move or acrobatic skill such as a backflip. You
should take the proper steps in working up to any of these skills. In some cases the
only way to properly learn is with a trained professional teaching and spotting you.
Proper instruction can not only save you time in learning any skill but will lessen
the chances for injury.
Never push beyond your limits
The first time I ever kicked up into a fingertip handstand against a wall my fingers
were not prepared for it. I suffered the consequences when my thumb buckled and
I came down on my head. Luckily I have a thick skull.
Many people getting started may have some prior injuries or weak spots to work
with. While these should be trained and rehabbed, pushing past your limits will
only further add to the injury.
I just saw a video of a large man doing handstand pushups against a wall. Trying to
get one last rep he couldnt quite make it and came down. He didnt get hurt but he

could have. I am all for pushing yourself but try to do so safely.

Practice in an safe, open area
I know that this one will be ignored by many people simply because of lack of a
good place to practice. I myself do a lot of my hand balancing in my bedroom
which is not a very large area. However if you do choose to do this be prepared to
pay the price.
I have came out of a handstand kicking my foot down hard on a door knob. I have
watched my friend kick up against a door that opened up and he fell through.
These are just two examples of what can happen.
The more aware you are of your surroundings the better off you are. Though a mat
or grass is probably the best spot to perform hand balancing it can be done
anywhere. Sometimes you may lose a balance and not make it to your feat. In some
cases your shoulder or even head may take the brunt of the fall. Just know that a
softer landing surface will hurt less.
If there are objects around you know where they are at the very least. Stay away
from them if possible.
Have basic athleticism and movement skills
Hand balancing and acrobatics are not for an out of shape individual. It takes
balance, coordination, and strength to pull of these stunts. If you are severely
lacking in any of these abilities then you need to begin an easier training plan
before you take on hand balancing.
If you can not perform basic tumbling skills like a somersault, shoulder roll, or
backwards roll you should work on these first. Sometimes to save your body when
you come out of balance the only way you can do it is by rolling.
Likewise basic amount of strength and flexibility are needed. You should have a
decent back bridge and be able to perform at least 20 normal pushups. The more
strength and flexibility you have the better.
Dont take additional risks
Every so often you will hear about or read in the news of someone falling off of a
tall building to their death because they tried to do a handstand on the edge or on a
railing. Can someone say Darwin Award?
There is no reason to do something like this. No benefit is gained and you dont get
bonus points for doing it. Leave the death defying stunts to the professionals if

they want to do them.

Now this doesnt just apply to doing handstands on top of tall buildings. Dont do
hand balancing on ground with broken glass. Dont cross a busy street on your
hands. There are many other cases I that fall into the categories of common sense.
As they say common sense aint always so common.
Everyone who has practiced any physical culture will have there share of stupid
stories and painful mistakes they have made. I am no different and in all likelihood
neither will you be. But try to minimize your risks and minimize the chances of
deadly or highly injurious encounters with the ground.
Have fun but be safe.

Handstand Mistake #8:

The kick-up is one of the most important skills you have to learn if you want to do
a handstand, next to balancing with your hands and keeping your body tight. The
question is, how consistent is your kick-up? I didnt figure this out right away
when I started, but if you can kick up the exact same each time then getting into
and holding a handstand is easy.
If your kick-up is all over the place, then theres no wonder why you have a hard
time getting into a hand balance.
Of course, there are several different ways to kick-up. I cover all the basic ways
for the beginner and even more advanced variation in the April issue of the
My favorite regular kick-up I learned from Bob Jones in The True Art and Science
of Hand Balancing.
There are a bunch of fine details that make a kick-up work. I am not gonna lie and
say that I never miss a single one, but after concentrating on this for some time I
no longer hit only one handstand out of ten like I use to.
If youre having trouble with yours, start practicing. Devote specific time to
working on the kick-up without even thinking about balancing.

Handstand Mistake #9:

You will never be able to hold a handstand if you give up trying. I cant promise
you will learn it overnight but with the right help you can drastically cut down on
the amount of time it will take. Though it will still take time and effort.
There will be times when you get frustrated, when you just cant seem to make any
progress, but you have to push through these. You will succeed in the long run if
you stick to it. In the future youll be able to look back and wonder how you
werent able to do it before.

Handstand Mistake #10:

Okay this one is self-serving. ;)
But that doesnt mean you shouldnt listen to it.
Ive given you many of the details that will give you a quick path to a successful
handstand. But if you want a step-by-step approach laid out in front of you, you
need to get this 3 DVD Set and Manual.
Ive made an offer that is so generous there is no reason not to get it right now. Get
the full details at
Youll be glad you did.

Good Luck and Good Hand Balancing,

Logan Christopher