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Planks that help you handstand

These variations will take you from horizontal to vertical.

“A lot of the strength conditioning and proper technique required to perform handstands can be accessed by plank work, allowing you to build from the ground up,” says New York City-based Equinox trainer and instructor Alicia Archer. After all, a handstand is just an upright plank.

These five variations help build the total-body control necessary to defy gravity. Listed in order of difficulty, they can be incorporated into other workouts or performed together as a standalone total-body workout.
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  • Front Hollow Body Hold

    Front Hollow Body Hold

    Get in a high plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart, with hands at a slight angle in front of you. Round your back so your body forms a gentle C shape, making sure not to let your low back dip. Hold for as long as you can, up to 30 seconds, then release. Complete a total of 5 sets, resting for 30 seconds to 1 minute between sets.

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  • Inverted Hip Extension with Push-Up

    Inverted Hip Extension with Push-Up

    Start in a high plank position (with your legs extended or knees down on the floor). Extend your left leg diagonally toward the ceiling, and then bend your elbows by your sides, lowering your chest to the floor. Push back up and press back, lifting your hips into a 3-Legged Dog (body in an inverted V position). Do 8 to 10 reps, then switch sides and repeat. Complete a total of 3 sets, resting for 30 seconds to 1 minute between each.
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  • Transverse Pike Reaches

    Transverse Pike Reaches

    Start in a high plank position. Lift your hips high to come into pike position with a tight, engaged center (downward dog); reaching through the center, rotate your torso and reach your left hand to tap your right ankle, keeping your arms and legs as straight as possible. Return to plank and repeat on right side. Alternate sides continuously, coming back to plank between each rep. Do 3 sets of 16 to 20 reps, resting for 30 seconds to 1 minute between sets.

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  • Half Handstand Arm Taps

    Half Handstand Arm Taps

    Walk your feet partially up a wall or on top of a plyo box. (This can be done in an inverted-L shape or a plank depending on fitness level.) Without shifting your hips, push the floor away with your left palm to lift your right hand and tap the left elbow. For added difficulty, tap the shoulder. Do 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps on each side, resting for 30 seconds to 1 minute between sets.

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  • Walk Up Wall Holds

    Walk Up Wall Holds

    Walk your feet partially up a wall or on top of a plyo box. (This can be done in an inverted-L shape or a plank depending on fitness level.) Walk your feet up the wall even further, keeping your core tight. Squeeze your back, glutes, and abs, keep your legs straight, and hold for as long as possible, up to 20 seconds. Walk your hands and feet back out to return to plank. Release to lower on the floor for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then repeat for a total of 3 sets. Rest for 30 seconds to 1 minute between sets.

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