How to Do a Press Handstand

How to Do a Press Handstand

A press handstand is one of the coolest ways to show off your crazy gymnastics strength and control. It’s also one of the TOPS skills. Before you can learn to do a press handstand, you should have mastered a regular handstand.

A press handstand is a handstand done starting from either a standing or sitting position. If you are going to be starting from a sitting position, you should be sitting on the floor with your legs in a straddle and your hands on the ground in front of you. If you are going to start in a standing position, you can be in either a pike or straddle stand with your hands on the floor in front of you. Then you will need to lean forward with control and transfer the weight of your body to your hands.

As the weight is transferred to your hands you can slowly raise your feet and legs off the ground in either a pike or straddle position. Most gymnasts straddle their legs up. With control raise your legs until they are straight over your head in a handstand. While you are raising your legs, your shoulders will move past your hands, and then as your legs rise, they will move to straight over your hands.

We’ve put together 12 Drills to Help you Learn a Press Handstand.

press handstand drills
Click Here to Download GymnasticsHQ’s 12 Drills to Help you Get a Press Handstand

How to Do a Press Handstand Step by Step

1. Sit on the Floor in a Straddle Sit.

Step 1 of Press Handstand

Your hands should be flat on the floor in between your legs with your fingers spread out. Lean forwards over your hands and as your shoulders tilt forward, transfer your weight from your lower body to your hands.

 

2. Pull Your Lower Body Off the Ground.

Step 2 of how to do a press handstand

 

Use your stomach muscles to pull your legs off the ground, while you are leaning your shoulders over and past your hands. All of your weight should be on your arms as your core muscles lift your legs.

 

3. Raise your Legs into a Handstand. 

Step 3 of how to do a press handstand

Slowly raise your legs up until they are straight over your shoulders in a handstand. You can either straddle them up or pike them up. As your legs rise, your shoulders will move to straight over your hands.

 

4. Handstand 

Step 4 of how to do a press handstand

Once your legs are straight over your head you will be in a handstand. To hold this with control you need to make sure your legs and shoulders are stacked over your hands so that you form a straight-body position. From the handstand position you can reverse these steps to lower yourself back into a straddle sit onto the floor, or you can kick down from your handstand.

Muscles You Need to Strengthen for A Press Handstand muscles-you-need-press-handstand

Arms: Your arm and shoulder muscles are providing most of the strength needed for a press handstand. They are what give your press handstand control and hold your body up.

Core: You need strong core muscles to lift your legs from the ground up over your head.

Exercises You Can do at Home for a Press Handstand

Handstand Hold: Having the strength to hold a handstand is an important part of the press handstand. You can practice holding a handstand without any support, with someone holding your legs or against a wall.

v-ups

V-Ups: V-Ups work to improve your stomach muscles and they also mimic the motion of pulling your legs up off the floor. To do a V-up, lie flat on your back. With your legs squeezed together and arms over your head, lift your legs and torso simultaneously off the ground. Touch your hands to your feet, and then lower your torso (with your arms next to your ears) and legs to the ground simultaneously to complete the repetition.

push ups

Push-Ups: Push-ups are a great, simple exercise for improving your arm strength that you need for a press handstand. To do a push-up, get into a straight-body plank position with your shoulders over your wrists. While squeezing your core and butt, bend your arms. You want to focus on your body position and only go as far down as you can while still maintaining control of your movement. Raise your body again by straightening your arms to complete the repetition.

Kettlebell Deadlifts: Kettlebell deadlifts are a hip-pulling exercise just like a press handstand. In the press handstand your hips are pulling your legs up over your head. To do kettlebell deadlifts, stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Place a kettlebell between your legs, in line with your ankles. With a straight back, looking in front of you, bend from the hips, and reach down to pick up the kettlebell in between your legs. Your shins should be vertical and your lower back should be flat. Then pushing through your legs, return to a standing position.

kettlebell deadlift

 

Press Handstand Drills

All of these press handstand drills are shown in the video above.

Tuck Planche Holds: A beginner drill for learning a press handstand is to hold a tuck planche position. The planche position means that your shoulders are slightly past your wrists as you hold your tuck.

Handstand Lower to Sitting: One drill to practice the control you need for a press handstand, is to basically do the reverse. You can kick up into a handstand and then straddle your legs and lower yourself into a sitting position.

Press Handstand against Wedge Mat: As you are learning a press handstand, doing them against a wedge mat that is against a wall is helpful so you won’t hurt yourself if you fall forwards. You could also do this against your handstand helper at home.

Tools for Learning a Press Handstand

tools-for-learning-a-press-handstand

Handstand Helper: A handstand helper is useful for practicing and mastering your handstands at home. They allow your gymnast to practice against a door with a padded surface.

