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How To Do A Cast Handstand [Steps And Exercises To Help You Improve]

how to do a cast handstand

It’s a no brainer that handstands play a very integral role when it comes to the skills section in gymnastics. When we talk about the bars section, one of the most basic skills is the cast handstand. It is the starting point from where a gymnast learns other skills.

By mastering the cast handstand, a gymnast will learn how to maintain the handstand position on the bars which will further enable him/her to be able to do pirouettes and giants. An additional incentive to learn the cast handstand is that it is one of the skills in TOPs and so has a lot of weightage and scores.


How to get started?

Before you rush to learn how to perform a cast handstand, you’ll need to have mastered how to perform a handstand on the floor as well as a press handstand.

You’ll also need to practice some exercises that will help you strengthen your muscles that are exerted when you perform a cast handstand. I’ve made a list of those exercises, as well as some drills that you can perform at home and some that you’ll need to practice at the gym. 

Read on to find out everything there is you need to know about cast handstands.

The muscles used in a cast handstand

1) Your arms: You’ll need to have strong arms to be able to perform a cast handstand since they are what is needed to support the weight of your body.

Strong arms will also ensure that you have the necessary stability and control that your legs will not be able to provide since they will be over your head!

2) Your core: Strong core muscles ensure that your legs can stay above your head.

4 Exercises to practice at home

1) Front lateral raise against the wall

You can do the frontal lateral lifts using either the bands or a weight. This exercise helps to strengthen up your arm muscles that are used in performing the handstand.

While practicing, make sure that your back is straight, and the best option is to practice against an object such as a padded or cushioned surface or wall.

If you’re practicing with someone, you’ll need to have the gymnast stand against the handstand helper while they hold lightweights in their hands with their palms facing towards the ground.

They will then lift the weights slowly until they are positioned above their head mimicking the movement of a cast handstand.

2) V-Ups

These are done to build the core muscles which are essential for stability. To start you’ll need to lay flat on the floor and position your arms above your head. Your legs will need to keep squeezed together and straight.

Using your core, you will need to pull up your legs while also pulling up your upper body from off of the floor. Make sure not to arch your back and also make sure that your hands touch your feet. 

3) Planks


Planks are a perfect exercise that puts your entire body to use. They especially are great for strengthening your core and arms.

Planks can be performed from either your wrists or on your elbows. Whilst in position, you’ll need to squeeze your core, butt, and legs. Your shoulders need to be over your elbows while your body will need to be in a straight line from your feet to your head. You’ll be squeezing all your muscles and so don’t forget to breathe!

4) Hip Lifts

This exercise will help in muscle strengthening while using your hips as an aid to push your legs into the straight position of the cast handstand.

You’ll need to lay on your back while your arms are positioned on your sides with your knees bent and feet to the ground.

Slowly, lift your hips in an upward position towards the ceiling and hold that position for a small second. Then lower your hips again back to the floor to finish the repetition. Remember to keep your butt squeezed and back flat throughout.

Drills to do at home

1) Holding a handstand on a parallette against a wall

Make sure that when you practice this drill, it is against a padded wall and if you have a handstand helper, that will be best.

You should try to maintain this handstand for a minimum of 30 seconds to one minute. This is somewhat similar to “Spiderman Against the Wall.”

If you are serious about practicing this drill, investing in a reliable parallette is very important.

2) Holding a hollow on a parallette using a stability ball

You can do this drill to practice the hollow position by making use of a stability ball. Begin by placing your hands on the ground and work them up to end up holding the parallette.

Your legs and feet will be resting against the stability ball to achieve the hollow shape.

Drills to do at the gym

1) Handstand on a parallette with toes on the bar

To perform this drill, you’ll need to put the parallette facing slightly in front of a low bar. With your back to the bar, whilst in a standing position, perform a handstand on the parallette while allowing your feet to rest on the bar.

This drill will force your body to become tight which is essential to be able to maintain a handstand with the legs, butt, and core all squeezed.

2) Pike Drag up

This can be done using either a bar or on a block. If you’re using a block, you’ll need to place your hands on the edge of the block whilst standing on the floor. You’ll have to pull your legs up straight on the block until you are on top of the block, standing, in a pike stand.

If you’re doing this drill on gymnastics bar, you’ll need to start with front support and then you’ll have to pull your legs up so that they reach the bar.

3) Pike Upon Bar Fall Backwards to Back

This is a continuation of the previous drill and needs to be done on a rest-mat underneath.

Tools needed to learn how to perform a cast handstand

  • Parallette: This will help in practicing the handstand using a bar. I would advise to first start from the floor to get the hang of it and then move on to the bar which will be a few feet above the ground.
  • Stability ball: This is especially useful when it comes to performing the hollow shape.
  • Handstand Homework Mat: This piece of equipment is a good option for those who are practicing at home. It lets you practice without having to use a hard surface.
  • Light dumbbells


Remember that practice makes perfect and so you shouldn’t expect to learn the cast handstand overnight. This move requires patience. 

My advice is to make sure to invest your time and effort in all the exercises and drills that I’ve mentioned above as these are the elements that will combine to help you perfect your moves. Good luck and happy training!