-- the most important skill in our sport and remaining tight is essential!
of all levels perform the handstand several times throughout their workout.
While performing many skills in gymnastics, the gymnast must actually pass
through the handstand or vertical phase safely and efficiently. Without a good
handstand a gymnast may have trouble building skills and therefore progressing
through the sports many levels safely and efficiently.
handstand involves so many muscle groups working simultaneously and it is often
difficult for the new gymnast to fully master the handstand prior to being
expected to perform even more difficult skills.
times, the enthusiasm level in many gymnastics clubs drives the coaches and
athletes to move on to more difficult skills prior to the mastery of those
already introduced, such as the handstand. And all too often, the new gymnast
has trouble keeping their abdominal section tight or their lower back in the
correct position because the focus has changed away from the handstand and onto
are some drills that should help your gymnast learn to pull in their lower
abdominal section while elongating their lower back for a more straight and
tight handstand position.
Button Lift: Have your gymnast lie on their stomach, face down. Have them place
their arms up by their ears, keeping their arms straight and hands (palms) on
the floor. Instruct your gymnast to keep everything on the floor, including
their hands (palms), arms, chin, armpits, chest, hips, thighs, and (pointed)
feet. Once your gymnast is completely flat, instruct them to lift their belly
button off the floor, leaving everything else on the floor. Remind your gymnast
again to keep their hands (palms), armpits, chest, hips, thighs, and feet down
while they lift their belly button up. Once your gymnast lifts their belly
button you should see their lower back elongate into the correct position for a
handstand. Their buttocks should be
under once their belly button is lifted off the floor. Your gymnast has just
begun to learn the “pelvic tilt!” Have your gymnast relax and then repeat
this drill with enough frequency so that they completely understand how to pull
in their belly button and elongate their lower back. Make sure your gymnast
keeps everything on the floor with the exception of the belly button area once
drill to help your gymnast understand handstand shape is the Octagon
Tuck. Have your gymnast stand in front of an octagon or barrel type mat.
Instruct them to stand with their back to the octagon. Next, have your gymnast
place their hands on the floor and then one shin at a time on the octagon. Your
gymnast should now be in a hand support with their shins on the octagon. Your
gymnast’s legs, hips, and chest should be off the floor. Next, instruct your
gymnast to start with their body, legs, and arms straight. Once your gymnast is
completely straight with their shins on the octagon, instruct them to squeeze
their buttocks and to pull their belly button in, just as if they were
performing the Belly Button Lift.
should see their lower back elongate into the correct position for a handstand.
Next, instruct your gymnast to push down on the floor so that the portion of
their back between their shoulder blades rises towards the ceiling. Your gymnast
will need to learn the shoulder shrug for the handstand as well as for many
other skills in the future. Your gymnast has just performed the “pelvic
tilt” and will now be expected to hold the pelvic tilt shape while in motion.
Once in the correct shape, instruct your gymnast to slowly tuck their knees in
toward their chest, keeping that rounded shape, their hands in one place, their
arms straight, and their upper body stationary. Next, instruct your gymnast to
keep the rounded shape and to open their hips and knees again. Your gymnast must
keep the elongated lower back pelvic (tilt) as they are opening their hips and
after they have completely opened their hips.
your gymnast repeat this drill frequently enough so they completely understand
how to keep the elongated lower back while tucking and then opening their hips
can have your gymnast perform this drill on octagons of different heights and
then in the handstand for a more complete understanding on how to elongate their
lower back and keep that shape.
the gymnast should first learn how to get tight, form the correct shape, and
hold the tight shape lying down or stand up before we can expect them to do so
safely upside down or while in motion.
it slow and be sure to pay attention to detail; the handstand is the most
important skill in the sport of gymnastics!
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