Being one of the key calisthenics exercises, press handstand excellent coordination of your body weight, flexibility, and strength to fulfill it from the first try. There are several stances to enter the handstand position that require quite different skills, i.e., using momentum, or by swinging, or simply kicking up. In this consistent and informative review, we'll observe the mechanics and main peculiarities of a standard straight-arm press handstand.
You'll finally outline how to do a press handstand by training your overall condition with proper exercises, will know the main points of its mechanics, and get tips on how to progress in this exercise in a short time.
How to do a press handstand easily? Stand in an inverted V position, shift your upper body forward to distribute the weight to your hands. Pull your legs off the floor and lift them up. Keep shoulders over your wrists. Your legs, glutes, and quads are tight.
Press Handstand benefits for body and for mind
If you’ve already mastered a standard handstand, why not challenge yourself and try a more complex variation like a press handstand? It's a conventional, but more advanced bodyweight exercise that requires power, mobility, flexibility, and balance. Highly skilled and fit athletes are ready to perform this movement without hassle, however, for starters, it will become a real challenge.
Nevertheless, this exercise brings numerous perks for general health, physical condition, and psychological state too. Let's distinguish what physical and mental advantages you'll get when practicing a press handstand at least several times a week.
This exquisite exercise combines two stances, i.e. press and handstand hold, when you need to control your own weight and lift it with the help of powerful arms, shoulders, tight abs, and legs. Press handstand activates your core, hamstrings, hip flexors, and lower back dominantly, by engaging other deep muscles to stabilize your body.
1. Enhances flexibility
Besides the fact that this exercise requires profound flexibility, it can enhance this skill as well. Yoga enthusiasts and gymnasts practice press handstand variation which is a straddle press handstand that is performed from the seated position.
Depending on your flexibility, you can vary the angle of leaning the shoulders when starting to press yourself up and pulling your hips up to reach a straight line with your shoulders so not to lose the balance.
2. Improve abs strength
The press handstand exercise involves all stabilizing muscles of your core. When doing a handstand, you need strong abdominals to lift your legs up over your head.
3. Work out the whole body
The exercise engages muscles of the entire body: shoulders, triceps, traps, deltoids, hamstrings, and glutes. Your arms and shoulders should provide most of the strength to perform a press handstand. While your abs and legs should help to stabilize your body and pull you up to the upright position.
4. Develop your balance and coordination
All press variations require good coordination and balance which is possible due to the full concentration on your movements and feeling your body. It needs to be mentioned that the notion of coordination also involves other terms like spatial awareness, movement synchronization, and adequacy.
It can be challenging to maintain the center of mass in the same place while changing the positioning of your shoulders, hips, and legs. So, you need to keep high concentration to balance your body segments.
Besides that, you need to synchronize the movements of your shoulders when leaning with the movements of your raising legs to prevent collapse on the feet.
5. Pumping up your heart rate
Despite not being a cardio exercise, turning upside down can increase your pulse which can be useful for your health. It promotes your sleep quality, and brings more motivation and confidence while eliminating all negative thoughts and tension.
Besides improving your body condition, balance, and strength capabilities, a press handstand exercise will enhance you control yourself both physically and mentally. It's good for your mind and soul.
1. Boosting your mood
Inverted poses that involve your head being below the heart can improve your mood and relieve you from depression and anxiety. The reason is the increased blood flow to the brain decreases cortisol levels.
2. Making you feel relaxed and calm
Yoga practitioners usually perform inversions while focusing on their inner world and energy. However, such a skill comes just after you really master handstands and can control your body and movements without thinking about how to move your hips or legs and not fall down. If you're already strong enough to maintain stability in this position, you can relax and hold it for several minutes.
How to do a press handstand fast and safe: a step by step progression and recommendations
- Push and round your back to compress your body to make it shorter, consequently, your legs become longer.
- Get the hips over the shoulders by leaning forward with the shoulders.
- Follow three of these stages when doing a press handstand: toe off, L-position, and handstand.
- The more you lean, the more strength the movement requires.
- The longer your legs are, the further you need to lean.
- The more flexible you are, the less you need to lean in the toe-off stage.
- Keep the center of mass above your palms.
- While changing the body position, you need to preserve the first point by changing the position of your shoulders and hips. They should be in one relative line while pressing themselves up.