Kettlebells: Kettlebells are helpful for doing strength exercises.

ParalletteYou can use parallettes for press handstand drills.

Wedge MatWhen first learning a press handstand it’s useful to do them against a wedge mat.

 

Join an online gymnastics community where gymnasts improve their gymnastics skills at home.

 

If you want to learn how to do a press handstand, the first step is to develop the muscles you need. You can strengthen those muscles with the exercises we’ve listed in this article. After that, practice some of the press handstand drills and you will be on your way to learning how to do a beautiful, controlled press handstand.

 

A guide to learning your press handstand

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24 comments… add one
  • Michelle November 25, 2016, 1:08 pm

    I do 60 jumps on trampoline, 40 -ups, 10 push-ups, and 10 kettle bell deadlifts

    Reply
  • Annie January 23, 2017, 11:16 pm

    This really helped thank you!

    Reply
  • Eva January 26, 2017, 5:07 pm

    Hi, I’m having a lot of trouble when coming down to the straddle position from the handstand. I also have the same problem when coming up from the straddle position to the handstand. I can do it perfectly when I do it standing though, any tips?

    Reply
    • Jessy July 21, 2017, 5:12 pm

      Eva, try to lift your feet more than your butt when coming up!

      Reply
    • Jessy July 21, 2017, 5:12 pm

      Eva, try to lift your feet more than your butt when coming up!!!!

      Reply
  • Christina March 29, 2017, 7:55 pm

    I need a little help

    Reply
  • Christina March 29, 2017, 7:55 pm

    I have trouble just like Eva

    Reply
  • anna September 10, 2017, 3:41 pm

    i have attempted it before and when i hold the straddle going into the press handstand it hurts my legs as if they are not strong enough tips?

    Reply
  • Mpho October 19, 2017, 6:19 am

    It really helps

    Reply
  • kamryn turner January 11, 2018, 1:01 pm

    Im having trouble with the standing position any tips?

    Reply
  • kamryn turner January 11, 2018, 1:03 pm

    Im having trouble with the standing position any tips to help me achieve my dream?
    please let me know if you have any tips on the standing position

    Reply
  • Kayleigj January 29, 2018, 11:50 pm

    I am very flexible and averagely strong. I always stretch my legs and wrists before doing a press handstand but the problem is when I go into a straddle hold my hips hurt horribly. I have never had hip problems before. Any idea why this is happening and what to do.

    Reply
  • Kayleigh January 29, 2018, 11:51 pm

    I am very flexible and averagely strong. I always stretch my legs and wrists before doing a press handstand but the problem is when I go into a straddle hold my hips hurt horribly. I have never had hip problems before. Any idea why this is happening and what to do.

    Reply
  • Kenzlie March 22, 2018, 8:25 pm

    Hello i am having trouble with me startle cast handstand any tips

    Reply
  • sophie November 8, 2018, 4:11 pm

    This really helped me manage to do a press handstand! Thank you!

    Reply
  • Lucy November 30, 2018, 9:18 pm

    hey, i am having trouble with getting my feet off the ground, any suggestions?

    Reply
  • Caroline December 22, 2018, 4:29 pm

    I’m have trouble pushing up into my press handstand, think you can help me at all?

    Reply
  • Anna December 23, 2018, 9:56 pm

    I having a lot of trouble getting my feet off the ground, am I just not strong enough or am I doing something wrong. Any suggestions

    Reply
    • Anna January 17, 2019, 9:49 pm

      And I have a lot of trouble coming down from the handstand. Any tips

      Reply
  • Grace January 26, 2019, 11:11 pm

    I am having trouble getting past the point right before you go into your handstand. I always put my feet of the ground.

    Reply
  • Paisley Kirby April 4, 2019, 12:56 pm

    I am a Level 10 Gymnast I love doing a presshandstand. For you to have it you have to be good as me and I am only 12 years old I am Better than Annie LeBlanc when she was 12 years old doing gymnastics!!!!

    Reply
  • Ellery April 29, 2019, 5:16 pm

    I can do my press handstand from a standing position, but when I attempt it from the straddle on the floor position I can’t seem to rotate my legs and I get stuck. I have the strength, I just can’t seem to do it. Any tips ore something I’m doing wrong/missing?

    Reply
  • Nick May 22, 2019, 3:25 am

    If your having trouble with a specific press just go slow and do what u can hold it static and eventually bring your hips up

    Reply
  • Gymnast May 29, 2019, 8:58 am

    My legs and knees always get stuck on my arms and shoulders any tips?

    Reply

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