STANDING PRESS HANDSTAND

GYMNASTICS CLASS

I. CLASS OVERVIEW

"What is this class about?"

This class is designed to help you better understand and practice the standing straddle press handstand.

This class covers each of the topics below:

OVERVIEW:

  • About
  • Prerequisites
  • How To: Step-By-Step
  • Reality check: “Know what you’re getting into!”
  • Key #1: The Set-Up: Feet By Hands 
  • Key #2: Shifting Forward
  • Key #3: Passing Through Straddle Split
  • Common Fault #1: Collapsing
  • Common Fault #2: Jumping vs. Pressing
  • FAQs: “I can’t lift my feet off the floor!”
  • FAQs: “My shoulders keep collapsing!”
  • FAQs: “Why can’t I get my hips over my hands?”
  • FAQs: “My feet come up, but then I fall backwards?”
  • FAQs: “Why does my back sag as soon as I try to press?”
  • FAQs: “Do I actually need a straddle split to do this?”
  • Strength Drills
  • Mobility Prep
  • Technique Drills

We have organized the class by creating individual videos for each topic, posting all accompanying notes below each video.

Once you have gone through each topic-video and their notes, you will have a much better understanding of how to approach, train, and improve your standing straddle press!

"Who is it for?"

All athletes who are interested in practicing and / or improving their straddle press handstand.

Just make sure you are able to easily complete all prerequisites before attempting!

"Where and how do I start?"

Education before practice: You need to first understand what what you want your body to do, before trying to "do it".

Gymnastics is a very mental sport, and you need to get that brain of yours engaged if you're going to be successful!

To best understand the information, I highly recommend you watch all the highlight videos in order, reading through all the accompanying notes (posted below each video), then taking time to process and make sure you understand everything we discussed.

STEP 1:
Watch the introduction video

STEP 2:
In order, watch each topic-related video and read through the notes

STEP 3:
Let the information digest and make sure you understand what you've covered before moving on to practice

STEP 4:
Head to the gym and give it a go!

II. START HERE

The full press handstand is one of those “milestone” skills in gymnastics that’s always so exciting for gymnasts to finally achieve. It requires a crazy amount of strength, balance, control, flexibility, and patience to do, which is why not many can do it!

If you’re starting your press handstand journey, or maybe you’ve felt like progress has become stagnant, you’re in the right place. Training the press handstand from a stand will help you develop all those important key concepts we talked about above, just on a slightly smaller scale because we’ll be learning to press from the feet first, versus a straddle sit.

Is pressing from your feet still challenging?
Heck yeah.

Will pressing from your feet still take a while to master?
Absolutely.

Will you have to work harder than expected even though this is a “progression” for the full skill?
I’d bet money on it!

The straddle press is incredibly rewarding for good reason — It’s HARD. Make sure you’re going into this class and training with a realistic mindset, knowing you’re going to fail much more than you think (at first!), but stick with it.

Consistent, hard working, focused practice is how athletes progress in gymnastics. Time to work!

III. FUNDAMENTAL CONCEPTS

Prerequisites

Coaching Notes

1. 1:00 Hollow Hold

2. 1:00 Wall Handstand

3. 0:15+ Freestanding Handstand

4. Middle split (or, at least very close!)

5. Pike stretch (again, must be at least very close!)

6. Must be able to achieve the fully “stacked” handstand position (Completely open shoulder angle / No upper body limitations)

How To: Quick Step By Step

Coaching Notes

1. Set your hands on the ground, slightly outside shoulder width apart

2. Straddle your feet to the side, outside your hands

3. Keeping your hands in the same place, slowly walk your feet forward, getting them as in line with your hands as possible — The closer you can get your feet to start, the easier your press will be

4. Lean your shoulders forward over your fingers, and carefully lift your heels off the ground, coming onto your toes

5. Use your fingers to grip the ground for extra stability

6. Press your hands into the ground to engage the shoulders, creating a strong base

7. Continue leaning forward, pressing into the floor, and lifting the toes off the ground

8. Bring your legs out to the side through a straddle position, pulling them together at the top

9. Once you hit your handstand, re-trace your steps back down, first straddling your legs out to the side

10. Rounds your hips and bring your feet back to the floor, landing in the same starting position

Reality Check: Know what you’re getting into!

Coaching Notes

Remember in the beginning of this class we discussed how difficult the straddle press is? How much effort and determination you’re going to have to give this skill in order to make it?

Well, here is your mid-class reminder that the press is HARD!

We’re covering tons of very small, very important details that can get overwhelming, so I want to encourage you to take a deep breathe, relax, and remember what exactly you’re learning — One of the hardest gymnastics movements in the sport.

Now, with all this being said, should you be discouraged? Should you move on to another skill? Absolutely not! My goal with these reality checks is to give you light at the end of the tunnel. To let you know that this skill IS possible, you just have to work a little harder for it!

You can do this!

