Tag Archives | Straight Arm

Straight Arm Pressing Tips

Having safely returned from my trip its time to get back into regular emails to help you go further in your hand balancing and acrobatics. I received a number of excellent questions while I was gone so I figured I’d start there.

“How should your hands look when there on the ground for a handstand?”
Genoman

While it can change up depending on which hand balancing move you’re doing, for the normal handstand you want your hands flat on the ground with the fingers spread as far apart as possible. The middle or index finger should be pointing directly forward.

“I’ve been doing hand balancing for a while now. I’ve developed quite a strong upper body. I do hand-stand push-ups with ease.  I kick up successfully more times than not and can hold the balance for a considerable amount of time.  That is why I’m so perplexed as to why I cannot even come close to doing any of the stiff armed lever up exercises.  In doing exercise #2 in “The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing”, The best I can do is on push-up bars, hold myself with my knees still under me, but when I try and lever up, I barely budged, literally about an inch or so.  If I were to do this with bent arms, I do it with ease, same with all lever ups like with split or even straight legs.  What makes stiff arm so difficult?  What are the muscles being stressed most in a stiff arm lever up and how can one train them to get to do it?  I feel I’m not even close to getting anywhere with them.  Again, I’m extremely strong in the upper body.  Is it possible I’m doing something wrong, or possibly I have neglected to train a certain muscle or muscle group?”

Thanks,
Francis Ford

Straight arm presses are a different beast then bent arm presses. While you are having problems of this sort there are many people that can do straight arm moves but would fall flat in a bent arm press because they lack the strength.

Because of different body leverages the straight arm press may take you some time to get to, where others can do it almost immediately.

The straight arm press, in its various forms, requires strength in different areas as well as flexibility. You have to be able to get your center of mass over your hands. This requires your shoulders to go far out in front.

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One method you may want to try is to do a bent arm press except try to bend your arms a little less, and gradually work up to a straight arm press. From the handstand you can do negatives lowering yourself down on straight arms.

Also having someone else to spot you can be a big help. They stand in front of you, your shoulders coming to meet their legs for support, and they assist you by raising your hips as much as you need to do the move.

And lastly I recommend you re-read Chapter 8 on pressing in the book for even more info. Most important is to just keep at it. If you find it difficult, it’ll be that much more satisfying when you finally make it.

Good Luck and Good Hand Balancing,
Logan Christopher

P.S. If you haven’t got your copy of The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing you can grab it here.

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Straight Arm Press Tips

Time to answer some of your questions again. What with the new site and new releases I’ve let some of these pile up.

Here’s two asking the same thing.

“How do you do a lever up handstand. Starting feet on floor in straddle. Used to be able to do it when I was training 10 years ago-but even then it was a struggle & a skill I lost quickly. There’s got to be a technique I’m missing. can lever down but not up from feet on floor. Wait to hear…”
Chrissie

“I would like to learn how to go into a handstand the way gymnasts usually do by leaning over the hands with legs straight until the feet lift off and the legs hang then lifting up the legs into a sort of planche then straight up. Can you do this and what would be the stages in learning it? Surprisingly, I couldn’t find any information on this on the site.”
Ross

Thanks for asking. With a bit of different language both these questions are asking about the same thing. And that is the straight arm press.

It will be easier if the legs are straddled, but once that becomes easy you can keep them together in the pike position.

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

This move not only takes strength in the arms, shoulders and abs but a big degree of flexibility as well. You have to get the center of you mass over your hands if you want to have any chance of succeeding. This means your shoulders will come far over your hands.

Chrissie was on to something when she said she could lower down. Work the negative, staying under control and soon you’ll be able to lift up into the handstand.

Another way is to hold a Jack-Knife handstand. When you can hold this position low pressing up into the handstand should be no problem.

Some people have no problem doing this move. Others will have to do tons of work to get it based on there body leverages. If you fall into the later group just keep at it. A bunch of negatives, holds, and isometrics will get you there faster.

Good Luck and Good Hand Balancing,
Logan Christopher

P.S. Bob Jones has some big tips for learning this move, found in the Chapter 8 – Pressing Up Into A Handstand of his book.

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Handstand Stunts from the Olympics

Have you been watching as much of the Olympics as I have?

Honestly it’s a bit tiring staying up until the early morning hours since they take place halfway around the world from where I am. But what can I say, they only come around every four years.

And its always a pleasure of mine to watch the best in the world do what they do.

The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing
The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing on Amazon

There’s been exciting matches, close calls and comebacks all around. Plus new world records are broken everyday. (Did you see Jamaica’s Usain Bolt on the 100m dash?)

Great events in gymnastics and they aren’t done yet. One problem I have with professional gymnastics is the judging because it’s not perfect. Since it’s done by humans it doesn’t always seem fair. But that’s how it is.

It shouldn’t take away from the pleasure of watching the athletes.

One exercise I’ve been seeing a lot of in the Men’s Floor Routines is a straight arm straddle press from a crucifix position. Also known as a Maltese Press to a Wide Arm Handstand or a Swallow Press to a Japanese Handstand.

Considering this is a D skill it may be out of your range but that doesn’t mean you can’t try the wide handstand itself.

Place your hands wide on the ground, with the hands out and the thumbs pointing forward. Kick-up into position and attempt to hold.

Alternatively you can jump from a normal handstand into the wide handstand. With a little push on the hands slide them outward in position.

Just another variation you can have fun with. And thanks to the Olympics for reminding me of it.

Good Luck and Good Hand Balancing,
Logan Christopher

P.S. You need to master the regular handstand before you attempt any variations. Get step-by-step handstand instructions here.

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Handstand Press

Another thing I’ve devoted more of my time to recently is the handstand press. While a normal handstand does not take very much strength many of the presses do.

Handstand presses can be broken down into two main groups. Those done with straight arms and those down with bent arms.

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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 stronger 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 you want to be able to do both. In order to do this you must train for both.

That’s why there’s chapters on the pressing in all the main books like Hand Balancing Made Easy and The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing.

Presses are not easy, especially if you’re not of the average gymnast size. 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.

Good Luck and Good Hand Balancing,
Logan Christopher

P.S. There are so many ways you can press up into a handstand. Have you mastered them all? Start where you can and work from there.

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Routine for Abs

Here is a routine for abs especially for people who want to be strong for acrobatics and hand balancing.

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

A couple of you went ahead and purchased Gymnastic Abs and that may be one of your smartest moves. But I figured you might be one of those people sitting on the fence about it. Let me tell you about my current routine I have put together using this course. Some of these moves you have undoubtedly heard of, but others may be new to you.

Leg Raises. Usually 3 or 4 sets of these either hanging or on the parallel bars. It’s a matter of increasing reps and then increasing height until you get your legs all the way up.

The other exercises are done in a circuit fashion. V-Ups, Russian Ballet Thrusts, Side Plank Raises, and Compressions.

One of the biggest things I picked up from Ed’s course is these compressions. Of course there are different ways to do it but it’s an isometric contraction that will work everything. Not only does it strengthen your abs but it builds your ability to compress them, hence the name. This one alone is worth the price because it will make straight arm handstand presses easier. Unfortunately this move has alluded me for a long time, but not too much longer. I then finish of with hollow body rocks and arch rocks. These act as great finishers especially done ‘til you can’t do anymore.

Whether you get the Gymnastic Abs program or not just make sure you train those abs hard and with your whole body.

Good Luck and Good Ab Training,
Logan Christopher

P.S. If you’ve got any questions about the course I’d be happy to answer them for you. Shoot your question to me here.

Leg Raises

Leg Raises

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