***Since we originally published this article, we’ve refined our method and made the process even simpler for you to perfect your press handstand. Watch our free training here for our most up-to-date training method.***
It feels just like struggling to solve a 5000 piece Lego kit, without the instructions, doesn’t it?
Putting together all the pieces of a press handstand.
Advice about arm strength, shoulder strength, core strength, tight hamstrings, wrist mobility, weak bones, short legs ect. ect. – the list never ends.
And all the while, you feel like nobody really cares about you.
At times, it seems like there’s people who just get, almost effortlessly. How do they do it?
Is it some moment of arcane brilliance? Or some top-secret training tactic they hoard to themselves?
Tactics are important. But tactics are fatal when they’re wrong.
The Reason Your Press Handstand Sucks
The confusion with press handstand comes from trying to take a bigger bite than your mouth can hold.
This is a long article. If you don’t have the patience to read 5000+ words, you don’t have the patience to learn a press handstand. Just go away.
Are you still there?
There’s 3 minimum requirements that must happen for you to learn a press handstand:
- You must be able to do an L-sit on the floor for at least 15 seconds
- You must be able to control and hold a pike for at least a few seconds
- You must be able to do a handstand up against the wall
(You DO NOT need to be able to hold a freestanding handstand in the middle of the room in order to learn how to press up. In fact, it can actually teach you incorrect pressing habits as I go over in detail in this presentation here.)
The worst thing you can do is mindlessly practice a press handstand over and over and over. If you practice the wrong way, you’ll simply train your brain to develop faulty movement patterns and you’ll just waste time instead of building the press handstand that you want.
I’ve literally got hundreds of emails and Facebook messages from people who’ve told me they’ve worked for YEARS on press handstand and have not got anywhere.
That’s a clear sign that you’re doing something wrong.
If you’re doing it right, with some training background it shouldn’t take you more than 3 months, and if starting from scratch it shouldn’t take you more than 6.
Here’s the standard advice that’s blatantly wrong:
“Put in the 1000 attempts per day and you’ll eventually get it”. “Just put in the attempts and you’ll get it!”.
That belief that’s laughable to me.
Let me tell you…
Attempts are useless if you don’t have the proper foundation.
When you train, do you have some kind of plan? Do you understand which areas of *your* body for *your* specific body type you should be training to improve?
Ask yourself, are you being BUSY? Or are you being PRODUCTIVE?
Are you practicing with a purpose?
Students practice for years without a solid plan. They hope and pray that one day they’ll eventually get it.
That’s just ludicrous to me. That’s what amateur’s do.
In our signature program Body Breakthrough, we help our students understand exactly why they are where they are and show them exactly what they need to do to make consistent progress.
Consistent progress depends on clearly knowing your weak links – THAT is where you have the most room to improve.
Your current levels of strength aren’t your ceiling, they’re just a reflection of your current weakest links.
We arm our students with a step-by-plan so that there’s no doubt in their minds they’ll get it,. Swift and efficient.
You might need a plan, too.
Say Hello to Higher Standards
As humans, we secretly CRAVE being held to a higher standard. We love for someone to push us further than our own (self-limiting) beliefs can take us. But when’s the last time anyone’s actually held YOU to a higher standard?
When’s the last time you’ve been told, “That’s great, but you’re capable of WAY more, now let’s get to work.” I’m here to push you further that you ever thought possible.
Change your Behavior to Change your Attitude
The problem with press handstand is there’s so much to consider. Is my core weak? Are my shoulders far enough? Are my hips far enough? Are my hamstrings open enough? Is my torso in the right place? Are my feet in the right place? Am I too fat?
When faced with these choices people do two things. One, nothing at all. They continue doing the same thing HOPING it’s going to work. Or, they just quit all together. And these are just physical.
But what about the psychological ones?
Do I believe in myself? Do I believe in my practice? Will I ever get it? Am I worthy or am I kidding myself? Is this goal too large? Why does everyone else get it but me? Will I EVER be strong enough? Am I a failure?
Most people will tell you to simply change your attitude. Think positive ect. ect. Then your results will change. Wrong.
It’s the other way around. Rather than swinging for the fences and PRAYING for a home run. Start focusing on small wins. Start acting confidently in the right way. This guide highlights the process and exactly what you need to be doing.
