Press to handstand
Hi all. Any ideas on the best method of pursuing a press to handstand? I'm following bgb wod and have coach sommer's book. He doest address a progression in the book although he expresses the importance of learning the skill. Coming from a crossfit background, I decided to focus on moving my body more efficiently. Current strength is 2 or 3 Kipling muscle ups, 90 sec handstand hold against the wall,1 strict press from a headstand.
Before I would pursue that, I would get my handstand at the perfection with my guide on handstands after which you can check out the Spotting a Back Handspring | Lost Art of Hand Balancing
Presses aren't terribly difficult, but they do take quite a bit of time to master. I have several students who are like 10 years old and can press from a seated position, up to handstand, back down without touching the floor, and back up several times in a row. My older athletes can do a press handstand virtually anywhere.
There are a couple of good training drills you can do, including:
1) Against a wall. Face the wall, feet wider than your shoulders (if you can find an angled wall, like one with a 'cheese wedge' shaped mat leaning against it, even better). Put your hands 6-8 inches away from the wall like a handstand, then slowly roll your back up the wall one vertebrae at a time until you are in a straddled handstand, then bring your feet together at the top. Lower down VERY SLOWLY, since doing negatives will help you get these much faster. Get to where you can do several in a row with barely touching your toes on the ground at the bottom.
2) Do presses onto/off of a raised surface. Try both; feet higher than hands starting out, then hands higher than feet. Some people 'get' one more than the other, so work both. If your feet are higher than your hands, basically you want to lean forward and raise your hips until you tip forward, then begin opening you shoulder angle until you are in a handstand. Again, the feet come together at the end, not early in the pressing motion.
3) Presses from sitting. Sit in a straddle position, hands shoulder-width in front of you, then lean forward and roll your hips up until your feet (toes) are on the ground, then continue pressing from there. Again, lower down slowly, then hold your butt off the ground in a straddle sit for a few seconds. Your hands don't move or readjust during the whole motion.
Things to remember: When you do a press correctly, it feels like you're going to fall on your face. You'll be leaning forward far enough to make you uncomfortable. Then lean forward a little more. Keep getting your hips as high as you can, bring your feet together late, and don't open your shoulder angle until the very end.
You can do these!
loganchristopher, IMHO as a former gymnast, coach and judge, your body position is not great (it borders on scary to me) in this video (I was afraid you were going to go over into an accidental front walkover and holding your back arched like that can be harmful)
Originally Posted by loganchristopher
One thing I'd suggest is to watch videos of people doing handstands - lots of different ones - especially the "how to" instructionals by/for gymnasts. You should start in more of a lunge, and there is something called "levering" which will help you lower your upper body in a controlled fashion.
You can start with kicking up and clicking your heels as a most basic handstand - you should ideally come back down on one leg in a lunge. As you advance, you'll be able hold the handstand momentarily, then be able to feel a really solid "set" without a fear of going over or coming back down - you're just in the zone.
When you're in this handstand zone, your body should be fairly straight (if you're looking from the side), you should be squeezing your leg/glut muscles - also known as "keeping tight" - the back position will change if you're doing things like splits, stag, double stag, planche, etc.
I've found that watching people and understanding the mechanics behind a handstand is important - and being able to do a good handstand is important if you want to do a press
Now, pjonpobs,to your original question about press to handstand... work up to it by starting with a push or a hop into your press and slowly give less of a push or a hop. Do it against a wall or with a spotter if you're afraid of pushing over. I've also seen people work up to a press with their hands backwards (when you put your hands on the ground, your fingers go towards you instead of away - try that and see if it helps. If you have access to a balance beam, pommel horse without handles or similar object and aren't afraid of trying this (please be careful) - sit on the object (legs on either side like you're riding a horse) and swing your legs in front, then behind, pushing up into a handstand. Do lots of arm stretches and exercises to build up strength, especially in your forearms (I feel like a lot of people focus on working biceps and triceps and not much else - the forearms are very important for something like a press) - do exercises to improve your balance, because most of the "trick" of a press is balance.
Last edited by PrimalMama; 09-07-2012 at 02:11 PM.