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The Straddle Press Up

Lets see if you’ve noticed a theme here.
Over the past week I’ve been talking about a specific treasure of knowledge. The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing.
In the last entry I gave you a technique found in the book that you would be able to test out. Today, I’m giving you another go-to. This installment involves the Straddle Press Up.
If you need an idea of what it looks like, here is a variation from Logan.

THE STRADDLE PRESS UP.
Sit along a set of parallel bars, or on chair legs with the chair lying on its back, spread the legs apart as far as they will go. With the knees rigid, and toes pointed; catch hold of the legs of the chair just in front of your legs.
Close up, hold the chest high, and stiffen the arms with elbows straight. Then lift the shoulders as high as possible, and lean forward; taking all the weight on the arms and press up to the handstand. As your legs are rising, point the toes, and gradually bring the legs together.
Just as you are up all the way in the balance, hold this a couple of seconds, then lower down slowly with the body and legs straight. You should feel as though you were going to hold the planche, but instead go slowly all the way down through the planche until the feet are on the floor; or in a sitting position, as you started.

Stay Inverted!
-Jonathan Magno

How to do the One Hand Handstand by Professor Orlick
ow to do the One Hand Handstand on Amazon

P.S. Take a look at the past to develop your hand balancing journey with The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing.

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The Tiger Bend

The Tiger Bend!

On top of being a skill to work towards on its own, the tiger bend is also a good way to work up to a full on handstands. Since you are resting on your entire lower arm and hand you have a bigger base with which to balance.

When you get over the fact that it can be an odd position to try and get into, the benefits of the tiger bend start to shine. All the main points of holding a handstand are still there, like keeping tight, but you may have to arch your back a little more for this one.

Though it is a lateral move to the handstand, its also an advanced move that can increase the control and variety of skills you have in your library. It involves going from the Forearm Stand up into a Handstand. With a little overbalancing and strong triceps you can get there.

Tumbling Illustrated
Tumbling Illustrated on Amazon

Since this is a move that can’t be pulled off quickly, here are two easier ways. Do the negative movement which is dropping from a Handstand into a Forearm Stand. When you go for this don’t just fall into the position but control it as much as possible.

You can also do Tiger Bend Pushups. Get in a normal pushup position except you are resting on your forearms instead of the hands. Without any rocking motion pushup on to your hands to the top position and lower back down.

These moves aren’t performed often but that doesn’t mean they aren’t great.

Stay Inverted!
-Jonathan Magno

P.S. For the more advanced inverted artist, you can try to duplicate Johnny Weber’s one arm Tiger Bend. Find out how to do it in The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing. The picture above is of Sig Klein from the same book.

 

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The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing

For many people, today is a special day. I’m not going to get too deep into it, but it does involve a heart, candy, and maybe some stuffed animals.

What I am going to get into is a book on hand balancing that can be used as a starting point to learning the handstand correctly as well as a look into the history of hand balancing. This book is called The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing.

The authors of the book, Professor Paulinetti and Robert L. Jones, have a combined experience of 70+ years practicing and teaching hand balancing and gymnastics. In the 1940’s they wrote THE book on this art.

Although we have many guides of information here, this book gives you an inside look at how this skill gained a following in the earlier years. This book is filled with information and insight on hand balancing

Hand Balancing Made EasyHandBalancingMadeEasy_on_Amazon

Happy Valentines Day and pick up The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing today!

Stay Inverted!
-Jonathan Magno

 

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Refining your Handstand Push up

Earlier we talked about the two types of handstand presses. Today, we’ll go a bit more into an often utilized bent arm version. The handstand pushup.

Many people begin their hand balancing against a wall. This was the case for me and I know its the same for many others.

On top of that holding a handstand while doing pushups is one of the ultimate bodyweight exercises for your upper body; with or without a wall.

Think of the upper body strength attainable by being able to rep out a freestanding handstand pushup. You can find many admirable people with supreme strength attain this move. These range from the different BAR groups like the Bar Brothers to the movement groups like GMB.

Whichever method you choose, one thing is for certain. Strength and balance are key.

One thing I noticed that tends to throw people off is their hand and arm position.

If you were to kick up against a wall to do pushups what position would you take? Is this the same position you’d take away from the wall?

Play around with the width and angle of you hands and arms and you will find you can change the difficulty of handstand pushups considerably

Hand Balancing Made EasyHandBalancingMadeEasy_on_Amazon

Discover the newfound strength in your presses with our Ultimate Guide to Handstand Push-ups Bundle.

Stay Inverted!
-Jonathan Magno

 

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The Division of the Handstand Press

When you finally understand the mechanics of the handstand, it no longer takes that much strength to perform it. But if you want to start building some inverted strength, start progressing to the handstand pushup.

handstand pushup variation

Handstand pushup demonstrated by Logan Christopher of Legendary Strength

 

Handstand Presses can be broken down into two main groups. The straight arm and the bent arm press.

The various bent arm presses take a high degree of strength in the shoulders, triceps and also the chest in many cases.

Straight arm press-ups still take strength but in different areas. Also you will need flexible wrists, hamstrings, and the ability to compress your body in half. In fact the more flexibility you have the less strength you will need.

For all these reasons most people will be better at either straight arm or bent arm presses. There are many people who can do the straight arm variety but will fall on their face if they have to bend their arms.

On the other hand most strong people can do many bent armed presses. These take tremendous arm and shoulder strength to pull off successfully as you have to hold your entire bodyweight in mid air for a length of time. But for these people the straight arm presses can be elusive.

In the end true mastery comes from being able to do both. In order to do this you must train for both.

How to do the One Hand Handstand by Professor Orlick
ow to do the One Hand Handstand on Amazon

Presses are not easy, especially if you haven’t been training as a gymnast. But it can be done.

If you’ve ever wondered why hand balancers are so strong this is one of the major keys. So start pressing.

If you need some help in getting started with presses, why not check our Ultimate Guide to Handstand Push-ups Bundle.

Stay Inverted!
-Jonathan Magno

 

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Do you Have Sensitive Hands?

Oddly enough this is an actual question that I’m asking you.

Our hands are incredible tools. According to a book on hand dynamics, it takes a third of our motor brain to control the hands. And by the fact alone, we are able to manipulate tools and thus build an advanced civilization unlike any other animal.

When you think about it, our hands are very amazing instruments. They have so many dynamic ranges of movement they can achieve, that its mind boggling. They can create art, play musical instruments, hold large weights, massage another person, and much more.

Hand balancing doesn’t just take strength. That’s an obvious thing to anyone who has ever tried a handstand.

Trampoline Handbook
Trampoline Handbook on Amazon

In order to balance you need sensitivity. Being able to feel minor movements in your body and weight distribution and correct them by manipulating your fingers and wrists.

Let me leave you with a final thought.

Sometimes you need to concentrate on the big picture. Other times you need to look at the very small details.

The next time you are inverted, give some added thought to the slightest movements in your hands. It might help you out.

Stay Inverted!
-Jonathan Magno

PS If you want guided path on your hand balance journey, check out our Handstand Mastery Course.

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Training Differently in Your Routines

Last week I posted about adding weights to your hand balance training. Its a great way to build up the necessary muscles and stimulate the right activation. But, what do you do if you keep training in the same manner but reach a standstill. I can get into processes like autoregulation, but I’m going to make this simple and say just change things up!

There was a time when I would spend about 30 min 5-6 days a week on my hand balancing. Not including the periodic times during the day.

Luckily, I have a nice open floor to train. Although working on the freestanding handstand is great, constantly working on your bailout isn’t. In other words it doesn’t help if you cant keep the hold.

I could have probably tried to power through it. If you quit every time something gets difficult you won’t ever achieve anything great. But I’m more a technical guy than power.

Walking and Jumping On Your HandsWalking and Jumping On Your Hands on Amazon

So I decided to test and change things up. I tried variations off the fall, different surfaces, and even stalling from cartwheels.

This creates the dual effect of shocking your body and refreshing your mind. If you ever feel tired and stuck a small or even big change-up is what you may need.

As long as you stay consistent you will get better. All you might need is a little alteration.

There is so much variety in hand balancing, if you stay creative, you’ll never get bored.

If you need some help in getting started, why not check out our Handstand Mastery Course.

Stay Inverted!
-Jonathan Magno

 

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Hand Balancing and Cross Training with Weights?