If you know what you’re doing is taking you in the right direction, you’ll keep doing it, faithfully. And if you start to see these “small wins”, YOUR ATTITUDE TOWARD YOUR PRESS HANDSTAND WILL CHANGE.
That’s what I do with my students. And now you. While it’s great to have big goals, momentum goals are even more important. Momentum is what moves you forward. Small victories perpetuate the belief necessary for large victories.
Stop hoping and praying and start planning. Ready?
Focus with Enough Mental Intensity to Bend a Spoon
If you can’t hold an L-sit on the floor for at least 10 seconds. Stop working on your press handstand.
If you can’t jump up and hold a pike for at least 3 seconds. Stop working on your press handstand.
Let me break down press handstand progression very simply for you.
If you cannot hold an L-sit, you’re going to have a hard time holding a pike.
If you have a hard time holding a pike, you’re going to have a hard time doing a press handstand.
The theory is basic. The mastery is in the details.
So you must break down your practice into smaller, chewable pieces.
If you cannot do an L-sit, here’s a simple routine. (This should get you started)
Do this sequence for 5 days in a row and you’ll see a difference.
Sequence Name: L-sit Finder
5x L-sit prep on blocks
- Start sitting with your legs straight and place your hands on blocks
- Pull your hips back as far as you can and hold
- This will be excruciating if you do it right
- Your hips may even start to go up
- This also trains your quadriceps to draw up toward your hip sockets
- When you can hold with for more than 30 seconds straight, ditch the blocks and start doing it on the floor
- Rest for no more than 30 seconds between each attempt
3x Plank Block Squeeze
- Place a block between your legs in plank and squeeze
- Hold for 1 minute
- When it gets easy to hold for 1 minute, do it on your fingertips
- In addition imagine the heels of your hands sliding back and your toes sliding forward
- This will fire up your core even more + train your legs to use 100% of your pelvic floor muscles when you press
- Another major problem is not engaging you core properly in the press handstand motion itself
- It one thing to engage your core while standing and it’s a whole other thing to engage it while in a forward fold or while in motion
- In order to do a press handstand, proper core engagement must be AUTOMATIC in ANY position
- This exercise trains that
5x Lolasana (Cross Leg Lift) on blocks
- This time sit cross legged
- Cross your shin bones as high up as possible (notice I didn’t say ankles)
- Lift your hips and pull them back and hold for 1 minute, you feet may or may not leave the ground, that’s ok
- Once you can hold this with your feet off the floor for at least 30 seconds, ditch blocks and start training on the ground
- As an added bonus, see if you can “swing” your hips while holding (not in an an out-of-control way)
- Momentum is the dream killing devil, however, the momentum you gain from practicing 14 days in a row will take you to heaven, don’t confuse the two
2x Blanket Slides V1 (instead of using a ball use a blanket)
- Start in plank with your feet on a blanket
- Use your core strength to side your feet as close to your hands as possible and pull your hips over your shoulders (do this on your exhale)
- Slide back to plank (do this on your inhale)
- Do as many as you can, work up to doing 20
2x Blanket Slides V2
- Again, start in plank
- This time slide your feet as far back as they’ll go so that your shoulders are well behind your hands
- That’s your max distance and you should feel “stuck” while you’re there and your poor stomach should be burning
- Now start again from plank and go back to 75% of your max
- This time use your core strength to slide the shoulders back over your hands
- In this exercise, DO NOT let your hips lift EVEN A DROP
- Go back and forth, work up to 10
- This exercise also teaches you to stabilize using your lats which when you’re using correctly in a press handstand will remove your fear of shifting far forward
- 5x L-sit prep on blocks
- 3x Plank Block Squeeze
- 5x Lolasana (Cross Leg Lift) on blocks
- 2x Blanket Slides V1
- 2x Blanket Slides V2
Total Daily Exercises: 17
Total Daily Time: 25 minutes
This should get you to your L-sit or at least damn close to your L-sit. If you’re not quite there, don’t just quit, keep going, you’re at least moving in the right direction.
The Superlative Pike
Now that you’ve ground your bones for a few days, you’ll be a little closer to your pike. The L-sit is a physical strength benchmark. However, the pike is a cognitive benchmark.
