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Slackline Handstand: learn how to do it

slackline handstand tutorial how to do it
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Doing a slackline handstand looks spectacular. If performed correctly it is not only great fun but also healthier than handstands on the ground. On one hand the angle of the wrists is less extreme and on the other hand the muscle activity is higher while the forces on the body stay the same. This leads to increased joint stability. With the following tips you will manage to learn the slackline handstand without too much frustration.

Get ready for the first slackline handstand attempts

Before attempting the first tries on the slackline you should have a decent handstand on the ground. You should be able to hold it for about five seconds without walking. The shape is less relevant – it can be a straight gymnast handstand or also a banana handstand.

Body Position

Wrists: Make sure to have active wrists and do not bend them too much. For that, put your open hands on the slackline and apply pressure on the outer side of the hand, close to the wrist. Do a few pushups in this position to understand where to apply the pressure and to strengthen your wrists. Now gently close your fingers around the line. The wrist position is important to prevent injuries.

Shoulders: Unlike handstands on the ground, where the shoulders should rather be still, on the slackline they should move to balance. On the line you balance by tilting the hip and shoulders plus by moving the legs back and forth. It is not necessary to have a good shoulder flexibility. However, the straighter the shoulders are, the less strength you will need. Keep your shoulders actively pressed out and have them a couple of degrees from your maximum, so that you have the possibility to move them for balance.

Hip/legs: Ideally activate your pelvic floor. Use the legs to balance. The easiest position is to have one leg to the back and one to the front. Keep the one in the front with which you jump off from the ground. Once the handstand is becoming stronger you can close the legs or straddle.

The slackline setup

Overall, a rodeoline with about 10m length and 2m sag is the easiest to do handstands. But, similar to standing for the first time on a rodeoline, you will have absolutely no chance to hold the handstand on such a line as a beginner. The line would jump to the side, and you would fall immediately. For that, a slow progression is needed. Start on a 5m long slackline with 0.5m sag. On such a line it is way more difficult to perform a solid handstand, but you will learn to build up the stability and control the shakes, plus you will learn how to fall.

As soon as you can hold it for 2-3 seconds proceed to a line with 1m sag, then 1.5m sag and finally 2m sag. Only once you reach 2m sag, you should really try to get consistent.

The material of the line is mainly a matter of taste. Some people like nylon, others polyester and some even prefer Dyneema. A width between 20 and 40mm feels best under the hands.


Learning to fall is a key point for committing. And the use of mats is extremely important for that. If you do not learn falling backwards you will never find the balance.

There are two techniques for falling backwards. The first technique, the scorpion, is the easiest. Here you go for an overbent back and hit the ground with both feet at the same time. This can still give quite a rough landing, so make sure to use mats.

The other technique, the 180° dismount, is more difficult but gives a more controlled landing. Here you slightly bend one arm, then the turn your body in the direction of the bend arm and bring down one leg to land on. Having the line about 0.5m off the ground, makes it easier to land back on the feet again.

Other techniques like the judo roll mostly do not work smoothly.


There are several handstand mounting techniques. In this issue we focus on the simplest one: Jumping off the ground into an exposure handstand position.

Stand in front of the slackline and grab it with both hands. Position one foot closer and the other slightly further away from the line. Swing up the back leg and slightly jump off the ground with the front leg. Similar to a semi-dynamic handstand mount on the ground. The back leg on the ground should also be the leg that will be behind your back when balancing in the handstand position. If the line starts surfing, you were probably did not mount precisely enough. Play around with the distance of standing in front of the line. Also make sure that you do not push the line to any direction before mounting.

Training schedule

Make sure to warm up your entire body and specially your wrists and shoulders before starting.

A training session should last 30-40 minutes. In that time, you should give 20-30 handstand attempts. Do 2 – 4 training sessions per week. In case of any pain, stop the session immediately.

  • Weeks 1&2: 5-10m long slackline with 0.5m sag
  • Weeks 3&4: 5-10m long slackline with 1m sag
  • Weeks 5&6: 5-15m long slackline with 1.5m sag
  • Weeks 7-10: 5-15m long slackline with 2m sag
  • Week 11: Recovery week / Deload phase

Leftover weeks before the next magazine 10-20m long line with 2.5m sagIn the next edition of the magazine, we will focus on more complex mounts and highline handstands. Make sure to follow the 10-week training program to be ready for the next steps. And do not train alone but grab a friend who also wants to learn the slackline handstand.

Advanced Slackline Handstands

In the previous issue we have published a guidebook to learn the handstand on a rodeoline. If you have done your homework, you are now ready for some more advanced mounting techniques or maybe even the highline handstand.

For all exercises described below, make sure to warm up your entire body and specially your shoulders. Also use enough mats.

