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Handstand Equipment: All You Need To Know

The handstand is one of the hallmarks of calisthenics and it comes various hand balancing equipments.

Each equipment/surface is useful for different scenarios and each has its use cases.

In this blog post we will discuss the difficulty level, history and benefits of each hand balancing equipment.

The hand balancing equipments are:

  • Floor
  • Paralletes
  • Blocks
  • Cane
  • Gymnastic rings

1. Floor

Training on the floor is how most individuals start and is the best option because it can be trained anywhere and any time. This is very important when beginning to learn the handstand since high frequency training is the key to improving hand balancing.

The harder the floor the easier it is to balance. Therefore although many beginners feel safer to train the handstand on the grass it is actually a much more challenging variation to balance.

One hand balancing equipment made for training the floor handstand is the wooden hand balancing boards. These can usually be purchased at a home-depot since it is usually just a basic piece of plywood or MDF board.

The benefit of using the wooden had balancing board is that the wood absorbs your sweat and makes it a lot easier to control the balance without having your finders and palms slip.

Another great option to training on the floor would be to purchase gardening gloves as they provide very good traction and essentially acts as shoes for your hands.

2. Parallettes

The parrallel bars (p-bars) are based on gymnastics. Parralletes are the miniature version of the p-bars.

Using this equipment allows you to hold the handstand while your wrist is in a neutral position. Your wrist will be using a different method to

Paralletes come in different lengths, heights and thicknesses. Some bars like the NANOBARS XL have an adjustable 2-in-1 height.

The higher the bars, the harder it is to enter into the handstand position. Once you are in the handstand, the difficulty should be the same regardless of the height. The only thing to note is that the extra height can be intimidating for some.

The hardest variation of the p-bars handstand is to hand balance on one bar instead of two (shown on right). This will require you to maintain your balance using wrist flexion similar to the handstand on the floor.

3. Canes

Handstand canes come from the circus and  come in various heights. They are generally considered to be little more challenging than the floor to learn, but once you get the hand of them , they are easier to hand balance than the floor.

Given the height of the canes, the entry into the handstand may be a bit more challenging. But once again, once you are in the handstand, the difficulty hand balance should be the same regardless of the height.

There will be a little bit of wobble of the canes, but surprisingly this can actually help with the balance once you’ve mastered them.

Similar to the blocks, there also exists canes with an angled surface to alleviate wrist pain.

Lastly, there also exists spring canes which add more instability and make hand balancing more challenging.

4. Blocks

Similar to the canes, handstand blocks also come from the circus. They are generally also made of wood, with a rubber bottom to prevent sliding.

Some are angled to help alleviate wrist pain. Our handstand blocks come with the patent-pending finger loops to prevent slippage and sliding.

Furthermore, the angle increases the height and the range of motion for movements like the HSPU.

Hand balance blocks teach you to balance on your palms rather than your fingers. They are generally the preferred surface for the one arm handstand.

5. Gymnastic Rings

We saved the hardest hand-balancing equipment for last!

Ever try to perform a dip or a from support on the rings? They are generally much harder to do than on the parallel bars.

Similarly, performing the handstand on the ring will be very challenging as well. It will require a lot of shoulder and core strength to keep your alignment.

For the handstand balancing on gymnastics rings, the 32mm thickness will most likely be the most comfortable.

About the Author

Remy started calisthenics in 2014 and has mastered advanced movements such as the one arm pull-up, front-lever, one arm muscle-up and more.

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