Let me explain.
Yes, it takes exemplary strength to hold a pike but the MOST IMPORTANT thing a pike teaches you is hip placement.
We hoard cognition. We have limited discipline and limited willpower so we must use it wisely.
That said, I’ve never understood why students who want to learn a press handstand avoid learning a pike. It’s silly.
Hit the Bullseye
You know that exact magical spot for your hips? It’s not magic, actually. But learning that spot will do magical things to your press handstand.
The 180 Degree Theory that NEVER Fails
Stop thinking like your typical new age weirdo and start thinking critically. Your practice will thank you.
When learning the takeoff almost all students make the mistake of shifting forward with the intention of lifting their feet and legs up in the air to a handstand as quickly as possible.
Too much. Too fast.
You need to chop up the arc. Start thinking of the takeoff as a half circle chopped in pieces.
Phase 1 is simply shifting your hips in the correct position over your shoulders so that you able to essentially hold on your toe tips for 10-20 seconds or so. (This is what I call one of the micro benchmarks that you have to hit along the way)
Phase 2 is going from P1 position up to a pike. Phase 3 is pike position up to handstand.
Did the lightbulb just turn on?
The psychology around splitting up the movement is very different from pressing all the way up to a handstand.
Not only will it make learning a press handstand more manageable, but it will emblazon the proper mechanics into your brain.
***This process isn’t just about building strength or mobility, it’s also about building new movement patterns.
Throughout the process, what we’re doing is creating new conscious movement patterns with the intent of integrating them into subconscious movement patterns.
That way we don’t have to think it about it and the movement (in this case a press handstand) becomes consistent and repeatable.
And that’s really all a press handstand is – A series of subconscious movement patterns executed collectively.***
The shorter and more controlled the movement, the more methodical it forces you to be.
Not chopping up the movement of press handstand pretty much ensures failure in learning the proper mechanics. I’m here to completely alter the trajectory of your “perceived” potential by simply arming you with knowledge, like I do with all my other students.
That Hip Thing
So, that place your hips sit when you’re holding your pike?
DO NOT forget it. In fact, take a video of yourself jumping up to pike and STARE at the position of your hips over and over and over without blinking once. That’s your target.
Now, when you’re working on press handstand attempts, you have one goal:
To get your hips in the exact same location as they are in a pike EXCEPT this time your goal is to do it WITHOUT allowing your feet to actually leave the floor. This is Phase 1.
Think about this carefully.
Now the focus is no longer to rush the legs up in the air. It’s to carefully hit the bullseye with your hips.
If this is impossible for you because your legs buckle. Guess what? It’s not just strength that’s holding you back from nailing your press handstand, it’s mobility. Who would have thought?
More on that later.
What you Resist, Persists
Back to the hips and back to Phase 1.
Now that we’ve established that your first goal is to get Phase 1 down, the proper mechanics will now fall into place.
If you’ve been practicing a press handstand the wrong way, it might feel impossible to even come up onto your toes. And you probably feel this “heavy” sensation, similar to a sack of bricks, in your hips and your shoulders.
That’s a muscular activation issue. And, as a result, a foundational issue.
Everybody sees how high the skyscraper is (that’s all the fancy stuff you can learn), but nobody pays attention to how deep of a hole you have to dig for the foundation.
But it’s that foundation that makes a difference.
The Micro Press Handstand Strategy that Works
I can’t emphasize how important the mechanics within Phase 1 are for laying the foundation for your press handstand and the ground lifts beyond. Remember, Phase 1 is all about being able to hold that perfectly stacked position with the hips over the shoulders (and you as high up on your toe tips as possible).
Don’t do what I call the “flat footed take off”. This is when you over-shift your shoulders forward in an effort to rush your feet off the ground.
Do This Instead
You need to pay attention to every possible detail when it comes to learning a press handstand.
Have you ever even noticed which part of your foot leaves the ground first? It’s time to start.
The Micro Press is what happens BEFORE your feet actually leave the floor. It’s a weight shift from the heels of your feet to the tips of your toes (and eventually just your big toes). I also call this the pre-press press.
Stop reading and try it. Focus on shifting forward only with the intention of coming high up onto your toes. This’ll blow your mind!