Increase your slackline diversity

Before focusing on mounts, we would like to encourage you to get stable on various kinds of slacklines. Try to jump into a handstand position on all kinds of slacklines with a sag of at least 2 meters. Increase the length or sag of the slackline step by step. If you are keen to learn the highline handstand it is now time to master a handstand on a nylon line with 15-20 meters length and 2 – 3 meters sag.

The Kick-Mount

This is probably the easiest handstand entry where you do not use the ground anymore but start from standing on the slackline. This mount works best on a static line, so use a lowstretch 5-10m long rodeoline with 2 meters sag. As a prerequisite it helps to have, a stable one-foot exposure position.

From exposure you lean to the front, bend your knees, and grab the slackline with both hands. As soon as you have the line take one foot off.

Get stable in that position and play with the pressure you apply on your hands. The knee of your standing leg is slightly bent, the arms straight and the hip high above your feet.

To initiate the kick, bring your kicking leg down and then slowly accelerate the leg up. While doing so you will need to go forward with your upper body to counter the movement of the leg. When your kicking leg is almost at its highest point push off from the standing leg. End up in handstand position with the kicking leg behind you and the standing leg in front of you.

Be aware that this mount will seem impossible at the first tries. But subtle changes in the technique will be a game changer.

The Cartwheel Entry

The cartwheel entry is a very technical way to get into handstand but also a very aesthetic one!

Before starting you need to be able to do a very slow cartwheel on the ground.

When first trying the cartwheel entry on a slackline it helps to start on a short and low-stretch 5-10 m line with 0.5m of sag or less. Although this setup might be difficult to hold a long handstand it is good to get used to the cartwheel movement. Once you get the movement you can increase the sag.

As a pre-exercise you can do a cartwheel mount starting with both feet on the ground. Make sure that the slackline is low to the ground and start with your feet right next to the line. Once that works you can even try having the rear leg on the ground and the front leg on the line.

Start by bending your knees a little and lean forward to grab the line with both hands with about 15cm spacing between the foot and the hands. Swing up the rear leg, accelerating slowly. This movement needs to be perfectly in line with the slackline to not throw you off balance. Then push off with the second leg. Naturally, you end up in handstand with one leg to the left and one to the right.

Falling backwards while mounting happens rapidly and is difficult to save, therefore we highly recommend using a big mat on your back side.

Press Mount – Highline Handstand

This mount requires a lot of power, but it is probably the most stable way to get into a handstand on a highline or other stretchy lines.

Before practicing it on a slackline you should definitely master a solid press on the ground.

A great but tough pre-exercise is to hold a tuck-planche position on the slackline, simply starting from the ground.

The start for the press is the same as for the kick mount. Once you hold the line with both hands, activate your pelvic floor as hard as you can. Lift your hip as high as your balance and flexibility allow. Bring the knee of your balancing leg as close as you can to your chest. Only now is the moment to transfer your weight from the foot onto your hands. This moment is extremely strenuous, and it easily happens, that you give in in your shoulders and upper back. Keep pressing them out as hard as you can. Try to straighten your shoulders and lower back while the legs are still in a tucked position.

If you manage that, it is time to open up the legs – one to the front and one to the back.

Be aware that if your shoulders give in while pressing, you might end up doing a face-plant on the ground.

Once you manage 5-10 presses in one session on a rodeoline or short park line, you are ready to attack the highline handstand!

As the slackline press is incredibly hard to learn, we want to give you one more training idea to build up the necessary power.

Negative Handstand: Jump into a handstand position and try to go down as controlled as possible into standing on the slackline. Negative (eccentric) training is extremely efficient to build up more power.

Training Schedule

  • Weeks 1-11 Weeks 1-11 were covered in the first part of this article. So here we start at week 12:
    • Make sure to warm up your entire body and specially your wrists and shoulders before starting. A training session should last 40-50 minutes.
    • Do 2-4 training sessions per week. In case of any pain, stop the session immediately. Always start with 5-10 “normal” mounts where you start jumping from the ground into handstand position on the slackline. This helps to get used to the line and adjust your reflexes
  • Weeks 12-13: Focus on the Kick-Mount. Try 15-20 Kick-Mounts per session to start understanding the move!
  • Weeks 14-15: Focus on the Press Mount. Do 2-3 presses on the ground before starting the slackline. Make sure not to be fatigued before trying on the slackline. Now try to go for a tuck-planche, starting from standing on the line. Later try to press up more and more. Do 5-6 tries per session with 100% commitment. Take 3-5 minutes break between each try to recover.
  • Weeks 16-17: Focus on the Cartwheel-Mount. Try 15-20 Cartwheel-Mounts per session to start understanding the move. First starting from the ground, then 1 foot on the line, later start from standing on the slackline.
  • Weeks 18-22: Start mixing the mounts. Be playful. Work on what is most fun to you.

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