- If the shoulders lean forward too much compared to the hips, you'll likely fall down.
- Sit in a straddle pose. Keep your hands flat on the ground between your legs by spreading your fingers for more stability in the stages.
- Distribute the weight. Lean with your shoulders forward over your hands and transfer your weight from the lower body to the hands.
- Raise your legs off the ground. Engage your core to pull your legs up, meanwhile tilting your shoulders over your hands. Distribute the weight evenly on your arms while the abs muscles help you to lift the legs.
- Enter into a handstand position. Start raising your legs up until the upright position over your shoulders. You can also straddle them up or simply keep upright. Your shoulders will become one vertical line with your hands.
- Hold a handstand. Try to maintain this position as long as you can. Keep your legs and shoulders stacked. When you're done, reverse yourself into the initial position to the straddle.
Risks of doing press handstands
1. Shoulder injuries and imbalance
2. Dizziness and disorientation
3. Vision issues
How to improve your press handstands?
Exercises you should try to improve your press handstands
3. Pike drag-ups with a forward roll.
4. Press handstand muscle memory training.
5. Straddle stand and handstand lowers.
Can children press handstands?
- Press handstand: 5-10 reps.
- Handstand hold: for 30 seconds.
- Rope climb: 12' with legs in a pike position.
- Leg lifts: 20 reps.
- Flexibility test: 6 kicks and holds.
Can you do press handstands if you are new to gymnastics?
How to learn Handstand in 21 days
The “Handstand Challenge" program will help you overcome the fear of being upside down and teach you how to balance on your hands without support in no time. The course is made up of 21 daily training sessions. Each session can be completed in 15 minutes, though for the best results we highly recommend setting aside 40 minutes each day. If you follow closely and train daily, you should see results in just THREE WEEKS. Of course, if outstanding factors prevent you from training every day, you can always take a break and come back.
The program is beginner-friendly with community and coach support and guidance along your journey. No specialized equipment needed. All you need is a stable wall, a yoga mat or a thick towel as an alternative, and a resistance band.
- Virtual coaching to guide your results
- Fitness evaluation throughout the program
- 21 training sessions supported by over 100 exercise videos
- Weekly checklist to track progress
- Winner's Certificate upon completion
- Community for inspiration and support
- Single payment, lifetime access
- 30 day guarantee
Do you have to be strong to do a press handstand?
Yes, to succeed in pulling yourself up off the floor to the upright position, you need to have strong arms and a tight core to keep your body evenly balanced. With weak arms and untrained wrists, you'll fail to do a handstand which results in collapsing on the ground and even getting injured.
How long to do a press handstand?
It depends on your skills, namely your strength, coordination, and flexibility. If you're a beginner, you should try to keep this position for several seconds; if you've already mastered this movement, increase the duration of your press handstand hold for a minute or more.
Thanks to the above-mentioned detailed step-by-step instructions on how to prepare, perform, and advance at doing the press handstand, we hope you'll get more confidence in starting practicing this exercise. But, if you still have some questions regarding how to do a press handstand, or how to pump up your body to get prepared for this drill, don't hesitate to ask us directly in the comments section.
- Bidirectional causal control in the dynamics of handstand balance // NCBI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7801474/
- Task Specific and General Patterns of Joint Motion Variability in Upright- and Hand-Standing Postures // NCBI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9323647/
- Kinematics and joints moments profile during straight arm press to handstand in male gymnasts // NCBI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8279359/
- Rotator cuff related shoulder pain: Assessment, management and uncertainties // ScienceDirect: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1356689X16000400
- Strategies for maintaining a handstand in the anterior-posterior direction // LWW: https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2001/07000/Strategies_for_maintaining_a_handstand_in_the.16.aspx
More than 25 years ago Oleksiy started his sports career. He major in gymnastics which is
definitely not an easy sport to go in for!
To become an athletic champion (in Ukraine, for instance, we mean here the title of
"Master of Sports") in gymnastics, one needs to spend at least 10 years and start
training no later than being six years old. As for Oleksiy, he has fulfilled all the criteria.
During this period of time, definitely not short, he managed to become:
● Master of Sports, Champion of the State and International Tournaments;
● Member of the national team of Ukraine, having a perfect opportunity to train the best team ever!
● Part of Cirque Du Soleil team (as an artist)