This’ll fix the major problem of over-shifting your shoulders forward and simultaneously train your hips to move in the correct position. In a press handstand, the correct movement of the hips is UP and FORWARD.
And remember your goal for Phase 1? To get the hips in the same location as they are in your pike. Learning to move your hips up and forward will get you to that position.
When you start shifting your hips into the right position, something amazing happens.
You no longer feel like a sack of bricks headed straight to hell. Instead, you feel like your legs are equipped with wings effortlessly flying you straight to heaven (or pike in our case).
When you get the hip position right, you’ll 100% know it because it’ll feel like it actually takes effort to PREVENT your feet from going up.
And assuming you have the mobility, you legs will move magnetically into a pike. If you can get there, the hard work is over. And as I’ve said above, you can practice Phase 3 at any time.
Unraveling the Mystery of your Shoulders
“Shoulders forward!”, “Core Strength”, “More shoulders forward!”, “More core Strength”. “Shoulders forward even more!”.
I don’t know where this blatantly wrong advice came from. If you keep going forward with your shoulders, you’ll never go up, you’ll just keep going forward until you fall flat on your face.
Yes, there’s a weight shift that happens in a press handstand, but people get WAY too carried away. If your feet already leave the floor, moving the shoulders even more forward isn’t going to solve the problem.
Let me ask you a question. Ok?
When you’re transitioning from a pike to a handstand, what happens?
In a pike, your shoulders are forward beyond the wrists. In a handstand, your shoulders are stacked directly over the wrists.
What does this mean?
To go from pike to handstand, your shoulders actually move back.
Ha, this is also Phase 3 in a press handstand. No one ever talk about this, EVER. And that’s a fatal mistake.
People only emphasize the forward movement of shoulders in a press handstand, BUT THEY AREN’T EVEN GOING FORWARD FOR HALF THE MOVEMENT!
In Phase 1, the shoulders go forward to create leverage for the hips to lift and pull the feet off the ground, but that’s it. Once your legs get to pike, your shoulders start moving back to prepare you to balance in handstand.
So half the press handstand movement is DRAWING YOUR SHOULDERS BACK!
Remember, the press handstand arc is 180 degrees.
0 —> 90 degrees – Shoulders move forward
90 —> 180 degrees – Shoulders move back
Don’t ever forget that. It’ll fundamentally change the way you think about the movement.
What if I can’t do a pike?
Start by watching my free online workshop here where I go over it in extreme detail.
If you can’t do a pike, work on it. Here’s how:
Try this short sequence below. If these exercises are too difficult for you, what you need to do is start by building the proper foundation in your body first then come back to the technical training.
Sequence Name: Pike Finder
10x Frog Hops
- Start from downward dog
- Bend your knees, ideally try and get your chest to touch the tops of your legs
- Then hop up with the goal of stacking your hips slightly beyond your shoulders
- In the final position your hips are slightly beyond your shoulders and your shoulders are slightly beyond the hands
- Make sure as you jump, you’re actively pressing away from the floor (absolutely no collapsing in the wrists)
- If your feet are landing with a “thud” your hips aren’t in the right position, record some video of yourself to verify
- Make 10 solid attempts
10x 135 Degree Handstand
- This position is halfway between a handstand and pike, your legs form a 135 angle with the ground
- Start in handstand and work on lowering into this position
- Hint: In order to do that without “thudding” your hips and shoulders have to move forward (but again, not too much with your shoulders)
- As you get comfortable holding this position, decrease the angle until you’re all the way at 90 degrees
- Make 10 solid attempts
3x Hollow Back Wall Press [Back strengthener]
- Although a pike is mostly cognitive, it does take some back strength
- Do this exercise to strengthen your back and develop the pushing power that’s necessary to do a press handstand
- Face a wall and start with your hands 10-12 inches away from the wall
- Kick up to handstand and push your hips (and legs) flush against the wall
- Drop your head so that your ears line up with your biceps
- Once comfortable, move your head even further so that you can look up and see your feet (imagine trying to bring your chin to your chest)
- Vigorously press into the ground for 30 seconds at time
- As you get stronger, lower you legs to a pike (90 degree angle) and keep looking up at your feet
- If you can do this, you are, without a doubt, strong enough to hold a pike
10x Pike Jumps
- From downward dog, work on jumping up to pike
- Because the legs are straight, yours hips must be a tad bit more forward than in the froggy hops
- Focus intensely on getting the hips in the right spot
- This is teaching you a MAJOR component of a press handstand
- Make 10 solid attempts
- 10x Froggy Hops
- 10x 135 Degree Handstand
- 3x Hollow Back Wall Press [Back strengthener]
- 10x Pike Jumps
Total Exercises: 33
Total Daily Time: 25 minutes (this shouldn’t take any longer than this)
I have a really hard time stacking my hips, what do I do? (QL and Back Stability Strength)
It could be a combination of a couple of things:
QL mobility and the ability the actively lengthen the QL muscle. It’s beyond the scope of this article on exactly how to do that but it’s a key component of getting the hips in the proper place and mastering Phase 1.
