If you’re afraid of falling out of handstand, you know all too well that the fear is hindering your progress!
Luckily, you’ve stumbled upon a step-by-step tutorial that breaks down the process of falling out safely — and you won’t find it put so simply anywhere else.
This tutorial is for you if...
- You’ve begun to finally experience a degree of control on your hands but continue to experience fear.
- You know what “hang time” feels like, but you’re just not 100% sure that you can fall out safely every time.
- You’ve heard that “cartwheeling” out is a great way to exit, but the fear is still there.
Did you ever practice walking on your hands as a kid? Or maybe you know someone who did this?
I am NOT here to teach you how to walk on your hands, but I do want to point out why walking on your hands has something in common with the safe and effective fall out of handstand.
Usually, when people walk on their hands, they are not in what is considered the “best” or most vertical alignment. Instead, they’ve got that big banana back where their spine is arched and their feet are drifting forward. For now, we don’t care at all about the form. In fact, this “bad” form may even be a necessary step on the journey to a well-aligned (vertical) handstand for many practitioners.
Back to the point: Handstand walkers actually USE this less-than-pretty forward momentum (the beginning of what feels like falling!) to their advantage.
The exact moment that the hand walker feels like they are “falling” is actually their big cue that it’s time to put one hand forward. And that — spoiler, spoiler — is where we are going to begin.
Thankfully for those who never did this kind of experimentation, you don’t EVER had to have played with walking on your hands to borrow from this skill.
We’re going to distill this to one basic bottom line:
It’s all about your hands.
The remainder of this article teaches you how to build your arm strength so that you can initiate your fall with your hand/arm INSTEAD OF your legs. I really think this is going to change the game for you!
If you prefer to view the tutorial in video form, you can check it out here.
Fall out of handstand in 5 steps
Step 1. Build Arm Strength in Plank The Human Wheelbarrow
In this first stage, you are just going to accustom yourself to using your hands and arms for walking. If you don’t have a buddy to grab your ankles, no problem. We can do this from plank.
How To Walk on Your Hands in Plank:
- Grab a blanket or wear socks. Walk your hands forward a few steps, and then walk them back.
- Repeat 3 times with good rest in between. Rest time is a chance to stretch whatever body part might need it.
- Once this is easy, move on to Step 2.
Step 2. Legs up the wall 45 degrees Walk hands forward and back
In this second step, you’ll walk your feet a little bit up the wall, to roughly 45 degrees.
This version is going to place a bigger load on your wrists and shoulders than the plank version, so it’s a great way to train for the eventual fall from vertical.
How to Hand Walk from the Wall at 45 Degrees:
- About a leg distance from the wall, walk your feet up till comfort. 45-ish degrees.
- It’s okay to bend the knees. It’s all about your hands right now.
- Walk one hand forward and back. Then the other. Allow your body to sway to the side each time. This work is NOT EASY.
- Practice a handful of times then rest. Try for 2-8 times, depending on your fatigue. Don’t burn out all at once. Better to come down and recover fully.
- Try for three sets if you’ve got the juice. Honestly, I’d rather you underdo it than strain anything. There is always tomorrow.
Step 3. Back to the Wall Walks / with straddle legs
In Step 3, you are ready to put the full load of your body weight into your shoulders, arms, and hands.
We’re going to use the safety of the wall to test and grow our competency with walking on the hands — ultimately to initiate the intentional fall out.
How to Do Walk on Hands with Back to the Wall:
- Give yourself about a foot away from the wall. Kick up as you normally would.
- Straddle your legs. This is going to make it much easier to transfer your weight from one arm into the other.
- Finally, walk one hand toward the wall and back. Then switch. Repeat 2-8 times; then rest; then try again 1-2 times.
Step 4. Nose to the Wall Walk Adding a leg now!
You may have heard that training your nose-to-wall handstand is a great way to build a more vertically aligned handstand — and that’s true.
The trouble is, nose-to-wall is incredibly uncomfortable and awkward until you are very confident that you can fall out appropriately.
We’re going to use the nose-to-wall position to kill two birds with one stone:
- Get over the awkwardness of falling out of nose-to-wall handstand.
- Put all the remaining pieces together for the fall out of handstand in the middle of the room / without a wall.
How to Do Build Your Beautiful Fall with Nose-to-Wall Handstand:
- About a leg’s distance away, hop your feet up the wall.
- Walk your hands toward the wall as close as you are willing to go. This alone is a big movement for the arms and shoulders! Some will be challenged by this step alone and that’s okay.
- Once in nose-to-wall position, it’s time to exit: MOVE ONE HAND FORWARD ROUGHLY A FOOT. No need at all to get fixated on which hand or how far to place it. Let your instinct guide you because it’s your instinct that’s going to kick in when you’re really falling later.
- LET YOUR CHEST TURN IN THE DIRECTION OF THE HAND THAT MOVED. This will look a little like a twist. If your right hand moved, you turn your body to the right.
- BRING THE LEG + FOOT OF THE SAME SIDE DOWN TO THE GROUND. Again, no need to try and calculate where exactly to place the foot. Your instinct will take over, and that’s a good thing. It’ll also look a little different for every person, and that is as it should be. Focus on getting your leg safely to the ground, and that’s all.
Step 5. Putting It All Together Time to fall out of handstand on purpose
Once you have mastered Step 4, then it is time to take your falling-out skill into the middle of the room. We’re going to fall out intentionally, and frankly, I believe it is 100% worth your time to spend whole practice sessions with this until it is second nature.
A great handstander is very skilled at falling, so you’ll want to get really good at it too. Here we go:
How to Fall Out of Handstand -- On Purpose:
- Kick all the way up to handstand and allow yourself to lose control.
- Walk one hand forward. Your cue to make this move is the exact second when the momentum forward gives you the sensation of falling (remember our hand walkers from the intro).
- Bring the same-side foot all the way to the ground. It could be fast, it could be controlled. However you slice it, you just want to find earth safely. And once you’ve done this — be proud! And do it all over again.
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Final words for getting over the fear of falling:
The great thing here is that once you have no fear of falling, the sky is the limit. You’ll be able to train your handstand as often as you like, with as much freedom and delight as the skill deserves.
Handstand isn’t just fun. It’s a great way to build whole-body strength, mobility, and awareness.
Have fun. Stay with it. And let me know if you have any questions.
Leigha Butler is the founder of LBY, an online portal for yoga lovers who want to take their practice to new heights. Stay superlatively supple and strong — for life. You can learn more or sign up for a free trial right here.