Handstands Without the Pain: Techniques for Injury Prevention & Skill Optimization

Handstands Without the Pain: Techniques for Injury Prevention & Skill Optimization

Handstands are a thrilling way to demonstrate strength, balance, and agility. Whether you're just beginning your fitness journey or you're a seasoned calisthenics enthusiast, the allure of mastering this impressive skill is undeniable. 

However, for many, this pursuit has led to pain and injuries. In this blog post, we explore the reasons behind these injuries and offer practical advice on how to avoid them, based on insights from Rad Burmeister’s recent “must see” handstand video.

The Reality of Handstand Training

Many perceive handstands as a fundamental skill in calisthenics and gymnastics. The truth is, they are significantly more challenging than they appear. It’s not just about strength; it's about control, flexibility, and proper technique. Achieving a flawless handstand requires rigorous training, often six days a week, to build the necessary muscle memory and stability.

There lies the problem. It’s the sheer volume and frequency of practice required to master the straight line handstand that poses an injury exposure conundrum.

Common Handstand Injuries

The reality is, despite their appeal, we humans were simply not designed to stand on our hands! Therefore, handstand practice can cause a variety of injuries if not approached with care. 

Common issues include:

  • Wrist sprains: These often occur when the wrists are not strong enough to support the body's weight during a handstand.
  • Tendinitis: Repetitive stress on tendons due to the frequency and volume of practice can lead to inflammation and pain.
  • Slap tears and torn rotator cuffs: These serious injuries occur due to failed bailouts, improper technique and overuse.

Both Rad and I experienced these injuries firsthand. Our own journey in handstand training brought us valuable lessons about the importance of preparation and load management.

Strategies for Injury Prevention

Prevention is key when it comes to handstand-related injuries. Here are some strategies to help reduce the risk:

  • Strengthening exercises: To safely perform handstands, you need to build strength in your wrists, elbows, shoulders, and core. Wrist flexion and extension exercises, knuckle push-ups, and shoulder-strengthening workouts can help fortify these areas.
  • Proper technique: Learning the correct form is crucial. Handstands require a delicate balance of strength and flexibility, and a small error in form can lead to injuries.
  • Gradual progression: Avoid jumping into advanced handstand variations before mastering the basics. Progress slowly to build confidence and reduce the risk of overuse, or acute injuries.

Overcoming Handstand-Related Injuries

If you've already sustained injuries from handstands, all is not lost. In his video, Rad discusses several techniques to manage and recover from these injuries:

  • Wrist taping: This technique can help deload the wrists and provide additional support during handstand training.
  • Parallettes: Using these can reduce pressure on the hands and wrists, allowing you to continue training with less strain.
  • Shoulder rehabilitation: Focus on strengthening both the outer and inner shoulder muscles to support recovery and prevent further injuries.

Expert-Led Online Coaching at Unity Gym

At Unity Gym, we understand the challenges of handstand training and the potential for injuries. That's why we offer the UMS Online Coaching, designed to provide affordable, expert-led training to help you achieve your fitness goals safely. With UMS, you can access personalized coaching for less than $1.75 a day.

Get Access In Three Simple Steps

Here's how the UMS Online Coaching program works:

  1. Create Your Account: Join UMS Online Coaching for immediate access to our coaching app and community forums.
  2. Complete Your Pre-Exercise Questionnaire: Share your training history, goals, and any injuries. This helps our coaches design a program tailored to your needs.
  3. Start Training: Within 48-hours, you'll receive your personalized program, complete with a personal walkthrough video explaining how to maximize its benefits.

Join the UMS Tribe

As an online coaching client you will become a member of the UMS Tribe, meaning you're joining a vibrant community of like-minded individuals. Our support system, combined with expert guidance and comprehensive resources, ensures that you're never alone on your health and fitness journey.

Take Action Now

If you're ready to elevate your fitness regimen and avoid handstand-related injuries, now is the time to act. Start by joining our UMS Online Coaching and watching the full tutorial by Rad on YouTube. With the right mix of resources, community support, and expert guidance, achieving your fitness goals is not just possible—it's inevitable.

👉 Begin your personalized fitness journey with our online coaching.

👉 Learn more by watching Rad’s full YouTube tutorial here.

Take the first step towards a healthier, more robust version of yourself. With Unity Gym, you have the support and expertise needed to turn your fitness dreams into reality.

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