Shoulders Mobility + Flexibility for Press Handstand Skills
The first is locking out the shoulders. This joint is important because it creates a bridge between the base of support (the hands) and the bulk of the body. The handstand hinges around where the shoulders are placed. This means that improper shoulder position is the cause of most broken alignment. This also means that the whole body will react to any movement in the shoulders. This is a joint that must be solid to refine your balance and position. How shoulder stability is achieved is up to the individual. Some prefer to fully elevate the shoulders and push tall, activating the upper trapezius. Others prefer to pack the shoulders, using the lats and lower traps for stability.
Having the shoulders behind the hands takes the center of mass away from the body and makes it very difficult to balance. In beginners, this is often a symptom of a fear response to avoid falling over. And this is normal and fine for beginners as I always encourage you to practice handstand without walls from the beginning of your journey.
In the ideal position, the shoulders will be at or near 180 degrees to the body. This is what allows us to create the desired shape. People who have hyper-mobile shoulders can sometimes take the “shoulders open” cue too far and go past 180 degrees. This position is not recommended as the stability of the joint is compromised. At a more advanced level you can learn how to balance with increased shoulder flexion, but building a base first is more important. Later on, movement in the shoulders can have an important use in balance correction. However, I cannot stress enough the importance of learning to balance with locked shoulders before adding movement.
The elbows should be locked and turned so that the pits face each other. A useful cue is to think of pressing the elbows in towards each other. This is a crucial piece to using less energy to hold the handstand. When the elbow is straight, the weight of the body can be held up by the bone structure of the arm. At a more advanced level, resting on the elbow joint can allow the practitioner to partly relax their arms. This is similar to how you can relax your quads and glutes when standing with straight knees. A bent arm requires a lot of muscular effort to be able to bear the weight. This means you will fatigue sooner and have an increased chance of the arms collapsing.
How to improve the shoulder range of motion
Wall Arm Circle
Arm Circles are a great warm-up and a fun way to work on shoulder mobility. From a standing position, reach one arm overhead and begin circling it behind your body. Point your thumb behind your back. your arms away from your body, rotate your arm in as large of a circle as possible and reverse to starting position. Go slowly at first but feel free to pick up the speed after a few rotations. The common mistake here is moving too fast, too soon, or bent elbows.
Below I have a gentle shoulder mobility drill. Click the video below. It is a game-changer drill.
Don’t Overlook Flexibility Training
In my YouTube video for this week, I am introducing 2 amazing effective all-in-one deep shoulder stretches in combination with hamstrings stretches and hip joint flexibility. Both stretches are helpful to increase your shoulder flexibility and a full range of motion. Try them out and let me know how it goes. In the beginning, they might be challenging, but as same as everything else in handstand practice, consistency is your best friend. You will improve day by day, be patient, and focused, move with awareness, and listen to your body. Everything will come.
Let's Summarize For Today!
Why Do We Need Shoulder Mobility + Flexibility?
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Thank you guys so much for reading this article so far and I would very much appreciate any comments or any kid of question about this topic.
Be strong, be safe and try harder! See you in my next episode....