Saturday, 12 November 2016

Developing a safe Bail-Out of handstand

Bail Out of Handstand Tutorial
Hey all! 

I am back with a quick overview of developing a safe practice for learning to bail out of a handstand. This post is designed as a supplement to assist the YouTube tutorial I made on the subject which is embedded after this paragraph!

For starters, this assumes a basic level of skill in your handstand, and is intended for people who are able to handstand on the wall or with a spot - but are not confident working free-standing due to not being sure how to bail out of a handstand correctly. In all honesty, if you are not able to be stable on the wall you shouldn't be trying to do free handstands, nor should you be getting people (unless they are an experienced coach who knows what they are doing) to spot you in a handstand yet. Once you can control a wall handstand and know the basic technique for a handstand then go for it! If you are not sure where to start with your handstands, have a visit of my older post Handstands for Absolute Beginners and work your way through that.

Why Learn This Technique?
For some folks out there, bailing out of a handstand is quite intuitive. This is how it was for me, there was never a point which I wasn't able to bail out of a handstand, but as I started to see more and more people learning, I found that this was not always the case, and that many people do not have a good "go to move" for when they have lost balance and this can result in a lack of confidence in getting into the handstand, and in worst case scenario, injury.

First thing I will say, is that if you are able to do a cartwheel, you will have a far easier time developing a safe bail out of handstand and so spending some time learning to do this on both sides would be advantageous. If you have been having trouble developing a good bail-out of handstand then I like to start with a "Far Side" cartwheel exit. Basically what this means, is that when bailing, you leave one hand on the ground and land on the opposite side to that. When doing near-side bail out of handstand, you would be landing feet closer to your hand and is a more advanced technique which I am not going through today.

One of the reasons I like this single hand variation of Bail-Out, is that it works when handstanding on height. It teaches you how to bring your feet underneath you, so should you be handstanding on an object, or a person, then you will be able to get your feet under you to land safely! The next thing that is useful is that when you become proficient at it, it doesn't take a lot of room. And lastly - it takes very little energy and effort once you are used to it.

A couple key points to the technique.
PUSH! Push strongly through the hand you will be keeping on the ground - this will help the rotation happen and will also encourage your legs to come down first.

Bring one leg down at a time. I don't think I mentioned this in the video, but hopefully it is quite clear what is being done. Basically, the side you are bailing towards, that is the first leg you bring down.

Placing the Targets. When placing the targets on the ground, start with them in-line with your hands and gradually move it forward. The more in-front of your fingers the target is, the more you will need to rotate to reach it. This rotation is the key to bringing your feet underneath you once you've lost balance.
When placing the target don't place it too wide. We want to try to keep the bail out of handstand nice and compact. A good rule to follow is that the further forward (past your hands) the target, the less wide it can be!

Bringing yourself off the Wall. When bringing yourself off the wall, use your top leg to initiate a loss of balance. When doing this, also draw your upperbody slightly away from the wall - if you don't it is normal to instinctively counterbalance your leg with your chest and not actually lose balance!

Time the bail! Make sure you don't get into the habit of bailing too early! Let yourself start to be off balance before you bail out! You don't want to get into the habit of

Keep your shoulder healthy. Possibly the main pit-fall of the Bail out Technique, is that if you are too firm with your hand, it can put a bit of stress on your shoulder in rotation. This shouldn't be a problem for most people, but the best defense for this is to have a nice soft hand which will allow you to rotate, without rotating so much through your shoulder.

And there we have it! I hope you get something out of this, I am looking at doing a couple more beginner focused posts, so leave me a comment or something if you have a request, and if I think I could do a post or something about it then I will get to it!

In the meantime, don't forget I run classes in Melbourne, and I run Online-Coaching too!

Plus I will be teaching at Spin Circus Academy this December and early next year!

Until next time, enjoy doing your thing!



  1. Dave great info as usual. Should u practice bailing both sides or just stick to one side. thx. Tony

    1. Hi Tony!
      It's always good to learn on both sides. In this case, I'd learn one side then the other as when first developing the bail-out, you want it to be as easy and natural as possible.