Maybe you have a fear of flipping upside down. (Understandable.) Maybe you’re still working on your shoulder and wrist stability and flexibility. (Totally get it.) But what if your sweat sesh calls for just that? The handstand hold can be a real challenge for many athletes. Let’s run through a few handstand hold alternative ideas, so you can tackle your WOD at a level that best suits you.

Psst! If wrist stability is giving you a hard time, then wrist wraps could really help. They protect the joint and give a little extra compression, so you can feel more secure and confident when you’re upside down.

Handstand Hold Alternative: 4 Options

You know what they say about functional fitness: It’s infinitely scalable! If handstand holds aren’t in the cards right now, try these options instead.

1. Kick-ups

If it’s not so much flipping upside down that bugs you, but staying upside down, then just practice the former! The more time you spend upside down, the more comfortable you’re going to get with it. While other people are doing holds, spend your time kicking up against the wall, holding it for as long as you’re comfortable, and kicking back down. Repeat.

athletes up on wall for handstand hold alternative

2. Child’s Pose Variation

In yoga, to achieve Child’s Pose, you get down on all fours and then sit your butt back on your heels, arms stretched out in front of you. Mimic this but with your hands up against the wall in front of you! You should be looking down, and think of aligning your biceps with your ears. This copies part of the positioning for a handstand hold, allowing you to work on shoulder mobility without being upside down and fully putting the weight of your body on your hands.

3. Pike Push-up Hold

This handstand hold alternative is great for practicing strength, mobility, stability, and conquering any fears you might have. You may be familiar with pike push-ups as a common way to scale handstand push-ups. This time, we’re going to hold the position.

Get down on all fours. Drive your hips up and straighten your legs so that your butt is pointing to the sky. Drive your head through so that your ears are in line with your biceps. Hold this position! Want to make it more challenging? Put your feet up on a box and get in the same position. More of your bodyweight will be directed to your hands, mimicking a real handstand hold even more closely.

4. L-shape Handstand Hold Alternative

This is a good in-betweener. You’ll need to face the wall, and then get down on your hands and knees. Climb your feet up the wall until your legs are parallel with the floor. Your knees and elbows should be locked out. It’s going to go like this:

What we love about this handstand hold alternative is that you get to practice all the most challenging parts of the Rx’d movement without fear and uncertainty.

Above all else, remember to be patient with yourself. While some athletes make handstand holds look easy, that’s only because they’ve spent more time in that position. And with time, you’ll look like a pro, just like them!