Beginner’s AND Advanced Guide to Handstand

Pudgy Stockton, one of the strongest and most beautiful women, included hand stand to improve her overall strength. 

 One of the strongest men in history, Paul Anderson (see thumbnail) and Doug Hepburn, loved doing to do some hand stands to improve their benchpress!

This beautiful and difficult hand to hand balance performed by Bert Goodrich on the bottom and George Regpath as top man seems so easy and effortless that one wonders if it isn’t fake.

Even Mr America (1939) Bert Goodrich enjoyed doing the handstand. The following course was developed by Norman Fay around 1950/60. It’s 100% OLDSCHOOL!

Article starts here:

The hand stand is not as hard to do as it might look; if you go about learning it in the proper manner. But if you do not you are in for a lot of hard work, and you may never learn to do a good handbalance. It took me two whole years of trying, before I did my first handstand. And the only reason that I ever accomplished the balance was because I met a former professional, and he put me wise to what I was doing wrong. In fact I was all wrong.

Anybody can learn to stand on their hands, as I have taught hunreds of people to do it. The average person learns in about thirty days and some people learn in one lesson. Girls learn quickest of all.

handstand how toNow included with this article you will see three pictures that will show you what I want you to do. Fig. no. 1 is the start of the hand balance.
No. 2 is the kick half way up.

No. 3 is a perfect handstand. Before you learn the balance, you must learn how to start, how to kick up, and how to fall out of the handstand, when you ever balance or kick too hard.

We will now look at figure 1, the start of the kick up. Examine the picture very closely and note the position of the legs, and see how the shoulders are leaning forward, with most of the bodyweight on the hands.

Take the magazine and lay it on the floor in front of you. Get on your hands and knees, look at figure no. 1 and put your hands with fingers facing forward on the floor, about shoulder width apart.

Look at the legs, see how one leg is drawn up, and the other is held straight in back. The leg that is drawn up under you is the leg that does all the kicking and getting the rest of the body in the proper position of figure 3.

The leg that is held straight out in back is used as a lever and is whipped up or swung up at all times keeping the knee straight as this leg goes up first and the leg that is kicking follows it, and then slides up and along side to bring both legs together and in position. Now that we are in the position for the start of the kick, put all the weight of the body on the hands. This is done by leaning far forward with the shoulders and keeping the arms locked, then no weight on the leg that is held out in back, and what weight is not on the hands is on the leg that is doubled up under you, ready to be kicked up.

Look at figure no. 2, and you will see that one leg is up and one half way up now the leg that is up is the leg that is held straight in the starting position. (1)

And the leg that is half way up and still bent is the leg that is doubled up under you in the starting, this leg has just finished kicking and will be brought up to the first leg, and will look like figure no 3. The kick should be tried very easy at first; so that the legs leave the floor about 3 feet no more, do this till the position feels natural and smooth.

The next thing to learn is how to fall out of the hand stand. Put both hands on the floor. Now pretend that you are in the position of figure 3 and suddenly you are going to fall over backwards, on to the flat of your back.

This would result in a very bad fall and you might hurt yourself. But such a fall can be avoided and you can return down to your feet no matter how far over you go. Get on your hands, squat down low till your hands touch the floor and both feet are on the floor about a foot or two in back of the hands.

Now pretend that you are once more in the handstand and starting to fall, pick up one hand from the floor about 6 inches now turn to one side, that is turn forward and to the right if the right hand is on the floor and the left if the left arm is on the floor.

You turn about a quarter turn then put the hand down that you took up before you started the turn. The legs walk and follow up the turn. Now try this a few times then give a little hop off the floor and turn before the legs hit the floor, this will give you an idea of what you will do when you are in the full handstand. You see by lifting one hand and turning to one side you stop your fall and come down safely with feet and hands on the floor.

Now start your kick from position no. 1. Kick about half way up then turn out of the position as I have just shown you. Keep trying this till you can kick up to the high position of figure no 3.

Now twist out. When you can do this you are ready to learn to stand on your hands. Look at figure no 3 and see how both legs are together and knees straight, arms straight with the perfect position of the body.

Notice how the back is arched. The more arch you have in your back the easier to hold the handstand. You must hold the legs straight as soon as you kick up, then you can feel the arch in your back and the balance point.

Now the point where you will hold the perfect balance and where you will start to fall over are very close. When you kick up for the balance you should always go just a little too far over and twist out. By making less of an effort in the kick you will fall in the proper balance. Most people are afraid to kick up far enough because they do not know how to fall out of the hand balance when they start to go over too far.

