The Differences Between Handstands in Yoga and Gymnastics

  • By: gymtrix
  • Date: January 7, 2023
  • Time to read: 4 min.

Handstands in yoga are good for your body and mind, and they go well with the other poses that require you to turn your body upside down.

Developing upper-body strength, balance and flexibility, handstands have the potential to provide deep relaxation and restore equilibrium to one’s overall sense of wellbeing. It is no wonder that these poses are becoming increasingly popular within modern day yoga practices.

Adho Mukha Vrksasana, more commonly known as handstands, represent a feat of intermediate skill level in yoga. Handstanding in any discipline today requires balance and self-awareness from the practitioner to be successfully executed.

This form is not limited solely to yoga however other disciplines such as calisthenics and gymnastics incorporate handstands, though distinct variations are easily identifiable by experienced eyes.

As such, this type of movement incorporates the basics with creative practices to achieve an otherwise impressive pose.

The Differences Between Handstands in Yoga and Gymnastics

Handstands In Yoga

For those new to yoga, starting with the traditional handstand kick up from the ground is generally the best idea. Not only does this approach allow for an easier entry into the pose, it also reduces the risk of injury due to mistakes.

Although generating sufficient lift from the legs is naturally inhibited in this approach, increased flexibility in key areas such as the back can make all the difference in ensuring a successful handstand kick up.

With practice and dedication, beginners can improve their ability to master this difficult yoga pose through incremental gains in flexibility and strength.

Yoga is known for its focus on posture, and a characteristic of this practice is to strive towards a “stacked” shape, when the body is held straight.

This form allows for the muscles and joints to be supported in a natural position by resting onto each other in an effortless way.

In contrast, gymnastics and calisthenics often require the body to form a more hollow shape despite the arms being locked firmly into place, the center of gravity falls outside of the body something that requires greater strength and mobility in order to maintain.

Both practices are beneficial in their own right, but understanding the differences in posture will help you make decisions about which style best suits you as an individual.

Handstands In Gymnastics And Calisthenics

Gymnasts use a “gymnastics” handstand to master various disciplines, such as calisthenics. To start this move from a standing position, they must lunge forward and put their hands close to the front foot. Then, they must kick straight back with the back leg.

This entire process seems straightforward enough until you consider that one of the biggest challenges with this move is not tipping over during its execution.

Gymnasts must have precise balance and control in order to adequately perform this dynamic feat of strength and agility.

A press to handstand is one of the most common ways for gymnasts to enter a handstand. To perform this skill, the athlete must creatively use their body weight and strength to reach balance in an inverted position.

This begins with safely reaching out towards the space just ahead of their feet while leaning forward over their hands.

Once they have shifted enough weight onto the hands and arms, they can then drive through with their feet and rise into a wide arch before bringing them back down in line at the top of the handstand.

Floor Handstands vs. Paralettes

Handstands are a common move in both yoga and gymnastics, yet the two practices offer different methods for successfully performing the technique.

Rather than being done solely on the floor like in yoga, handstands can also be done on paralettes and parallel bars in gymnastics. Doing handstands on the parallel bars is more intimidating but gives users more control over their wrist positioning.

On the other hand, floor handstands allow for finger manipulation of the maneuver which isn’t available when balancing on higher surfaces. Taken together, both styles of handstands offer their own unique benefits and poses for yogis and gymnasts of all levels.

Paralettes and parallel bars are an efficient way to strengthen wrist control, making it possible to do handstands that would otherwise be challenging.

This equipment is especially beneficial for those looking to improve their handstands but are prone to wrist pain when attempting them on the ground.

The key difference is in the distribution of pressure with paralettes and parallel bars, the wrists don’t bear the full weight of the body, lessening discomfort and improving form as well.

With dedicated practice and patience, one can truly benefit from relieving their wrist pains through incorporating these pieces of equipment into their fitness routine.

A step-by-step guide to performing a handstand push up

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