TRX Moves to Improve Your Handstands!


I haven’t talked much about it here, (as opposed to my Facebook and Instagram accounts) but I’m on a serious handstand mission. I’ve never in my life been able to hold a handstand, but I’ve also never put any focus and work into it. I started about a month ago trying to understand what needs to happen in my body to be able to hold that ish for more than half a second. I’ve enlisted the help of several of my yogi/gymnast buds to give me some drills and tips and while those have certainly helped a ton, I’m also realizing that a big part of my problem is not having the shoulder strength and mobility necessary to stay up there. I’ve needed some “handstand cross-training” so I’ve been using my TRX Suspension Trainer to work on it. Check out the video of the exercises, then check out the rationale, volume suggestions, and notes for your own workout below:


{TRX Wall Slides}

Why: Shoulder Mobility

How Much/Many: Try 5 – 10 Reps with both arms and then 5 per arm.

Notes: This is a great warm up exercise and will really let you know how mobile your shoulders are… or aren’t. Make sure you stand upright (no leaning back) and fire your hands backwards while raising and lowering them. Keep the straps tight the entire time. Ideally, your arms will go straight toward the sky. You can tell how mine have trouble – my arms are wider than they should be. It’s a work in progress…


{TRX I Fly}

Why: Shoulder strength (overhead)

How Much/Many: 45 seconds

Notes: The biggest mistake people make on this exercise is letting their elbows lead the way. Your shoulders should be doing the work. Elbows can be slightly bent, but the work needs to come from the shoulders. If your elbows are bending every rep, you’re probably too deep in your angle. Back up an inch or two and try again. Maintain your plank all the way from the top of the move to the bottom, and back to the top again!


{TRX Plank w/ Body Saw}

Why: Shoulder stability & deep core strength

How Much/Many: 5 – 10 reps, based on your ability level

Notes: This move is fantastic, and humbling. Start with really small moves as you saw back and forth, until you know what you can handle. As you’re comfortable, make the range of motion bigger. Keep your shoulders flat, your spine aligned, and keep the hips level with the ground as you move back and forth. And don’t forget to breathe!


{TRX Side Plank from Hand} 

Why: Unilateral shoulder strength and stability & core strength in the frontal plane

How Much/Many: 10 – 30 Seconds per side, switching sides without dropping to the ground (if you can)

Notes: Earn it. Make sure you’ve mastered the TRX side plank from your forearm, with your hand off the floor, and with the rotation before you do this one. Progressing from the forearm to the hand is a big difference, so make sure you can handle it. Your feet should be still and your hips should be in line with your spine before you lift your other hand off the ground. When switching to the other side, pivot the feet inside the foot cradles, but keep the feet where they are.


{TRX Incline Plank} 

Why: Shoulder strength & stability, asymmetrical core strength & stability

How Much/Many: 2 – 3 sets of 10 seconds, repeating the same with the other leg in the foot cradle

Notes: I’m going a harder level in the video. A lighter level would be to keep the free leg on the ground and hop it along as you move back and forth to the incline. Hovering the foot challenges the core more, but also demands more from the hip flexor. Make sure you do this one with one foot in the foot cradle and the other leg free. This is purposeful – as you can always steady yourself with the free leg, should you get off balance at any point. Make sure to do this one on each leg!


{TRX Inverted Press}

Why: Shoulder strength, core stability

How Much/Many: 5 – 10 reps, depending on your level

Notes: The great thing about being at angle is that you can have a fraction of your body weight on your shoulders to work on full range of motion. The higher your legs go, the more body weight your shoulders take on. Get a full range of motion at a lighter level before you move higher. Keep one foot free and clear so you can put it down to steady yourself if you get off-balance. For a lighter level, hover the free leg just an inch or so from the ground, instead of bringing it all the way up. Think about dropping the crown of your head toward the ground.



Do it once over, or 2 – 3 times through.

Let me know how it goes!


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