I'm sure I don't have to tell you how important the core muscles are for a handstand, but often, people are shocked at just how much core they need to maintain balance in a handstand. The "core" consists of not only our "abs", but muscles in our pelvis, low back, and hips. All these muscles need to work together to create harmony in the body.
The core muscles stabilize your body, allowing you to move in any direction. When we balance on our hands, we need our core muscles to stabilize and to lock our hips directly over our shoulders. If we don't, we will either lose balance, or we will arch the back and hang in our joints, neither of which is helpful if we are trying to avoid injury. If you have a strong core, being able to stabilize in a handstand will come quicker once you once you know proper technique.
Strengthening the core muscles is essential if you want to be able to hold your body in a handstand. Learning the hollow body position is where you want to start. The hollow body position is how you want to position your body when performing a handstand. Learning how to hold this shape will help you understand the muscles you need to train and the muscles you need to engage when upside down. This shape will also rotate your pelvis out of anterior tilt (banana shape) and into posterior tilt which will help you maintain better balance.
A great exercise you can do for gaining core strength for handstand is the Hollow Body V Up. This will really help you strengthen the hip flexors and the transverse abdominus.
How to do the exercise:
Laying on your back, come to the hollow body position by lifting the legs up and sending the arms forward. Inhale as you lift the legs and arms up to tap the toes. Exhale as you lower back down slowly. Keep toes pointed and legs engaged. You may bend the knees if hamstrings are tight.
How often: 5 days a week
How many: Go for a set of 10! If that is easy, do 3 sets
If you want to learn how to handstand, I encourage you to start learning the basics before you start and throwing your legs up into the air. :) Understanding what muscles need to be strengthened and what parts of the body need to be flexible will keep you from getting frustrated or worse, injured.
If you are looking for a comprehensive guide to learning the skill of standing on your hands, I have developed a handstand program on my Playbook App to help you get started. Not only do you get my Handstand Program but all of my Yoga and Pilates programs as well. At the moment it is for iOS users only but Android will be coming in 2019. Click here to try it FREE for 7 days!
For Android users, you can download my Handstand Trainer Ebook. My comprehensive guide to handstands will have you following a simple yet effective plan.
Remember, don't rush the process. It is in the learning that we discover who we really are.