Anatomically what’s going when you press should be this:
Your TVA muscle and Lats are working to stabilize your shoulder girdle (so that it doesn’t collapse) and your QL should be actively lengthening to pull your hips up and forward.
From an activation side, when the TVA muscles and your back muscles can’t provide the stability necessary in the movement, your QL muscles try to take over that role instead. And when they do that, instead of lengthening like they should, they contract and they actually pull your hips down which contributes to the “heavy” feeling you experience when you’re shifting forward.
And anatomically, the QL muscles attach the top of the pelvis to the bottom of the rib cage so when those muscles are longer the hips physically have more room to move which makes it easier for the hips to get up and over.
Back Stability Strength
Another very important piece in the shift. Back stability strength.
Back stability strength is essentially training our pulling muscles to act as stabilizers in pushing movements. A press handstand is a pushing movement so this piece becomes critically important.
If we don’t have this type of strength our shoulder girdle collapses when we shift forward. When our shoulder girdle collapses we lose 70-80% of our power. And this is also what causes us to overuse our shoulders.
Basic Mobility: Your Hamstrings
Just do a simple standing forward fold. If you can’t get your palms flat on the floor, there’s your problem.
Ideally, get your hands flat with your fingertips in line with your toe tips.
If you can’t do this. Get to work on your hamstrings.
Do I need to learn how to hold a handstand before I start working on a press handstand?
This is one of the biggest myths out there. That you need to be able to hold a perfect handstand before you start working on your press handstand. Just look around, there’s plenty of people who have no problem kicking up to handstand but are nowhere close to pressing.
The reason this is is because jumping allows you to skip steps in the foundation. Most people learn how to kick up to handstand and simply learn to balance by overusing their shoulders. This is what’s called “muscling”. And that doesn’t translate into a press handstand.
The great thing about a press handstand is that ultimately it represents balance in the body and in the process of training for one you’re going to uncover all of the deficiencies and imbalances along the way.
The same muscles that you train to control and lift yourself off the ground are the same muscles that create balance anyway. So you’ll find that when you’re able to press up and control the movement from the start, you’ll be be able to balance at the top as a byproduct of the strength you’ve already developed.
The key to pressing, floating, and consistent balance on your hands isn’t from muscling in your shoulders it’s from properly utilizing your back muscles!
My Hamstrings are Open But I Still Can’t Stack My Hips
Ok, you might be scared, are you? If so, you’re going to have to work on your psychology.
But, it could be your feet and calf muscles. Don’t believe me? Try this:
- Sit on the ground with your legs straight
- Now try to point your feet (plantar flex) so that your big toes touch the floor
- Make sure you’re driving this movement from your calves
Harder than you thought? Listen to me.
If you can’t do it, you’re doing exactly what I spoke about earlier, the “flat footed take off”. And if you’re doing the flat footed take off, it’s preventing you from moving the hips up and forward properly. In short, you’ll never learn to get your hips in the pike position with you feet on the floor.
But the worst of it?
You’re skipping the Pre-Press Press (Phase 1) all together. You can’t skip steps when learning a movement that’s as pinpoint precise as this. Remember, the goal of the Pre-Press is to simply get your hips in the same position as your pike.
Pre-Press Press –> Phase 2 –> Phase 3
So, if you don’t have the foot mobility, you can’t practice the Pre-Press. Fatal.