Key #1: The Set-Up: Feet By Hands

Coaching Notes

When setting up for your standing straddle press, you want to set your feet outside your hands, getting them as much in line with your hands as possible.

The closer you can get your feet to your hands during the set-up, the easier your shift forward will be (“Key #2”), which means the easier your full press will be.

If your feet are set too far backwards, you’re going to have too far of a shift to get your bodyweight centered over your fingers, and it’s probably not going to end well (you won’t be able to lift your feet off the ground).

So, start strong, start bendy, and walk your feet in as much as you can.

Key #2: Shifting Forward

Coaching Notes

This key is pretty non-negotiable — If you want to be able to press into a full handstand, you’ve got to understand and put into practice the concept of shifting your bodyweight forward in order to achieve the proper weight distribution over your hands needed to press off the floor.

So basically, you MUST lean so far forward over your fingertips that your bodyweight is centered over your hands.

If you don’t shift far enough forward, the majority of your bodyweight will be set behind your hands, and you will not be able to lift your feet off the floor at all. Because, #gravity !

Shift forward, press firmly through your hands to create a strong base in your shoulders, and only then will you be able to lift your feet slowly off the ground.

NOTE: Yes, shifting forward puts TONS of strain / pressure on your shoulders, and it’s hard! If it feels super hard, like you’re not able to hold your bodyweight when shifting forward, that tells us that you may have a little upper body - strength weakness that need to be addressed and improved before effective practice can continue.

Key #3: Passing Through Straddle Split

Coaching Notes

Being able to stretch into a full straddle split is, in fact, going to make your press handstands easier! It has to do with weight distribution.

In the initial stages of the press, as your heels are lifting up and shoulder shifting forward, you’re going to carefully press your toes off the ground, bringing your legs around the side into a straddle position. The farther you can get your legs out to the side (AKA, straddle split), the better balanced your bodyweight will be over your hands, which makes for an easier handstand!

If your flexibility is limited and you’re not able to get your legs into much of a split, your legs will not be able to travel out to the side (AKA, not able to position weight properly over your hands), and you’ll be trying to press vertically, as you have the lower half of your body centered behind your hands, which means gravity will forever pull you backwards!

(Think of the differences between a “pike” press, and a “straddle” pressing position — Pike is harder because the full weight of your legs is positioned far behind your hands for most of the press, which requires more shifting forward, more strength, more wrist mobility, etc. With straddles, you can bring your legs out to the side, which doesn’t require as much shifting forward, strength, etc.)

IV. COMMON FAULTS

Common Fault #1: Collapsing

Coaching Notes

So, you feel like your shoulders are collapsing as you shift forward in the beginning stages of your press, right?

If so, the culprit - 99% of the time, at least - is upper body weakness!

All presses require a crazy amount of upper body strength, because we’re essentially moving in absolutely slow motion, and as strict as possible. It’s hard. If you find yourself trying to shift forward, but the shoulders aren’t having it, you may want to take a step back and increase strength gains first, or at least practice against a wall where you can lean and have some of your bodyweight supported.

Common Fault #2: Jumping vs. Pressing

Coaching Notes

Fight it! You don’t want to overcompensate for a lack of strength or understanding by changing the movement — At no point in your press should you be jumping your feet off the floor!

If you do feel like the only way you’re going to get into a handstand is to jump your way there, that probably means your set-up is wrong, or you may need some strength gains.

Evaluate the position of your feet to hands in your starting position. Are they close, almost in line? Or, are your feet pretty far behind you?

Usually when athletes feel like they need to jump, it’s because they are not able to fully shift forward, centering their bodyweight over their hands, so they want to create some power to hit that end position. Instead, try walking your feet forward so your initial shift is minimal.

V. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

“I can’t lift my feet off the floor!”

“My shoulders keep collapsing!”

“Why can’t I get my hips over my hands?”

“My feet come up, but then I fall backwards?”

“Why does my back sag as soon as I try to press?”

“Do I actually need a straddle split to do this?”

VI. TRAINING DRILLS

Strength Exercises

Coaching Notes

1. Planche Plank:
https://youtu.be/Uwg6y0ivsig

2. Crow Pose:
https://youtu.be/wYqkPcvBtw8

3. Planched Handstand Hold:
https://youtu.be/RQ4l2JI62VA

4. Straddle Compression Lifts:
https://youtu.be/HhdLEp2pETg

Mobility Prep

Coaching Notes

BTC Classes to follow along with: 

1. Hamstrings

2. Shoulders

3. Forward Splits

4. Middle Split

Technique Drills

Coaching Notes

1. Forward Shift + Heel Raise:
https://youtu.be/n9XnqzKEB1Q

2. Straddle Toe Press:
https://youtu.be/A3Y9k7bDlhU

3. Single Leg Lift:
https://youtu.be/mkEm4j8_frM

4. Standing Press to Negative:
https://youtu.be/Aq6EBK-lmHY

5. Press Against a Wall:
https://youtu.be/DYLoG_kH-xI

BTC CLASSES