What muscles do handstands build?

Are you tired of your flimsy arms shaking like a leaf when trying to hold a handstand? Looking to build not only core strength but increase overall upper body muscle mass? Well, my friend, look no further. Not only will this article tell you about the specific muscles that doing handstands strengthens, but it’ll also give you some tips and tricks on how to effectively train them.


Let’s start by breaking down what exactly is happening in your body when performing a handstand. First off, engaging your abdominal muscles is crucial for maintaining proper form throughout the entire move. Your shoulder girdle must be strong enough to support both your weight and maintain alignment; otherwise, you might find yourself tumbling onto your backside.

We don’t want that now do we?!


Your shoulders are the unsung heroes of any handstand or inverted yoga pose. With full overhead extension, extended wrists and protracted scapulae (hello Latin), our bodies mostly transition from quad dominant leg use into an upright inversion through engagement of triceps brachii pushing us into position. Your deltoids kick in once balanced at 90 degrees above head play their essential role in stability maintenance until returning safely downward.

Conclusively speaking: trunk pillars get up there with brute force- then relying on rotator cuffs & surrounding muscle fibers endure while existing upside down creating efforts against gravity aiding true sturdiness needed throughout advanced-yoga practices (among various other fringe benefits).

Shout out to all ya yogis who have done their due diligence within intricate asanas or acro styles! If this isn’t motivation enough maybe physics can help indicate just how much work those modish bones hopelessly adore!

Core Strength

On average we take around twenty thousand breaths each day— most fatiguingly probably zero held between prone-active poses… well HOLD ONTO YOUR HAT because when intense arm balances commence- breath control (all while holding a position, of course) is crucial!

Ready to throw your weight around? Of course not: thus allows range regulation and agility between balance maintained largely by core musculature stability. While still inverted our diaphragm sets compression against liver & stomach all meanwhile obliques counter torqueing preventing toppling over back onto tush! Want washboard abs and better posture? Train for handstands!

Chest & Back

When trying to strengthen pushing or pulling movements – what’s the limiting factor? Your chest and back muscles (duh)! When performing free-standing handstands or presses we see prominent engagement hierarchies working toward success. With further advancement levels in inversions discovered transitioning into straight-arm press exercises with hands elevated on blocks starting from pike-up positions will begin accruing those sought after muscular tissue gains. At this level, forward migration of achieving Freestanding Handstand Push-Ups (fshpus) develops the “bent arm” press progressing to increasing difficulty pressing variations until you get closer every day towards full planche.

Now that we have identified which major muscle groups are targeted when doing handstands let’s go over some tips and tricks that may aid in your training regimen:

Consistency Is Key

Like any other strength building routine making sure you’re consistent with practicing specific poses is essential if we’d like results promised by many online communities widely promoting advantages reflected within such an approach both spiritually as well physically overall living standards improved across various health markers throughout daily life.

Let me put it another way. Practicing once a week probably isn’t going to cut it if you want substantial growth in these target areas. Three times a week minimum is necessary but determining which days suits us best within schedules acts beneficial towards adherence meeting goals ultimately set.

Progressive Overload

Similar to any other resistance exercise progressive overload is crucial for growth. Slowly, incrementally increasing the overall difficulty of your poses or workouts over time will lead to significant gains in both strength and muscle mass.

An example here would be starting with wall-supported handstands, then progressing towards free-standing holds, and ultimately working up to more challenging variations like one-arm handstands or presses.

Train Ancillary Muscles As Well

While our primary focus should be on the major muscle groups mentioned earlier, it’s important not to neglect some of the smaller muscles that are also involved in supporting these movements. The wrist flexors and extensors; key components during compression deadlifts & inversions like forearm stands + headsprings!

Targeted training improved grip endurance while helping stabilize pressure fluctuations at high speed demand so considering adding exercises such as wrist curls (forward/backward), finger extensions which double as relatively quick neuromuscular tests on form control while inverted or positioned upside down respectively resulting better performance capacity cultivated ensuring maximal workloads surmounted within various limits reached continually pushing (or pulling?) beyond personal records firmly set prior completed prior sessions endured respecting cumulative fatigue incurred weekly!

We’ve covered a lot in this article! From breaking down the different muscle groups involved during handstand practice all the way through tips and tricks designed specifically for developing these areas into their strongest versions possible we have found essential elements required successfully reaching potential greater than previously achievable by most without sufficient expression thereof beforehand attempted alone- possibly never discovering hidden talents unleashed when unique potentials presented itself embraced fully honestly explored constantly refined providing individuals opportunity upon commitment unlocked uncharted life-changing benefits achieved longevity wise surely remain motivated consistently exceeding boundaries formerly once limited far surpassing progress ever thought achievable traditionally thought impossible now attained humbly.

Thank you for sticking around until this point. May your hands continue planting firmly behind/beside ears until the day you finally execute personalized gymnastic prowess in front of awed audiences worldwide.

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