Wall Handstand | Execution and Mistakes to Avoid

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Joe Dispenza


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By “wall handstand” we mean the handstand exercise performed with the assistance of the wall. This exercise can be done both with the torso facing the wall and with the back facing it. Both variants have their usefulness.

Wall handstand | addome a muro

1. Positioning

To position yourself you can start in a plank position with the feet against the wall and walking backwards with the hands bring the body as close to the vertical as possible.

Getting your hands a few centimeters away from the wall is really difficult, especially in terms of mobility.

The hardest part of a perfect handstand is in fact the mobility in maximum shoulder flexion.

The last degrees of shoulder flexion are obtained thanks to the scapula thoracic joint, this area is often lacking in mobility as a result of the sedentary and office activities that take place every day.

If you do not have thoracic mobility you end up compensating with the underlying segment, that is the lumbar spine, which extends to maintain the center of
gravity inside the support base.

Extending the lumbar spine means assuming the classic banana shape, moving close to the wall forces the shoulders to move in line with the thoracic area and if the lobar area remains extended then you end up falling forward.

For this reason, you simply cannot get close to the wall completely.

2. Muscles involved

This variant of the Wall Handstand is the one that most strengthens the muscles that maintain the free handstand position, i.e. poso and finger flexors,
deltoids, serratus anterior, trapezius and abdomen.

3. Execution

All these benefits, however, are obtained only following a correct execution. AND
necessary to keep the pelvis retroverted, then contract the buttocks and abdominals.

It is also necessary to keep the shoulders elevated to contract the dentate and trapezius muscles in order to create stability.

It is then necessary to keep the elbows fully extended and extra rotate the shoulders to keep this joint in a safer position.

Finally, the weight must be kept in the metacarpal area, between the fingers and the palm, with a distance between the hands slightly greater than if not equal to the width of the shoulders.

These must be the cornerstones of correct execution, the intensity of the exercise varies according to how close the hands are to the wall. The objective on which to progress is therefore this always maintaining a correct execution.

Wall handstand | dorso a muro

1. Positioning

To position yourself in this variant, simply put your fingers as close as possible to the wall and, using the thrust of the legs, move into the handstand position.

Once again the proximity to the wall is limited by the mobility that one has; the closer you get to the wall, the greater the resemblance to a perfect handstand.

2. Muscles involved

This variant requires less effort as the activity of the muscles that carry the weight back is reduced (if they contracted you would end up falling).

The front support is then offered by the wall. The muscles most involved are therefore trapezius and dentate.

3. Execution

The execution of this variant can be compared to the previous one. Being in
in this case the minor difficulty can focus more on mobility. Simply try to extend the chest area more while keeping the abdomen and buttocks contracted.

Doing this leads to greater activation of the extensors of the thoracic spine and the middle and lower trapezius. The goal on which to progress, always maintaining a correct execution, could be to obtain a greater thoracic extension.

Getting your hands too close to the wall would not allow you to work on this aspect of mobility and it is also not difficult as if you have moderate mobility it is very easy to distance your fingers by only a few centimeters from the wall.

Training proposal

Having described the benefits and execution of the wall handstand, it is necessary to understand how to include this exercise in the workout. A good idea might be to end each workout with the following combination:

  •  Wall handstand, wall abdomen: held for 30? 50 seconds. Rest 10-20 seconds
  • Wall handstan, back to wall: try to maintain maximum thoracic extension for 30? 40 seconds, 10-20 seconds of rest
  • Seated face pull: 10-15 repetitions with a couple of seconds of isometry in maximum contraction.
  • Rest 1 minute
  • Repeat 3 times


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