Headstand Hacks: Exercises to strengthen your shoulders and core



If a yogic headstand is on your fitness bucket list then check out these shoulder and core exercises to help you get there.

BB Writer Tara McKenzie is a qualified fitness instructor and headstand junkie. She gives her favourite exercises to strengthen the shoulders and core to prepare the body for headstands. These exercises are perfect for beginners.

Shoulder Taps

Start in a high plank, with your shoulders stacked directly above your wrists. Engage your core by drawing your belly button in towards your spine. Once your core is locked and your hips are square, bring your hand to your shoulder without rocking your hips in the process. Bring the hand back down to the floor and then do the same thing with the other hand. Ensure that your back is flat throughout this exercise and your bum doesn’t creep up in the air.

For a more intense progression, elevate your legs onto a box, chair or bench so that you’re in a pike (triangle) position. This is going to place more load on your shoulders and make it even more challenging.

Decline Push Ups

Once again, we’re loading up the shoulders in a pike position. To start with, come up into a pike position with your hands and feet on the floor. You want to be making a pyramid/ triangle shape with your body. You then want to create a triangle shape with your hands on the floor so that your elbows are slightly flared out. During the push up (eccentric) phase, propel your body forward and down, imagining that your whole body is connected as you bring the crown of your head towards the floor. Then push through the palms of your hands to come back up.

Similarly, this exercise can be made more challenging by elevating your feet on a box or a bench.

girl doing a headstand
The best exercises for headstand prep


Start standing up straight. Hinge at the hips and walk your hands out in front of you so that you finish in a high plank. Stop when your hands are stacked directly under your shoulders. Then, if you want an extra challenge, walk your hands forward one or two more steps. This is going to test your core strength. Keep the core engaged here by drawing your belly button in towards your spine. Hold for one or two seconds and then walk back up to standing.

Rocking Plank

Set yourself up in a generic plank position on your forearms. Make sure the core is switched on, draw up through your quads, squeeze your glutes (bum cheeks) together and spread your shoulder blades apart. Ensure that your shoulder blades are stacked directly on top of your elbows. Then, slowly and with control start to shift your body weight backwards and forwards over your elbows. Keep the core locked on and feel it burn as it fights to stay engaged through this exercise. Always check in with yourself to make sure your back is flat – it is common as you fatigue that your bum and hips with either creep up into the air or sink down through your lower back.

Check out the full workout here

For more content by Tara, check out her Instagram

HIIT IT Fitness
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Tara Mckenzie


Like many of Bondi Beauty's readers, Tara has two main passions; health and beauty. As a group fitness instructor you'll either find her dripping in sweat during a HIIT class or with a full face of bronze makeup. If you meet Tara in person be prepared to act excited as she tells you all about your star sign and why you should start carrying a rose quartz around in your purse.

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