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Handstand to Elbow Lever

Something to keep in mind for this skill – While you may have the elbow lever down, and your handstand may be solid, this exercise will really test your total body control as you transfer between the two skills. If you have difficulty with the strength, I recommend working on your handstand pushups and especially your handstand press.

So here we go.

Lowering Down

The main thing you have to focus on while lowering from a handstand into an elbow lever are your HANDS. Therefore in the description below, I've included a picture of the step, as well as the corresponding hand position.

Alright, you'll start off in your handstand, with fingers pointing forward. Nothing new so far.


You'll then you start to bend the arms and dip your head forward. If you recall, this is similar to the position for the handstand press, except your legs are out straight this time. Your fingers can begin to turn outwards slightly, but it is not essential you do that right now. While this is a transitional position, you should still be balanced. If I can hold it long enough to take a picture of it, it's balanced.

For the next step, your arms have bent to 90 degrees and your face is near the floor. At this point you'll want your hands turned outwards so that it is easier for you to stab your elbows and prepare for the elbow lever. If your fingers are still facing forward at this point, you will find it difficult if not impossible to stab in your elbows.

In the final step, you will simply turn your hands and point your fingers towards your feet as you level out your body into an elbow lever. If you recall back to the elbow lever tutorial, this hand position will allow you to open up the angle of your arm and balance the skill. So if you find yourself stuck in the previous position, remember to turn your hands and open up your arms.

The one error I see in this skill is slamming your body into the ground instead of stopping above the ground in the lever. As I said, this skill is about control so you'll want to work on your shoulder strength to control the descent, and your core muscles so that you can maintain a straight body as you level out.


Pressing Up

Of the two skills presented here, I'd have to say that this is probably the harder of the two. In the elbow lever tutorial, I gave a slight hint on how to start this move. If your arms are at a 90 degree angle while you are trying to hold an elbow lever, then your feet will raise up. You'll use this to your advantage now as you go from an elbow lever to handstand.

Once your arms are at 90 degrees and your legs start to rise up, you'll want to push downwards with your hands. The motion will feel similar to a handstand press up, but you should try and keep your body straighter. A slight arch in your back and legs is ok. If you get stuck here, work on your shoulder strength.

You may notice at this point that my hands have not changed position. They are still facing backwards. I find it easier to press up into the handstand position before I turn my hands, rather than moving hands mid-press. If you find one way works better for you than another way, then go with it.

At this point in the skill, I'm upside-down with a very awkward hand position. It may happen in practice that you'll fall over toward your head at this point. Remember back to the handstand press and the ways to fall safely out of a handstand. On your head is not one of them! While I usually pirouette to get out of a bad handstand, I actually find a forward roll to be easier in this case. Again, pick what feels best to you. Just be careful and don't break your neck!

I might suggest facing a wall, but your hands would be so far away, that catching the wall with your feet may do some damage. So I'd prefer you work without a wall on this skill, just make sure you can come down safely out of a bad handstand first.


Ah, we're up and we've changed our hand position. The handstand is stable. Congratulations!

So there you have it. Handstand to Elbow Lever to Handstand. This is not the easiest of skills, but is still attainable as your shoulder and arm strength increases.

Good luck!

Aug 18, 2010 | Category: Combos, Tutorial | Comments: none


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