Slow down cowboy. Don’t be in such a rush. Don’t be in such a rush to get there.
Everyone wants the rose without the thorns. Doesn’t happen.
Compression And The Hip Flexors
One of concepts I go over extensively in the free training is compression. L-sits and press handstand are examples of movements that require compression.
Compression is essentially our body’s ability to be strong when we are at a mechanical disadvantage. Or our ability to create power without leverage.
You can understand compression visually if you think about an L-sit for a second. The angle between the the your legs and your chest make up what’s called the “compression angle” and for an L-sit it’s 90 degrees.
And as we get stronger, we can close that angle. That’s the difference between an L-sit and a V-sit. A V-sit is when our thighs are essentially touching our chest or the compression angle is very close to zero.
The starting point of a press handstand is a compressed position so it’s required that you understand how this works when you’re learning.
In the workshop I talk about the “compression triangle”. Your ability to compress yourself is made up of 3 pieces, hip flexor strength, QL mobility, and overall TVA strength.
But the one I want to focus on here is hip flexors strength. Another critical component for a press handstand.
Anatomically, the role of the hip flexors is to support the legs. Now when we’re learning how to lift our legs off the ground the amount of strength required in the hip flexors is substantially more.
For a press handstand, in order for our legs to lift off the ground and float up our hip flexors need to be able to support that movement.
This is very important:
It doesn’t matter how strong you are everywhere else in your body, if your hip flexors aren’t strong enough to hold your legs in space you won’t be able to learn a press handstand.
The reason I’m brining this up is because it’s MAJOR roadblock for a lot of people.
This is also one of the reasons why an L-sit is a great benchmark for press handstand. If you have a hard time lifting your L-sit off the floor, one of the major contributing factors is lack of hip flexor strength.
You don’t yet have the foundational strength to create the basic 90 degree compression angle.
Also, if you get cramps in your quadriceps when you try to lift, it’s another great sign that your hip flexors need some work.
The specifics of the hip flexors are far beyond the scope of this article because hip flexor strength is closely tied to pelvic alignment and pelvic health and the training plan can vary drastically from person to person.
That is something we work on directly with all of our students in detail in Body Breakthrough. It’s that important.
The Importance of TVA Strength (Not What You Might Think)
Having core strength is important. It’s very important but not for the reasons why you might think.
First, it’s important important to understand the difference between TVA strength and core strength.
When I say TVA strength, I’m talking just about the TVA muscle. Does that muscle engage yes or no? And then how strong is or isn’t it?
And core strength takes into account all of the muscle in and around our torso that we use in the context of what we are trying to accomplish.
So for the sake of a press handstand, core strength includes all the muscles on the front of our torso, our back muscles, and the muscles around our hips.
So let’s talk just TVA strength.
That muscle is important not just for the strength and stability it provides when we move, but also because it creates balance in the body.
This is something else I cover extensively in the free training if you want more detail.
And this is BY FAR why having a strong TVA is important. When the TVA is weak the other muscles around it try to compensate for the role of what the TVA should be doing instead of acting as they were designed.
This has a knock on affect throughout the body. And for a press handstand in particular, if your body isn’t balanced at the muscular level, it’s going to be pretty damn hard to learn how to do a press handstand.
A solid foundation is extremely important!
Which brings me to my next point…
Benefits of Press Handstand?
Yes, it’s a fancy trick and cool to learn but the largest benefit by far is healing that comes with mastering a press handstand.
A press handstand represents balance in the body.
If your body isn’t balanced, you won’t be able to press.
In the process of training for a press handstand, it’s going to reveal all of the deficiencies and imbalances current in your body and you’re going to have to overcome those in order to get to your press.
As I said, a press handstand is really just a physical representation of a balanced body.
Pain that you experience, especially back pain, is a result of muscular imbalance in the body. And if you watch some the testimonial videos of students you’ll hear that many of them started our training to overcome chronic back pain.
And with chronic pain, there is no such thing as spot specific training. The only way to truly get out of pain for good is to balance your entire body and that’s exactly what training for a press handstand will do.
One Arm is Stronger than the Other and It’s Causing my Hips to Rotate
This is common and causes people to give up. They get the up, but can’t go straight because pressing harder with one hand causes the hips to rotate and breaks your press.