Will weight-lifting help you with your hand balancing skill? That’s a tricky question, although not too difficult. The answer is YES and NO.

I’m going to expound on the idea. First off, weight-lifting is a ranged term which can involve power lifting, olympic lifts, bodybuilding, or old-fashioned strength training. A big qualifier on your results is in how you lift.

Certain exercises are going to help you out. And others won’t do much for you.

Specifically for pressing movements. It requires a tremendous amount of strength to be able to push your own body overhead. You need strong triceps, shoulders, and core.

Since many of the inverted presses take you through different planes of movement; not strictly overhead work, like the frogstand press, you will also need strong pectoral muscles in addition to the core.

So strengthening these muscles will make your stunts easier.

Then again hand balancing takes a huge degree balance. While weightlifting can help your coordination, it is nothing compared to what you need to stand on your hands.

Being able to press a heavy barbell overhead has no carryover to being able to hold a handstand.

A handstand is a skill and needs to be practiced in order for you to get good at it.

These days many people are moving away from weights because they think they are not functional. You know what? It just depends on what you’re doing with them.

Whether you decide to build you upper body strength with barbell presses or with handstand pushups is up to you. They both build strength.

So in short, look at what your own goals are and see what will work best for your situation.

If you need some help in getting started, why not check out our Handstand Mastery Course.

Stay Inverted!
-Jonathan Magno

Trampoline Handbook
Trampoline Handbook on Amazon

 

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The Path of the Shaolin Monk: Training with your Fingers

What’s interesting to me is about how many people have embraced the benefits and fun of being inverted. You can catch people training at a park or even at you’re local gym. Although, if there is one form of hand balancing that you don’t see much of today, its training with your fingers.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t practice it.

Let me start off with a word of caution. The fingers are small and fragile. You have to start off by being mindful of your body while beginning your training; otherwise you may end up breaking them, snapping tendons or any number of bad possibilities. So be careful.

Ultimate Guide to Handstand Pushups
Ultimate Guide to Handstand Pushups on Amazon

Starting with a fingertip handstand is probably too much for most people. Even this most basic move must be worked up to. And fingertip pushups are the best way to do that.

Even without practicing finger balancing, your hand and finger strength will improve over time. Just from the practice of balancing on your hands you can’t help but gain some strength in your digits.

But for true fingertip stunts you need to do them in one form or another.

If you are ready for the fingertip handstand then I suggest using a wall on your first go. Holding your body weight on your fingers is one thing. Balancing is another.

Not only do you have a smaller base of support but you must add pressure in order to stay balanced. This makes your fingers support your weight and then some.

If starting with your finger is still a bit away from your level, but you want to develop your hand balancing, check out our handstand mastery course.

Stay Inverted
-Jonathan Magno

 

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The First Stunt of 2017: Part 2

Elbow Lever

A couple of days ago we talked about the Elbow Lever and gave you a quick lesson on how achieve the skill. If you missed, out I’ll include the lesson at the end of this post just in case.

Today, I’ll be talking to you about a different aspect of the lead-up stunt. The Benefits.

Why is this stunt helpful? It trains the balancing aspect on your hands from a low center of gravity. You also have to keep a decent arch and your body tight or else you will touch the ground with more than your hands.

Internally, these lead-up stunts help to fill in the foundational blocks to understanding how to control your body. Logically, you should strive toward building small successes. The more consistent you are at being successful and learning the intricacies of the moves, the closer you’ll get to that freestanding handstand or more.

Ultimate Guide to Handstand Pushups
Ultimate Guide to Handstand Pushups on Amazon

Before I forget…

Elbow Lever Quick Lesson:

To perform this lead- stunt kneel on the floor, bring both elbows together and place them in your stomach and turn the palms of the hands facing upwards. Now lean forwards slowly and place the hands flat on the floor with your fingers pointing backwards. Arch your back slowly until your toes leave the floor and you will be doing the elbow lever.

You will find the balance a little difficult at first but just keep on practicing. The stunt can also be performed on the edge of a table or on the end of any ordinary bed.

Stay Inverted
-Jonathan Magno

P.S. If you want to own your elbow lever or your other hand balance lead-up stunts check out our handstand mastery course.

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