Technique & Alignment for Handstands | How much is good enough?
Updated: Dec 9, 2019
The last blog posts have been focused on the main four physical capabilities that play an important role in handstands: Balance, Strength & Endurance, Awareness & Engagement and Mobility. While all four of them are important to develop a solid handstand, there is one big elephant in the room that hasn’t been addressed yet: Technique & Alignment.
What is it, why do we want it and more importantly… how much is good enough?
Technique is defined in sports science as the best practice in which a movement can be performed through a specific motion pattern, which means using our body in “the best and most efficient way possible” to perform a specific movement.
While this definition might seem quite simple, it has some layers of complexity once we apply it to the context of the real world, in which each one of us has a different body, with different proportions, capabilities, motion habits, etc.
Because of this, the “perfect” way of executing something for one individual, might not be exactly the same for another.
This holds true for handstands.
Nevertheless, there are some principles of technique and alignment that are applicable to everybody even in different styles of handstands. Principles that make holding and controlling a handstand easier.
Which is the reason why technique is important. It makes us more efficient.
And that is why we all need as much of it as possible… until we don’t. Kinda.
Technique has this way of working where applying its basis has a huge impact on the efficiency of a handstand while polishing and improving it further, requires increasingly more and more effort and time while giving back fewer and fewer efficiency improvements.
It is true that the more technique and efficiency, the easier it will be for you to hold your handstand and progress to more difficult elements of the skill, but there is a point where having enough of it will allow you to hold a decent handstand without needing to spend so much more time on adapting and training your body for better technique / alignment.
That is why how much technique is good enough depends on your current level of the physical capabilities, but even more in your ambitions and goals for your handstand journey.
If high-level handstands is what you are after, technique should be a big focus for you as it will make every step of the journey more approachable. If performing on stage is your goal, technique is also hugely important because it has a big impact on the aesthetics of the skill. But if you just want to learn to hold a two arm handstand because you enjoy it, or you want to implement it in a physical practice such as capoeira, parkour, or yoga among others, then definitely there is a “good enough” level of technique with which you should successfully be content.
So be smart.
Don’t get obsessed with technique when it's not necessary for you, or you are not ready enough for fancy perfect alignments, and train for the “enough” level that you need for your current level and goals.
As always, let me know down in the comments what are your thoughts on this topic!