A spotter can help keep you safe and provide suggestions on your form.
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Hand balancing -- whether on blocks, the floor or a partner's body -- is a delicate skill that can take years to master. Fortunately, there are a great variety of exercises designed to build strength and confidence for balancers of all ability levels. Some exercises can be strenuous, so before you start, take adequate time to warm up. Always use a spotter when trying a new or difficult exercise.
Crow pose, also known as crane pose or frog stand, is a helpful exercise for beginners to hand balancing and is a good way to warm up for athletes who are more advanced. To do the exercise, start on all fours with your hands shoulder-width apart and your fingers spread wide to distribute weight as evenly as possible. Push into your hands and lift your hips to stand on your toes. Next, bend your arms slightly and tiptoe forward until your knees are touching your upper arms, just below your armpits. Slowly lean forward, placing more and more weight into your hands. When it feels comfortable, lift one foot off the ground and then the other. If you begin to lose your balance, step down in a controlled way.
If you aren't able to hold a handstand by yourself, use a spotter or practice against a wall. You may also practice proper body position in a headstand, which allows you to use an additional point of contact for leverage and balance. In a handstand or headstand, your abs should be engaged, your head should be in alignment with your toes and your hips should be very slightly tucked, as in a вЂњhollow bodyвЂќ position. Once you can hold a handstand against the wall, the European Federation of Professional Circus Schools recommends practicing a wall-facing handstand. To do a handstand facing the wall, turn away from the wall and place your hands on the floor several feet from it. Step up to the wall with one foot at a time. Walk your hands toward the wall until you are close enough to hold the handstand with your forehead and toes touching the wall.
Forearm balance is a useful intermediate practice, as it's more challenging than a headstand but often easier than a handstand. If you're a beginner, start with your forearms in a triangle position, with your hands grasped together at the top tip of the triangle. More advanced balancers should have their forearms parallel and about shoulder-width apart. Begin in a downward dog position, but from your forearms rather than your hands. To get into the balance, lift one leg high. Slightly bend the other leg and then push off the ground with it, lifting it into the air to join the first leg. Try to find the вЂњhollow bodyвЂќ position while supporting yourself with your fingers and forearms and engaging your shoulders to make sure that your head does not drop to the ground.
If you can easily hold a headstand, forearm balance and handstand by yourself, you may want to practice harder moves. One example is a single-arm handstand, which you can hold with your legs either straight or in a straddle position. For another challenge, change your platform of balance. Instead of using the floor, use a sturdy chair, balance beam or parallel bars. To build your balance at different levels, place a block on the floor, put one hand on it and hold a handstand with one hand several inches higher than the other.