The handspring is one of those tricky moves – beautiful to look at, great to aim for but realistically, very hard to achieve. It is one of the few tricky moves that makes you feel like you will never get close… but you will.
The ‘How To’ Part
Place your strong hand very low on the pole – about shin height. Have your fingers facing down to the ground. Place your weaker hand higher on the pole but do not over stretch this arm. You will need to twist this arm slightly for a stronger grip, making sure your thumb is closer to the ceiling than the floor. Swing your inside leg forwards and backwards to give yourself momentum. When this leg is behind you, jump off the ground with your other foot, aiming to take both legs towards the ceiling. Aim to tuck your legs up together by your chest. Make sure you look towards the ceiling. When you have your balance try to stretch one leg out, and then the other for different variations of the move.
- Make sure you look to the ceiling when you invert. This will help you to keep your balance. If you are using a mirror you will probably notice that every time you look at yourself, you lose your balance!
- Tuck your hips under and make sure your lower back is not arched. These will both help you to balance.
- When you are inverted push the pole with your bottom hand and pull with your top hand. This will give you a strong grip.
- Keep trying – everyday you will get a little closer and then one day it will all just click into place!
- I like to point my index finger of my bottom hand towards the ground and have the rest of my fingers around the pole as it gives me a stronger grip. This is simply a personal preference but it may be worth trying.
- There are many different hand grips you can try – a twisted grip generally works best.
Practise Makes Perfect
This move is tricky. The hardest part is the initial move of getting yourself upside down.
When both hands are first on the pole try leaning your body out and straightening your arms so that you feel you have a strong grip. From here you can swing your inside leg – make sure it is between the pole and your outside leg. Swing your leg 3 times and on the third really kick back and up. This is the point where you need to push and pull with your arms to get a strong grip and look up to the ceiling as quickly as you can. To get to this point will probably take you a long time, compared with how long it takes to learn the leg variations after.
Initially work on bringing your legs up to a tuck position. Work on holding your balance. When you feel comfortable with holding your balance try straightening one leg out infront of your body towards the pole. You can rest your foot on the pole if you need support for balance. Remeber to keep your core strong as every move will change the position of your body.
When you are confident with having one leg out, try stretching out both legs in a V shape. Some people find this easier than having one leg out – but this needs to be done slowly to avoid losing balance.
The best strength and balancing training you can do for this move is just going through the motions. You can invert on the pole and then go into an Ayesha. From here make sure that you have a strong hand grip and work on taking your body further away from the pole. From here, twist your body to the side so that you can then put your legs down on the ground. You should do this as slowly as you can. This is effectively a backwards handspring and gets your body used to being in this position.
Remember to keep practising on both sides – you will naturally be better at one than the other but it is very important to work both sides of your body.
Are you working on your Handspring?
Is it tricky or were you a natural? Have you picked up any Handspring tips?