What is the Pirouette Bail?

Most new handbalancers ask me the same exact question:

“What happens if something goes wrong?”

“I just see myself crashing down to the ground, face to the floor in a crumpled heap!”

Many experienced hand balancers still get these fears…  maybe not on solid ground, but certainly in risky positions for the first time.

Being a little scared is good – it means you are pushing your limit just enough. But there is a weapon you can use against these fears…

This weapon is the pirouette bail.

Pirouettes and Pirouette Bails?

The pirouette bail is the safest, most versatile and easiest of the bailing techniques. Unfortunately, its not very intuitive to the beginner, especially since the name is derived from the handstand pirouette, which is a much more technical move.

Handstand pirouettes are a 90 degree turn, sometimes called a quarter turn in dancing and gymnastics circles.

Seriously, that’s all it is. A fancy name for a quarter turn. In the above image, the gymnast does 9 pirouettes, or quarter turns.

Pirouette Bailing

Pirouette bailing is very similar to doing real pirouettes, but not the same. They aren’t as pretty as the gymnast above, who is doing pirouettes for the sake of it.

They are a way for you to turn and get safely to your feet, rather than stumbling forward on your hands or crumpling into a heap..

The Pirouette Bail is a safe way of recovering from the feeling that you will fall head over heels.

When you find that you are too overbalanced, you lean all of your weight to one arm – the planted arm.  As you do this, you free your other arm to “stumble” forward.

Unlike a normal gymnastics pirouette (which is a full quarter-turn), the pirouette bail doesn’t require you to move your hands very far.  You just need to move them enough to save yourself from falling head over heals.


Once you master the pirouette bail, the worst case scenario turns from “OMG, I am going to fall head-over-heals!” into “Oh, I just need to bail, and I will be safe.”

Eventually, it becomes nearly impossible to fall over and hurt yourself.

Doesn’t that sound a lot better than the heart-in-your-throat feeling you feel when you try a handstand now?  Doesn’t it sound like the most important thing you can learn in your handstand training?

That’s why I cover the Pirouette Bail for over 40 pages, with it’s own full length video, in The 15-Second Handstand: A Beginner’s Guide.

Once you learn the pirouette bail, you will see that fear melts away, just like it did for Greg V.:

“The pirouette bail had the biggest impact on conquering fear, hands down.  Having that tool made it easy to attempt the final parts of straightening out at the top without fear. Plus, it made it easier during the wall training to simply rotate out, rather than try to stagger out of it.” -Greg V.

If you’re interested in making progress on the handstand, then you need to learn how to overcome fear specifically FOR the handstand.  You NEED to learn how to pirouette bail!

So why isn’t there a tutorial or method here where I teach you how to bail for free on the web?

I refuse to be a part of the problem.  I refuse to clutter the internet with free videos that are taken out of context. This is the #1 biggest problem in handstand material on the web today…

In the past, I provided a free video to teach people how to pirouette, and it resulted in them actually stagnating in their handstand progress!!

Why?  Because they were skipping steps and focusing on the bail BEFORE it was important that they do so….and they never progressed and ultimately gave up

That goes against my whole vision of more people standing on their hands.

That’s the main reason I created  The 15-Second Handstand: A Beginner’s Guide – to finally create a handstand-fear-conquering guide, where the RIGHT progression is laid out step by step. It’s the ultimate guide to help you get over your fears and START doing handstands TODAY!



12 Responses to “What is the Pirouette Bail?”

  1. Juan D January 26, 2013 at 4:26 pm #

    Great stuff Chris! I love all of these articles. Seriously, keep them coming!!

  2. Paul Bryan August 26, 2013 at 2:29 am #

    Just wanted to say, thanks for the info on the Pirouette Bail. I was practicing my handstands in the park with my son holding my legs (not quite up to free handstands on my own yet), when my three year old daughter ran up and pushed me in the stomach. Instead of panicking about over-balancing, before I even realized it, I had pirouette bailed around and came down safely and easily. I think if this had happened before reading this post, I would have freaked out and crash landed in a rather undignified and painful way. Thanks for helping me avoid that!

    • Chris Salvato August 26, 2013 at 10:24 am #

      It’s awesome to hear how that worked out for you — that’s the whole point! Hopefully, that experience made you realize that the chances of you falling over and landing on your back are growing more slim. As you continue to progress, you will eventually feel like you can never fall head-over-heels and will feel much more safe to kick up on your own, without a spot. 🙂 Let me know how you continue to progress!

  3. Juan October 24, 2013 at 4:25 pm #

    Is bending your arms, rolling over your shoulders and back and springing up on your feet an acceptable way of failing the handstand? 😉

    • Chris Salvato October 24, 2013 at 11:12 pm #

      That’s called the rolling bail. In my opinion, it’s not as good as learning the pirouette bail first, because pirouetting can be done absolutely anywhere, where rolling can only be done on soft, even surfaces. Since the goal of a newbie is to practice as much as possible, you want your bail to be very versatile – so the pirouette is a lot better for beginners. It’s also easier to learn for most people, because rolling tends to be really technical.

      That said, the rolling bail is really useful for advance gymnastics/tumbling combos (like handstand -> roll -> front flip). And, if you happen to learn it first, it can keep progress going while you learn to bail. 🙂


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