EXOTIC FLOORWORK - Shoulder-stand

How to Do a Russian Shoulder Stand

Three Parts:

Russian shoulder stands are an integral part of Russian floor acrobatics, forming important foundations necessary for improved bodily coordination and balance. The shoulder stand is also important for moving forward in being able to move onto handstands and other more complicated parts of floor acrobatics. When it comes to performing the Russian shoulder stand, form is more important than muscle mass. With some practice can be done by anyone by following the following steps.


Getting Into Position

  1. Find a soft, supportive, open area to work.
    • Find a flat surface that provides decent cushioning to reduce unnecessary stress on the body and the potential for injury.
    • Ensure there is plenty of space around you so as to reduce the possibility of colliding with furniture or other hazards.  Given the nature of balance exercises, it is especially important to ensure you don’t fall on anything that could potentially hurt you or damage the object.
    • Yoga mats and pilates mats are highly recommended as they work very well for providing cushioning and support and are specially designed for this type of physical work.
  2. Lay down on your side on the mat (or other soft surface).
    • Ensure the head and lower shoulders are making contact with the grounded, maintaining contact throughout the entire exercise.  The head and shoulders serve as the foundation of this exercise, so proper positioning of them is pivotal.
  3. Place the arms in a supportive, prepared position.
    • Place your arm that is making contact with the ground (the “grounded arm”) in an L shape, with the upper arm in line with the torso and the lower arm perpendicular to the torso, palm up.  The entire side of the arm should be making contact with the ground, not supported by the hand.
    • Place the opposite palm onto the ground next to the grounded hand, forming a 90 degree angle with your elbow.
  4. Form two 90 degree angles with the legs, resembling a fetal position.
    • The upper legs should be directly perpendicular to the torso, “straight forward” along with the grounded arm.
    • The lower legs should be parallel with the torso, forming a 90 degree angle with the thighs.  Maintain contact with the ground via the lower knee, creating as much connection with the surface as possible.
  5. Get the legs into position.
    • Begin to lift the top leg and move it toward the raised elbow, resting the thigh on the upper arm and maintaining the angle of the arm to ensure there is a good foundation for the leg to rest on.
    • Repeat with the other leg, placing the thigh on the upper arm next to the other leg, being sure to maintain the 90 degree angle for the sake of stability.
    • Keep both arms planted, keep the shoulder and head in contact with the ground, and keep the thighs pressed together once they are both in position on the planted arm.

Completing the Move

  1. Lift and extend the legs.
    • Slowly lift one leg at a time, extending them directly vertical.  Point the toes toward the ceiling.  Keep a moderate amount of pressure between the thighs, keeping the legs together for improved stability.
    • Try to create a straight line from the spine to the tips of the toes by engaging the abdominals and glutes.
    • Any bending out of this form will increase the amount of muscle activation necessary to stay in position, creating unnecessary stress on the body and increased difficulty maintaining proper posture as a result.
  2. Maintain the vertical balance.
    • If you start to wobble or tip over, lean into a roll instead of a fall: bend the knees and shift your weight toward the back, curling your head in to avoid tension or impact on the head or neck.
    • Keep the abdominals and glutes engaged in order to maintain ease, form, and balance while lifted.  Try to keep the legs directly vertical, it will reduce muscular activation and improve ease if the skeletal system is in line.
    • Breath in a rhythmic fashion, in through the nose and out through the mouth in consistent intervals to maintain focus and continue taking in air.
  3. Raise the balancing arm, if desired (optional).
    • If a comfortable balance is achieved and you feel comfortable maintaining the balance for moderate amounts of time without falling, attempt to shift the weight more into the shoulder by very slightly shifting weight toward the spine.
    • Once weight is shifted to the shoulder, pressure on the top arm should be reduced.  Slowly lift the hand from the ground while balancing in a full vertical extension, reaching the hand straight up to be parallel with the legs and body.

Finishing Up

  1. Dismount.
    • If you moved your arm into the advanced posture, slowly lower it back down to the ground into its preparatory position.
    • Slowly bring both legs back down to rest on the upper arm, bending them back into the bent, 90 degree position.
  2. Return to resting position.
    • One by one, bring the legs back down into the initial, resting position.  Rest both arms on the ground.  Slowly come back up to a seated position on the mat, making sure not to do any fast, jerky motions that may disrupt balance or blood flow.
  3. Repeat exercise on the opposite side.
    • Follow all previous steps, but reversed to the opposite side so as to balance muscle building across the body for optimal balance and coordination.
  4. Stretch afterwards.
    • Follow the shoulder stand with a brief neck stretch or shoulder stretch is conducive to good muscle health and can help to prevent tension.  Though not essential, it is good practice to follow such an upper-torso-and-neck intensive workout with appropriate stretching.

Community Q&A

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  • Once each leg has been lifted from the ground, the “balance” will have begun, so maintaining the structure previously built up is very important.
  • Take a moment to maintain balance in each position – only move forward if you feel comfortable balancing in each position for moments at a time.


  • If any pain is felt at any point in the exercise, slowly return back to the starting position and rest. If pain continues, consider other, lower-impact exercises for coordination and balance.

Video: How to do Chest Stands

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Date: 19.12.2018, 15:12 / Views: 95293