10 Handstand Shapes & Flows

Master the handstand with these 10 shapes – beginner to advanced variations included. Learn how to flow between shapes and unlock the secrets behind balancing a handstand. 

When I started learning how to handstand, I was eager to try new shapes. I’d spend hours scrolling Instagram, bookmarking every handstand-related post, only to lose the post I wanted to reference, or I’d soon realize that it was way above my current skill level, leaving me feeling pretty defeated.

I don’t want you to waste your time or give up on handstands, so I’ve created this list of 10 handstand shapes. This list includes beginner and advanced modifications to keep you motivated and inspired on your journey from handstand beginner to handstand master.

Welcome, I’m summerfunfitness. I started handstand, calisthenics and mobility training as an adult, and now I help others achieve their handstand far faster than I did with my 30-day beginner handstand program.

3 Secrets Behind Changing Handstand Shapes

#1 Study Foundation

The #1 secret to balancing a handstand and mastering handstand shape changes is having a strong, stable upper body – even with your legs moving about.

When first learning, you won’t be able to maintain a perfectly solid upper body position,  but working towards it should be your main goal.

When performing handstand shape changes, always think about your upper body first (your foundation) and your legs second.

How do you maintain a stable upper body while in a handstand?

You do so by making constant micro corrections to keep the weight balanced towards the center of your palm by:

  1. Gripping with the fingers to pull your weight back to your palm
  2. Fighting to keep the elbows locked
  3. Rotating your elbows to face each other
  4. Pushing tall through the shoulders
  5. Shifting the shoulders forward and backward when needed

#2 Breathing

Make sure that you have a relaxed breath when in a handstand, much like you would have when standing on your feet. If you struggle with this, try singing a song aloud (the ABC’s work great!)

#3 Prep Your Lower Body

Once you know what shape you want to work on from today’s list, prep your lower body by stretching or activating your muscles, tendons and joints in a similar position.

If you’re super flexible and often have difficulty controlling your flexibility, you’ll want to perform some activation drills.

If you’re more stiff and have a hard time asking your body to relax, you’ll want to stretch first.

Listen to your body to see what you need the most. You don’t want to stretch past where you can no longer control your limbs, but you don’t want to be so stiff that you can’t get into depth. I prefer to stretch and activate before a handstand session.

How to Practice Handstand Shape Changes

Once you’ve picked the handstand shape you want to work on and prepped your lower body for it (see above), you’ll want to practice it in an easier position so that by the time you get your handstand, it’s already second nature.

Practice the handstand flow:
1. Laying flat on your back
2. In a candlestick position
3. In a headstand

Once you’ve mastered the shape, do a handstand warm-up and then get to practicing!

10 Handstand Shapes

Here are 10 handstand shapes and flows, complete with beginner to advanced modifications, ensuring you always have a new handstand shape to work towards. Plus, I’ve included a brief stretching recommendation for each.

#1 Stag Handstand

A stag handstand is a handstand variation in which the legs are split apart with bent knees. The deeper your splits are, the cleaner your stag handstand will be.

Beginner: Keep a small stag
Advanced: Open to a deep split with bent knees, then arch into a Hollowback Stag Handstand
Recommended Stretch: Passive splits, active splits, long lunges, or a modified couch stretch

#2 Straddle Handstand

A straddle handstand is where your legs are spread apart in a V shape. A pike straddle handstand is when you fold (or pike) at the hips, mimicking a pancake shape. A straddle handstand with hips extended (or “open”) mimics a middle split. 

Beginner: Pike or Baby Straddle Handstand
Advanced: Head in Straddle Handstand
Recommended Stretch: Pancake, Straddle Leg Lifts

#3 Diamond Handstand

A diamond handstand is a straddle handstand with bent knees and toes touching, mimicking a “diamond” shape.

Beginner: Diamond Handstand
Advanced: Side Bend Diamond Handstand
Recommended Stretch: Frog Pose with toes together

#4 Straight Line Handstand

A regular handstand requires locked elbows, legs held together, and pointed toes, with the wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles forming a perfectly stacked line when viewed from the side.

Beginner: Straight Handstand
Advanced: Head in Straight Handstand
Recommended Stretch: Hollow Body and Arch Body Holds

#5 Tuck Handstand

In a tuck handstand, the legs are together, knees bent, toes pointed, spine flexed, with thighs touching/resting on your torso.

Beginner: Baby Tuck Handstand, Deep Tuck with Open Knees
Advanced: Deep Tuck Handstand
Recommended Stretch:  Supine Tucks with Arms Overhead

#6 Seven Handstand

A 7 handstand is a challenging position where the legs are fully straightened and lowered to parallel, thus resembling the number “7.”

Beginner: 7 Handstand with legs higher than parallel
Advanced: Head in 7 Handstand
Recommended Stretch:  Pike Stretch

#7 Single Leg Handstand Shapes

Take any of the shapes we learned above and try them single-legged! It’s alot more challenging than you think!

Beginner: Start with a single-legged diamond handstand
Advanced: Stringe single-legged handstand shapes together
Recommended Stretch: Practice applicable stretches

#8 Scorpion Handstand

A scorpion handstand is when you arch your back to bring your toes to touch your forehead, resembling the shape of a scorpion’s tail.

Beginner: Scorpion Handstand
Advanced: Hollow Back Scorpion Handstand
Recommended Stretch: Wheel Pose, Cobra Pose

#9 Airwalk Handstand

An air walk handstand is when you perform small steps while maintaining the handstand position, creating the illusion of “walking on air.”

Practice: The moonwalk on your feet.

#10 Advanced Handstand Flow

This popular handstand flow adds flair to the transition from straight handstand to diamond to straddle and back. Watch the video for a complete demo of this advanced handstand flow.

Learning How to Handstand Flow

To begin playing with handstand flows, ask a friend to pick a few numbers from 1-10, then string those shapes together from this list.

10 Handstand Shapes

1. Stag Handstand
2. Straddle Handstand
3. Diamond Handstand
4. Straight Handstand
5. Tuck Handstand
6. Seven Handstand
7. Single Leg Handstand
8. Scorpion Handstand
9. Airwalk Handstand
10. Advanced Handstand Flow

There are so many more flows and shapes that you can learn. This hardly scratches the surface. If you want to see more advanced handstand flows let me know on the YouTube video. 

And if you want to learn how to handstand as fast as possible, join my beginner handstand program, or try this follow along beginner handstand workout a few times per week.

Thank you for being here 🙂


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