Tag Archives | press handstand

Quick Press to Handstand Tutorial

Here’s a really short but effective tutorial on how to perform a press handstand.

Firstly, you’ll want to get in a plank position and pull your butt all the way up in to the air while keeping your hands in one place. To do this, you’ll have to lean forward , use your shoulders and suck your abs in. After you master this move, put a raised surface (mats work the best) behind you and press your feet onto the raised surface. Repeat the process to get off the mats, back to the floor.

Now you’re ready to press from a raised surface to a handstand against the wall and essentially end up in a supported handstand before coming back into the raised surface. After you feel confident enough, add more mats to raise the surface behind you. If you can make it at least 6 inches high, you’ll be very close to performing a press. Try to come down as slow as possible to build strength and improve balance. Also don’t forget to use your finger tips to keep in balance!

How great would it be to impress your friends with gravity defying hand balancing skills? Check it out here.

The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing
The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing on Amazon
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Straddle Press Handstand Drill #5

I’ve been working on various drills lately in order to achieve the straddle press to handstand and one of them is drill #5 explained in this video.

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

I start with the straddle position against the ground, which shares similarities with a regular straddle press, without being upside down. I put my back against a pillar to prevent leaning back in order to increase dynamic flexibility, which is the main goal of this drill. From there, just put your fingertips on the ground between thighs and lift your legs above the ground.

You may get some cramps in this position initially, but this move will help you increase that strength-dynamic flexibility which is the main thing you’ll need to perform the press handstand.

As you gradually increase your strength and flexibility, eventually you’ll be able to lift your legs with your hands between your feet and then soon you’ll be able to achieve that press handstand. You can do this drill for reps or time, whichever suits you the best. The results will be the same.

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Acrobatic Stretching

Stretching for acrobatics whether hand balancing or tumbling, is a must. Well, actually I should say flexibility is a must.

But the only way to get flexible is stretching, right?

In most cases yes, but not always. Stretches are just one sub-set of movement that involves getting to your end range of motion. This is then usually held although there are variations here as well.

The truth is you can build your flexibility with movements that don’t involve anything that looks like stretching in some cases. A person that can’t do a full range squat, will improve their flexibility by working on squats, with or without weights. This alone can loosen up the calves, quads, hamstrings, hips and back to where they’ll eventually be able to achieve the full range.

That is one route. Specific stretches aimed at helping this person would be another.

Let’s say you are working on the handstand. Perhaps you need more shoulder or wrist flexibility.

Wrist Stretch

A great stretch for wrist flexibility

What about handsprings? Additional shoulder and back flexibility can help. So can hip flexibility.

If you’re doing bridging movements, you need all around spinal flexibility, not to mention the shoulders and wrists.

I don’t like to “stretch” for stretching’s sake. If you do, that’s fine with me. Some people like it just because they feel good afterwards. But if I’m going to do it, I always have a specific purpose behind it.

My average training, and all the moves I do, give me more then enough flexibility to get through my everyday life, and to keep me generally flexible.

However, if I want to achieve a specific move, sometimes the best, or only route to achieving it is by increasing flexibility. Once again this can take the “movement” route or the “stretching” route. What I do really depends on the move, and in some cases is a combination of the two.

Now when we talk about stretching, there are several kinds. You have static stretching. You have various forms of isometrics or PNF stretching. Then you have dynamic stretching.

My personal favorite is dynamic. After all, dynamic movement is usually where you want to apply your new found flexibility. Still the others, especially the isometrics version, done right, can be a big help.

In any case, this is the framework of what I do. Pick a goal. Identify the different ways you can get there. Start with what looks like the best route, or often a combination of things. Put this into action. Adapt and continue to experiment from there. This applies to more then acrobatics stretching.

Here’s an example. In my progress towards a straight arm press handstand, I’ve realized one thing. If I had the right flexibility I could do the movement without problem. It’s really not a strength issue!

And the specific drill I’ve been working towards is what’s known as the Pancake. I would wager that most people that could lay their torso flat on the ground, could do a press handstand, if not right away, then with a little more work.

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

The Pancake Drill (from DrillsAndSkills.com)

Yet having all the strength in the world for bent arm press handstands, is just not enough. I still work on other progressions towards the movement and am making progress. But I realize the biggest thing I can do for this exercise is too improve my hip flexibility. This just illustrates one specific case.

I recently came across a new resource on the topic of flexibility that I’ll be sharing with you later this week.

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Kip Up to Handstand

Watch this awesome video of a kip up to handstand.

Hand Balancing Made EasyHandBalancingMadeEasy_on_Amazon

I came across this video when looking for one showing the jump back to a kip up.

The video starts off with a kip up into a double forward flip done into a foam pit. (This was likely good training for leading up to the following move, as you need to learn to rotate fast out of the kip.)

The kip up is then done into something of an elbow lever, or the bottom of a press, with the legs bent. Of course, from here, it’s relatively simple to press up into the handstand.

This is an awesome move, that I don’t think I’ve seen before. Can anyone else do the kip up to a handstand? Post a link to other videos below.

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First Day Back

It’s the first time I’ve attended a gymnastics class in around two years, maybe longer.

I expect that I’ll be able to get back into it quickly, at least for the most part. I don’t plan to rush things.

On this first day back, we start up on the trampoline. After a few regular bounces and getting use to it I launch into a front flip. Over spun it. Land on my knees. But it was on a trampoline so no harm done. I repeat the process, mostly over spinning it. Eventually I get it down. If you know you’re over spinning every time simply spin less.

Onto some floor exercises. A few basic warmups. I get dizzy from rolling and cartwheels. Then round offs. Those come back as easily as if I’d been doing them regularly. Not perfect but in decent form.

The instructor calls for a front handspring. I think back to what leg I normally go off of. Once I have that no more thoughts. I just run forward plant my hands and land easily on my feet. Once again not perfect but decent. A few more and I’m getting even springier.

We move onto the tumble-trak. A front handspring into a front flip. Here comes a problem. My strong suit in the past was never stringing moves together. I try this again and again but don’t quite get it. I can hit the front handspring but I often hesitate when going for the flip resulting in a landing not on my feet.


Trampolines are great to build your acrobatic skills.

Back to the trampoline. Back flips! I hadn’t done one of these in any shape or form in a long, long time, but I suppose that was true of every move on this night. The fear of hurting myself, even on a trampoline, by going backwards was back and prevalent.

I start with some basic lead-up drills like rolling over then bouncing over. I feel like my body has lost all control. Like all coordination leaves when I’m upside down. I keep working and I gain the coordination back.

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

Alright those drills are easy. With a spot on my first backflip I make it easily. From there its easy. Back flips, front flips. I work on them all going back and forth between them. Enjoying the freedom. Enjoying the rush of going upside down. Enjoying being back in gymnastics.

I’ve made the mistake of neglecting much use of the trampoline in the past but will not be making the same mistake this time around. You can read more about that and all kinds of trampoline moves here.

We mess around with some handstand stuff, specifically on press handstands and call it a night.

It was fun. I am definitely re-hooked. I also paid the price.

I knew it would happen. Anytime you engage in a new vigorous physical activity, or one you haven’t done in some time, you will end up sore the next few days. You may not think bouncing on a trampoline or springy floor use much muscle but you’d be wrong. My legs, every inch of them, were sore to the point that walking was a bit awkward.

Despite that I’ll be back soon. And I will also be practicing on my own each day.

Good Luck and Good Gymnastics,
Logan Christopher

P.S. This is day two of the 30 Day Challenge. So far so good. How about you?

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