While developing a handstand with the correct form will take time and dedication, this basic skill has infinite ways to keep you occupied even after you mastered the basics. One of the easiest ways to spice up your hand balancing is to change the surface that you perform your handstand on. But which handstand is harder? Every new surface has its own adaptation and will carry a different degree of difficulty with it. Here are most common handstand surfaces/apparatus to vary your balancing routine.
HANDSTAND SURFACES DIFICCULTY
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If you are a beginner and you don’t suffer from some chronic debilitating wrist problems that might be very hard to correct, the hard floor is a must. Don’t look for excuses. Weak, unflexible wrists ? Spend as much time going through pre-hab as you have to but start with the floor. The hard floor will teach you exactly how to distribute your weight and correct your balance through the heel of the hand, fingers, elbows, shoulders, back, and hips. Due to your hand having the largest contact with the surface, it’s also (arguably) the easiest version of the handstand.
Other surfaces like grass, mats or plyometric floors will add unevenness, softness or oscillations that will add difficulty and are best to be trained on after you solidify your handstand on the hard floor.
PARALLETTES / P-BARS
Many people argue that this apparatus allows for a more comfortable grip making it at the same time easier. Others consider it harder due to the fact that your hand has much less contact with the top surfaces and your fingers don’t take part in balancing. On parallettes or p-bars balancing will come through radial and ulnar deviation (flexion) as opposed to balancing between fingers and the heel of the hand on the hard floor.
Increased height of P-Bars will also make it harder to get into the handstand and can induce some fear. Although parallettes are closer to the ground, in the beginners it will still make kicking up into handstand harder than on the floor. Make sure you have your landing skills mastered 🙂
Parallel Bars will definitely lessen pressure on the wrists by allowing them to stay in a more neutral position. So if you have some serious wrist problems, they can be a great alternative to floor surfaces.
Wooden blocks are a very common tool used by professional hand balancer and come typically in rectangular or square shape, although you will also come across circular types of blocks. Same as with p-bars, difficulty can be a matter of personal preferences. Many people feel that gripping around the sides of the block rather than just balancing through fingertips gives them a better control and make it easier.
Blocks will also reduce the stress on the wrists, especially incline blocks. The incline blocks are basically handstand blocks which are cut at an angle so you get less wrist flexion and less pain that can be aggravated during flexing your wrists.
By using regular blocks you can lessen pressure on your wrists by moving the heel of your palm closer to the edge with the knuckles off the flat surface of the block. It will bring your wrists to a more neutral position, but it will also make balancing more difficult than floor and regular block grip. For this position, you will also have to make sure the blocks are high enough so your fingers stay off the floor.
Handstand Blocks also let you develop stronger wrists, fingers, wrists and forearms and at the same time they will support your joints reducing the likelihood of injury.
Often seen in circus style hand balancing, canes consist of blocks on the ends of vertical poles attached to a solid base. Increased height of the canes not only make it easier for a larger audience to see the act of performance, but it also allows a balancer to pull more tricks.
Solid floor handstand is a prerequisite here before attempting it on a pair of canes. Although professional equilibrist can use the sway in the poles as an extension of their arm and make it easier to control the balance, beginners will definitely find it harder than previous handstand variations.
The entry to handstand is also more complex and will require either jumping up to it with precision or pressing into it.
The ring handstand is a completely different animal compared to other surfaces. Without a question, it is one of the hardest versions of handstand. You should attempt this skill only after you have very solid floor and parallel bars handstands (at least one minute), and after you master basic ring strength. Without solid ring strength basics, no amount of floor or parallel bars handstands will improve this skill on the rings. It also makes sense to have a solid press to handstand before attempting handstand on the rings.
The unique difficulty of the rings lies in their instability. They move independently in all directions and require tremendous shoulder and arm strength, especially in brachialis muscles.
Unlike the other surfaces, where balancing from the shoulders would be considered a bad habit, the main balance correction will come off the shoulders. Same as with the other handstand variations you will also need a very good hollow body core strength and immaculate shoulder flexibility to prevent excessive arching in your back.