Press to Handstand
This mini-course will help you better understand the press to handstand with content released over the next five days. Each day will cover a different aspect that will help you achieve this movement.
To press to handstand requires a combination of strength, flexibility and coordination. That said, it can still be achieved even if one of those three components needs more work than the others.
With the right approach and as long as you’re willing to put in the work, you can make this the next progression on your handstand journey. At the end of the mini-course, you’ll know how close you are to achieving this movement and where you need to focus, based on where you are.
Founder of Training for Acro
Knowing your current level will help you find the right approach to getting your press to handstand.
The following self-assessment questions will give you an idea of where you are in relation to your goal.
You’ll consider different aspects, both from a physical and psychological perspective.
Do you know what you have to do in order to make this movement happen?
Do you have the confidence that you won’t hurt yourself during this movement?
Can you easily touch your toes without bending your knees?
Can you control and bring your feet down to the floor from a handstand?
Can you hold a handstand for at least 5 seconds without any help?
To be able to press to handstand, you need a certain level of strength, flexibility and coordination. You don’t need to be very strong or super flexible, but a combination of both is required. Also, having good balance on your hands will be very useful.
What if I don’t have enough strength?
Even if you lack a bit of strength, you can compensate with more flexibility or vice versa. Regardless of your levels of strength and flexibility, though, developing your balance and coordination for handstands is essential.
This way you’ll be working towards something your body is already familiar with – the handstand position. Note that if you’re not yet comfortable in a handstand, your body won’t “allow” you to use your strength and flexibility to get there through a press.
Of course, there are some exceptions. I’ve met some people who have the strength and know-how to use it to press to handstand, but they then fall down as they don’t have the balance to hold it.
Press to handstand scenarios
If you did the questionnaire from Day 1, you rated your chances of getting the press to handstand based on your levels of strength, flexibility and coordination (as well as confidence). Today we’ll look more closely at the three main scenarios that some of you might be in.
The Flexible Acrobat
Flexibility compensating for a lack of strength and coordination.
The Strong Acrobat
Strength compensating for a lack of flexibility and coordination.
The Balanced Acrobat
Strength, flexibility and coordination are contributing evently.
There are many ways you can press to handstand but we’ll focus on the three most basic: straddle, tuck and pike press.
One of the most popular variations, preferred especially by those with some leg and hip flexibility.
Place your hands on the floor with your legs straight, feet wider than shoulder-width.
This variation allows you to shift the weight of your legs and hips over your arms (your point of support) and by doing that, your legs will start floating naturally.
This variation requires less flexibility as you start with your legs bent so it’s preferred by those who can’t reach the floor with straight legs. Having bent knees will keep the weight closer to the body and this makes things easier.
Place your hands on the floor with your legs bent, feet narrower than the width of your shoulders, with some distance apart or together.
People often start with this variation and sometimes they bend their elbows during the press too. This tends to happen naturally as you shift more weight forward and allowing you to lift your hips more easily. It isn’t actually what we’re aiming for though, and this training includes plenty of exercises and handstand drills that will help you keep your arms straight.
This variation requires more flexibility and strength than the previous two. You also need a good level of coordination/control to achieve a pike press to handstand as you’ll have to counterbalance your legs by shifting your weight forwards, past your fingers.
Place your hands on the floor with your legs straight and feet narrow.
If the variations presented yesterday are not accessible for you yet, here are some variations you can use to get familiar with the press movement.
Bent Arm Press
You can use this variation and bend of your arms to shift more weight forward. The more forward you lean, the easier will be to press. Also, you can bend your arm more, and place your shoulder on the platform too.
Place your hand on an elevated surface and the other one of the floor. You can use any variation of leg position for the rest of the movement.
Elevated Feet Press
You can elevate your feet on a platform and facilitate the weight distribution. The bigger the platform, the easier will be the press.
Place your feet on an elevated surface and the hands on the floor. You can use any variation of leg position for the rest of the movement.
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