One Arm Handstand Analysis – 3rd Nov 2015

Today I spent some time looking at lots of one-arm handstand images on Google in attempt to understand the form.

This is the first time I started seriously thinking about this, I only  started practising one arm balance about a week ago.

I am a person who likes to understand what I’m trying to achieve. If I can understand it first, then learning to execute it correctly becomes easier. Somebody else explaining it often will not satisfy me until I understand it myself which is partly why I prefer training alone.

I like to think about the mechanics. I often get frustrated because there’s many people who can do things yet their ability to explain it falls short. They may be able to execute a move but may not be able to articulate what they’re doing…. or worse… in some cases they’ll tell you to do something different from what they’re doing because they don’t understand it themselves! Very frustrating for the student.

One thing I noticed from today’s Google observations is, if the spine stays straight, and the hips stay square and parallel with the shoulders, then the whole torso and legs will tilt as one fixed shape and the shoulder line will hinge and tilt upwards from the supporting shoulder.

On the other hand, if the Handbalancer bends sideways in the spine, so the hips depart away from being parallel with the shoulders then the should can stay much closer to being parallel with the floor because the shift in weight is coming from the side bend of the spine.


The first day I begin practising one arm balance was about a week ago. I always film my practise and will watch back the video every time I attempt a handstand to see what’s working and what’s not. I quickly noticed that if my hips legs & torso stayed as one fixed shape (straight spine) and just tilt the entire body sideways then it felt very stable.

On the other hand if I tried to shift my weight by moving my legs at the hips, or by bending the spine sideways so the hips tilt over, then the whole shape became unstable and I would quickly collapse.

It seems to me that the straight spine is the best place to start, with the hips staying square and parallel with the shoulders and the whole torso and legs tilting as one fixed shape.

I feel reasonably confident in saying if the spine is straight and the legs are in a basic straight fixed symmetrical (no unusual twists or doing different things with each leg) then the shoulders cannot stay parallel with the ground, the shoulder line has to tilt at an angle as the whole body tilts.

I would challenge anybody who tells you the shoulders stay parallel to the ground with the spine being straight and legs symmetrical, it cannot happen, except in the event that the supporting arm leans away from vertical whereby the supporting hand is in the centre line directly below the head, and I cannot recal seeing anybody do that since the strength required from the shoulder to support that lean would be unimaginable.

Ben Lowrey