But by kicking over too far at first and then less and less you will soon hit the proper position. All the bend should be in the back. Keep legs straight. If your legs are nbot straight you will have to balance each one seperately plus your body too. So keep them together and hold them straight toes pointed. Lay on your back, feet over your head like a finish of a leg raise or shoulder stand. Now practice holding them together with the toes pointed.

You fight to hold the hand balance with the fingers pressing on the floor. If you start to go too far over press hard on the floor and this will help you to stay up. If you are not far enough up, move the shoulders back and this will bring the feet farther over and will put you in the proper balance. You should try the handstand at the beginning of every workout that is about 3 times a week.

About 15 minutes is enough. Any more will make your wrists sore. Follow the steps that I have outlined and you should have a nice balance!


Hoping that you have bee working on your balancing every work-out, you should be able to hold a good balance by now, and the more ambitious ones will be able to do the presses that I described to you in the last session.

For your workout today, I am going to show you how to have some fun with your balancing. Look at figure No. 1. This will give you a good idea of what I am going to try and tell you – how to do many different tricks from this one illustration. First get into a perfect balance on a wooden bench or the balancing bars that you made. Now get in perfect form, that is legs straight. Now you can learn to walk off the tables or down a pair of stairs.

First you lower the body down till your shoulders are touching your hands, (this is while you are in the handstand) then when you reach this position you tilt so all or most of the weight is on one hand and shoulder, now with the hand that is free you reach out for the floor and place the hand on the floor, then still holding on to the bench or bar with the other hand you press up till the head and arms on the floor is straight, and put the weight on it, then let go of the bench or bar and put the other hand on the floor. You will now be holding a good handstand on the floor, having walked off the bench.

Now work on this trick until you have it perfect, that is you will go to a balance on the bench and then down and off onto the floor without a hitch and hold a perfect balance when you reach the floor, with no staggering around trying to catch your balance. When you have perfect control of the trick you are ready for some real fun. Look around the house or neighborhood and find a set of stairs that are very low with wide steps.

Now with the confidence acquired from walking off the bench you will be ready to try the stairs. The stairs should not be too high from one stair to the next as it will make it too much of a reach for the arms.

Go to the top of the stairs and hold a perfect balance on the very edge of the top stair, now go down and reach for the next stair same as on the bench. When you are balanced move the other hand on to the stair and you will find that you have made one step.

Now repeat and reach for the next stept and so on till you reach the bottom. At first you will have to go very slowly as you must hold your balance at all times, and when you hit the bottom step, hold a nice balance. Now this is the easiest way of going down stairs. There is a harder way and that is walking down a full stair at a time. Getting in balance at the top you reach for the first step wth the left hand and the second step with the right hand, and walk down a step for every hand. This will require a little practice at first but as you play around on the stairs you will get used to them and do it easy.

There is also another way and that is to hop down a full stair at a time, both hands at once but this is very tough to do at first, but if you keep at it you will soon learn to do it. I have known men to run down stairs faster on their hands than you can on your feet, so keep at it as it is a lot of fun.

And if you work hard you can start to learn to walk up stairs as well as down, the walking up being wonderful exercise for the arms.

Now look at figure No 3. This is what we call the “tiger bender” handstand and is not too tough to do if you are strong in arms and shoulders from lifting and balancing. It makes a very good looking stunt. You start in the hand handstand position and then lower down until the nose almost touches the floor, then put plenty of arch in your back and roll back on the elbows, they will lay flat on the floor and you will be balanced in the position shown.

Then you roll forward and the elbows will come up off the floor and you will then press up to a handstand. Now after reading the above and finding yourself sitting on the floor with a bump on your head we will try an easier way of doing it. Put both arms on the floor as in figure No. 2.

They should be about shoulder width apart and the hands pointed out. Now you will be in a kneeling position. From here you kick up and try to hold a balance in the position shown. At first you will come right back down because you will not be arching the back enough, but keep at it until you succeed.

When you have mastered it you are ready to try it from a handstand again. Lower down slowly and when you hit the balance on elbows you can go forward and come up off the elbows again and press out to the handstand.

This is a trick that will give you plenty of arm exercise and will do wonders for your shoulders. They call this trick the “tiger bend” and it is used by many top notch men in their acts.

It will be a good idea if you will work extra hard on your presses as the next lesson we are going to start the hand to hand balancing course and you will have to have plenty of power to press out in all the handstands or if you are bottom man you will need the power to handle the bodyweight of your partner in all the stunts.

You should be looking around for a partner for a bottom man. Or if you are strong in the back and legs it may be you will want to be the bottom man. We advise you to both do bottom and top work so as to develop all round ability. So go to work hard on this and the past lessons in order that you might be fully prepared for the hand to hand work in the next lesson.

Leave a comment