Handspring on the Pole

At a Glance

Exercise Muscle

Back, Shoulders

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The handspring from the floor takes practice and is a good exercise to prepare for an aerial deadlift while you strengthen and understand which muscles are working to help lift your body into the air. The handspring has progressive exercises to work on to build strength for the actual handspring.

You can start by working on pushing and pulling and kicking into the air until you feel you are floating, and progress towards going completely upside down into an Ayesha position.

  1. Start on the ground. Choose which arm you want as your top/high arm, and place the band on that leg (i.e. right arm high, put the band around the right leg). Place your high arm in twisted grip, regular grip, or cup grip, and the bottom hand thumb down to the floor in split grip.

  2. To see how far apart to place your hands, tilt your head sideways to the pole so your neck is parallel to the ground with the pole above your head. Place the bottom arm below hip-height in split grip, and then use the top arm to measure the distance between your head and the pole. To measure how far your head is from the pole, place the fingers of the top arm on the pole sideways so the pole is vertical and the fingers are horizontal, and then place your head where your wrist starts (i.e. a good distance to put your head from the pole is a distance the length of your palm away). Once you place your head a palms-distance from the pole you can fully extend both your top arm and bottom arm to get in position.

  3. Once your hands are in place, turn your hips towards the pole so your belly-button is facing the pole. Step back as far as you can so your arms fully extend and your hips are as far from the pole as they can be. To get your skeleton and muscles lined up to begin, roll your bottom shoulder into your ear and then reverse it and push it all the way down your back. This will push your chest out to the side slightly and that way you know you are using your lat muscle of the bottom arm to lift you.

  4. Pull with the top arm, and push with the bottom arm using your lat (shoulder as far away from your ear as possible). Whichever hand is high, use the same leg with the band to lift into the air by kicking back and away, push and pull with your arms and then jump off the second leg that is on the ground not wrapped in the band. Kick the leg with the band back and turn your hips, chest, and head to look up and the ceiling. Tuck your knees into your chest and push and pull until you get upside down.

  5. Once you are balanced with your nose in line with the pole, you can open your legs and extend into a wide straddle and balance in an Ayesha. Make sure your legs are parallel to the ground.


  • The band will pull your hips close to the pole, but resist the pull of the band by standing an arms-length behind the pole before starting your handspring.

  • In order to determine if your hands are positioned at a stable distance tilt your head sideways when your arms are in position and see if your head is at least the palm of your hand's distance away from the pole. Adjust your hands accordingly.

  • Use your guide leg (your initial kicking leg) to open your hips up to the ceiling before you start to lift into your handspring.

  • If you are a beginner, jump a lot to start in order to help yourself get upside down.

  • Start in a ball tuck and come down gently sideways as you get used to the position upside down.

  • Hands too far apart or too close will make it difficult or impossible to go upside down.

Target Muscles:

  • Pulling using your hand, forearm, shoulder, and lat muscle (and bicep depending on grip of the top arm)

  • Pushing with the bottom arm using lat muscle

  • Abdominal muscles to crunch and tuck your knees into your chest

  • Hamstrings, adductors, quadriceps, and psoas muscles lift legs into the air to finish the deadlift

Recommended Bands: Heavy Exercise Band (minimal assistance), Robust Band (medium resistance), Power Band (maximum assistance)

Force: Push and Pull

Starting Position: Upright standing on the floor

Final Position: Upside down in an aerial Ayesha

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