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One vs Two Arm Handstand

One vs Two Arm Handstand

While the one & two arm handstand may seem a world apart there are some similarities as well as some big differences between the 2. In this article, I will cover where the training for 1 and 2-arm handstand overlaps and why 1-arm handstand is a different ball game.

Why OAH is no different to a regular Handstand?

1 You are fighting gravity

The easiest way to stay up is to maintain your center of mass above your base (ie. your hands). With your base being approximately 70% smaller in OAH (One Arm Handstand) the center of mass has to stay within a tighter range but the principle remains the same.


2 Moving slowly helps

Standing on your hands is not natural. Doing something unnatural fast (initially at least) will cause a mess. It might seem counterintuitive to slow down something you cannot do yet but trust me, it will accelerate the learning process.


3 Balance is always closer than you think

Nerves, lack of proprioception, and unnecessary body tension will get in the way preventing you from making the necessary adjustments and staying in balance. Try minimizing any adjustments you think you need to half. More often than not you will surprise yourself with how close balance was.


4 Concentration is often underestimated

Staying focused on the alignment or on recovering balance or sustaining a soft breath will often determine if you stay up or fall. But even once you have come out of a handstand, you can stay focused on what you can take away from your last attempt. Each attempt is an opportunity to learn. Naturally, we pay attention to our successes but from which ones can we learn more: the successes or the fails?


5 Lousy approach = Lousy results

Having the appropriate consistency & intensity in the training will bring the wanted result. For a long time handstands were an unsolvable ๐Ÿ”ฎ puzzle ๐Ÿงฉ in my mind ๐Ÿง . Itโ€™s not. Looking back when I was not progressing was because my training was messy whether I was training for a 2-arm or a 1-arm handstand.


6 Show me a handstand and I will show you a patient man

Handstands will:

๐Ÿค” possibly change your posture

๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป very likely help you understand your body. Whatever patterns you have standing will get exaggerated x10 upside down

๐Ÿซฃ make you more patient.

I used to be frustrated, thinking of training days as good and bad. There are no good or bad training days. There are intense and easy, technical and endurance-focused, those that we learn what we are capable of by achieving things we didnโ€™t expect or realizing our limitations. Coming to terms with this will help you enjoy the process; one vs two arm handstand makes no difference.


7 Balance starts at the end of your comfort zone

If you ever hear that handstands are easy this man (or woman) either learned a long time ago and forgot the struggle or never really learned. There is nothing comfortable about handstands, especially in the learning phase. If you are starting out now you may think that once you learn how to stand on 2 hands itโ€™s going to be a walk in the park thereafter ๐Ÿค”, think twice ๐Ÿ˜†.

Once you get into the habit of training on the edge of your comfort zone you will start seeing consistent progress.


Why a OAH is a different animal than a 2 arm handstand?

Frequency & intensity need to match the expertise

At the start of oneโ€™s handstand journey, x3-5 40min sessions a week may be sufficient to progress. After a while, 1 hour of practice daily or more is needed. Apart from the frequency though, the intensity needs also to change over time. 2-4 minute breaks are ok while training for 2 arm handstands. In OAH the breaks need to be shorter.


In how many ways can you fall?

Balance in a 2 arm handstand may seem fragile at times but ultimately you can fall forward or backward. In a OAH you can also fall sideways. This fact on its own will increase the demands on:

โ€ข the hand adjustments

โ€ข the shoulder corrections

โ€ข compensations due to body asymmetries



Handstands are tones of fun to practice and all the challenges we face in the process just make the journey more worth taking. Whether you are starting out now or have a few years of training under your belt, take it as a given: there will always be more things to learn. What you have learned so far is the foundation on which you will build on. Just stay away from the handstand myths.