Hand Balancing Canes Tricks – Part 1

This is Part 1 of a hand balancing blog series 🙂

I’d like to share some tricks I’ve learned on hand balancing canes in the last 6-8 months since I decided to build my own canes to practice on. I did a lot of learning on my own and actually took some classes on hand balancing from a pro.

Hand balancing on canes should really only be done after you feel very comfortable doing handstands on the ground.  Two skills I think should be mastered on the ground are: kicking up fully into handstand and holding for >5 seconds  and bailing properly when you over arch using a rotating (a.k.a. pirouette) technique.

Being able to fully kick into a hand stand on the ground will give you hope to get up on canes which are maybe 12″ in the air (depending on your set). Knowing how to bail on a handstand gone wrong is so important. This should be second nature, because you do not want to fall flat on your back and potentially hit your head or back on your canes.

This post will share 5 tricks I started out with on canes with pictures. This is part 1 of a series I plan to expand on with more advanced tricks.

Part 1 – Hand Balancing Canes Tricks

1. Shoulder Stand

Shoulder StandThe shoulder stand feels a lot like a headstand on the ground. You can vary this position in a tuck, straight or split position and should feel like a comfortable place to start.

2. Traditional Handstand

Traditional Handstand

Hint: (try starting with a split handstand)

Kicking up into the handstand on canes may be the most difficult part to start with. Remember, keep arms straight and shoulders engaged, pushing up by your ears. Start by kicking up from a lunge into a split handstand. A split handstand is good since you will be able to balance with your legs and keep your center of gravity low. Other ways to kick up are to jump and straddle up. Make sure you are comfortable with twisting off the canes if you end up arching too far over your hands. Arching too far over is sure to happen while you’re learning.


3. Uneven Handstand

Uneven Handstand

The uneven handstand can be difficult if your canes aren’t tall enough. The ideal height for this trick is the length of your arm to your shoulder. Ideally, when one arm is on the hand block the other is completely straight. If the canes are too short you’ll be tempted to bend the straight arm. The straight arm should be slightly in front of the cane and can be used to “steer” and balance. Try straddling up using a jump or press technique in this. This can eventually lead into a croc, which is next on the list.

4. Croc



The croc (“crocodile”) is a great beginner move because it doesn’t require inversion, but it isn’t easy. A true croc is on one arm with the elbow wedged between the ribs and hip bone, with the back arched and head and feet pointing upwards with the free hand out. One hint  to achieve the Croc is to lift your chest first, and legs second because getting your upper body high is more difficult than your legs.

5. Mexican Handstand

Mexican Handstand

The final trick in this series is a Mexican handstand which requires your shoulders to rotate towards the floor horizontally, while your back arches and feet come over your head, forming a C shape. A Mexican handstand looks the best when your back is very flexible, but it can be done with limited flexibility and still achieve the effect. I think this is better to start with than the contortion handstand, because it’s a bit easier to control (at least in my experience).

If you have any requests for the next part of this hand balancing series, please share in the comments 🙂 >>


I share fitness inspiration for the daring and every day ways to get better on my blog, AcroCafe by Eliannah. I’m passionate about alternative fitness and doing what makes you feel alive.

Life is better upside down!

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