Overcoming the fear of the handstand hold

Three years ago, a handstand hold came up in my Freeletics session. Having never done a handstand, my initial reaction was, “There’s no way I can do it.” I excluded the exercise from my workouts and considered how I could learn it.

You might wonder why I didn’t just try it. Well, I was afraid. I had a fear that something could go wrong during that flipping motion to enter a wall handstand from a standing position.

I wanted a gentle approach, so I found a yoga program for learning inversions. I learned the crow pose and could get into a handstand by walking my feet up the wall. However, the fear of that flip persisted. I left it there.

Earlier this year, I was doing CrossFit, and the trainer asked me to do a handstand hold. I told him I’d never done it before. He put a cushion on the floor and told me he would catch me if anything. I did it. It wasn’t perfect – the cushion came into play :smile: – but I did it. Immediately, I demanded one more (this time no cushion was needed).

Two months ago, I did my first handstand alone. I want to say it was mainly possible thanks to the trainer. The yoga program was good, but courage was what I really needed. Now handstands bring me joy. I look forward to my next session just to do a handstand. If my session doesn’t have a handstand, I change it until it does :smiley: Every time I can go longer. I’m past the 45" mark now and am trying to beat 60". I am also looking forward to advancing to other variations.

If you have a fear like I did, ask a friend to spot you and just do it.

If you too have stories about mastering new exercises or overcoming fear, share them :slight_smile:


Hi @Sofia ,
Thank you for sharing your path to start into handstands.
I am also very reluctant towards handstands, as i always fear, i might hurt my shoulders. In Coach Sessions, I always move to the very last workout, to make sure everything is warm, but still, the fear is always there.


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@Liverputlian Hi Michael, have you started doing handstands or still thinking about?

In my case, besides the courage, of course it helped that I learnt how to engage my shoulders during warmup.
I used to think that Cat-Cow was about bending my back, but while training for yoga inversions I found that it s actually about engaging your shoulders and pulling your chin to your chest, as if your upper body was doing a handstand. In Down Dog to Cobra I started shifting my weight into my hands and not just bending my body. Pike pushups helped me greatly, especially since I adopted a more vertical position when doing them.


I love this topic!

I had some hilarious HS fail videos from a couple of years ago on my old phone - really wish I’d kept them now :sweat_smile:

The main thing I learned from doing this myself was not to be scared of failure, particularly when doing in front of other people or strangers if doing in a public training spot. Try, fail, laugh and dust yourself off. With exercises like this, you really do learn from the failures :+1:t2:

Definitely an exercise that can be nerve wracking, and one you’ve really got to commit to.