Gymnastics - Straddle Handstand

Straddle Handstand - Gymnastics

In this lesson you will learn how to do a gymnastic straddle handstand. That's when you put your hands on the floor, shift your weight onto your hands and open your legs sideways. Don't bend you knees and don't jump into the handstand. This technique requires good balance, some shoulder and abdominal strength. Once you can do the straddle handstand, try the straddle press handstand, which is pretty much the same, but now you start from a straddle planche and lift your legs without letting your feet touch the floor. Find more gymnastics instructions at artistic gymnastics main.


  • Put you hands on the floor and extend your elbows. Start with your hips as high as possible and your feet very close to your hands. The straighter the line from your hands to your hips, the better. You can also separate your legs a little and stand on the balls of your feet. Distance between feet and hands: Approximately one forearm length.
  • The first thing you have to do: Push up your hips and align your arms with your upper body (spine). If you looked to the floor at the beginning, look straight back now. Shift your weight onto your hands slowly. At the beginning it's also ok if you jump a little. But later you should do the straddle handstand without creating momentum (in slow motion). As you can see in the illustration, you also lean forward a little. This requires some shoulder strength (but not much). If you just bend your knees, jump and kick your legs up, you will not get used to the right technique. There are several exercises to work on this (see trainer advice). As soon as your feet leave the floor, spread your legs as far as you can. If you kept your legs closed, it would still be possible to get your legs up, but you would have to lean forward even more and that would require a lot more strength.
  • Keep your arms aligned with your spine (upper body) and lift your legs slowly and concentrated. At the beginning you will probably raise your legs a little bit too fast, but as you keep practicing, you will gain more control over the straddle handstand. The slower the better! Note: Don't forget that you have to open your legs sideways! In order to maintain balance, the hips are beyond hand level. Center of gravity => Right over your hands (see illustration)
  • In the second half of the straddle handstand you bring your shoulders back over your hands and align your entire body vertically. Extend your entire body, close your legs and push the tips of your toes up as high as possible (see normal handstand lesson).


  • Practice the normal handstand before you try the straddle handstand.
  • Keep your abdominals tight from the very beginning. Don't hollow your back.
  • Keep you knees and your elbows fully extended throughout the entire exercise.
  • Don't jump! Shift your weight onto your hands slowly.
  • Once you have mastered the straddle handstand, try the straddle planche handstand.
  • Also try it the other way around: Go into a normal handstand, spread your legs and move down as slow as you can (ask you coach to help you with this).
  • Exercises:
    • Warm up with straddle rolls. Start just like if you were going to do a straddle handstand (with fully extended elbows and straightened legs) and then roll forward. Hold the position before you roll onto your back for a moment. Basically that's like the first half of the straddle handstand, where you shift your shoulders forward and open your legs. But then you just try to hold/balance for a moment and roll forward.
    • Ask you coach or a training partner to kneel down behind you and support you at the hips.
    • Plant your hands one elbow length from a wall. When you push your hips up and shift your elbows forward, your back can rest on the wall for a moment. Do this as slow as possible and try not to crash into the wall.