MINI-COURSE

Press to Handstand

Day 1

Self Assesment

Day 2

Requirements

Day 3

Basic Variations

Day 4

Assisted Variations

Day 5

Specific Training

Welcome

This mini-course will help you better understand the press to handstand with content released over 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.

Tudor Sirbu

Founder of Training for Acro

Day 1:

Self Assessment

To get where you want to go, first, you need to know where you are – what’s your starting point?

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.

Knowledge

Do you know what you have to do in order to make this movement happen?

Confidence

Do you have the confidence that you won’t hurt yourself during this movement?

Flexibility

Can you easily touch your toes without bending your knees?

Strength

Can you control and bring your feet down to the floor from a handstand?

Coordination

Can you hold a handstand for at least 5 seconds without any help?

Day 2:

Requirements

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.

Day 3:

Basic Variations

There are many ways you can press to handstand but we’ll focus on the three most basic: straddle, tuck and pike press.

Straddle Press

One of the most popular variations, preferred especially by those with some leg and hip flexibility.

Starting position:
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.

Tuck Press

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.

Starting position:
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.

Pike Press

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.

Starting position:
Place your hands on the floor with your legs straight and feet narrow.

Day 4:

Assisted Variations

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.

Starting position:
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.

Starting position:
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.

Day 5:

Specific training

Learn what to do in order to get the press to handstand using specific press drills.

Here are a few options you can choose from to train for the press:

1. Negative from assisted or free handstand (lowering from a handstand position, slowing the movement down progressively);

2. With support at the head or upper back (reducing the support will make it harder);

3. With one arm bent (from three points of support to two);

4. With feet elevated (progressively reducing the height);

5. Using resistance bands (progressively moving to a lighter resistance).

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