Everyone knows someone who spends more time on their hands than their feet. Did you know that aside from being 100 times more fun than standing on your feet, handstands are in fact a skill that will benefit you more than when you’re upright?
Upper Body Strength
Shoulder, arm and upper back strength are improved when performing handstands. Developing significant strength to balance a handstand takes work. At Jets Gymnastics we prepare kids safely for handstands with drills starting with simple activities such as bunny hops and L-handstands then moving to handstands against a wedge “Spiderman” to full handstands. Increasing the length of a handstand hold is key in developing strength.
Increase Brain Cross Patterning
Going upside down is often a challenge for kids as it forces the brain to communicate in a different way than normal. When kids go upside down the left and right hemispheres of the brain increase messaging. Unlike most other sports this means that gymnasts brain development is likely to increase due to the amount of time they spend upside down. Handstands instead of homework? We think yes!
Staying upside down forces you to stabilize your muscles, you’re constantly working your abs, as well as other key muscle groups such as your hip flexors, hamstrings, inner thigh muscles, obliques, and lower back whilst in a handstand. Once you can nail a handstand on the floor you can challenge your muscle stabilization even more by trying it on a beam!
When you master a freestanding handstand this means you are able to align your posture to find your center of balance. Holding a handstand requires full control over your muscles and the ability to make small adjustments to avoid falling.
Promote bone health, circulation and breathing
When you’re upside down in a handstand, your normal blood flow inverts, increasing circulation to your upper body while relieving pressure on your feet and legs. They also benefit your spine, increase bone health in your wrists, arms and shoulders, and stretch your diaphragm, which in turn increases blood flow to your lungs.
Can boost mood
Extra blood flow to the brain can calm you down. Handstands can even reduce the production of the stress hormone, cortisol, helping to relieve minor depression and anxiety.
Improves other gymnastics skills
Did you know at the elite level our Jets Gymnasts are able to hold a handstand for over one minute without moving? Whilst only considered one skill, working on handstands can improve most other gymnastics skills. Therefore the more you perfect your handstands the better you are going to be at other skills such as cartwheels, cast to handstands, handsprings and layouts… the list goes on and on!