Here’s what to do about this:
- First, buy these 1 inch foam blocks.
- When you’re working on your presses, put your strong hand on the block
- This slight elevation will even it out and train your weaker arm to press harder
- Add this to your practice and within a week of doing this, it’ll make a difference
- It’s much easier to train the weaker arm than consciously regulate pressure in your stronger hand
My Core is Strong but I Can’t Press
Ok, I’m going assume your core ACTUALLY is strong.
And my definition of that is being able to hold a solid 1 minute L-sit on the ground.
Like learning handstand, core strength does no good if you don’t have arm strength. You need a stable base to engage your core correctly. That, and a strong back.
Don’t underestimate the muscles required to create a stable base. No stable base also means non-optimal core engagement.
How is your Eka Pada Bakasana? If you have a hard time with this, stop working on your press handstand and start working on your foundation. It’ll make a huge difference.
Most people don’t learn a press handstand simply because they are skipping steps in the process.
Everybody sees how high the skyscraper is but nobody pays attention to how deep of a hole you have to dig for the foundation.
***Having the proper foundation of functional movement is so important for learning how to control your body and that’s why we spend so much time building that foundation in Body Breakthrough. And that’s also how we get total beginners to a press handstand in 3-4 months.***
If your Eka Pada Bakasana is weak add this exercise somewhere to your practice. It strengthens your arms and back (which is used to hold you stable when you’re really far forward).
- Start in a handstand up against the wall with your with your torso facing the wall
- Keep your toes touching and walk your hands out so that you’re about a foot away
- SLOWLY bend your elbows WITHOUT letting them splay out and lower one knee toward your triceps
- Don’t let it touch, and just hold
- You’ll feel your lat muscles working big time
- Add this to your practice – Do this 3 times on each side and hold for as long as you can
When I jump up to handstand, I have a *Slight* Bend in my Lower Back
This is for you if you’re one of those that can balance in a handstand already.
Even a SLIGHT bend, is a huge problem. And what it comes from is lack of core strength and muscular activation.
You’re holding from your skeleton versus your muscles.
If you have even the slightest banana in your handstand, work on fixing it. You’ll find that even the slightest bend in your lower back makes it much more difficult to engage your core.
First watch video of your handstands. Then watch videos of your press handstand attempts. If your back bends even a tad in handstand, it’s effecting your press handstand and probably the one of the primary reason why you can’t do it.
Consider this, in an effort to lift your feet off the floor you might actually be back bending to pull yourself up. Fatal. In an effort to “bend” yourself up, you over shift your shoulders instead of trying to pull your hips UP and FORWARD.
Not only is this wrong, but it puts more stress on your joints. Be aware and fix it. Strengthen up your core and it’ll stop being a problem. How?
Do the “L-sit Finder” sequence. Learning to hold an L-sit will eradicate that problem fast. Besides, as I said above, if you can’t hold an L-sit you forget about pressing.
I Can Press to Headstand But Not Handstand
Truthfully, you have a long way to go. Handstand is a completely different ballgame.
The one valuable thing pressing to headstand teaches you is how effortless it feels to lift up when you get the hips in the right place. The feeling of “effortlessness” is what you’re trying to replicate in press handstand. It’s easier said than done.
If you can press to headstand, you have about 20% of the core strength needed to press to handstand, not nearly enough arm strength and back stability.
A more accurate gauge on arm and back strength, can you do Eka Pada Bakasana? Start there.
I Expect Excellence from YOU
That’s right. Anything less just isn’t good enough. And if you’re serious about learning how to do a press handstand you’ll expect excellence of yourself, also.
Listen, I’ve given you some specific things to work on and an arsenal of new exercises to get you going. What are you waiting for?
It all boils down to YOU.
Again, if you allow me, I’ll be that person that DOES hold YOU to a higher standard. Because I really do want you to succeed.
But you have to deserve it. Theory is useless if it can’t be put into practice.
And if you want to work with me directly in Body Breakthrough and have me and my team guide you through the process step-by-step, you can fill out an application here and schedule a phone call and we’ll have a chat and see if you’re a good fit to join our community.
So get to work. I expect great things.
Also, if you want to go into more even more detail on your anatomy and press handstand, Signup for my free online workshop below: